Joseph Naberhaus

Winter Camping

Written in February 2022
A picture of our tent

A friend and I wanted to experience cold-weather camping. We started with a trial run in late fall and then packed up in earnest during February. Our destination was Tettegouche State Park in North-Eastern Minnesota. The weekend was cold, with temperatures from -15°F to 15°F. With a couple of propane heaters and a small wood stove (which we mostly just used for making coffee), we were able to stay warm. Though, we ended up shivering through part of the first night.

A picture of the rest of the tent site

We put a lot of work into the setup. We had to dig out about a foot of snow in an eight-foot radius before putting the tent up. Still, we got another six inches of snow while there. Welcoming us to the neighborhood was a very playful pack of chickadees. They seemed to have no fear for human beings. This trip was an experience worth the increased hardship of cold weather camping.

We also learned some things that will make future trips more comfortable. First, without an insulated tent, you're going to burn through a lot of propane (we used nearly two 20 lp cylinders). Second, a big tent is more comfortable but difficult to heat when the temperature drops at night. Finally, condensation and melting snow end up create water inside the tent, so bring several towels.

I have definite interest in doing some more winter camping trips. These include some plans for a solo trip. It would be a great time of reflection and solitude in the middle of the nature I find most beautiful.