There’s a shortlist of activities that provide a better respite from the hustle and bustle of city life than a good ‘ol fashion camping trip. Something about escaping the concrete jungle allows us to, at least temporarily, rid ourselves of the stresses of the daily grind. When the winter months roll around and the temperature starts to plummet, however, the backcountry can start to look less-than-inviting.
Despite the impression and ice and snow may lend, the reality is that the winter season can actually make for some of the year’s best camping, so long as you’re armed with the right gear. To help you better brave the winter, we’ve compiled this list of the best cold weather camping gear. From equipment to bolster your winter basecamp, to garments to keep you warm, this list of arctic-oriented offerings is sure to have you viewing sub-zero-temperature camping in a whole new light.
Goldwin Spur Down Jacket
Capable of providing tremendous levels of warmth without bulk and restricted range of movement often associated with other robust winter coats, the Goldwin Spur Down Jacket is made from wind-resistant GORE-TEX INFINIUM and stuffed with Kodenshi — a ceramic fiber embedded into the down fill that recycles and prolongs natural body heat. A cleverly-designed interior baffle structure allows for stellar heat retention and the jacket’s hood boasts cohesive cord locks for easy one-handed adjustment, as well as a stand-up internal collar to help keep cold air out.
Soto Pocket Torch
This nifty little device transforms a disposable gas station lighter into a 2,300-degree Fahrenheit torch. Made in Japan and offering up to 20 minutes of burn time, this 1.8oz item increases the life of a lighter by around 60%.
Carhartt Lookout Beanie Cap
A warmer, winter-themed alternative to Carhartt’s classic acrylic beanie, the Men’s Lookout Hat offers a thicker roll-up for better heat preservation. Decorated with a pom ball, the hat sports a two-tone colorway combining Carhartt’s signature brown with an off-white cream color.
Stanley Master Flask
A trusty flask is an absolute must for cold weather camping, and it’s hard to do better than Stanley’s Master Flask. This cold-rolled stainless steel cell features an 8oz capacity, wide-mouth opening, CNC-machined cap, and a foundry black-powder-coated finish. BPA-free and fully-leakproof, this flask is sod with a lifetime guarantee.
Mechanix Durahide M-Pact Insulated Driver Gloves
These insulated Mechanix winter work gloves feature a thermoplastic rubber exoskeleton wrapped in Durahide leather and filled with a 100g Gold Performance insulation. These rugged mitts are Level 2 rated for impact and Level F for cut resistance protection, meaning they’re as hardwearing as they are warm.
Columbia Titanium Omni-Heat 3D Knit Crew Top
Base layers are crucial for keeping warm during the winter months, and that means finding the right balance of warmth and breathability, like the combination on display in Columbia’s Titanium Omni-Heat 3D Knit Crew Top. Composed of an 85% polyester, 15% elastane stretch jersey mixture dubbed Omni-Wick, this moisture-wicking garment helps the body to recycle heat.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Ultralight Air Mattress
Weighing only 12oz, this Therm-a-Rest air mattress was designed specifically for cold weather camping and backpacking trips, featuring a 2.5″ body bestowed with the manufacturer’s radiant-heat-trapping ThermaCapture technology and Triangle Core Matrix construction. Capable of breaking down to the size of a water bottle, this air mattress can be inflated in only two minute’s time.
Best Made The Scottish Lambswool Scarf
Winter scarves are a great accessory for keeping warm on cold weather camping expeditions, though not all scarves are made equally, as demonstrated by Best Made Co.’s remarkably cozy Scottish Lambswool Scarf. Featuring an eyelash fringe and offered in three colors, this scarf is made from 100% pure lambswool.
DMOS Stealth Shovel
Unlike most compact foldable shovels, this extremely-hardwearing item from DMOS extends into a full 57″ shovel. Made from T6-6061 aircraft-grade aluminum, this shovel breaks down into a sub-3.5lb 18 x 9 x 2.25” form, making it the perfect addition to any backwoods loadout.
Marmot Toaster Boot Top Tights
Made from a DWR-treated ripstop polyester, this extremely-warm base-layer is heavily insulated and was made to be worn under outer shells. Filled with Primaloft Gold insulation, the pants feature a 3/4 cut leg, making them ideal for wearing over ski or snowboard boots.
