Winter Camping - Why Do It?

Our camper in Marfa, Texas in December of 2020.

If you live in or travel to the deep south, winter camping is a real thing.  People do it and love it.  I highly recommend it.  I probably say "it is my favorite season" about every season.  I love camping!  Period.  So, clearly, I love camping every season.  But winter is especially nice.  Why should you consider winter camping?

Winter camping can be cozy days and nights on the road.  We love it!

Winter Camping - Why Do It?

If you have never gone camping during the winter there are several things to consider.  
  1. Do you have the right equipment for the weather you will encounter?  Weather is unpredictable.  Never forget it or overlook it.
  2. Check your propane to ensure you have enough fuel for heat.  Again, refer to point one.
  3. What kinds of activities do you want to experience and do?
After that, you may think I'm discouraging you from winter camping.  I'm not at all.  But even after you answer these questions, why would anyone want to camp in the winter?  Isn't camping a warm-weather activity?

We like nights around the campfire during the winter.  Martin Luther King weekend is always our first camping trip of the year.

Campground Availability

Our first camping trip of every year is Martin Luther King weekend.  There is a state park near our home.  It is 30 minutes away to be exact.  We typically have the entire campground to ourselves during this weekend.  It is a quiet and peaceful retreat after the holiday hustle.  

For coveted campgrounds, you may be competing with snowbirds.  But, overall, there are more campground choices in the winter months.  Plan ahead and visit some different and new places.  We have a big trip planned to New Orleans and Texas this year right after Christmas.  We may get cold weather, but it will be moderate in comparison to places far north.  And, it will be a great time to explore and do new things.

Winter camping has forced us to look for different places that appeal to what we like to do, but we have found lots of campground availability.  And it has really stretched us to do new things.  That was the whole appeal of camping in the first place.  If you are open to new and different things, you won't be locked into availability scurry of the typical warm weather months.  

Cooking is always better when it is not so hot!

Outdoor Activities Are More Fun in the Winter 

In the deep south, we love the heat.  Or, at least I do.  Most southerners are well versed in heat and don't love the cold.  However, we also sweat enough in the summer to last us a lifetime.  I welcome the cold to avoid sweating as I go from the front door to the car.

I enjoy hiking in the cold.  Sitting around the campfire is fun in the cold.  Even cooking outdoors is much better when I'm not sweating while I'm doing it.  The cold isn't all bad, and I don't mind camping in the cold.

Plus, if you plan well in advance, you can take advantage of beach camping in the winter.  Places like south Florida offer beautiful beaches and outdoor activities year-round.  You can also check out other locations with warm weather in the winter and get away from the cold!  Who wouldn't love that?

Also, just pack for where you are going and the weather.  I have lap blankets for around the fire.  We have these lightweight packable jackets from LL Bean that work great for most winter weather we would encounter.  I pack warm socks and layers.  

Take the time to Geocache when you are dying from the heat.  Or, you could do just a basic scavenger hunt.  Get creative and look for things to do that are a deterrent when it is so hot, mosquitos and ticks are out as well as snakes.  The last is my least favorite thing about hot weather!

Even our dogs like camping in the winter!

New and Different Experiences

Take advantage of winter, holiday, and Christmas celebrations while camping at a different time of year.  We are heading to Texas after Christmas this year.  There are Christmas lights and activities that will still be going on from the holidays.  Its a completely different vibe from our typical hiking, water activities, and biking.  We are planning horseback riding, viewing bats at a State Park and some much needed family down time.

Camping year round gives us the chance explore more with our RV.  We go to secluded state parks but we also stay at RV resorts.  Some trips are short and others are long.  Year round camping encourages us to seek our opportunities based on the time or year and embrace the variety seasonal changes bring. 

We have experienced snow days where the roads are closed, rainy days and nights and lots of beautiful sunshine.  No matter what the season, we love camping and everything that comes with a new landscape on the horizon.   Winter camping has opened a lot of doors that I didn't know were there.  

Plus, we loved Big Bend in the winter.  I don't really want to there in the summer due to the heat.  There are lots of really hot places in the Southwest that are perfect for winter travel!  My great aunt once described Big Bend as being drug to the pit of hell in July one summer on an RV trip.  I'll take her advice there and leave that to someone other than me.  We are already planning a second trip to Big Bend next winter.

Get that fire ready to kick back, relax and enjoy the calm and beauty of winter!

Winter Camping Equipment and Considerations

If you are going to hit the road during the winter for camping, make sure you have what you need.  Going to a spot where it is warm during the winter won't require any changes typically.  Last year, when we traveled to Big Bend, temperatures were in the 80's the first couple of days.  It ended up snowing a couple of days later, and we experienced temperatures into the single digits in Marfa only a couple of hours from there. 

It is always recommended to be prepared when you travel during this season just in case.  Weather can be unpredictable.  We never anticipated snow or the need to build in an extra day or two due to the weather.  It worked out fine, but make sure you have the right gear.    I recommend having:
These are just a few of the basics.  You can check out my post on Winter Camping Tips to learn more.  I also have an Amazon Store Front with seasonal gear suggestions.  Get the right gear.  Having what you need, when you need it will make camping a better experience period.  

No matter the season, we are happy to be together!

And, just remember that it isn't about having lots of gear.  Its about having the right gear.  I try to be much more practical in my purchases.  I look for versatile and small in many cases.  I also look for items that can do double duty.  And, I try to shy away from fluff purchases I don't need.  It will only weigh you down.

So get out there an try some fun winter camping.  It may be a new favorite you didn't know you needed in your life!

Until next time... happy camping.