Winter Camp Checklist and Information
BSA Scout Troops 2877/2899
Cold Weather Camping Gear Checklist
- BSA Class A Uniform Shirt
- Scout Handbook (in a plastic, ziplock bag)
- Water bottle or Canteen
- Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
- Sleeping bag – warm or extra blankets to add inside
- Old blanket - to put under sleeping bag as an insulating pad (optional, highly recommended)
- Old blanket - to put over sleeping bag for extra insulation (optional, highly recommended)
- Pillow (optional)
- Ground pad
- Waterproof stuff bag for sleeping bag (if expecting rain)
The key to cold weather camping is to stay warm and dry. Bring both light and heavy weight clothing in order to"layer" if the weather is cold. For underwear and socks, bring at least one change per day–remember, if your feet are wet – then your feet are cold.
- Socks - a pair of light weight socks next to your feet will pull the moisture away and keep your feet warmer.
- Bring 2 or 3 changes of socks per day. It is best to change your socks 2 or 3 times a day as your feet sweat.
- Socks - heavy (wool is best - they will be warmer, even if wet)
- Long, thermal underwear - at least one pair
- Hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants – (make the best pajamas in cold weather)
- Long pants
- Long sleeve shirt
- Warm sweater
- Warm coat or jacket - suitable for camping environment
- Stocking cap (day use)
- Stocking cap (an extra one to sleep in as your day use one will get sweaty)
- Gloves or mittens
- Winter boots
- Extra Pair of footwear – depending activity leather sneakers are OK - but light weight fabric running shoes is NOT OK.
- Rain gear (your rain jacket can also serve as a wind breaker & and outer shell to layered clothes underneath instead of a heavy winter jacket)
- Remember C O L D:
- C Clean - dirty clothes lose their clout and get you cold.
- Overheat - never get sweaty, strip off layers to stay warm but not too hot.
- L Layers - Dress in synthetic layers for easy temperature control.
- D Dry - wet clothes (and sleeping bags) also lose their insulation.
- Cotton is bad, wool is good. Cotton retains moisture. Blue jeans and sweatpants are not advisable for winter camping, although dry sweatpants can be worn in the sleeping bag. Wicking synthetics such as Cool Max are now available for clothing next to skin. They wick moisture away from the skin and allow it to evaporate.
- Layer your clothes…Layering is important in staying warm. Air is an excellent insulator and by wearing several layers of clothes you will keep warm.
- It is crucial to change into clean dry underwear when going to bed. Bring a spare pair of underwear and long underwear this is what you should change into and wear in your sleeping bag, don’t forget to put on a pair of dry socks for sleeping (wool is best). By changing into dry clothes you will stay warmer and it will help keep the inside of your sleeping bag dry. That night’s underwear and socks can be worn the next day, as long as you have another dry set for the next night.
- Wear a stocking cap to bed, even if you have a mummy bag. Most heat is lost from the head. Bring a dry stocking cap for sleeping to keep head warm and out of the sleeping bag. Do NOT breathe into your sleeping bag – you will get wet and cold.
- Dehydration can help cause hypothermia. Drink 2-3 liters of water during the day to stay hydrated. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the winter. Eat and drink plenty of carbs.
- Bring extra food for energy that doesn’t need to be heated or cooked. Granola bars, trail mix, etc. (Do not take into your tent; let an adult leader know so they can stow it away at night.)
- Always eat any hot meals that are prepared (breakfast, lunch, & dinner).
- Everyone must be dry by sundown. No wet (sweaty) bodies or wet inner clothing.
- Put on tomorrow's t- shirt and underwear at bedtime. That way you won't be starting with everything cold next to your skin in the morning.
- Or, put tomorrow's clothes in your bag with you. This is especially important if you’re small of stature. It can be pretty hard to warm up a big bag with a little body, the clothes cut down on that work. It also helps keep your cloths warm so you will not have to put on cold cloths in the morning.
- Put a couple of long-lasting hand warmers into your boots after you take them off. Your boots will dry out during the night.
- Eat a high-energy snack before bed, then brush your teeth. The extra fuel will help your body stay warm.
- Use a sleeping bag liner. There are silk and fleece liners that go inside the sleeping bag. They will lower your sleeping bag's rating by up to 10 degrees.
- Most cold weather bags are designed to trap heat. The proper way to do this is to pull the drawstrings until the sleeping bag is around your face, not around your neck. If the bag also has a draft harness make sure to use it above the shoulders and it snugs up to your neck to keep cold air from coming in and warm air from going out.
- Don't burrow in - keep your mouth and nose outside the bag. Moisture from your breath collecting in your bag is a quick way to get real cold. Keep the inside of the bag dry.
- A zipped up coat pulled over the foot of a sleeping bag makes an extra layer of insulation.
- Drain your bladder before you go to bed. Having to go in the middle of the night when it is 5 degrees out chills your entire body. Drink all day, but stop one hour before bed.
Other Items for Camping
- Backpack/duffel bag for personal gear
- Waterproof bags
- Lip balm (Chapstick)
- Comb and/or hairbrush
- Drinking cup, Plate, Utensils with your name on it, for campsite use (The troop will not provide cups)
- Compass (Optional)
- Feminine hygiene products as required
Special Instructions to Mom or Dad!
Youth are not always too neat when they unpack in their tents or cabin (sigh).
In the winter this can be a serious problem because the snow and clothes can become wet on the floor of a cabin or tent. You can assure dry clothes each day if your scout packs their clothes in large ziplock bags. If your scout can stay dry they will stay warm and enjoy the Winter camping a whole lot better.