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Cold Weather Camping Tips

The weather might be cold, but you don’t have to be. Mackenzie’s got a few tips for cold weather camping to keep you warm and cozy on your next trip.

4 Min. Watch | Camping


Use a smaller tent. If it's not full-on winter, your summer regular camping tent will work just fine in cold weather. But, if you’re shopping for a new tent or have a few options to choose from, go small. In a smaller tent, there’s less room for your body heat to fill, so it’ll warm up more quickly.

Keep warmth in and let vapor out. Zip up the windows and doors to keep your body heat in the tent. Most tents have mesh venting at the top to let your breath out so it doesn’t condense and make your tent clammy; if your tent doesn’t, crack the windows a little at the top.



Bring a sleeping bag rated for colder than the forecast. Sleeping bags’ temperature ratings are based on the temperature outside. It’s always a good idea to pick a sleeping bag that’s rated for colder than the forecast. If it’s going to get down to 40 degrees, consider a 20 degree bag – and so on. You can always unzip the bag if you’re too warm.

Insulate yourself – and your sleeping bag – from the ground. If the air is cold, the ground is also going to be cold. Insulate yourself from the ground with a sleeping pad. If your pad is inflatable, the cold will seep right up into that air, so put a blanket or foam sleeping pad underneath to keep your pad warm, too.




Use a sleeping bag liner. A liner adds even more insulation to your sleep system.

Layer up. Wearing long underwear, a hat, and even insulating outerwear like a down jacket traps more body heat. Check out our layering guide for more tips about how to layer.

Make a sleeping bag heater with a water bottle. An old camping trick is to heat some water before bed, pour it into a water bottle, and stick that at the foot of your sleeping bag. The bottle will radiate heat, warming your feet and the rest of your bag. Be careful not to burn yourself, and make sure the lid is tight and it doesn’t leak.


Stay active! Dancing, playing games and doing other activities will take your mind off the cold and keep your blood flowing.

Learn how to make a safe campfire. Fires keep you warm twice: once while preparing and once while burning.

Wrap yourself up. When you’re sitting around the campfire, wrap yourself up in blanket – it will keep you warm where the fire and camp chair won’t.

Enjoy warm food and drink. Hot meals and hot drinks feed your internal furnace and warm up your body. Try out our suggestions for fun camping meals to make with kids, or our delicious twists on the classic s’more.

Get ready for your next camping trip with a tent, sleeping bag, pad, backpack, and more outdoor gear designed to make it even easier for you to get outside.

Need some inspiration or advice? Explore our Get Outside Guide to learn how to get started camping, the best ways to pack your car, the right way to store your sleeping bag between trips, and more camping tips!

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