There is no way to deny the winter chill in Minnesota. For some camping comes to a complete close at the end of September, however for others it doesn’t shut down for the winter season. Winter is a moment when the world stands still giving these campers enough space to embrace the outdoors in a more solitaire nature. It also is a whole different experience to be out there among the snow, ice and lower temperatures.
Have you ever thought about trying winter camping out?
If you are like me and are new to the idea of braving the weather, you will need a few basic MN winter camping tips.
Places To Winter Camp
First, you will need a place to stay! There are a handful of options for you and a list of winter activities provided to entertain you, too. State parks are popular for their heated camper cabins, which you can reserve ahead of time. Just to name a few for you there is Afton State Park, Jay Cooke and one of my favorite locations, Wild River. It is around $70 to stay in one and you are not allowed to bring your pets indoors.
Cabela’s sells a bunch of great winter tents for people looking to go to the extreme. They are made for harsh winds, rain and heavy snow. Ha, I have to laugh thinking about camping in those elements and wonder why would I ever want to put myself there?! Which brings me to the next point.
Activities For Winter Camp
If you are staying at a Minnesota State Park you are in for quite a winter treat! There is cross country skiing, in fact Wild River rents out ski equipment in case you don’t have your own!
Take advantage of photogenic landscaping and get lost in the serene tranquility that surrounds you. A frozen waterfall or a couple of deer walking along a hiking trail would be my ideal photos.
Of course, there is the exciting tracks that are prepared for snowmobile riders. In fact, Minnesota has well over 20,000 miles paved out for those who love snowmobiling.
What would winter camping be without ice fishing?! The Walleye can be a challenge no matter what season you are in, however I hear if you drill many holes an hour before you actually start fishing to lower the chance of scaring them away and having a supply of shiners that vary in size with a bucket of fathead minnows can increase your ability to bringing home a fish supper.
Must Have Gear For Winter Camping
Overall, winter camping can be fun, but you have to go into it fully prepared for the weather at hand. Here are my must have gear items for making your winter camping trip enjoyable, as well as safe.
- Heavy Fleece Blankets
- Foam Sleeping Pads – not an air mattress because that will make your body colder
- Double Sleeping Bags – to trap in body heat
- Long Underwear
- Wool Socks
- Layer Clothing Options
- Hot Drinks/Homemade Soup In Travel Mugs
- A Shovel 🙂
- Dry Firewood and a Couple Sets Of Lighters
- Hand Warmer Heat Packs
- Waterproof Boots
- Camp Overboots
- A Winter Hat That Covers Your Ears
- Thick Snow Gloves
- Drinking Water – the cold air is drier and you need to stay hydrated (Don’t eat snow, it burns too much energy)
- Energy Bars – your body is working harder to stay warm
- Sun Protection – even though it’s winter you can still be harmed by the sun
- Tent Rain Tarp
- Good First Aid Kit – with an insulated thermal blanket
Yes, winter camping can create more challenges for you, however it can be a unique experience that you may grow to love. I highly suggest trying it out someplace close to home or at least near a hotel this winter.
Happy Camping – Kelly
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Kelly’s passion for the outdoors permeates both her personal life and her professional role as a member of the Parks & Recreation Board in Maple Grove, MN. Whether she’s camping with her family in their camper at a state park, pitching a tent in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA), or even glamping in their backyard, Kelly’s enthusiasm for embracing nature is unmistakable. This zeal extends to her role on the board, where she actively contributes to the acquisition, development, and maintenance of city parks and trails, enhancing leisure and recreation opportunities for all residents.