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The temperatures are dropping and snow has already arrived in many places. While there are unique challenges associated with camping in the cold, it allows for amazing adventures that shouldn't be missed when properly prepared for.

Download The Winter Camping Checklist Here

Winter camping brings its own benefits (fewer people to compete for camping spots, more space and options to camp, beautiful snow-covered views) and some challenges (keeping warm, driving in snow, proper hydration and nutrition). Proper preparation can mean the difference between an awesome experience and a miserable one. Thus, it is very important to think ahead and create a checklist when you plan your winter camping trip.

This article will cover things you'll need to bring with you to ensure that you have a good winter camping experience. Remember, more gear is required in frigid weather than in the warmer seasons, so don't skimp on your gear and setup.

Below the winter camping checklist, you will find comprehensive winter camping tips on how to make the most of your winter camping trip in cold weather conditions!


It is better to over-prepare than to under-prepare when the weather is potentially deadly. This is particularly true when you have plenty of room inside your vehicle for gear storage, as opposed to if you go on a backpacking trip. So don't skimp when it comes to bringing along clothes to give you extra warmth, or you'll regret it when you put on damp socks on a freezing cold morning.

One of the most important pieces of gear to bring with you is a sleeping bag. We recently released a line of Sleep Systems, including down sleeping bags, down blankets, and self-inflating mattresses all designed to work together to make your stay more comfortable. 

iKamper Down Sleeping Bag

The single sleeping bag is intentionally designed with more down fill on top than the bottom to keep the maximum amount of heat in. Additionally, you can easily convert from a roomy rectangular shape to a mummy bag by the pull of a draw string. 

You need to ensure that it is properly rated for the temperatures you will be camping in so that it will sufficiently keep you warm. If your sleeping bag is not rated for the conditions you'll be camping in, you can also add a sleeping bag liner. Sleeping bag liners can extend your sleeping bag's rating by ten to fifteen degrees; however, if this is not enough to keep you warm, you will need to invest in a new sleeping bag with a proper temperature rating.

Layering is key to staying warm when camping in cold weather. In addition to a heavy coat or jacket, you need to make sure that you have a base layer that will retain body heat, such as long underwear. Try to avoid cotton, as it can't wick moisture and can actually make you colder when it's wet; instead, go for fleece which is much more appropriate for cold weather. Long underwear, an extra pair of socks, a waterproof jacket, and liner gloves are vital pieces of gear when camping in cold weather. Remember that your hiking boots will likely get wet from melting snow, so extra pairs of socks are crucial.

In addition to camping equipment fit for the other seasons (first aid kit, water bottles, toilet paper, fire starters, extra batteries, trekking poles, and duct tape) other items to add to your winter camping gear checklist are snow pants, hand warmers, an ice axe, and personal items such as lip balm. An important thing to keep in mind is a way to urinate in the middle of the night so that you don't have to leave the warmth of your tent. Many campers will pack along an extra water bottle that they can designate for urination; just make sure to distinguish between the bottles before drinking!

In the colder temperatures, you're going to burn more calories than normal so make sure you have brought enough to eat. White gas is ideal for cooking in colder temperatures; it's also a good idea to fill a water bottle with hot water to provide even more warmth inside your cozy tent. Bring along some waterproof matches as a backup, just in case.


To comfortably sleep in a roof top tent in the winter, you must ensure that you've got proper insulation. In addition, you've got to make sure that your roof top tent can withstand the wind and snow, similar to a special 4 season tent. While iKamper does not currently make a specific winter roof top tent, we do make an Insulation Tent that lines the inside of the tent canvas, essentially turning it into a winter roof top tent.

iKamper Roof Top Tent InsulationiKamper Roof Top Tent Insulation

Inside your roof top tent, you can use the Insulation Tent, which is specifically designed for the colder months of the year and the best iKamper accessory for winter camping. The quilted,  double-layer Insulation Tent helps keep out the winter chill and retains heat inside your roof top tent to maintain a cozy environment. It easily attaches to the inside of your tent and setup takes less than five minutes to set up. 

In contrast with ground tents, iKamper roof top tents are made of thick canvas fabric and have waterproof polyester rainflies for added protection against snow and rain. The canvas on iKamper roof top tents are made of 300gsm poly cotton canvas, which is water resistant, breathable, insulating, UV resistant, and built to last. Should anything happen, the canvas and waterproof rainfly are replaceable. This material prevents you from getting too hot on a warm day and too cold when it's chilly out. Although it's heavier than traditional tent fabric, it is quieter thanks to its weight and insulation properties. The poly cotton canvas is water resistant, but one should make sure to dry out the material before closing the hardshell.


While it is advantageous that a roof top tent is situated above the cold ground and has a sturdy floor to assist in insulation, an insulated sleeping pad can help keep you warm in freezing temperatures. iKamper's RTT Comfort line of self-inflating mattresses is designed to fit each tent and adds additional bedding storage to the tent when deflated.

To provide even more shelter from freezing winds and snow, the Annex Plus is a great addition to your winter car camping setup. The Annex Plus is great for taking off dirty clothes and shoes, but it also serves another purpose of creating a wind barrier between your roof top tent door and the frigid outside. You can even use a portable propane heater inside the Annex Plus to stay warm. An added benefit is that the warm air will rise and heat your tent as well!

Camping in the Annex PlusCooking inside of iKamper Annex Plus

The Annex Plus is waterproof and adds significant living space to an iKamper roof top tent. It provides a covered area for protection from rain, snow, pests, and harmful UV rays. The three sides of the Annex Plus can be converted into canopies, allowing for the cool breeze to blow in when the weather is ideal and to help with ventilation against condensation buildup. There are currently four different models of the Annex, as each one is unique to the tents that they mount onto.


The answer to this question really depends on the comfort level of the camper; as long as there is adequate heat generated and retained inside a well-insulated tent, you will likely be fine.

Hardshell roof top tents do have one advantage in winter conditions: when the shell is facing the direction of the wind, it shelters you fro the frigid air and reduces wind noise. However, if the wind is strong enough to rock your vehicle, you will feel the tent sway with it. Keep this in mind when planning on camping in extreme weather and plan accordingly.


While the Insulation Tent will help keep you toasty and warm, the advantage that hardshell roof top tents have against wind makes them the best tent for winter car camping. The 300gsm poly cotton canvas used on all iKamper roof top tents helps reduce wind noise, but the hardshells do a much better job than the canvas alone can; strategically parking your vehicle and setting up your tent so that the hardshell faces the wind will help reduce the noise and the shaking from the wind. However, your vehicle itself can still be vulnerable to rocking as a result of strong winds.

For a list of all iKamper roof top tents, check out our products on this page. If you still have questions regarding using a roof top tent for winter camping, we encourage you to join the iKamper Community on Facebook where iKamper owners share their experiences, tips, and recommendations for camping in all sorts of conditions. We also encourage you to reach out to our customer support team who are happy to answer any questions you may have by email them at

As always, we hope this article has been informative and of use to you. Thank you for being a part of the iKamper community and remember to Love People and Love Nature!