Mr. Heater Big Buddy Space Heater
On those extra-chilly nights when the radiant heat of the campfire just isn’t covering it, it helps to have a secondary means of warmth like this portable space heater. originally designed for use in RV’s, this indoor-safe heater runs off of propane and affords between 4,000-18,000 BTUs, meaning it’s good for heating spaces up to 450-square feet.
Council Tool 2# Wood-Craft Pack Axe
While there are more compact hatchets on the market, it’s hard to go wrong with proven old-school designs like that of Council Tool’s Wood-Craft Pack Axe. Boasting a curved 24″ hickory handle mated to a 2lb 5160 steel head, this extremely-sharp wood splitter comes with a leather sheath for easy carrying.
Rumpl NanoLoft Puffy Blanket
A modern alternative to traditional cotton blankets, the Rumpl NanoLoft Puffy Blanket features a 100% recycled 30D ripstop polyester fabric filled with the company’s own PCR NanoFiber-type synthetic insulation. Sold in a water-resistant stuff sack and boasting a retro-inspired colorway, this 52” W x 75” H blanket boasts a DWR treatment and convenient corner loops.
Crescent Moon EVA Foam Snowshoes
Weighing less than 4lbs and made from strong yet flexible ethylene vinyl acetate, the Crescent Moon EVA snowshoes feature a simple binding system and rubber lugs and optional ice cleats for improved traction on ice and hard-pack. Despite being 24″ long, the shape of these snowshoes are conducive to a natural stride.
Capable of being fully lit in just 30 seconds, this portable smokeless grill is capable of acting as a traditional charcoal (or wood) grill, or a campfire-style heater that projects heat in 360-degrees. Four fan settings allow surprisingly precise heat control and a built-in rechargeable 10,400maH battery pack and USB ports provide an easy and convenient means of charging your mobile devices while off the grid.
Danner Arctic 600 Side-Zip Boots
Designed to keep your feet dry and warm, Danner’s Arctic 600 Side-Zip packs a super comfortable Vibram Nisqaully Arctic Grip sole, Danner Dry liner and waterproof lining, nylon shank, and Ortholite footbed. Stuffed with 200 grams of PrimaLoft insulation, these 7″ winter boots feature a side-zip that affords a snug, comfortable fit worthy of daily use.
The North Face One Bag Sleeping Bag
This cutting-edge sleeping bag is comprised of three sections that can be used by themselves on warmer nights or combined and utilized as a whole on those particularly chilly nights. This mummy bag’s patent-pending system packs 20D nylon shell and liner stuffed with an 800-fill goose down.
PETZL Ergonomic Ice Axe
Offering an extremely ergonomic design, this ice climbing axe set from Petzl is here to help you conquer ice cliffs and frozen waterfalls alike. These aggressive-looking items feature the company’s integrated “Trigrest” hand rests, replaceable picks, and are built to the same exacting standards that Petzl is known for.
Marmot Thor 4-Season Tent
Boasting a six-pole design and bomber construction, this rugged four-season tent features double walls (and canopy) made from 40D nylon ripstop and reinforced with 1,800mm polyurethane coating, while the floor is of the 70D nylon variety. Lightweight and compact, this Marmot tent offers enough space to comfortably accommodate two people.
Garmin GPSMAP 66i Handheld GPS and Satellite Communicator
Preloaded with an array of topographical maps, this handheld GPS device boasts a 3″ screen, a Lithium-ion battery that affords 35-hours of runtime (up to 200 hours in Expedition Mode), and is capable of sending and receiving texts, as well as live weather reports.
Arc’teryx Voltair Avalanche Backpack
Hands-down one of the most innovative and technologically-advanced cold weather camping gear offerings on the market, the Arc’teryx Voltair 30L Backpack may look like a typical 30-liter storage solution with integrated ski, snowboard, and ice axe loops, but inside it boasts a 150-liter avalanche airbag that can be deployed electronically or via a mechanical pull-cord.
The 12 Best 4-Season Tents For Winter Camping
While the gear you wear and carry is clearly important all year long, as the mercury dips there’s one thing that becomes more important than ever: your tent. Lucky for you cold-weather campers out there, we’ve put together a list of the best 4-season winter tents.