Minimalist Winter Camping | Your How To Guide

During winter, the cold weather makes your activities pretty challenging. As a result, it’s harder for you to carry many items. Have you considered minimalist camping, where you don’t bring much stuff?

Minimalist winter camping involves bringing only the most necessary items to survive in the wilderness. Fewer items means less stress and worry and provides some of the most relaxing camping experiences. Cutting out unnecessary comfort items will allow you to fully experience winter camping.

If you need to learn more about being a minimalist winter camper, I suggest you continue reading our how-to article. We’ll discuss how to get the right gear, food and drinks, clothing, and more. 

How To Become a Minimalist Winter Camper?

Being a minimalist doesn’t mean making yourself unsafe or vulnerable to worst-case scenarios. Think about the essential items you need for health and safety, and don’t skimp in this regard.

In fact, having redundancies for your most essential items is wise. Think about which items would cause serious problems or put you in danger if they failed.

For these items, it’s definitely not going against the principles of minimalism to bring a spare. For example, if you can’t start your fire, you can’t keep warm, cook, or even boil drinkable water.

So a secondary fire-starter is always a smart choice, which means your overall setup can always be correctly utilized.

Just remember, minimalism isn’t just about having the fewest items but only bringing what really counts. 

1. Minimalist Winter Camping Gear

The first thing you should do is figure out what kind of minimalist winter camping gear you want. One of the best ways to find out whether you need something is to ask, “do I really need it or not?”

Most of the time, this question will significantly help you when picking out the gear for your camping trip. For some people, that’s enough.

However, we want to take things a step further and only take what’s truly necessary to have a minimalist winter camping trip.

That said, we shouldn’t go too far and risk not taking the essentials since it can be really dangerous, especially in harsh weather conditions.

Below, we’ll guide you to select only the most necessary gear you’d need for winter camping.

Minimalist Winter Camping Gear

Picking the Right Winter Camping Tent

Depending on the situation, you need to pick the right tent. If you plan to set up your tent below a place that’s semi-protected from the weather, then a three-season tent would be ideal.

However, if you’re expecting heavy winds and bad weather, you should opt for a four-season tent. Keep in mind that having extra space inside the tent is not bad.

Consider taking a three-person tent if it is just you and one other person.

Choosing the Correct Backpack

Make sure you pick a backpack with enough space to fit all your gear perfectly.

It’s important for minimalist camping to get only what’s necessary, so your backpack should be as lightweight as possible. A good size for a minimalist backpack is between 40 and 65 liters.

Choosing the Right Sleeping Bag

You should choose a sleeping bag that can withstand extreme temperatures but at the same time won’t take up a lot of space or weigh a lot.

It’s better to have a sleeping bag that will keep you warm than one that won’t do the job properly. You can always vent the tent if it gets too warm.

Sleeping pads aren’t necessary when minimalist winter camping; the layers of clothing and the sleeping bag should be enough to make you not lose body heat at night.

Taking the Necessary Equipment

We should always be mindful about what kind of items we bring on our journey. It should be the right balance of utility and weight. 

Minimalist Winter Camping Necessary Equipment List:

  • Fire Starter
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Multi-Tool / Knife
  • Avalanche Safety Kit
  • Large Rain Poncho

2. Minimalist Winter Camping Food and Drinks

If you plan to camp for several days, you must eat something daily to fulfill all your nutritional needs.

We recommend bringing a few different foods, preferably some that are small but nutritious. Some snacks, like granola bars, nuts, dried fruits, etc., are great choices.

You can also bring freeze-dried food such as pasta, rice, and beans. They’re easy to cook, and they last a long time.

You should also consider bringing a good amount of water since you may never know if you will find a clean water source. For minimalist winter camping, water is more than enough.

You don’t need to bring tea, drinks, or alcohol. Getting a simplistic camping kitchen, such as a portable butane tank, cookware, dishware, and utensils, is also necessary.

You can’t prepare your meals without them, so you must choose some functional options that don’t have a lot of requirements to set up and use.

3. Minimalist Winter Camping Clothing

When camping in the winter, you’ll probably wear multiple layers of clothes. This is something you can’t skimp on or take lightly since it’s crucial for your survival.

It’s also critical to have high-quality clothes that can be mixed and matched versus having too many poor-quality clothes that take up space and can’t be re-worn. Quality is greater than quantity.

The first layer will be a base layer, which should be light and breathable. Then you’ll add a mid-layer, which will be heavier and warmer.

Finally, you’ll add an outer layer, which should be waterproof and wind resistant.

Base Layer

The base layer is the most important because it’s the one that keeps you warmest. We recommend bringing a long-sleeved shirt made from wool or fleece.

These materials are very insulating and quick drying.


The mid-layer is usually a sweater or a shirt, which you can wear multiple layers of. It’s the layer that provides insulation between your skin and the air.

You can wear a turtleneck or a hoodie underneath a sweater.

Outer Layer

The outer layer is the final layer of your outfit. It protects you against the elements and helps keep you comfortable. You can wear a raincoat or a coat over your other layers.

This should be one of the most exclusive items and should do everything to keep the cold winter air and rain or snow on the outside.

Minimalist Winter Camping Clothing

4. Minimalist Winter Camping Tips & Tricks

Bring Calorie-Dense Foods 

You should make sure to bring calorie-dense foods. The best way to do this is by packing in protein and carbohydrates.

Protein is the building block of muscles, and carbs are the fuel that allows us to work harder.

Pack Lightly and Don’t Weigh Yourself Down

You don’t want to carry extra pounds that could slow you down. Instead, try to bring only what you need. Minimalist winter camping doesn’t mean you must leave behind all your belongings.

This means leaving out unnecessary books, magazines, and electronics.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is extremely important during winter camping. Consider bringing portable water purifiers or having enough heat to melt snow.

Look For Multi-Purpose Items

Plenty of items these days are designed to do more than one job. For example, having a large square rain poncho can also serve as a ground sheet, emergency shelter, or even an extra pillow. 

Closing Thoughts

Minimalist winter camping isn’t just about being able to travel without carrying a lot of items. It’s also about being prepared for whatever comes your way.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be ready for anything while enjoying the benefits of minimalistic winter camping.

We hope this how-to article has helped you learn everything you need to have an amazing minimalist winter camping experience.

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with his pet bunny when not out in the woods, exploring the infinite beauty of mother nature.

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