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Winter Camping: What to Wear and How to Wear It

Winter Camping: What to Wear and How to Wear It

The majesty of the outdoors has you. And that means you're ready for a camping adventure 100% of the time. Whether it's a sunny summer day or a chilly fall weekend, you're packing your backpack and heading to your favorite wooded area. But what about the winter?

It's frigid outside, the snow is blanketing the ground and there's more than a breeze howling. Even though it's mid-winter, you're not going to let a little chilly weather ruin your camping plans. As long as you know what you're doing (in other words, don't try mid-winter cold-weather camping if you're a novice outdoorsperson), have the right gear and know how to stay warm through shelter and clothing choice, winter camping can be a rewarding experience.

Your clothing choice is a major factor when it comes to camping comfort. Before you hit the hills, woods or your other camping spot, take a look at some of the easiest stay-warm (via clothing) strategies to follow.

Always Layer

Think of yourself as an onion. When you have your full ensemble on, you're complete (and maybe even slightly round, depending on how many layers you have). But as you move and heat up, you can start peeling those layers off.

Obviously you'll start with a base layer. As the name very literally implies, it's a base. Thermal underwear (pants and long-sleeved top) are popular picks. Make sure that the underwear is made from a sweatwicking fabric that won't trap moisture against your skin. Even if you're feeling fabulously warm in the moment, a sweaty shirt or pants will add a major chill later on.

Choose comfortable clothing to wear over your base layer. The specifics of your next few layers depend on your preferences. Some campers like a heavy jean pant, while others prefer something that's less stiff or is softer.

Your shirt choice doesn't have to end at a flannel over your thermals. You can also add a sweater, vest or fleece jacket to keep warm and provide extra insulation.

Add a Jacket

You might have 10 layers on. But that shouldn't stop you from adding an outer jacket layer. This will protect everything that's under it. Not only will it keep you warm, but it will also help to waterproof you from the snow, hail or whatever else is falling from the winter sky.

What kind of jacket should you wear? The answer to this question depends on what feels most comfortable on you.

There's no reason to wear a puffy, bulky monstrosity just to keep warm while camping. If you've layered properly, the outermost part of your camping outfit doesn't need to fully insulate you. Again, this layer should protect you from the elements. Something such as a waxed jacket won't make you feel like a puffy marshmallow, but will keep the dampness out.

Layer Footwear Too

Don't forget about your feet. They're in the snow, touching the ground and subject to the cold temperature extremes.

The start with a base layer theory of dressing for winter camping applies to your feet too. Use a thin, sweat-wicking, breathable layer. This will help to keep your feet cozy and dry. It also provides a barrier between your skin and your sock. This is especially important if the wool (or other material) that your sock is made from itches or irritates your feet.

Add a cushioned, thick or thermal sock next. This will keep your feet comfortable when you're out hiking during your camping trip. If needed, you can add another sock layer on top of the first one.

Like your coat, your boots will protect you from the elements. It should add insulation while keeping your feet dry. Make sure that the boots you choose are waterproof. If not, use a waterproofing product to seal them.

Do you need an outerwear for your winter camping adventure? Over Under has a full line for men and women.