23 Tips For Winter Camping in the UK

Winter Camping

No matter the season, you can find a way to enjoy camping. This winter, try going on a winter camping trip – it will be an unforgettable experience that will give you plenty of memories for years to come.

Winter is the season of cosy fires, hot cocoa, and lots of blankets. But what about those who are more adventurous?

Although camping is a magical and peaceful experience during the winter, campers need to be prepared for the cold weather.

In this guide, we will be discussing the top tips for camping in the UK in the winter, including how to keep warm, what winter camping gear you should get and alternatives to camping under canvas.

23 Top Tips For Winter Camping In The UK

1. Check the weather forecast before leaving home, but be aware that you may need to alter your plans once you are on the road. Take note of any potential storms or strong winds which might coincide with pitching your tent.

2. Pick a pitch that is sheltered and protected from the elements. Avoid exposed moorland where you could be affected by sudden changes in conditions.

3. Arrive on your pitch as early as possible, in the morning is best, but not after 3 pm when it will start getting darker and colder.

4. Make sure you have a tent suitable for the weather – when buying a winter tent, look for a ‘4 season tent’ made to keep the elements out even when it’s harsh. Smaller tents are best for winter camping as they will be easier to heat up and keep their warmth for longer.

5. If you are sleeping on the ground, take an insulating mat for warmth underneath your sleeping bag, one that is intended for winter use. Better still, take a double airbed that raises you higher off the ground.

man and woman sleeping in winter sleeping bags

6. Take a winter sleeping bag that is at least a ‘3 or 4 season’ sleeping bag. Also, consider a sleeping bag liner, they are intended to keep your sleeping bag clean, but they are also ideal for adding an extra layer of heat.

electric camping heater for winter

7. Invest in an electric heater to keep your tent warm in the winter. Look for one that will switch off when it reaches a specific temperature, has a stable base to prevent it from being knocked over, and is compact enough to fit in with all your other camping gear.

dog camping in winter

8. Keep your pet warm too! If you are taking your dog camping with you, make sure they will be warm enough too; they might need a winter coat and a warmer bed to sleep in – or they can always jump in with you and help to keep you warm!

woman and man wrapped up warm next to a tent while winter camping

9. Take extra clothing. It’s good to layer up with thermals and thick warm socks, gloves, hats and scarves – they can always be removed if you start to get too hot. Think about a base layer such as thermals, then wear some mid-layers such as a t-shirt and a fleece jumper; finally, wear a waterproof winter jacket when you are outside the tent.

10. Take appropriate footwear such as winter walking boots to keep your feet warm. Remember to store your shoes inside the tent overnight so that they don’t get cold and damp.

11. Take extra blankets – you can lay them on top of your sleeping bag or under it, as well as wrap them around you before you go to bed to stay warm.

hot water bottle for camping in the winter

12. Take some hot water bottles and hand warmers, perfect for snuggling within your sleeping bag.

13. Ensure your tent is well ventilated by opening up the vents when possible. This will reduce condensation and prevent your tent from getting damp.

14. Take some dry bags with you to protect things like phones from getting damp and wet.

15. Don’t let yourself get cold. It’s hard to warm up once you are cold – as soon as you start to feel a slight chill add another layer of clothing or move about to get warm again.

16. Always carry emergency supplies, especially warm, dry clothing and extra food to keep you warm.

camping stove cooking warm meal in the winter

17. Take a camping stove to make hot drinks and warm foods.

18. Eat warm meals when you can, even if it means cooking them first at home and then reheating them on your camping stove.

19. Snack regularly to keep your body warm. Convenient foods such as nuts, seeds and chocolate are handy to have on standby.

20. Stay hydrated with water – wrap any water bottles and containers in a blanket or your clothing to not freeze. Don’t fill bottles up to the top to allow for freezing.

21. Try not to drink too much just before going to bed – we all hate getting up in the night to go to the toilet, and it’s even less fun in the winter!

22. If you think snow may be coming, take a shovel with you to clear away any from the entrance to the tent.

wild camping in the winter

23. If you are going to go wild camping instead of on a campsite, make sure you tell someone where you will be going and try to stay on the grid if you can so that they can keep track of where you are.

Alternatives To Winter Tent Camping

Although winter camping in a tent is a great experience, it’s not for everyone.

But, what if you still want to get out in the great outdoors during this special season?

Consider these alternative options and still get some camping in:

Glamping

camping pod with woman and man wrapped up in winter clothing

Glamping in the winter is the ideal alternative to winter camping in a tent. There’s no need to pack your own camping gear and pitch up a tent – it’s all done for you. Most glamping options include real beds, but best of all, many have wood-burning stoves.

Choose from treehouses, yurts, safari tents, gypsy caravans, shepherd huts and camping pods.

Static Caravan

Staying in a static caravan is more like a home from home experience, and so a holiday in one during the winter season will be cosy and comfortable.

Many holiday parks are open all year, or, for most of the year, so take advantage and go and stay in one during the low season – or better still, take a look at the range of static caravans for sale.

Trailer Tent

Trailer tents are a popular choice if you want to experience tent camping but with a bit of extra comfort. Trailer tents are lightweight and easy to pitch so that you can take them anywhere.

Trailer tents include comfortable raised beds, kitchen and sometimes bathroom facilities.

Touring Caravan

Today’s touring caravans have been made for year-round use with central heating and some with underfloor heating so that you stay warm no matter the weather.

Related: Winter Caravanning

Motorhome

Like tourers, most motorhomes have been winterised, meaning you can enjoy getting out on the road all year round.

Winter Camping in Spain

winter camping in spain

If you don’t fancy the winter camping experience in the UK, you can also consider heading somewhere warmer.

The year-round temperate climate of Spain, especially in the south, makes it an ideal location for winter camping.

Winter camping in Spain, whether in a tent, caravan or motorhome, is accessible for all. 

If you don’t want the drive through France to get there, consider one of the ferry crossings that take you from England to Spain.

Final Thoughts

Winter camping in the UK might initially seem like it’s only for experienced campers, but really, with the right winter camping gear and a little preparation, a fun camping adventure this winter might be just what you need!

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