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Go Winter Camping

If you've never camped in winter before, it's smart to stay close to home the first time--maybe right in your backyard! Here are some tips!

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Participant Age: 7 to 12, 12 and up
Approximate Cost: $0
Duration: Over an hour
Difficulty:
Physical Challenge:
  • book or deck of cards (for in the tent)
  • long underwear, wool socks, and a warm hat to sleep in
  • layers of warm clothes for outside time (see below)
  • flashlight
  • sleeping pad along with some folded blankets to keep you off the cold ground (a closed cell foam pad works better than an air-filled pad)
  • sleds, skis, snowshoes, or other fun outdoor stuff
  • warm sleeping bag (or even two bags, one inside the other)
  • meals and snacks
  • tent (layer a tarp over the top to hold in the heat better)
What to Wear
  • Avoid cotton clothes. If they get wet or sweaty, they'll quickly make you cold.
  • Wool and "wicking" fabrics work well.
  • Dress in layers: 1st layer=wool socks and long underwear; next layer=fleece pants, turtleneck, fleece or wool top; outer layer=warm boots, snow pants, warm and waterproof jacket, scarf, hat, and waterproof gloves or mittens.
  • Be sure to remove layers if you get hot, so you don't sweat—-or add layers if you get cold.
  • Take extra clothes—especially socks and gloves—so you can keep your feet and hands dry.
What to Do
  • Explore and see what you can discover.
  • Play in the snow (if there is any). Sled, ski, snowshoe, or build a snowman or snow fort.
  • Cook a meal over the campfire or toast marshmallows.
  • Gaze at the stars. Winter is a great time to do this.
  • Read or tell stories inside your tent. Make shadow puppets with a flashlight, or play games.
Groups to Check Out

Many groups across the country lead outdoor trips or offer tips on camping, snowshoeing, and other outdoor activities.

Here are just a few. Ask an adult to help you find one near you.

NOTE: Some of these groups may only take school groups or older kids.


By Kate Hofmann


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