//Beginning Google Analytics Code //Beginning Google AdSense Code
Home Boot Camp Overland Gear For Winter: How to Prepare for Cold!
Overland Gear For Winter: How to Prepare for Cold!

Overland Gear For Winter: How to Prepare for Cold!

21

Overlanding in the winter requires lots of planning, prepping and a thorough inventory of your gear. There are so many options available to help prepare for the cold, but what overland gear for winter should you focus on?

In preparation for our 5 day trip to Moab this past December, we asked Overland Bound Forum Members for their advice on how to outfit to overland in winter. We wanted to know their personal experience battling frigid temperatures while adventuring outdoors.

The response was tremendous, and the recommendations were priceless. Michael and I were able to navigate the cold (-7F at one point), and we got to experience the beauty of Moab safely without shivering our way through it.

Read on for insight and personal experience to help you choose the right equipment to keep you warm and safe this Winter season!

 

Overland Gear for Winter

@stringtwelve

Overland Bound Member 0102

Founder 500

Lifestyle Overland

IMO, bang for buck you can’t beat Columbia outerwear gear. It goes on sale fairly regularly if you’re willing to do a little hunting for it. Amazon, Cabelas, Bass Pro are all good sources. I picked up their 3-in-1 parka at Cabelas this time last year for $80 bucks (was $220 retail).

Base layers are key as well, so long as you don’t over do it. I like a thin, moisture wicking thermal underwear from Under Armor or similar, then build on top of that. The in-between stuff doesn’t have to be anything special, but we love Columbia, Carhartt and Mountain Khaki pants for the lower outer layers.

If you want to be warm, like legit “screw-this-cold-and-layers-and-mummy-bags-BS” kinda warm, then get a Buddy Heater from Mr. Heater. You can use it in your tent or even vehicle (with caution) to turn your shelter into a sauna. Sure it’s a heat source in a confined space, but we can debate safety factors on another thread. Just do yourself a favor and put this in your rig. When you’re tired of trying to be warm, pull it out, crank it up, (and) soak up the heat.”

Overland Gear for Winter
Mr. Heater Little Buddy – Our favorite new addition to the Overland Bound kit.

 

@TXpedition

Overland Bound Member 2570

I’ve got these silk long johns that are awesome in the cold. Thin and light but very warm.

Also for the tent I have a Mr Heater little buddy. I turn it on when I get in the tent to sleep, in about 5 minutes it’s nice and toasty. Of course your tent size will determine the time it takes.

I also take those mylar emergency blankets with me to put under my sleeping bag if it’s really cold. Helps radiate the heat back up to your body. Of course I also take my trusty Mexican wool blankets, too.

 

 

 

Ice Breath & Frozen Feet

@B Wild

Overland Bound Member 2420

I suggest wearing something like a comfortable hat or Balaclava for when you are sleeping to keep your ears and neck from getting to cold, at least keep them close just in ca

Overland Gear For Winter
SmartWool. Smart investment.

se. FYI if you cover your face with your sleeping bag to stay warm, the moisture from your breath can accumulate inside around your face and possibly freeze. Not fun!

 

@Twin Magnolias

Overland Bound Member 2322

That under armour base layer stuff is pretty good for the cold. I’m fine with some cold as long as my feet don’t get cold. For that I am all about some Smartwool socks. I never thought I’d pay $15+ for socks, but don’t think twice about them.

Double Up on Sleeping Gear

@boehml

Overland Bound Member 2489

Anything merino wool is excellent clothes wise (stinks less too). Also, a Merino Wool buff is super useful because it still keeps you warm even if you happen to get wet and can be used in like 800 different configurations. Last weekend I used my merino buff in 5-degree (-15C) weather and it worked to keep my head warm. If you’re going to bundle up the rest of your body but skip the head and neck, you’re probably not going to be as warm as you could be.

