As we start to transition from fall to winter and as the cold weather intensifies, you might think that engaging in family fun outside activities is not an option. Now this is not true at all! In fact, having a positive winter family camping trip as a can be one of the best experiences for kids.

While it is obviously cold outside you will need to take a few extra steps in order to ensure that everyone is having fun and is staying safe. We have laid out 5 tips to help you get going on your next family camping trip this winter.

1) Getting the Proper Gear:

Now regardless of the season and time of year it is essential to have the proper gear. This is essential to having a safe and enjoyable time while camping. You wouldn’t want to have an extra warm and thermal sleeping during the summer, and you especially don’t want to have the wrong gear in the winter. So the major issue during the winter is to keep extra warm.  So you will need to make sure that everyone is equipped with a sleeping bag that is temperature rated for the conditions you expect.  You will also want to make sure that everyone is sleeping on a sleeping pad or has a mattress.  Having some sort of separation from the ground will help keep you the warmest.

It should also be obvious that having warm winter clothing like hats, gloves, jackets, long underwear, etc. will help keep your warm. You will also need to make sure that chose the proper clothing for the expected conditions.

Having the right tent for your family is also very important.  There are many options out there, but you should keep in mind that going through the process of setting up your tent in the cold is a very different experience than setting one up on a warm summer day.  Consider a tent that will be easy to set up in minutes and that won’t require you to take off your gloves or mittens to do so. This might require you to purchase a different tent specifically for winter. So this is an important factor to think about.

2) Set up a Trial Run:

So this step requires some preparation. You will need to have all your gear and materials purchased ahead of time. So once you have all of your gear ready then you will want to test it out. You can accomplish similar conditions and experiences by camping in the backyard for a night. You will want to do this in similar conditions to what you will be experiencing when camping.  This will help to ensure that everyone knows what to expect. This might also require you to get more or different gear as needed.  Also if anything goes wrong, then everyone will be able to head back into the house and regroup. 

3) Keep an Eye on the Weather:

Now this is very important but it is often overlooked.  You will want to have an idea of what the weather conditions are going to be like before you head out.  Look into what the average overnight lows and daytime highs are. Check the weather frequently to make sure no surprise rains or cold fronts have decided to make an appearance. Check and see if there is any rain or snow in the upcoming forecast.  It might not be the best to take your maiden winter family camping trip if blizzard conditions are in the forecast.

4) Create A Backup Plan:

Now if you went through a backyard trial run then you have hopefully worked out any kinks in your camping plan or gear. However you will want to still keep in mind that if anything can go wrong it will.  This means that you should have a plan drawn up just in case you have to make any changes. Think about if your campsite will be close to your car or if there is a lodge close.

5) Have Fun:

While camping in the winter is very different, it can still be equally enjoyable in it’s own right!  Get the family involved- testing out the gear, going through a trial run, and making plans can all be great family fun.  You should include everyone in the planning stages as it can be an excellent bonding experience. This will also ensure that everyone is on the same page and will know what to expect.