Winter Car Camping Essentials Checklist – Tips and Guides

Camping in the wintertime can be a unique and memorable experience. However, there are some things you should keep in mind to make your trip as enjoyable as possible. In this blog post, we will provide you with some tips for winter car camping. So, whether you’re an experienced camper or a first-timer, read on for some advice that will help you plan your perfect winter getaway.

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Winter Car Camping Essentials Checklist

 A warm, weatherproof Tent

You’ll need a tent that can hold up in winter weather and keep you warm at night. Make sure to buy a tent with a good waterproof rating and wind rating.

Sleeping Bags

Make sure to get sleeping bags rated for cold weather camping. You might even want to consider getting a bag liner to add extra warmth.

Warm Clothing

Pack plenty of warm clothing, including socks, hats, gloves, and layers that you can peel off or put on as needed.

Camping Stove

A camping stove will come in handy for cooking hot meals and drinks. Choose one that’s designed for use in cold weather.


You’ll need plenty of firewood to keep a campfire going all night long. Make sure to bring enough to last the entire trip.


Bring along several flashlights or lanterns in case one goes out. It’s also a good idea to pack extra batteries.

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is always a good idea, especially when camping in remote areas. Be sure to pack any medications you might need, as well as bandages and antiseptic cream.


Don’t forget to bring maps of the area so you can find your way around. It’s also a good idea to bring a compass.

Food and Water

Bring enough food and water for everyone in your group, as well as some extra in case you get stranded. Non-perishable food items are best.

Emergency Contact Info

Be sure to leave a copy of your emergency contact information with someone at home, as well as with your group. That way, if something happens, people will know who to call.

Cell Phone

A cell phone can be a lifesaver in an emergency, but make sure to pack a charger too.

Axe or Saw

An axe or saw can be useful for chopping wood or clearing trails.


Pack a pair of binoculars so you can get a better view of your surroundings.


Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture all your winter camping memories!

Hiking Boots

A good pair of hiking boots is essential for any camping trip. Make sure they’re comfortable and broken in before you head out.

Snowshoes or Skis

If you’re planning on doing any hiking in the snow, you’ll need snowshoes or skis.


Don’t forget to pack all your necessary toiletries, including toilet paper, soap, and a toothbrush.

Trash bags

Trash bags are always useful when camping, especially for packing out your trash when you leave.


A multi-tool can be handy for all sorts of tasks, from opening cans to fixing gear.


A GPS can be helpful in finding your way back to camp if you get lost. It’s also a good idea to leave your GPS coordinates with someone at home.

Emergency shelter

An emergency shelter can provide protection from the elements in an emergency situation.

Pots and pans

You’ll need cookware for preparing meals on your stove. Pack light-weight items that nest together for easy storage.

Dishes and utensils

Don’t forget to pack plates, bowls, cups, and silverware for everyone in your group. Disposable items are best to avoid having to wash dishes while camping.


Be sure to bring enough food for everyone in your group, as well as some extra in case you get stranded. Non-perishable food items are best.


Bring plenty of water for drinking and cooking. It’s also a good idea to pack a water filter or purifier in case you run out of clean water.

Camp chairs

Camp chairs are nice to have for sitting around the campfire or relaxing at your campsite. They fold up for easy storage and transport.

Camp table

A camp table can be useful for preparing meals or playing games. It folds up for easy storage and transport.


A lantern is helpful for providing light at night. Make sure to pack extra batteries or fuel.

 Fire starter

A fire starter can be helpful for starting a campfire, especially in wet conditions. Matches are also a good idea to pack.

How to Camp in Your Car in Winter ? Step by Step Guide

For some people, camping in their car in winter might sound like a bit of a crazy idea. However, if you are prepared and take the necessary precautions, it can actually be a very fun and rewarding experience. Here is a step by step guide on how to camp in your car in winter:

1. Choose the right vehicle:

Not all vehicles are created equal when it comes to camping in winter. If you’re planning on spending any significant amount of time camping in cold weather, it’s important to choose a vehicle that will be up for the challenge. Some of the most popular options include SUVs, vans, and trucks.

2. Insulate your vehicle:

Once you’ve chosen the right vehicle, it’s time to start insulating it. This will help keep you warm and comfortable while you’re sleeping in your car. Some of the best ways to insulate your vehicle include adding insulation to the windows, doors, and floor.

3. Bring the right gear:

When you’re camping in your car in winter, you need to be prepared for the cold weather. This means bringing along plenty of blankets, pillows, and warm clothing. It’s also a good idea to bring along some portable heaters and a camp stove so you can make hot meals and drinks.

4. Find the right spot:

When you’re choosing a campsite, it’s important to find a spot that’s out of the wind and sun. If possible, try to find a spot that’s sheltered by trees or mountains.

5. Set up your camp:

Once you’ve found the perfect spot, it’s time to set up camp. If you’re using a tent, make sure to stake it down so it doesn’t blow away in the wind. If you’re not using a tent, you can use tarps or blankets to create a makeshift shelter.

6. Stay warm and comfortable:

The key to a successful winter car camping trip is staying warm and comfortable. So make sure to bring plenty of blankets and pillows, and dress in layers of warm clothing. And don’t forget to bring along some portable heaters and a camp stove so you can make hot meals and drinks. With a little preparation, winter car camping can be a fun and rewarding experience. Just follow these simple tips and you’ll be sure to have a great time.

7. Be prepared for emergencies

It is always important to be prepared for emergencies when camping, but this is especially true when camping in winter. Make sure you have a first aid kit, a flashlight, and a cell phone with you at all times. In addition, it is a good idea to let someone know where you are going and when you plan on returning

8. Enjoy your winter camping adventure

Once you have followed all of these steps, you are ready to enjoy your winter camping adventure. Just remember to be prepared and take all of the necessary precautions and you will be sure to have a great time.

Sleeping in your car in winter can be a great way to save money on lodging and camping fees. However, it’s important to take some precautions to make sure you stay warm and comfortable. By following these simple tips, you’ll be sure to have a successful and enjoyable winter car camping trip.

FAQs about Winter Car Camping

Is it Colder to Sleep in a Car or a Tent?

There is no definitive answer to this question since there are a number of factors that can affect how cold it feels to sleep in a car or a tent. However, in general, it is usually colder to sleep in a car than in a tent. This is because cars tend to be less well-insulated than tents, and they also tend to have draftier windows and doors.

Additionally, the ground beneath a car will often be colder than the ground beneath a tent, which can make sleeping in a car even more uncomfortable. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule – if you have a particularly warm car or a particularly cold tent, then the opposite could be true. Ultimately, it really depends on the individual circumstances.

How Cold is Too Cold to Sleep in My Car?

The answer to this question also depends on a number of factors, but in general, it is generally not safe to sleep in a car when the outside temperature is below freezing. This is because cars tend to be less well-insulated than homes, and they can quickly become very cold inside when the temperature outside drops.

Can you survive in a tent in the winter?

Yes, you can survive in a tent in the winter, but it will be much more difficult than if you were camping in the summer. In the winter, you will need to make sure that your tent is well-insulated and that you have a good sleeping bag that is rated for cold weather. Additionally, you will need to be prepared to deal with things like frostbite and hypothermia. It is also important to have a plan for staying warm if your tent gets too cold – for example, you might want to bring along a small heater or some extra blankets. Ultimately, survival is possible but it requires careful planning and preparation.

Final thoughts

Winter camping can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s important to take the necessary precautions to make sure your trip is safe and enjoyable. By following these tips for winter car camping, you’ll be well on your way to having a great time in the great outdoors!

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