Overland Gear For Winter
Grabber All-Weather Blanket

Sleeping in 5-degrees can also suck. In lieu of a liner, I used my smaller 30F bag inside a larger (wider) 0F bag. I spun it around so that the hood on the 30F bag covered the front of my face but left a little hole for breathing so I didn’t feel suffocated. I happened to be sleeping on the ground too, and a normal space blanket helped to radiate my warm body heat captured in the sleeping pad back to my body. One of the best nights I’ve had in the backcountry, and I’ve had my fair share.


@Ferd F-150

Overland Bound Member 2619

Living up here in Cold A$$ Eastern Canada…layers! Next to skin items should be comfortable and water wicking (to remove sweat away from your body). Do not overheat yourself! Put your clothes for the next day in the bottom of your sleeping bag to keep warm, and wear as little as possible to bed (except your head).

Gear wise, I have an outbound mummy bag (-10°C), a wool liner, and polar fleece liner. Total rating of approx -30°C. I use a mylar emergency blanket between my tent and fly and another on the tent floor. Now it’s a 4 season tent!

 

Balaclava and Booties

@mmnorthdirections

Overland Bound Member 0364

Founder 500

Wool beanie, should be able to cover ears and face/balaclava, greatest heat loss is our cranium!

Wool socks, as high a percentage as you can find, they wick moisture and still work when damp.

No form fitting clothing other than your first layer, then all over clothing should be large enough to accommodate layers under. The goal is to have space to trap heat loss and prevent wind chill as this is the killer in cold dry climates.

Tent or vehicle must have ventilation (just crack the window) to off moisture/condensation.

Drink as much or more water than you think you need, cold weather is deceiving when you don’t feel like drinking something cold.

 

@anderz0nic

Overland Bound Member 0468

Founder 500

REI Down Booties. Can’t say enough about these.

Wool fingerless gloves for cooking.

Salomon winter hiking boots. Super insulated and comfy for hiking.

Insulated water storage devices. Again, REI is my go to for this. I have many different size storage containers.

Smartwool insulation. There are many different “weights’ of insulation. I typically stick with the “medium” grade.

Hot Cocoa and Peppermint Schnapps! 😀

 

Bang for Buck

@OregonTrail4runner

Overland Bound Member 2053

Overland Gear For Winter
Boiling water. No hassle.

Woolpower is out of Sweden where they supply insulating garments for the North Sea oil fields. Expensive, but lasts for years. No special care required. My stuff is 10 years old and still going strong.

Simms is a fishing brand out of Bozeman, MT. The Coldweather pant or shirt is just fleece lined, but very toasty. I’m sure there are other similar garments out there.

JetBoil. Boil water in 90 seconds. In my rig year round.

 

@shizzy

Overland Bound Member 2292

As already mentioned, Under Armor / base layers. If you have TJ Maxx or Marshalls or similar discount stores in your area, regularly troll their racks. I’ve found under armor randomly for easily half price. It’s always hit or miss, but anytime I find myself driving by one, I stop in, make a quick pass by that rack to see.

And yes, Merino wool. Another cheap guy tip, thrift stores. Check the tag on the entire rack of sweaters in your size and look for ones made of merino wool. Around here, most sweaters are $8-$10 and as long as you don’t care what the sweater looks like, you can get some quality wool for cheap.

I’m a huge fan of those cheap fleece throw blankets. They stuff easily into nooks and crannies in your rig and if you are cold, slip a couple in your sleeping bag with you.

 

Fleece and Fire

@Recon2x

Overland Bound Member 1834

Warmest layers and gear the Army ever gave me was made from polartec. They have top and bottom grid fleece thermals. I’ve become slightly obsessed and a huge supporter of their cold weather layers. They’ve kept me warm numerous times sleeping in a hole in the ground for several days in freezing temperatures.

 

@GoldenStateAdv.com

Overland Bound Member 0708

The only thing I can recommend as a must have for winter camping is a quality fire starter kit. You can have all the nice warm clothes, but you’re still SOL if you can’t get a fire going. If you can successfully get a good fire in rain and snow without exhausting yourself, you can tackle anything.

