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The Best 10 cold weather camping essentials

10 cold weather camping essentials
(BestReviews)

What to bring camping in winter

Many people shudder at just the thought of sleeping outdoors during the cooler fall and winter months, but if you’re the adventurous type, that’s not about to stop you from planning your next cold weather camping expedition.

From low-temperature rated sleeping bags to weatherproof tents, here’s a look at the essential items you will need to bring with you to keep warm and toasty while braving the chilly outdoor elements.

Best winter jackets for winter camping

One of the most important items that you will purchase for your outdoor adventure is a winter jacket to keep you warm, especially at night. Whether you are on a budget or looking to splurge, the best jackets range from $250-$950. Here are our top picks.

Best of the best

Canada Goose Macmillan Down Parka: available at BackcountryDesigned for some of the most extreme temperatures, Canada Goose down jackets are a reliable clothing investment when it comes to staying warm in cold weather. This ultra-plush, tailored fit jacket is not only extremely warm, but also stylish, water-resistant and comfortable. The only downside to this parka besides the hefty price tag is it has an almost too-large hood.

Best bang for your buck

Backcountry Gore-Tex Down Parka: available at BackcountryThis lighter, versatile and more affordable jacket is available in both men's and women's sizes and provides impressive protection and comfort. The winter parka is warm, windproof and waterproof — the trifecta Gore-Tex is known for. Although it runs a bit on the larger size, it leaves lots of room for extra layering.

Best sleeping bags for winter camping

You will also need a well-insulated sleeping bag that not only provides extra thermal protection when temperatures drop during the winter months, but also offers additional comfort to ensure an enjoyable experience. Check the bag’s temperature rating to be sure it offers the best protection in the climate you will be visiting.

Best of the best

The North Face Dolomite One Bag: available at AmazonThe North Face brand is best known for its quality products designed specifically for exploring the great outdoors. This tri-layer sleeping bag is reliable, durable, easy to pack and offers continued warmth when temperatures drop under 30 degrees. The soft exterior comes in a bright color (hyper blue/radiant yellow) and the eco insulation is also lightweight. The one downfall is the zippers come together at the bottom of the bag leaving a small draft.

Best bang for your buck

Bessport Mummy Sleeping Bag: available at AmazonIdeal for all-season, year-round camping, this comfortable, warm and insulated sack is affordable and comes in a variety of cool colors. Not only does this budget pick retain heat well, but it's also easy to clean. The tight mummy-style fit, however, does not allow for extra movement.

Best heat packs for hands and feet

One of the fastest ways to lose body heat is when your hands and feet are freezing, but with some extra preparation, you can be sure they stay toasty throughout your overnight winter camping adventure.

Best of the best

HotHands Hand Warmers: available at AmazonThe best way to quickly heat up on a cold winter day, these portable warmers can be quickly and easily popped into a pair of gloves, at the bottom of shoes for afternoon hikes and zipped up into sleeping bags for a quick nighttime warm up. Individual air-activated packs offer up to 18 hours of warmth, but do not provide instant heat and need up to 30 minutes to take full effect.

Best bang for your buck

Tundra's Hot Hand Warmers: available at AmazonWith just a few quick shakes, these thin heating pads are ideal for a quick warm-up during cold weather camping. Each disposable, single-use pack takes just 20 minutes to warm up without getting too hot and offers continuous heat in sleeping bags, winter gloves or winter boots. The economical hand warmers provide 11 hours of warmth and come only one warmer per pack.

Best winter boots for winter camping

There is nothing more uncomfortable than cold feet, so be sure to take care in advance to find the best protection for your feet to set your journey off right.

Best of the best

Oboz Bridger 10in Insulated B-Dry Boot: available at BackcountryIt doesn't get much better than these comfy boots when it comes to providing protection, warmth, comfort and durability. This tall boot's height is ideal for trekking through snow, while its rubber sole is designed for added grip and slip-protection. The insulation provides extra warmth when camping in cold months. Be sure to break in these somewhat stiff boots before embarking on your adventure to avoid any discomfort.

Best bang for your buck

Vasque Snowburban II UltraDry Winter Boot: available at BackcountryIf you are looking to save some money, Vasque offers a close second when it comes to providing added warmth, extra comfort and a waterproof design. The moderate-weight, wool-lined boot also offers excellent traction on icy surfaces encountered during cold weather camping. The narrow fit has a difficult lace-up design that needs to be loosened up quite a bit when putting feet inside.

Best tents for winter camping

The best way to provide added security and extra protection from the outdoor freezing temperatures is with a four-season, all-weather tent designed to withstand low temperatures and high winds while offering a roomy interior.

Best of the best

Big Agnes Battle Mountain 2 Tent: available at BackcountryBig Agnes gets it right with this ultimate winter classic tent designed for base camping, offering a roomy interior and full resistance to the cold outdoor elements. Pitching a tent is fast with the easy pole system setup. The lightweight tent with double-wall coverage protection has two doors, pockets inside providing extra storage and a waterproof floor.

Best bang for your buck

Eureka Mountain Pass Tent: available at BackcountryThis impressively lightweight tent is moderately priced, well ventilated, provides wind resistance protection and is designed to withstand some of the harshest winter environments. The tent's lightweight yet solid design features dual doors, internal pockets and removable vents. However, the one-way only zipping system does not provide easy inside/outside access.

Kellie Speed is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

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