How To Car Camp In The Winter: A Complete Guide

Car camping in the winter? Super cool for anyone wanting a bit of an adventure. When you car camp in the cold, you get the chance to try stuff like skiing, snowshoeing, or even snowmobiling. If you want your winter car camping trip to rock, you gotta prep your car right and pick the best gear for the weather. Also, think about what you’re gonna eat so everyone’s got enough grub for the whole trip. If you get the hang of what’s up in cold weather, car camping in winter is a piece of cake.

Do Your Homework


If you’re thinking of camping in the cold, you’ve gotta plan ahead and get the deets. Start by getting the lowdown on the place you’re heading to—like how cold it gets, if there’s gonna be rain or snow, and stuff like that. That way, you’ll know what to pack. And hey, check out where you can set up camp for the night. While loads of campgrounds are open all the time, some might shut down if the weather gets gnarly. So, scope them out in advance.

When you’re picking out clothes, go for stuff that’ll keep you toasty, especially things made from wool or those fake fabrics. Layer up! It helps when the weather’s all over the place. If you get hot, just shed a layer or two. And remember, a lot of your body heat escapes from your noggin, so keep hats or hoods close. Got gadgets like phones? Keep them in pockets or snuggled up in sleeping bags so they don’t freeze up.

And hey, safety first, always! If you’re smart and have all the things you need, you’ll have a blast. Do a bit of prep, and you’ll be chillin’ (literally!) and soaking up all the winter vibes.

Sort Out Your Car

Before you hit the road, check out your car’s tires. That’s key to keep everyone and everything safe. You also gotta check the oil—follow what the car makers say. And oh, top up the washer fluid before you head out so you can see clearly when it gets all snowy or slushy.

Check Those Tires

Your car’s tire pressure? Big deal, especially when it’s nippy out. Before you head off on a winter camping trip, make sure those tires are in tip-top shape. Keep a decent tire gauge handy and give your tires a once-over every month or when the mercury drops. And peek at the tire grooves too. If things look a bit off or if there’s not enough air, swap out those tires before you take off on your trip.

Oil Change Time


Hey, remember to give your car some TLC and change its oil regularly. If you’re going to car camp in winter, bring along stuff like oil filters and a pan. Maybe throw in some extra bits like engine coolants and hoses because they can act up in the cold.

When you’re on oil duty, go for the kind made for super cold weather. This keeps your engine from getting all gunky. After you’re done, check for any drips and make sure everything’s snug and tight before you roll out.

Check Washer Fluid

Looking at your washer fluid is a must if you want clear views when the weather’s all over the place. Always peek at how much fluid’s in there and top up if needed. And hey, don’t forget to eyeball those wipers for any worn-out bits – you don’t want them to freeze up when it’s freezing out. If you’re heading for some winter car camping, it might be cool to bring along some antifreeze for the wiper container just in case.

Some cars have this thing that tells you when you’re low on washer fluid, but sometimes it gets all wonky in the cold. If you’re pouring in some antifreeze stuff, be super sure it doesn’t have alcohol or glycol ’cause that’ll mess up your car’s paint if it splashes. Thinking about a de-icer like RainX might also be a game-changer. And hey, since water turns into ice at 32F (that’s 0C), keep your extra fluid cozy so it doesn’t turn solid on you.

Choose the Right Gear

Picking out the right gear for chilly times is a game changer. You wanna keep safe and comfy, right? So, be aware of nasties like getting super cold, frostbite, or that weird snow blindness. Also, pack stuff that’ll keep you toasty and ready for bad weather. This means layers of clothes, waterproof stuff like boots and jackets, blankets or sleeping bags, flashlights or those headlamp things, maybe a camping stove or some logs, first-aid stuff, munchies, an emergency whistle, sunblock and shades for sunny vibes, a phone (if there’s a signal), and an iPad loaded with map apps.

If you’re car camping in the snow season, you’ll need extra bits like a shovel to push away snow, tire chains for slippery roads, and a scraper or brush for those icy windows. Oh, and stash an extra outfit in case you get all wet – keeps you dry and warm on those icy nights. Lastly, always bring enough water and fuel; you might not find any if you’re way out in the boonies. Packing all this stuff means you’ll have a blast and stay safe.

Know the Weather Conditions


Before you head out, make sure you’re clued up on the weather. Winter car camping means you’ve gotta know what the skies are planning, especially those sneaky temperature drops and rain or snow showers. Dress for the part, especially your shoes, and layer up to keep your temp just right. And always check those batteries before hitting the road – the cold loves to eat them up.

Be smart about what stuff you need for cold car camping. Always have an ice scraper handy, maybe some blankets, hand warmers, and stuff depending on how cold it’s gonna get. A shovel’s a lifesaver if you get dumped with snow. And think about an emergency tent or something just in case the weather turns all drama-queen on you.

The golden rule for winter car camping? Always be ready for whatever the weather’s got up its sleeve. Plan for the worst, like crazy cold or massive snowstorms that might leave you stuck for days. So, double-check everything before you roll out.

Plan Your Meals

Food’s a big deal when you’re car camping in winter, so think ahead. Start with snacks that are packed with energy and can handle the cold. Things like nut butter and dried fruits are a win. Spice things up with garlic powder, onion powder, or even some cayenne if you’re feeling spicy – no fridge needed.

For main meals, think simple. Soups and stews with canned goodies and frozen meat are quick and easy. If you’re dreaming of a warm brekkie but there’s no oven, oatmeal or grits on a fire do the trick. Remember, space’s at a premium in winter car camping. To be a space-saving genius, freeze your food before you leave – it’ll stop other stuff from going bad and can act like ice packs at camp.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I wear when car camping in the winter?


Okay, so if you’re planning to go car camping in the winter, you’ll wanna bundle up and layer your clothes. Get stuff made of synthetic materials or wool since they’re pretty good at keeping you toasty. Instead of wearing one big thick sweater or something, think about wearing several thinner layers. It helps keep your body temp just right. Oh, and if you’re gonna hang out at night, pack some extra batteries for your flashlights and lanterns. You don’t wanna be left in the dark!

What’s the best kind of shelter for car camping in the winter?

Alright, when you’re car camping in the cold, you need a solid tent. Get one that’s waterproof and windproof on the outside and has some cozy material like fleece or down on the inside. Plus, tents with some vents are a good call to stop condensation, and insulated floors are a must to keep out the cold. Spend a bit more on a tent made for winter, and you’ll thank yourself when it’s freezing out.

How do I stay warm car camping in the winter?

Keeping warm while car camping in winter? It’s all about being prepared. Get a sleeping bag that’s meant for colder temps than you expect, and put an insulated mat under it. That’ll stop you from losing heat when you’re sleeping. And don’t forget to wear layers of wool or synthetic clothes to stay snug as a bug.

What should I watch out for when car camping in the winter?

Safety first! Before you even leave, make sure all your gear and clothes are ready for the cold. Keep your food cold and safe, and toss out any trash properly. Always keep an eye on the weather and be ready if things get hairy.

How do I keep my car safe from the winter weather?

Protecting your car in winter? Easy. Heated blankets and thermal insulation are your best buddies. These blankets run on batteries and can cover important bits of your car like oil pans. The insulation helps keep your car’s inside temp steady. And don’t forget to put something under your tires to stop them from freezing.


Winter car camping? Super cool (literally and figuratively!). Just make sure you’re ready. Do some homework on where you’re going, get your car winter-ready, pick the right clothes and gear, and have a plan for meals. And always keep an eye on the weather. If you get all this right, you’re gonna have a blast and stay safe!


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