 

Michael’s Takeaway from Utah

Gloves. Really good gloves. The Burton Gore-Tex gloves allowed me to dig us out of the canyon at 10 degrees F without losing my fingertips.

Two layers of warmth + grip

 

Is there anything you would add to the list? Leave a comment and let us know.

Happy adventuring this Winter! Outfit & Explore!

Join the Overland Bound Team!

Overland Bound Member Emblem

Become a Member of the fastest growing global Overlanding network!
Order your custom Member Emblem and begin your journey.

Click HERE To learn more.

Corrie

Adventure seeker. Dog wrangler. Writer. Partner in crime to Michael. Bonus-Mom to Miguel and Maresol. Lover of nature and all things outdoors.


Here's to forging down new trails, connecting with others, and the unapologetic pursuit happiness! #outfitandexplore

Comment(21)

  1. One of the things we can, but hardly do is camp in winter. As, wild camping is prohibited and most campsites are closed during the winter. And one of the more luckey things is that Holland/The Netherlands isnt that big.

    So, B&B or just sleeping at home is our thing during winter.

    But, as an ex soldier and used to camp and being out in the "european bush"( you folks will laugh your arse off now) I know somethings about doing it the right way.

    Just being a bit rusty as I dont use this as much as maybe could be.

    One of the best buys I did lately was to buy a Nomad sleeping bag (2 persons) which isnt that warm, but it stays dry. Which is way more important as being warm. Using the layer theory of blankets and such to keep warm with the sleeping bag as last and inner layer we manage to stay warm most of the time.

    If you sleep in the car, leave a window open for a bit. Otherwise everything will be moist during the night/morning.

    But you know all this already.

    We did sleep several winters in our Van and we dont have a heater in the Van, so what to do.

    One thing we used was the Camping gaz blue cat.

    This one works really well and is fairly safe to use. Even in a tent. And it is compact.

    And then, here in Holland we hardly have winters. Most of the time it is not the tempature that keeps us in B&B's or so, just the bloody rain.

    As a well know dutch saying is. Holland is beautiful, but the roof is leaking.

    Greetings from Robert

  2. Wow! Ok, I don't mind being in the rain when overlanding, even the snow. But -7F?! That's way to cold for me! Yikes! Hope you had a great time!

    Sent from my iPad using Overland Bound Talk

    It's all in your mind. Personally, I like being able to say I've done something in some kind of weather. it then becomes a personal challenge to myself. I've ridden a bicycle in 107F temps and -15F temps. if I hear it is going to get to -16F, guess what I'm going to be doing? yup…

  3. It's all in your mind. Personally, I like being able to say I've done something in some kind of weather. it then becomes a personal challenge to myself. I've ridden a bicycle in 107F temps and -15F temps. if I hear it is going to get to -16F, guess what I'm going to be doing? yup…

    I'm with you there. The colder and snowier – I find myself out there pushing myself. I spent a weekend of gear reviewing up in my primitive camping cabin in VT last year. It got down to the -20's at night, but we were already out there and dealing with it – the challenge was getting through… And not having to take a leak in the middle of the night.

  4. It's all in your mind. Personally, I like being able to say I've done something in some kind of weather. it then becomes a personal challenge to myself. I've ridden a bicycle in 107F temps and -15F temps. if I hear it is going to get to -16F, guess what I'm going to be doing? yup…

    Yep, it's all in my mind…and my mind is saying "What the hell, man? It's f'in cold out here!" 28, 29, 30F is good enough for me! [emoji51]

  5. So the standard mattress, sleeping bag and thermolite reactor extreme. I put a reflective tarp underneath the sleeping bag. UCO has candle lanterns that burn for 9hrs. Good light and heat. Super duper cold? I have a set of old gym mats that are on the bottom of the tent.

