Don’t Flake Out: How to Winter Camp Like a Pro (Even if You’re a Newbie)

November 29, 2018
nehikes/#AMCoutdoors on InstagramOne unexpected tip on how to winter camp? A brightly colored tent, like this on Mount Willey, can brighten gray days.

Not confident in how to winter camp? We’ve got you covered with these tips for setting up your tent in the snow and cold—and loving it.

Vibrant. When picking a tent, go with a yellow or orange fabric over green or gray. Research shows cheerier colors are friendlier to your psyche if you’re tent-bound for long periods of time.

Organized. Consider a tent with plenty of interior pockets for storing and sorting all of your gear and clothing.

Flat. Before setting up a tent, pack down the snow with your snowshoes, skis, or boots, smoothing out any bumps. Let the packed snow set, or sinter, for roughly 10 to 15 minutes (longer in colder conditions) to create a solid tent platform.

Stable. Aim for strong guylines, the cords that secure your tent to the ground. The closer to 90 degrees they are from the tent, the sturdier they’ll be.

Roomy. Dig a small pit under your tent’s vestibule to make it easier to enter and exit, to sit comfortably while getting your boots on and off, and to safely cook in bad weather.

Warm. Treat yourself to extra comfort and warmth by packing an extra sleeping pad or two to cover and insulate more of your tent floor.


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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.