Winter in Michigan can be boring. When cabin fever gets to be too much, there’s no better feeling than finally being outdoors, breathing in some fresh air, and sitting around a campfire, surrounded by fluffy drifts of snow. While winter camping is awesome, it can quickly turn awful if you don’t pack the right gear. No one wants to sit outside and freeze the whole trip, so it’s important to pack items you know are working to keep you warm, 24/7. If you need some new gear, or aren’t sure what to bring this year, here are our top picks for all of your essential winter camping basics!

Baselayer

This Engaging top from Lolë is not only fashionable, it’s extremely functional. Constructed of a polyester and elastane blend, the top wicks away moisture quickly, getting rid of water without sacrificing heat. Its longer length ensures it fits properly, and won’t ride up.

Smartwool is one of the top names in baselayer clothing, and this NTS 250 crew is no exception. Made of 100% Merino wool, this top insulates and wicks away moisture at the same time. Flatlock seams eliminate chafing, ensuring the most comfort out of a wool base layer to date.

Coat

An intense soft-shell built for snowy mornings at high elevations, The North Face’s Apex Elevation jacket takes the original Apex Bionic to the next level. Created with comfort and warmth in mind, this shell offers all the mobility of a soft-shell, with the wind resistance of a hard-shell. If it’s really chilly, pair this shell with your favorite insulation layer for optimal warmth.

This men’s jacket comes just as close as you can get to rugged performance perfection. Featuring a DWR finish, it keeps the rain out, and with polyester ripstop construction you don’t have to worry about brushing past spiky tree branches and needles. A lofty ThermoGreen® insulation keeps you warm even on the chilliest nights.

Pants

If it’s mobility you’re looking for, it’s mobility you’ll get with these women’s Patagonia Simul Alpine Pants. Made with a lightweight, breathable polyester that resists all kinds of weather, from rain to snow to ice, you’ll comfortably make it to your campsite, and through all of your hikes this winter too! Super stretch fabric around the yoke and gusset ensures you can move, and compatible features like shock cords and tie down loops help keep your pants inside your winter boots. No frozen ankles on this trip!

The North Face’s classic Freedom insulated pant is an option you just can’t pass up. Waterproof, breathable, and yup, insulated, you’ll be toasty warm as you move around camp this winter. Durable kick patches ensure your pants will stand up to whatever you throw at them, from setting up camp to chopping up firewood.

Hats

Available in no less than 5 different colors, The North Face’s Minna Cable beanie is a great option for any type of outdoor exploring you plan on doing this winter. 8% wool, this hat will keep you toasty warm, even if you run into a big snowstorm. Another bonus? Its cute cable knit means you can wear it anywhere, from your big winter camping trip to the grocery store.

There’s no better option for men than this Yukon Cap from Outdoor Research. A classic outdoorsman style, this hat is intensely functional. Featuring a wool exterior and a fleece lining, you can’t beat this hat for insulation. What’s more, fleece-lined ear flaps fold down for when the temperature plummets during the night.

Gloves

When you’re camping in the winter, you need functional fingers. From zippers to tying guy-lines, if your fingers are freezing, it’s going to be a rough trip. Check out these sleek Powerstretch gloves from the North Face for an option that keeps you warm, but still allows you to get things done around camp. Perfect for hiking as well, these gloves feature a quick-dry technology that ensures moisture is wicked away from your skin, keeping your hands warm, despite their thinner construction.

These Arc’Teryx Venta gloves were designed with dexterity in mind. Providing superior warmth, without the bulk, these gloves are perfect for hanging around the campfire, setting up your tent, and chilly winter hikes.

Socks

Though it seems trivial, any experienced winter camper knows that you can’t have a good trip without a good pair of socks. You can’t go wrong with a pair from Smartwool, and their PhD Outdoor Heavy Crew is perfectly suited to any winter camping trip. Made from Merino wool, using a heavy knit, these socks are guaranteed to wick away moisture, while trapping heat. Don’t worry about them being too thick for your boots either, Smartwool’s fit system ensures perfect comfort with any trail shoe or boot.

The perfect winter camping sock for men, Smartwool’s Mountaineering Extra HVC provides the padding you’ll need for long treks in snowy weather. An arch brace holds the sock in place to avoid any blisters, and all the extra Smartwool fabric ensures your feet stay nice and warm, whether you’re hiking or just hanging around camp.

Boots

Durable weather and waterproof nubuck leather in this Revel III boot by Keen means your feet will stay warm and dry no matter the conditions. A boot built to last, it features an all-weather rubber bottom, combined with Keen’s patented Thermal Heat Shield Footbed that ensures none of the cold from the ground seeps into your shoe. Keeping the heat in, and the cold out, the Revel III is a boot suited for all winter camping conditions.

Built for just about anything you throw at them, theMen’s Durand Polar WP boot is insulated, and waterproof. Intensely durable leather and fabric uppers keep your feet safe and dry, while ice grip rubber soles keep your from slipping around at the campsite. The 400 gram KEEN.Warm™ insulation ensures that no matter the weather, your feet will stay nice and warm.

Backpack

Whether you’re planning a day hike while you’re out camping, or you just need to haul food and water to the campsite, theRecon Daypack from The North Face is a great option. Fleece-lined pockets ensure that any of your necessary electronics stay safe, and expandable compartments mean you’ll be able to take everything you need. A bonus feature of the Recon is that there is a Woman-specific option available, a feature that will really save your back on those longer hikes.

This lightweight travel tote pack is the ultimate option for winter camping. Created to be carried either by hand, or over your shoulder like a traditional pack, the tote is perfect for hauling food, water bottles, and any other necessities. Once you get to camp, you can pack the tote away by stuffing it into its own pocket, or you can use it as a seat cushion! Its lightweight foam back padding doubles as the perfect camp cushion, whether your seat of choice is a log, a rock, or a camp chair.


We hope our winter camping gear suggestions help you stay warm out on the trails this winter! If you have any more questions, or you’re not sure what all you need on your next winter camping trip, check out the Earth’s Edge Winter Camping Checklist! It provides a handy guide of all of the things you won’t want to forget on your next winter adventure. And for more, top-of-the-line winter gear, make sure to check out the Earth’s Edge website.

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