Winter Camping Checklist

Winter Camping ChecklistThere are advantages to camping in winter. No bugs, snakes, crowds. Everything is just a bit more peaceful and quiet with a white blanket atop a forest or mountain. But in its intense, raw majesty, a winter camping environment needs a lot more planning than just any other camping trip. A combination of thorough preparation, the right supplies, and the right skills can help a winter camper/hiker a winter hiker have a fantastic – maybe even cozy – experience, even in deep-freeze conditions.

Camping Checklist for Winter Camping

Shelter and Sleep

  • 3 or 4 Season Tent (Domes work well)
  • Tarp to cover tent (for snow protection) or to make a tarp shelter
  • Snow tent pegs, stakes, guylines
  • Ropes to erect and tie-down tarps and tents
  • Groundsheet tarp
  • Sleeping bag (down, 3-Season, etc.)
  • Compression sack for sleeping bag
  • Fleece blanket
  • Pillow case (stuff with extra clothes to make a pillow)
  • Spare tent poles
  • Flannel sleeping bag liner
  • Over-Bag or Summer Weight Sleeping Bag
  • Camping mattress
  • Thermal-set mattress
  • Insulation Pad (Reflective) or Layers of Cardboard
  • Footprint (if needed for tent)
  • Sleeping pads

Kitchen Supplies

  • Energy food (bars, gels, chews, trail mix)
  • Energy beverages or drink mixes
  • Extra day’s supply of food
  • Stove
  • Fuel
  • Food-storage sacks or canister
  • Eating supplies (plastic cup, plastic plate, Lexan utensils)
  • Cook set (pot with lid, saucepan with lid, frying pan)
  • Thermoses
  • Water bottles or hydration system (insulated)
  • Water filter or other treatment system
  • Backup water treatment (e.g., halogens)
  • Measuring cups
  • Pot gripper
  • Fiberboard with stove platform
  • Funnel
  • Dip Cup
  • Dish and pot scrubber
  • Garbage bags

For more Kitchen Supply items go to The Ultimate Camping Checklist or Camping Kitchen Supplies Checklist.

Winter Camping ChecklistToiletries

  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Small hand towel
  • Toilet paper (in zip-lock bag)
  • Sanitation trowel
  • Hand sanitizer + quick-dry towel
  • Toothbrush and/or toiletry kit
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Flushable Wet Wipes (in zip-lock bag)
  • Paper Lunch Bags (for burning toilet waste)

For more Toiletry items go to The Ultimate Camping Checklist.


Car Check:

  • Battery condition
  • Oil and other fluids
  • Brakes
  • Snow tires
  • Chains or cable chains
  • Jumper cables
  • Antifreeze
  • Scraper and broom
  • Trip Itinerary under car seat
  • Lights
  • GPS
  • Full tank of gas
  • Shovel and sand

While Hiking:

  • Compass
  • Guidebook; interpretive field guides
  • Two-way radios
  • Cell or satellite phone
  • Personal locator beacon (PLB)
  • Map case and map
  • Flare kit
  • Trip itinerary (left with a friend)


  • Snow shovels (foldable)
  • Climbing gear
  • Snowshoes or crampons
  • Ice axe
  • Snow saw
  • Toboggan (for transporting equipment) with tarp and tie-downs
  • Avalanche transceiver
  • Avalanche probe
  • Cross country skies (or other)
  • Trekking poles (for snowshoes or skis)

Winter Camping ChecklistTools and Miscellany

  • Knife
  • Multi-tool
  • Flashlight / headlamp
  • Extra batteries and bulbs for flashlight / headlamp
  • Pliers or vise grips
  • Screwdrivers (combo set)
  • Duct tape, ripstop (etc.)
  • Wire
  • Glue/Epoxy
  • Whistle
  • Altimeter/Barometer
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Camera
  • Candle lantern (spare candles)
  • Matches
  • Lighter
  • Whistle
  • File
  • Aluminum ladder
  • Clothes line and pegs
  • Alarm clock
  • Thermometer
  • Wisk broom
  • Lawn chair with insulator pad
  • Axe
  • Flint kit
  • Butane Lighter (Wind-proof/Water-proof)
  • Self-heating “Hot Pad” foot/hand warmer
  • Slope meter
  • 50-foot nylon cord
  • Notebook and pen or pencil
  • Permits
  • Binoculars
  • Small amount of cash or credit card Zip-lock bag for wallet
  • Sewing awl and heavy thread
  • Regular needles and thread
  • Hose clamps
  • Parachute cord
  • 1/4″ waterproof rope – 100 ft.
  • Extra snowshoe binding
  • Neoprene straps
  • Pack repair parts
  • Stove repair parts
  • Pole patch kits
  • Spare bails for XC bindings (if skiing)

First Aid (for cold conditions)

  • Throat lozenges
  • Antacid tablets
  • Heavy space blanket
  • Heat packs
  • Hypothermia thermometer

For a full First Aid Checklist go to The Ultimate Camping Checklist.

Storage and Bags

  • Backpack (Internal frame recommended as it’s warmer)
  • Forty below bag
  • Utility straps (for holding snowshoes onto backpack)
  • Gore-Tex bivy sack
  • Waterproof containers
  • Daypack or summit pack
  • Stuff sack or compression sack
  • Large Rubbermaid containers

And there you have it, a very complete winter camping checklist. No, you definitely do not have to bring all these items the winter camping checklist is merely a guide. If you can think of any other winter camping supplies we have missed please do let us know in the comment box below. If you would like to get some ideas on what you need to pack (clothing wise) read the article Winter Camping Clothing Checklist.

Author: Kirsten
(The CampTrip Team)


About the Author

has written 14 articles on CampTrip.

Kirsten loves history, writing, reading and editing. She is one smart little cookie when it comes to academics! She also happens to be quite the artist! Kirsten manages to make everything funny and can always be found with a book in her hand.

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2 responses to "Winter Camping Checklist"

  • Dale says:

    My question to the author of this checklist would be… Have you ever been camping in the winter? This checklist is about as generic as they come. It only leaves people who really want to try it at a loss on what to take or they need to rent a trailer because they try to pack up everything on the list. It would be nice if the checklists and tips you give on this site were real world experience and not articles not edited to an inch of their life.
    Just my humble opinion.

    Professional Camper, hiker, backpacker and outdoor enthusiast.

  • Kaitlyn says:

    Hi Dale, You are right, this particular checklist is a very generic one as we just wanted to give campers an idea of what they might need to bring for their winter camping trip depending on what they were doing. It would be great if you could help us by sharing some of your specific tips and advice from your real life experience. That is after all, how we can help people that need answers to more specific questions and scenarios. We would really love to hear from you.

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