During the chilly months of the year, winter camping is a great way to get outside. When is it too cold to go camping in the winter?
It’s impossible to have a set of conditions that are universally too cold for winter camping. Due to various factors, including experience level, equipment, and cold tolerance, it varies from person to person.
Winter camping may be unappealing to some people when the temperature drops below 0°F (-18°C), while others are fine with -30°F (-34°C). What gear you have available and how comfortable you are will determine your level of comfort.
You might be a bit nervous about camping in very cold conditions if you’re new to winter camping or want to expand your repertoire.
What does “too cold” really mean for camping and what you need to know before you go? We’ll explore that in this article.
Winter Camping In Cold Conditions
It is impossible to have too cold conditions for winter camping.But it is impossible to sleep a wet backpacking tent in winter season.
It may sound absurd to say that people go winter camping in a variety of weather conditions, but the reality is that people do it regardless of the weather.
Think, for example, of people who ski across Antarctica or climb in Alaska in winter. Both of those places can get really, really cold (think -40oF/-40oC cold), but people still go out.
Do you think you should go camping during the winter when it’s -40 degrees Fahrenheit? The answer is no.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to campers and their tolerance for the cold will vary greatly. You can also tolerate a wide range of conditions on your camping trips depending on the type of gear you possess.
Imagine yourself on a winter camping trip in 0oF (-18oC) or below weather with snow on the ground, for example. It is common for people to pack, at the very least, the following clothing:
- Shirts and bottoms with long underwear
- Jacket made from fleece
- Pants made from fleece
- Jacket with puffy sleeves that is midweight
- Pants that puff up
- Puffy jacket made of heavyweight material
- Jacket with extra-thick puffs
- Jacket that protects against rain
- Pants to keep you dry
- Socks with thick material
- Booties that are puffy
- Booties over shoes
Besides all this clothing, you’ll also want a -20oF (-29oC) sleeping bag, two high-quality sleeping pads, and a four-season tent, along with cold-weather cooking gear.
All of those items are simply not available to most people. The result is that many people aren’t prepared to go camping in temperatures below 20oF (-7oC) or 30oF (-1oC).
However, you need to decide what you’re comfortable with, as well as whether the gear you have is suited to the conditions you will encounter.
How Cold is Too Cold to Sleep in a Tent?
It is impossible to sleep in a tent at a temperature that is too cold for everyone. During the winter, mountaineers and winter campers sleep in tents at temperatures around -40oF (-40oC).
Most campers, however, wouldn’t find it that comfortable to sleep in a tent at those temperatures, especially since most do not have the right equipment.
When it comes to winter camping, a person’s perception of “too cold” will vary widely from one to another.
A person who lives in a warm climate might consider sleeping in a tent too cold, but someone who lives in a cold area might find it comfortable.
If you want to sleep in a tent during cold weather, it ultimately depends on whether you are comfortable and skilled in cold environments.
Can You Get Hypothermia While Camping?
It is possible to get hypothermia while camping. Hypothermia is one of the biggest threats to campers, and it requires constant vigilance to avoid.
The term hypothermia refers to a body temperature below 95oF (35oC). Leaving it untreated can result in death.
Camping doesn’t usually cause hypothermia in most people. However, hypothermia can occur both during summer and winter camping, though the risk is greater in the colder months.
The signs and symptoms of hypothermia should be understood by anyone who goes camping, especially in the winter.
To learn more about hypothermia and other potentially dangerous medical conditions before going on an adventure, we highly recommend all campers (especially winter campers) take a wilderness first aid course.
Can You Get Sick From Camping in the Cold?
People don’t fall ill from being in the cold or being exposed to cold weather, despite the old adage.
Whether people are camping or doing some other type of activity in the cold, there are several reasons why they are more likely to get sick.
The colder air may facilitate virus reproduction, which may explain why people get sick more often in the winter.
It is important to remember that campers can also suffer from other ailments when the weather is cold beyond the common cold.
You should pay attention to hypothermia when venturing in cold areas because it can be potentially life-threatening.
Despite the complexity of hypothermia, we cannot discuss it in great depth here, which is why all campers should take a wilderness first aid course to learn more about treating and preventing these medical emergencies.
Too Cold For Winter Camping: Fact or Fiction
In the end, there is no one temperature where winter camping isn’t possible. There will be a range of cold tolerances among campers based on their comfort level, experience in cold weather, and the gear they have available to them.
During a winter camping trip, what might be comfortable for you might not be for someone else. If you’re planning to go camping, make sure to check the forecast beforehand.
You might be better off waiting for better temperatures if you’re concerned that the weather might be too cold for you.