Your family camping trips don't have to cease when the warm weather disappears, but they do get a bit more complicated. When you're camping in the cold, you have to pay special attention to insulation and fuel while still keeping the adventure filled with fun.
Don't let the complications scare you away, though. Cold-weather camping is a fun activity to get you outdoors in the winter months, and once you're prepared, it's as easy as sipping your hot cocoa and dodging some snowballs.
Do a Trial Run
If it's your family's first attempt at winter camping, you may benefit from a trial run in the backyard. You can even try it in shifts—start with dinner outside one night, stay out before and after the next time, and then spend a whole night in the backyard before the real camping trip. This will help the kids know what to expect, and if you have to bail, your warm house isn't too far away.
Insulate With the Right Gear
When it comes to clothing, opt for synthetic layers (not cotton) that wick away moisture from the body. Dress in layers that can be removed easily if the kids work up a sweat, and wear waterproof boots. Change clothes as soon as they get sweaty or wet.
Use the acronym C.O.L.D.—keep it Clean, avoid Overheating, dress in loose Layers, and try to stay Dry.
At nighttime, don't use an air mattress since the air inside will just get cold and make you even more chilly. Instead, use a closed-cell foam pad or two pads on top of each other. The foam pad should go on the ground with the air pad on top for the best insulation. Bring plenty of blankets or a sleeping bag liner, and consider a double-sleeping bag so you can share body heat.