Helpful tips so you'll enjoy your winter camping experience.

A nice bright winter day at Apple Creek Campground.

If you have the right equipment and warm clothes, Winter is a great time for camping. There's plenty to do--cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, animal tracking, bird watching, and ice fishing.  The campground is in it's off-season, which means limited amenities, so you want to plan ahead.  It's always a good idea to check with the campgrounds to find out what amenities (if any) are available or if they're even open for camping.
Also, whether you RV or tent camp, there's a few things you should think about before you set out.

Early morning frost on the window.

Yes, most people travel by RV in order to escape cold climates, but winter camping in an RV can be quite the treat.  Not, only does it yield some of the most elusively beautiful snow-covered environments most us never get to see, it also embraces that pioneering spirit that satisfies. 
Readying the Rig
The family RV many not be as ready for your snowy escape as you are.   We wouldn't recommend attempting low-temperature camping in rigs void o fquality insulation, functional furnaces, or sizable tanks. 

A winter sunrise looking over Apple Creek.


While there’s not much you can do much about the inherent insulation (or lack thereof) your manufacturer opted for, there are further ways to keep the warm in and the cold out.  Weather-stripping the doors and windows is a good idea.  It makes sense to seal the windows in plastic or use one of the popular protective films to help trap the heat. Cover or block the insides of roof vents with plastic as well. Be sure to drop a few floor rugs over uncarpeted flooring as yet another thermal layer.  


Obviously, it’s a good idea to bring lots of layers: boots and hats, blankets, skis, snowshoes, snow shovel (for a possible dig out), De-Icer (in case of frozen locks) and a little road salt or kitty litter, in case you start spinning your wheels.


A slow steady snowfall is part of the season’s charm, so long as it doesn’t block any exhaust pipes or vents. Failure to prevent this blockage could result in a dangerous situation onboard.  Also, ventilation is needed to make sure you have enough oxygen and to prevent too much moisture inside your RV. Blocked vents won’t let the bad air out, and you need fresh air to breathe.

A deer in the distance on Apple Creek.


 Other helpful advice....

Arctic conditions exist when the wind is blowing and the temperature drops below 20 degrees F. There are only seven states in the U.S. that do not experience arctic weather. Wisconsin is not one of them. It is very important to prepare, and even over prepare. I've never heard anyone complain about being too warm or having too many dry clothes on a winter camp-out.


Your number one priority is to conserve body heat.  There are a couple of ways to lose body heat; from the skin areas exposed to the elements or from sitting or laying on cold ground. A good set of gloves, hat, and scarf can help best in keeping bare skin to a minimum.  A camp stool or chair is a must on a winter camping trip.  Wet clothing will accelerate this process, making staying dry even more important.




DO NOT sleep with your mouth and nose in your sleeping bag or under blankets. The moisture of your breath will condense in the bag, and cause it to become wet and ineffective as an insulator.


Never, if it is at all possible, should you sleep in the same clothes that you have worn all day. They are damp and will cause you to chill. This could cause frostbite and hypothermia. It is advised that you bring a thick pair of sweats or thermal underwear to sleep in. Keep the thermals and sweats for sleeping in only. Do not wear them during the day, this will keep them the driest. Also be sure to have a couple of layers of wool or heavy thick cotton socks on as well. It’s also a good idea to sleep with a stocking hat on your head.


A good high-calorie snack before bedtime will also keep you warm all night. But stay away from an overabundance of sugar, cheese is a good high-calorie bedtime snack.


Another thing to keep in mind is water consumption.  Dehydration can seriously impair the body's ability to produce heat. Drink fluids as often as possible during the day and keep a water bottle or canteen with you at night.



Keeping warm is the most important part of cold weather camping. Use the C-O-L-D method to assure staying warm.

 -C - Clean
Since insulation is only effective when heat is trapped by dead air spaces, keep your insulating layers clean and fluffy. Dirt, grime, and perspiration can mat down those air spaces and reduce the warmth of a garment.

- O -Overheating .
A steady flow of warm blood is essential to keep all parts of your body heated. Wear several loosely fitting layers of clothing and footgear that will allow maximum insulation without impeding your circulation.

- L - Loose Layers.   Avoid overheating by adjusting the layers of your clothing to meet the outside temperature and the exertions of your activities. Excessive sweating can dampen your garments and cause chilling later on.

- D - Dry
Damp clothing and skin can cause your body to cool quickly, possibly leading to frostbite and hypothermia. Keep dry by avoiding cotton clothes that absorb moisture. Always brush away snow that is on your clothes before you enter a heated area. Keep the clothing around your neck loosened so that body heat and moisture can escape instead of soaking several layers of clothing.



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