  6. I just picked up a new cold weather bag.  TETON Sports Outfitter XXL -35F Sleeping Bag I may have miscalculated on pack size.. holy jeez.  But it is sure warm.  I am camping in a week and it will most likely be below freezing, so I am excited to try it.  I am 6'2" and this will be more than large enough for me.  I will use a ALPS Mountaineering XXL Comfort Series Self-Inflating Air Pad under it.

    My tent is a large 10×10 canvas deal, 6'6" in height, so while it is good for winter due to canvas and sturdy construction, handles snow..  its a bit large to keep body heat.  The buddy heater works to warm it up.  For scale, you can see a rifle bag leaning against the sleeping bag.. :0

  7. I just picked up a new cold weather bag.  TETON Sports Outfitter XXL -35F Sleeping Bag I may have miscalculated on pack size.. holy jeez.  But it is sure warm.  I am camping in a week and it will most likely be below freezing, so I am excited to try it.  I am 6'2" and this will be more than large enough for me.  I will use a ALPS Mountaineering XXL Comfort Series Self-Inflating Air Pad under it.

    My tent is a large 10×10 canvas deal, 6'6" in height, so while it is good for winter due to canvas and sturdy construction, handles snow..  its a bit large to keep body heat.  The buddy heater works to warm it up.  For scale, you can see a rifle bag leaning against the sleeping bag.. :0

    I have that same sleeping bag. I used mine elk hunting this past November. It wasn't real cold at night, above zero anyway. The tent we use is 12×14 I believe, it has a wood stove in it. It's pretty hard to regulate heat with pine, it burns so quickly that you get up every few hours to stoke the stove. That Teton bag worked great for me, to warm at times. -35 is the survivable rating, for those who do not understand.

  8. That Teton bag worked great for me, to warm at times. -35 is the survivable rating, for those who do not understand.

     right. I would probably avoid camping if I could.. when below 0.  I hate being cold, but love camping.. so its a balance.

  9. Everyone has good ideas. You need to be prepared for it to be much colder than you think. I live at 8,000 feet in the mountains of Colorado. One thing to add to your kit is the disposable hand warmers. In case you have to get out of the rig to fix something, adjust something, unstick something, put on chains, take off chains, etc. your hands can freeze up quick – especially if you have to take off your gloves. Tha handwarmer will help you get warmed up more quickly.

  10. I led wilderness camping trips for years. Many times we were out in sub zero temperatures. A couple of nuggets of advice:

    1) never allow yourself to overheat. I know, I know… overheat in the winter. Yes, and it is a big deal. It is best to dress yourself in layers as others have mentioned (20 years of leading trips has led me to my personal base layer favorite: Under Armor Cold Gear) and then as soon as you may feel that you are getting hot (from exertion, sun, etc) strip off a layer to regulate your temp. Sweating in your clothes, even a little bit,  will create issues with staying warm later. Moisture conducts heat (away from you because you are the one producing heat) 26 times (!) faster than air.

    2) to help yourself combat the cold in camp, dress warm in your rig and roll the windows down (or crack them open). Our skin is amazing stuff. And to help our bodies conserve energy (making heat in our bodies takes a lot of energy) our skin constricts our small blood vessels close to the surface of the skin. If you are rolling along in a toasty rig in light clothing and then get to camp and step out into the cold, it will take a few hours before your body adjusts and opens up (dilates) your outermost layer of blood vessels. If they are already in action from being in a bit of a colder rig, then you will find that you are more comfortable in camp and that the cold is not such a shock. An interesting side note to this is that you can see the reverse happen after you have been out in the cold for a few hours or few days. When you come into a house, or back into your rig, you will see that your cheeks are rosy and flush with heat. This is because your blood vessels were dilated outdoors and they will constrict back down now that you are in a toasty place. To compensate for the extra heat we need to produce to keep us warm in cold environments, our calorie burn goes WAY up. Instead of the typical 2000 calories required per day, cold environments require more like 6000 calories a day!

