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Five Tips for Winter Camping & Three Reasons Why You Should

5 Min Read • Here at Petzl, our mission is to help you access your inaccessible. And while winter camping trips aren't as accessible as your warmer excursions; they're a great way to shake off your normal routine, practice some unique skills, and gain a new perspective on these colder months.

February 29 2024

Backpacking and trekking

Photography: @DionVanBoekel

5 Ways To Nail Your Next Winter Camping Trip 

Whether you're a seasoned survivalist or a novice explorer, these tips and tricks can help you make the most of your winter camping excursion.

1. Gear Up 

Staying warm and comfortable this winter may require some specific gear. View these purchases as an investment that will pay off year after year. 

  • To protect against snow and wind, opt for a four-season tent rather than popular two or three season models
  • Wrap yourself in a sleeping bag rated for below freezing temperatures
  • Prevent heat loss and sleep easier with an insulated sleeping pads 
  • Layer up with a combination of moisture-wicking base layers, insulating mid-layers, and weather repellent outer layers
    • Staying warm and dry is key to regulating your body temperature and boosting morale


Photography: @DionVanBoekel

2. Hydrate Early & Fuel Often 

In cold weather, it's easy to drink less water and eat improperly. 

  • Eating and drinking enough is crucial for maintaining energy and warmth 
  • Pack nutrient dense meals and snacks for sustainable energy, and drink plenty of water throughout the day (electrolyte tablets are helpful for maintaining hydration)
  • Keep water containers close and warm to prevent freezing
  • Warm yourself from the inside out by supplementing hydration with hot beverages 


Photography: @DionVanBoekel

3. Embrace the Heat 

Building and maintaining a fire will not only keep you warm, but prevent boredom and boost morale during long winter nights.

  • Collect (local) dry firewood before sunset and store it in a sheltered location to keep it dry 
  • Explore different fire-starting techniques — fire starters, tinder, and kindling — to see what works 
  • Always pack a reliable lighter or waterproof matches


Photography: @DionVanBoekel

4. Shield Your Extremities From Extremes

Cold and sub-freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your extremities.

  • Protect your hands and feet from the elements with insulating gloves, socks, and boots to keep you warm and dry
  • We lose the most heat through our head — wear a hat and a neck gaiter to maximize heat retention


Photography: @DionVanBoekel

5. Expect Early Sunsets 

We have fewer daylight hours in the winter. Pack extra headlamps and plan accordingly. 

  • Set up camp before dusk to avoid navigating unfamiliar terrain in the dark 
  • Bring along plenty of light sources and extra batteries, like the ACTIK and TIKKA CORE 
  • Headlamps are great for lighting the way while cooking, playing games, or just hanging out in the tent 

Headlamps and their batteries perform differently in colder-than-usual temperatures. To extend your headlamps battery life and performance, keep these items close to your body, like in a chest pocket. This will help prevent any unexpected dips in lighting performance. 

Explore more tech tips on headlamp performance here

Photography: @DionVanBoekel

Top 3 Reasons You Should Go Camping In Winter 

1. Because It's Hard

We get it. It’s cold out there. And it stays dark for a long time. You’ll likely have to dig out a tent platform, your water bottles might freeze, and there are a lot of layers to pack. But if you already use Petzl products, you’re likely the type of person who derives joy from doing hard things. 

2. Because You're Never Bored 

In 2024, it is easy to stay stimulated the entire day. You wake up and scroll through your phone, you listen to a podcast on the way to work, and by the time you get in bed that evening you’ve been entertained all day. But when was the last time you just did nothing? When did you last let your mind wander and think about things other than work/school/kids/chores/everything? 

3. Because You're Lucky 

If you have the option to go camping in these winter months, you're already luckier than most. Embrace that, and opt for a new challenge that may teach you something about yourself. Practice being resilient. Practice overcoming challenges. Practice being patient. You may come home a different person.