roof top tent winter camping

Winter Camping With the Roof Top Tent

Most roof top tent owners probably don’t associate the roof top tent with winter camping, but rather travel to warmer climes. It is not without reason that most roof top tent in the world are more likely to be found in regions with warmer climates.

In recent years, the trend has shown that more and more roof top tent owners are also out and about in the colder seasons. Roof top tents is gaining ground as an individual type of travel.

But why only in summer? Isn’t it possible to make your beloved roof top tent even in winter? What do you need for winter camping in a roof top tent? What special features do you have to be prepared for? In the worst case, what can happen? And anyway: how do you best prepare for it?

Why winter camping at all?

I love the snow and the winter months. Every time the snowflakes trickle down, I am happy like a child. They have to be big and the more the better!

In addition, I’ve been traveling 24/7 with my Jeep and roof top tent since August 2016. This made it necessary to find an answer to many questions, especially for the cold season, in order to get through the winter comfortably.

In summer you can buckle the roof top tent onto the car and start cruising. You don’t really need a lot of preparation for this – that’s what makes the roof top tent so attractive. In winter, on the other hand, you can’t just go out, you need more travel planning, preparations and equipment.

5 reasons for winter camping in a roof top tent

Winter camping is fundamentally different from summer camping – we should all agree on that.

However, that doesn’t make it any less attractive. From the certainly innumerable and also very individual reasons for winter camping, I have summarized my five favorites for you, in the hope that they will motivate you to winter camping or at least make you think about it.

1) All Year Round
The most important and most obvious reason for winter camping in the roof top tent: If you don’t just go out with the roof top tent in summer and when the weather is nice, you can camp all year round – whenever and (almost) anywhere you want ! Isn’t that great?

2) Better climate
Personally, I’m more of the winter type and I have a great argument as a supporter of the cold season: you can always wear more – less at some point no more. So in winter you can prepare yourself for the cold climate, while in summer you will melt in the shade at 104 ° F with or without preparation.

3) Feel the nature
Being outside for longer periods of time in winter lets you experience nature from a new perspective. Everything around you is calmer, more peaceful and just different than in summer. But also cold, wet and damp – you can feel nature in all its facets.

4) SNOW MAKES YOU HAPPY
Due to the reflective properties of snow, the surroundings are brighter and friendlier than usual. Light makes you happy. The reflection of the sun, stars and the moon on a snowy landscape – priceless.

5) NO TROUBLE IN WINTER
There is less going on in winter than in summer. That is why you have a pleasant rest and less trouble in winter camping in many places. No overcrowded campsites, lakes, ticket lines, restaurants, etc. – a list I could go on and on.

winter camoing with the roof top tent

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Cold is not always cold

Various factors play a role in our perception of cold: temperature, wind, humidity and solar radiation / intensity.

In addition to the measured temperatures, the weather service also knows the term “felt temperature”. The above-mentioned influencing factors are put in relation to each other and the result is how the average man would perceive the said weather. The temperature information on your sleeping bags is also determined via such standardized dummies in male and female form and their perception.

The body gives off its heat energy to the moist air, which evaporates through the supply of energy, while the decrease in energy on the skin is perceived as cooling. The body also makes use of this effect when sweating, when the sweat cools the skin as it evaporates. The more moisture there is in the air and on the skin, the faster the body cools down.

The same goes for wind. The heat on the skin is carried away by air movements. What is perceived as very pleasant in summer creates the opposite feeling in winter.

Very low temperatures in dry and windless air are therefore much easier to bear than comparably higher temperatures with moist and windy air.

Take care!

Because the top rule when camping in winter is: don’t freeze! At some point it will be quite dangerous. I don’t want to encourage anyone to go out with a family and a roof top tent without a lot of experience at -22 ° F.

Of course you can go to the mountains in January. There are actually roof top tent owners who do that. But then rather without the beloved roof top tent and with a place to sleep in the heated car.

Winter camping is usually pleasant during the day around zero, at night it can go up to 14 ° F without major problems. However, the limit area is different for every roof top tent owner and should be explored little by little.

Basically, you should pay attention to how far your comfort zone goes. With a cold, even the most beautiful winter camping is no longer fun.

how to survive cold weather while camping
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Special challenges in winter camping

Everyone expects cool temperatures when camping in winter. But what else is different in comparison to a fair-weather campsite and should you therefore pay particular attention to?