    3) use a one liter or larger *non-insulated* water bottle that you are positive will not leak (I like the Nalgene bottles for this purpose) and fill it with hot water right before you go to bed. Slide a sock over the filled bottle completely and put it down at your feet in the sleeping bag. Ahhhhh… warm toasty heater next to your feet all night long. 🙂

    Sent from my iPhone using OB Talk

  11. I have an actual military sleeping bag which is a 3 piece set I got it for around 80 maybe 90 bucks one of the best investments I’ve ever made good down to 51 below zero I have never been cold sleeping it is one of the greatest Investments I’ve ever made as far as camping and out overlanding highly suggest invest in one military gear.net is where I bought mine the guy was fantastic also gave me a nine strap compression sack just sent it up. This is a sleeping bag you can throw directly on the ground it has a water proof Gore-Tex bivy

  12. I have an actual military sleeping bag which is a 3 piece set I got it for around 80 maybe 90 bucks one of the best investments I’ve ever made good down to 51 below zero. There is no where that you will ever overlanding that is that cold on the planet if there is you shouldn’t be there. I have never been cold sleeping it is one of the greatest Investments I’ve ever made as far as camping and out overlanding highly suggest invest in one military gear.net is where I bought mine the guy was fantastic also gave me a nine strap compression sack just sinch it up. This is a sleeping bag you can throw directly on the ground it has a water proof Gore-Tex bivy

  13. A couple of items I keep in the rig year round are the Jetboil stove mentioned in the article and an electric heat gun. The heat gun is priceless in the wintertime if you (or ideally someone else) are trying to fix broken frozen parts. A decent tarp or ground cloth, work light, and heat gun with extension cord can take the misery out of trail repairs. Most of our rigs have onboard power available so why not bring that drop light and heat gun to warm things up and get a better view? We all make better decisions when we aren't fighting nature so anything that helps in that department when the chips are really down is sure to be a winner.

    Every time I've been stuck helping someone fix a broken rig in the snow the warm drinks made the process survivable. Adventuring shouldn't completely suck.

  14. I have an actual military sleeping bag which is a 3 piece set I got it for around 80 maybe 90 bucks one of the best investments I've ever made good down to 51 below zero I have never been cold sleeping it is one of the greatest Investments I've ever made as far as camping and out overlanding highly suggest invest in one military gear.net is where I bought mine the guy was fantastic also gave me a nine strap compression sack just sent it up. This is a sleeping bag you can throw directly on the ground it has a water proof Gore-Tex bivy

    You can google an online store called "uncle sams retail outlet". They often have this bag system available in both new and used versions. They also have lots of brand new military equipment at amazing prices. I've personally purchased heavy weight fleece overalls for $9 from USRO that were comperable to some mountain hardware fleece overalls that cost me $300. If you don't mind the black, tan, or grey colors you can get some smoking deals on gear.

  15. I always carry an extra set of lightweight waterproof/breathable outer layers, and 2-3 extra sets of gloves. I always wind up digging out something, and messing with chains, recovery gear, etc. for folks who try to go for a Winter drive and bury their rig. I'm always getting my gloves wet.

     But as far as Winter camping, I mostly dig and sleep in a snowcave now. Military cold weather "pickle" and an ensolite pad and I'm roasty toasty. I live in a little cabin in the Idaho backwoods, so the tent or car gig doesn't do much for me, but digging and sleeping in a snowcave when it's pushing minus digits and I'm toasty warm in a cave is pretty cool. Here's one of my caves I hung out on on Mt. Shasta for 10 days.

  16. This stuff is hardcore to me. Lowest I've been out in is 23 degrees, and that wasn't intentional. Lots of good stuff here so thank you all. I planning to do more cold-season camping this coming fall / winter so I'm watching this thread.

    I have a Coleman catalytic heater what looks just like the Blue Catz.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT