Go Winter Camping


If you’ve never camped in winter before, it’s smart to stay close to home the first time–maybe right in your backyard! Here are some tips!


What You Need

  • book or deck of cards (for in the tent)
  • long underwear, wool socks, and a warm hat to sleep in
  • layers of warm clothes for outside time (see below)
  • flashlight
  • sleeping pad along with some folded blankets to keep you off the cold ground (a closed cell foam pad works better than an air-filled pad)
  • sleds, skis, snowshoes, or other fun outdoor stuff
  • warm sleeping bag (or even two bags, one inside the other)
  • meals and snacks
  • tent (layer a tarp over the top to hold in the heat better)

What You Do

  1. What to Wear
    • Avoid cotton clothes. If they get wet or sweaty, they’ll quickly make you cold.
    • Wool and “wicking” fabrics work well.
    • Dress in layers: 1st layer=wool socks and long underwear; next layer=fleece pants, turtleneck, fleece or wool top; outer layer=warm boots, snow pants, warm and waterproof jacket, scarf, hat, and waterproof gloves or mittens.
    • Be sure to remove layers if you get hot, so you don’t sweat—-or add layers if you get cold.
    • Take extra clothes—especially socks and gloves—so you can keep your feet and hands dry.
  2. What to Do
    • Explore and see what you can discover.
    • Play in the snow (if there is any). Sled, ski, snowshoe, or build a snowman or snow fort.
    • Cook a meal over the campfire or toast marshmallows.
    • Gaze at the stars. Winter is a great time to do this.
    • Read or tell stories inside your tent. Make shadow puppets with a flashlight, or play games
  3. Groups to Check Out
    • Many groups across the country lead outdoor trips or offer tips on camping, snowshoeing, and other outdoor activities. Here are just a few. Ask an adult to help you find one near you. NOTE: Some of these groups may only take school groups or older kids.
      • New York State
      • Minnesota
      • New England


By Kate Hofmann