The weather has taken a turn for the worse over the last month, so now is the time for me to start working on my winter camping kit list. With this list I travel heavier but I’d rather be lugging more than going cold!
Last winter I had a few camping trips locally at the compound we use for our voluntary camping project, this coming winter I’m wanting to have a few wild camps at the Peak District. So my mind has been on winter gear. I need to keep warm on these camps but I also need to be travelling as light as I comfortably can, so choosing gear gets a little more difficult. To make matters worse I’ve not got an endless budget and need to really be careful about what I’m spending!
Here’s my typical kit list for a one night winter wild camp:
Sleep System – Total Weight: 2320 grams
One area I didn’t want to scrimp on was my sleeping system. A cold night is most often a miserable and long night!
- Sleeping Bag – Alpkit Skyehigh 900 Down Sleeping Bag
Weighing in at 1420g, the Skyehigh 900 has a comfort temperature rating of -6°c so it should be fine for most UK winters. It’s down filled so needs looking after.
- Sleeping Mat – Exped Downmat Lite 5
The Lite 5 weighs 700g, has down insultation and has a manufacturer’s limit temperature rating of -12°c. An insulated mat is pretty much essential for winter camps. The sleeping bag insulation you lay on is compacted under your weight so you need an insulating layer between you and the ground.
- Sleeping Bag Liner – Alpkit Masson Sleeping Bag Liner
This liner weighs 200g and adds another insulating layer for the sleep system and helps keep the sleeping bag in tip top condition.
Shelter System – Total Weight: 1393 grams
I’ve got several tents I could use for the winter camps that would stand up to the worst of the British weather, with the exception of heavy snow. The tent I’ve made my go to tent for winter camps works well and doesn’t weigh a massive amount.
- Tent – Luxe Sil Hexpeak V4A 1 Man Tent
The Hexpeak, with inner, outer and pegs weighs in at 1244g, has plenty of room for me and my kit and it’s teepee shape sheds wind great. I really enjoy spending time in this tent!
- Extra Pegs & Line
Weighs in at 150g. I always carry some extra pegs and dyneema line, just in case I need it. Better to be safe than sorry!
Cooking & Hydration System – Total Weight: 4160 grams (including water)
Being able to eat a hot meal and drink a hot drink are really important when camping out in winter weather. Taking on enough calories and water is a must too.
- Cooking Fuel – Primus Power Gas 230g Cylinder
I use 230g Primus Power Gas cylinders. The weight of these, including the metal cylinder are 390g. The Power Gas is rated for 4 season use. Gas cylinders can become less effective and burn less efficiently or at all in cold weather, due to the cylinders losing pressure in cold weather, so making sure the cylinders you use are rated for the temperature ranges you are expecting when camping.
- Stove & Cooking Pot – Alpkit Brukit Wolf
An all in one solution for cooking weighing in at 470g, the stove and gas cylinder fit inside the cooking pot when not in use. The pot has a 1400mm capacity which is plenty for me to warm my food, boil my ration packs or to make a brew.
I carry an aluminium cup, a spoon, a scouring pad and tiny bottle of washing up liquid, the combined weight of all that is less than 300g.
- Water Containers
I have a 3 litre water bladder I use for drinking water, which when filled comes to around 3150g. The 3 litres is enough for a 1 night camp. For cooking water and as an emergency backup I carry Oasis water purification tablets to make water safe and a filter to filter out sediment etc. When I chose a pitch I alway ensure I’m near a clean water source.
Food – Total weight: 1200 grams
I can’t hike and camp without having a filling and warm meal inside me. So I spend some time thinking about my diet for each camp, ensuring I get enough to replace the calories I’ll be burning and to ensure I have energy to keep me warm through the night too. I usually end up with food left at the end of the camp but I’d rather that than go hungry.
- Brew Kit
A few grams each, I usually carry one or two. To keep the weight down I use Nescafe sachets that have coffee, whitener and sweetener all in one sachet. I try to have at least one hot brew while I’m camping, usually first thing in the morning.
- Main Meals
I usually take army surplus ration main meal packs, weighing in at 300g per pouch, I take 2 on a 1 night camp, A spare can be needed and I’d rather suffer the extra weight than need it and not have it.
For a 1 night camp with a hike, I take packets of mixed nuts and sweets, all in total weight is usually 300g. I also take stuff like flapjack or similar, anything that provides a quick release of energy and is easy to eat while you’re on the move. Total weight of extras like that are usually another 300g.
Clothing – Total Weight: 4173 grams
Having plenty of layers when hiking and camping in winter is essential. You have to deal with being warm from burning energy when on the move and being cold when not burning as much energy, you also need to keep dry too. So your clothes have to be able to maintain your body temperature in adverse weather and in a range of situations in terms of activity. I could save some weight pretty easily here with the clothing I wear and carry, but I prefer being prepared for every eventuality and the items I use keep me warm and dry.
I have a some Regatta waterproof overtrousers and a Craghoppers cagoule I use when it’s raining heavily. When it isn’t they are stored in the lid of my rucksack. The combined weight of both is 653 grams.
- Wind proof / Water resistant Jacket
I wear a Fjallraven Keb jacket in all but really wet weather, it’s quick drying and is a pretty technical jacket. I can layer up easily under it when it’s cold and can put my waterproof cagoule over it when it is raining heavily. Weighs in at around 850 grams in my size.
- Walking Trousers
My go to trousers for the winter months are the Fjallraven Barents Pro Trousers. For a 1 night camp I only carry one pair of trousers so I do need to keep them as dry as possible. The weight of these trousers comes in at 570 grams
- Fleece Layer
I always carry a fleece half zip top in any weather, having something you can put on quickly and gives an extra layer for warmth is important. The weight is usually about 500g.
- Underlayers & Extras
For a 1 night camp, I carry 2x base layer t-shirts and 1 pair of thermal trousers and vest. I also carry 1 clean pairs of walking socks and pants. To keep my hands and head warm I also carry gloves and a fur lined trappers hat. If I do get cold at night I can layer up easily. The weight for all these items is around 1600g.
Misc Gear – Total Weight: 4000 grams
I carry a map, compass and Garmin Etrex 10 GPS unit for navigation. I carry a knife and some other odds and ends I usually need too, a rough guesstimate for the weight would of all the misc stuff would be around 2000 grams. My rucksack weighs in at 2000 grams, it’s a 65 litre sack so I can fit all the gear in easily enough and it provides enough comfort when hiking with it.
My total Gear (worn and carried) Weight:
Around 18000 grams (18 kg)
I can comfortably cover 10 miles over moderate terrain carrying that weight. That works for me for winter wild camps as I wouldn’t be covering large distances anyway. Although it sounds heavy for a pack weight, I’ve included the trousers and jacket I’d be wearing in the total and the 3 litres of water adds quite a bit to the total too. I could make some serious savings by buying ultra lightweight gear but the UL badge usually means more expensive, sometimes eye wateringly so too!
What equipment do you have that is your go to gear for winter camps? How about the pack weight? Share your comments, thoughts and opinions below.