cold weather camping gear

Our life on the road began with a brisk October snowstorm.

We’re officially out of our house but not driving off into the sunset…at least not yet!  This month we’re finishing up some jobs in Colorado before heading South for the winter.  Before this month even began, I knew it would be an adventure given how volatile the weather can be at high elevation this time of year.  Sure enough, our third day out of our house it snowed 5″ and since then the lows have been hovering around the 20s.  Luckily camping in the 20s is not new to us and our Four Wheel Camper is set up to keep us nice and cozy.  And it’s a good thing because if there is one thing I hate, it’s being cold.

Last night I laid in bed thinking of all the luxuries that would keep us comfortable as the low dropped to 16 degrees and thought you guys might like to know just how we keep warm on cold nights in our pop-up camper.

  1. Furnace.  There’s probably no way I would even attempt camping in 20 degrees without a furnace.  I’m a total wuss, I know, but I love to be warm just as much as I love to camp and the furnace is a luxury I wouldn’t want to live without.
  2. Propane.  You can’t have the furnace without propane.  This is our limiting factor for cold-weather camping.  We typically keep our thermostat set right at or under 60 degrees.  On 16 degree nights, that means it’s running almost constantly.  Our Four Wheel Camper holds 2 – 10 lb. tanks.  When the lows are right around 20 degrees, we make it 4 nights on one tank.  We run the furnace for about 14 hours each night, from around sunset to two hours after sunrise.
  3. Reflectix.  This is probably our most widely used piece of camping gear.  We use it to cover the windows in our truck and warm our butts in our camp chairs (sit on a piece and you’ve got yourself a heated seat) but where we put Reflectix to the best use is lining the canvas pop-up walls in our camper.  When it’s 20 degrees out, you’re going to want more than a single piece of canvas between you and the elements.  It works surprisingly well and is an affordable project.  If you’d rather not go the DIY route, you can alternatively order an Arctic Pack from Four Wheel Camper that will do the same job.  In addition, Mark has placed a sheet of Reflectix underneath the mattress.
  4. Down Comforter.  I know there are some really awesome sleeping bags out there but I love how much our bed feels like home.
  5. Heated mattress pad.  Yep, in addition to the furnace and the Reflectix and the down comforter, we have a heated mattress pad that plugs in to our DC port and runs off our solar powered battery bank.  This sucker gets hot after an hour or so and gets turned off but it sure is nice getting in to a warm bed at night.
  6. Thermal Socks.  My feet are always freezing and even though the Reflectix helps, they still become ice cold pressed up against the canvas walls.  These socks are like little feet heaters.  Love ’em and wouldn’t want to camp without them! you know, I’m a total wuss when it comes to cold weather.  However, I’m pretty luck to have a husband that knows how to keep this cold-blooded girl happy.  What do you think?  Is cold-weather camping for you or do you think we’re nuts for camping in 16 degrees?


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