It's one of our most cherished mottos: There's no off-season for hiking. If you're the same way, you're planning adventures deep into the snowiest months of the year. To hike and camp safely in the winter, though, you'll need to plan ahead and bring the right gear for the your trip. Here’s everything you need to stay warm, safe, and comfortable while camping and hiking during the winter.
The Best Tents for Winter Camping
When conditions are truly bad, a 3-season tent won't cut it. Get ready to weather the storm—and stay comfortable doing it—with these tents built for winter camping.
The Best Sleeping Bags and Pads for Winter Camping
In cold weather, your sleeping bag and pad work together as a system to keep you comfortable and safe by trapping warm air next to your body. The regular old air pad you take on your summer trips won't cut it when temperatures are approaching zero. Instead, gear up with these winter-specific picks.
Winter Camping Gear Basics
Hitting the trail in winter presents challenges you won't face in summer. The first step to tackling them is careful layering: start with a warm baselayer (synthetic, wool, or a blend, depending on conditions and your budget). Next, pick the appropriate insulation for your planned activity. Thick puffies are great for stargazing or carrying as an emergency piece, but gravitate toward more breathable midlayers on the trail. Finish off your layers with a waterproof-breathable shell.
Consider how you'll travel as well. If you're heading into untracked powder, a pair of snowshoes or light touring skis will go a long way towards keeping you on top of the snow instead of wallowing in it. If the trail is icy, a set of traction devices like Yaktrax can keep you from slipping.
Have plenty of time to burn? There's no warmer sleeping solution than an igloo, but building one takes time, effort, and a little know-how.