What to Bring for Winter Camping

What to Bring for Winter Camping

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Winter camping is different with summer, it requires specific gear suited for the harsh weather of winter, such as snowshoes.

Make use of this list to make sure you don’t forget anything and pack accordingly:

  • The Ten Essentials: Items that are part of the Ten Essentials should be carried on every trip. These are marked by an asterisk.
  • This checklist is deliberately comprehensive. The exact items you take should be tailored to your trip based on mode of backcountry travel, personal preferences and considerations such as weather, difficulty, duration and distance from help.
  • Printer. Print out the PDF version for easy use at home.

when you go on a snow trip

  • Backpack  
  • Daypack or ski pack  
  • Snowshoes  
  • Skis (with skins)  
  • Snowboard or splitboard (with skins)
  • Backcountry ski poles or trekking poles with snow baskets
  • Crampons Ice axe

Avalanche Gear:

  • Avalanche transceiver (1 per person)  
  • Avalanche probe (1 per person)  
  • Snow shovel (1 per person; also handy around camp)
  • Slope meter
  • Snow saw



  • Winter tent with guylines 
  • Snow or tent stakes  
  • Cold-weather sleeping bag(s)
  • Well-insulated sleeping pads(s)
  • Sit pad(s)
  • Headlamp(s)* (and extra batteries)
  • Camping pillows
  • Sleeping bag liner


  • Stove and fuel  
  • Matches* or lighters* and fire starter*
  • Cook set and pot lifter  
  • Cooking and eating utensils  
  • Dishes/bowls  
  • Insulated vacuum bottles  
  • Mugs or cups (insulated)  
  • Biodegradable soap  
  • Pot scrubber/sponge  
  • Trash/recycling bags

Water & Food

  • Water bottle(s) and/or reservoir*
  • Insulated sleeves for bottles and reservoirs  
  • Water filter/purifier or chemical treatment*
  • Extra fuel and a large pot to melt snow*  
  • Meals Snacks
  • Extra day's supply of food*  
  • Cocoa and other mixes for hot beverages or soups  
  • Animal-resistant food container(s)

Clothing & Footwear

  • Moisture-wicking long underwear  
  • Long-sleeve shirt  
  • Insulated jacket or fleece jacket  
  • Insulated pants or fleece pants  
  • Rainwear (jacket and pants)  
  • Winter boots  
  • Gaiters  Socks (synthetic or wool)  
  • Gloves or mittens  
  • Warm hat or balaclava
  •  Extra clothes* (beyond the minimum expectation)


  • Map* (in a waterproof sleeve)
  • Compass* (a clinometer feature is a plus)
  • Route dsecription or guidebook
  • Watch GPS  
  • Satellite messenger/personal locator beacon

Emergency & First Aid

  • First-aid kit or first-aid supplies* (see First-Aid Checklist)  
  • Whistle Emergency shelter*
  • Two itineraries: 1 left with friend + 1 under car seat

Health & Hygiene

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste and floss
  • Sanitation trowel or wag bag (preferred)
  • Toilet paper/wipes and sealable bag (to pack it out)
  • Menstrual and urinary products
  • Prescription medications
  • Prescription glasses

Tools & Repair Items

  • Knife or Multi-tool*  
  • Duct tape and repair kits for pad/mattress and stove*
  • Extra cord  
  • Tent-pole repair sleeve

Personal Items

  •  Cellphone

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