Winter Camping 101: What to Bring & How to Stay Warm - Native Campervans

Winter Camping 101: What to Bring & How to Stay Warm

Winter Camping Campervan

Winter doesn’t have to stop you from experiencing vanlife. In fact, some of our favorite destinations like Rocky Mountain National Park, and Utah’s Mighty 5 are even more magical when layered with snow. It just requires a little more planning and preparation to be a well-equipped vanlife mountain bum. We want to make sure you have everything you need in your campervan for winter camping.

If you’re like us, winter doesn’t deter us from being outside, it’s the fear of being endlessly cold that is unnerving. Well, you need not worry because we have some great information for you from our veteran snow-loving staff. 

Here’s what you need to bring on the road, some easy tips, and a debrief on our van winter packages to keep warm during your winter road trip with Native Campervans.

Check Out Our Winter Packages

Winter Travel Tips

Winter Camping

Layering Basics

To keep warm during cold winter nights, wear layers. But not just any kind of layers. Cotton? No thank you! Leave those at home! Wool is the ideal base layer. It doesn’t stink and wicks away the moisture pretty fast. If you don’t have wool clothing, opt for synthetic. These dry fast and will help not freeze in the middle of the night.

Here is what you need to know to understand layering:

1.    Baselayer (underwear): helps move perspiration away from your skin

2.    Mid Layer (insulating layer): helps retain the heat radiated by your body

3.    Outer layer (shell layer): protects from wind, rain, and snow.

Where the Heck to Camp?

Finding an overnight camping spot in winter for a campervan requires a little more research and tact, but do not worry because we have done some of the research for you! From ski-resort parking lots (yes, there are a few that allow this) to established RV Parks and BLM land. Don’t forget to download our 5 Recommended Vanlife Camping Apps!

Drink Water, Eat Better

Nothing feels better than a hot soup of chili on a cold afternoon. If you’re not into cooking that much, make sure dinners are mixed with a tablespoon of butter or coconut oil. Believe it or not, your body will slow-burn the fat and will help you stay warmer longer! Thanks for the tip Outbound Living!

If you’re scared of being cold at night, pour hot water in a thermos before going to bed and gently sip on it through the morning! It really does work!

Cover your Ears

You’ve heard of it before: the head is the part of the body that must first be protected when it’s cold. In the morning, in the afternoon, or at the night, don’t hesitate to wear your beanie in the van. The same also goes for your feet. To stay warm, we recommend wearing thick wool socks. These are simply the best and will make you sleep like a baby!


Winter Package Inclusions

Winter Camping

You are prepped and packed, but what kind of options do we offer to help you stay warm? Meet our Winter Package inclusions, with each van having an option! Let’s dive in.

Heaters? Yes Please!

To keep you perfectly warm at night or to dry your socks, purchase The Ski Bum Winter Package, which comes with a built-in heater (available on a select number of Biggie & Squad Campervans). Just set your thermostat and you’re good to go! The Winter Essentials (available in our Biggie, Squad, and Smalls Campervans) are a sure way to keep you comfortable over the winter. It’s that easy! 

Snug as a Bug with Rumpl Blankets

Finally, we opted for the cream of the crop in terms of blankets and duvets: Rumpl Blankets. Just put on your pajamas, slip under the blankets and snuggle up.  The perfect blankets so you can stay warmer, longer.

Not convinced yet? Keep in mind that sleeping in a Campervan during winter months gives you priority access to fresh pow. You’re welcome!

No Spin-Outs Here

Don’t let winter road conditions deter you from experiencing vanlife. Drive with confidence over snow-pack and ice with The Ski Bum Winter Package and road trip on high-end snow tires with studs.  All other Winter Essentials come with a set of snow chains. Ideal for those on a budget and not looking to go off-grid.

No Numb Toes for You

Included in all of our winter packages are 2 toasty zero-degree sleeping bags. Snuggle inside these fiber-filled, innovative Teton sleeping bags for a cozy, warm night’s sleep.

Visibility is Key

Just in case everything else above is not enough, every package comes with ice scrapers. These necessary tools help keep the windshield clear of any snow or ice.


There you have it. Winter Camping 101 in a campervan. Not convinced yet? Keep in mind that sleeping in a Campervan during winter months gives you priority access to fresh pow. You’re welcome!

See you up in the mountains this winter.

Check out some epic itineraries this winter:

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