Many parents dread the thought of going winter camping with their kids. So much could go wrong- and it often does. However, if well planned, winter camping with your kids can be one of the most fulfilling experiences you well, experience! You need to be well prepared because when kids come into the picture, it is not camping as usual. It all starts with the right gear and this article highlights the essentials you need to have when going winter camping with your kids.
You will definitely want to invest in quality sleeping gear for the comfort of everyone in the family. We are talking about thermal sleeping bags and liners. It can get really cold at night in a tent. Make sure your kids are safe and warm inside their thermal sleeping bags. The liners go under the bag to prevent water from seeping into the tent (and then into the sleeping bag) from the ground.
All Season Tent
Your tent should also be a 4-season tent. It should be waterproof and sturdy enough to shelter your family from the elements. Typical winter weather can include precipitation and fierce (frigid!) winds. Do your research and invest in a quality tent that is made to shield you from some of the more extreme elements.
Carry enough winter clothing to protect your kids from the cold. The weather may not be conducive to hanging clothing out to dry, so rule out washing them while at camp. It is better to carry layered clothing. These are easier to pile on when the cold bites and easier to remove when the weather becomes warmer. Do not forget to protect their face and hands as well.
Spare clothing is also helpful in case someone gets wet. You don’t want to let anyone sit in wet clothing while you are in freezing temperatures. Not only is this extremely uncomfortable, it is also dangerous.
One of the biggest challenges when tent camping in the winter is trying to keep everyone warm. This is where insulated Thermos bottles come in. Brew your tea or coffee and put it into these bottles. Whenever someone feels cold, a warm drink is a great way to warm up. Have insulated mugs to keep the drinks warm for a long time. Energy bars are also a smart snack to have on hand. You can bring a camp stove to cook your meals in the open. (You can find camp stoves in all sizes, from a personal sized small version to a bigger one that will cook food for multiple people at once.)
First Aid Kit
Kids are prone to getting bumps and bruises all the time, and camping trips are no exception. A first aid kit comes in handy for doctoring minor cuts and scrapes as they happen. Keep other medications in your first aid kit, such as common painkillers like Tylenol.
I also HIGHLY recommend tossing some Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets into your pack. They REALLY work and are a MUST for heading into unknown weather conditions.
Dry Bags and Ziploc Bags
Flashlights and Headlights
Headlights will allow your kids to see better around the campsite and bonus – they are hands free! Flashlights are an essential item for every camper. You need to see where you are going at all times. Make sure you carry extra batteries for these lights.
Buy waterproof matches that will light, even when exposed to wind and other weather elements. You will likely need (or want) to create a campfire at some point. Having waterproof matches will come in handy. You may also need to use waxed chaff to light the wet firewood.
Buy lightweight backpacks for your kids. Make sure these backpacks are water resistant and have enough space to store their whatever items they will be responsible for carrying.
The above list of suggestions aren’t just great for kids – they are great suggestions for ANYONE heading out for some all-weather camping! While our preference is usually to stay warm and dry inside of our RV, we hope that this is helpful for the tent campers out there!
Let us know if there are any must-haves on your list that we should add to our list!