Survival Guide For Winter Camping in Michigan


Did you know that a human is able to survive without food for 3 weeks? Without water for 3 days? Without body heat for 3 hours? You’re capable of much more than you give yourself credit. Have you ever considered braving the Michigan weather for a camping excursion? Here’s a survival guide that will help you weather the storm in the northland. Before you begin your trip, ask yourself if you have what you need to CAMP.

Clothing to Keep you Warm

It’s no secret that it’s frigid in Michigan during the winter months. However, winter camping has its perks: no bugs, fewer crowds, and no sleepless nights tossing and turning on a sweat-soaked sleeping bag. If you are planning to brave the storm, it is essential that you have the adequate attire. Layering is the name of the game for winter camping. Remember that you will want warm, breathable, and flexible base layers. Under Armour’s Clutchfit leggings come highly recommended by winter campers all over. It is also essential that you have proper socks, jacket, and gloves. RAB’s Xenon Jacket is highly acclaimed for winter activities and the Stormtracker gloves are  perfect for shielding your hands from the winter chill while maintaining plenty of dexterity for you to go about your tasks. Who wants to set up a tent barehanded in the snow? Not you. With proper clothing, you will set yourself up for camping success, but without it, you won’t last long.

Awareness of Wildlife

Anytime you plan to camp it is important that you research the wildlife that could be near your campsite. Aside from snakes and insects, neither of which are active bothers during the winter months, Michigan’s most dangerous animals are moose and feral swine. You are very likely to see a feral swine as Michigan has seen a spike in the swine population in the last 4 years. Feral swine are just as dangerous because they carry a number of diseases, parasites and are aggressive.  It is equally likely that you could run into a moose while camping. This massive species makes up for its poor vision with swift speed and keen hearing. Moose are surprisingly aggressive too, which makes awareness all the more necessary.

More Than You Think

One major risk campers run into when planning a trip is packing too light. Obviously carrying heavy bags can be cumbersome and tiring, but if you are wanting to stick it out in the cold, you can’t take packing seriously enough! Be sure to bring enough of the following:

Water– you always use more than you think you will. You drink it, you put out the fire with it, you might use it to wash your face or brush your teeth. Regardless, you will use more than you think. Be sure to pack enough for cooking and cleaning in addition to what you pack for drinking.

Food– Did you know that your body needs between 3000-6000 calories to keep your body warm while camping in the winter? With this in mind, it is essential that you pack enough food to keep your body working properly. One winter camping guide suggests that when planning what to pack, it is best if you categorize caloric intake into carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Carbs should be 50-60% of your caloric intake. Stick with simple carbs that will be converted to energy quickly, like a peanut candy bar, hot cider or a cocoa drink. Be mindful that complex carbs, like breads and pastas, take longer for your body to digest and consequently release energy more slowly. Too much of these can leave you feeling lethargic. Proteins should be 20% of your caloric intake. These are great for curbing hunger and release energy very slowly. Easy to eat proteins include jerkies, meat sticks, prepared-ahead-bacon or other meats. Fats should be between 25-30% of your caloric intake. These complex molecules also take more time for your body to metabolize, which will keep giving you energy over a long period of time. Easy to eat fats can be found in nuts, butters, and cheeses.

Clothing: Yes, we have already addressed that you need proper clothing. But you also need more clothing than you think you will. What if you break a sweat while you’re setting up your tent? If your base layer is damp while you’re just getting started, then you are in for a long, chilly adventure. You may not use your extra set of clothing, but in these conditions, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Toilet Paper: This one doesn’t require much explanation. Just do yourself a favor and pack enough toilet tissue so that you won’t have to get creative out there on Mother Nature’s playground.

Proper Equipment

Winter camping is much different than camping in any other season. Consequently, the gear you use in the summer likely isn’t going to be as comfortable during the snowy season. We recommend doing some research on proper winter camping gear. Some additional equipment you may not know you need is: an ice saw for collecting firewood, a shovel for removing potential snow, a wind resistant tent designed to keep heat in (unlike your summer tent that you hope will keep heat out), and a JetBoil MiniStove that now has a simmer feature… because, hot cocoa. Enough said.

A&S RV Center

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift? Stop in for our end of the year clearance sale and let us help you start planning your Michigan camping experience today.

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