Cold demands energy

In fact, the cold demands more energy. And not only by your own body, no, the electronics and mechanics of your vehicle are also affected and stressed.

Your body has to maintain its own body temperature. The colder the difference between the body temperature and the outside temperature, the more energy has to be expended.

When it comes to cars, the cold is particularly troublesome for the car battery. At 14 ° F the battery only provides 65% of the original energy, and at -0.4 ° F it only provides half of the original energy. When it is cold, all liquids become thicker, which means that they transport less easily and, at the same time, the frictional resistance in all mechanical processes increases.

Where do I park my vehicle

The campsite is not always that easy in winter. Many campsites are closed in the cold season and other free parking spaces are sometimes not even accessible when there is a lot of snow. If it is allowed to camp freely in nature at your location, this is of course a good alternative.

Tips for all wild campers:

  • Must have: the right tires and snow chains on board
  • Nice to have: all-wheel drive and sand boards on board
  • You should already consider the snow situation when researching good parking spaces on Google maps & co. In the mountains in particular, you usually don’t get far off the main road.
  • Parking spaces at outdoor pools and lakes are mostly unused in winter.
  • Forest parking spaces and parking spaces for hikers are often cleared. The best way to find them is online by simply searching for “parking space” or offline on hiking maps at the tourist information office.
  • The colder it is, the more often people turn a blind eye when camping on private property: just ask!
snowy landscape

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Route planning

Of course, the difficult roads often lead to the most remote and romantic places, but….

…especially in higher regions you should consider in advance which roads are passable. For example, some mountain roads are not passable in winter. When planning the route, it is better to check it beforehand!

In general, the roads in the cold regions are often more difficult and slower to drive. When calculating a route, you should therefore plan a lot more time buffer – sometimes even double that makes sense!

In addition, it is not bad to know the driving behavior of your own vehicle in snow and ice. So make a healthy assessment of how you and your vehicle can cope with the road in each condition.

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If you haven’t driven your vehicle in snow or ice that often, you should practice it beforehand. You also have to make sure that your vehicle can withstand the higher loads. For example, the cooler in your vehicle should be fine. It can also make sense to have a major check on your vehicle in a workshop before the winter camping tour.

Dangers from wind and weather

Mother nature has other challenges in store for you in winter. You should therefore always keep an eye on the weather in winter and not underestimate it. When staying in snow and ice, it is also advisable to pay attention to warnings of avalanches and mudslides and to obtain the relevant information.

Dangers can arise, for example, from:

  • Frostbite if the temperature is too low, unless you have prepared yourself accordingly.
  • Parking under trees. Falling snow can easily become a danger.
  • Parking near and under rock faces. Pieces of rock can break off due to frost.
  • Completely snowing in overnight.

So it is better to put it a little apart, if possible sheltered from the wind and in such a way that you can get away from your night camp on your own even after heavy fresh snow.

winter vehicle checkup

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Preparation of the roof top tent

The most important equipment for winter camping with a roof top tent is probably the roof top tent itself. Winter camping is only really fun when everything is properly prepared for your tour.

Roof top tent insulation

A sensible purchase for your roof top tent can be a therme hood. Some roof top tent manufacturers offer these as accessories.

rooftop tents therme hood

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The hood creates an additional layer of air between the roof top tent and the thermal hood, which isolates the roof top tent. The insulating effect ensures that the dew point – i.e. the point at which the moisture released by your body and your equipment condenses – shifts further outwards. Depending on the breathability of the actual roof top tent, the condensation water no longer forms in the roof top tent itself, but between the roof top tent and the thermal hood.

The fabric of the thermal hoods is often not very breathable and heavily coated. So you should make sure that air can still be exchanged between the inside of the tent and the outside world in at least two places, including through the thermal hood. If there is no air circulation, the moisture evaporated during sleep cannot escape and more condensation forms in the roof top tent than you would like. Many thermal hoods therefore have small windows or inserts.

Increase the mattress

Although the base plate of the roof top tent inherently has slightly insulating properties, depending on the structure, it does not withstand low temperatures. So it makes sense to drive away the cold from below by increasing the mattress.

A mesh underlay allows air to circulate under the mattress without manual intervention. The underlay reduces condensation under the mattress at any time of the year. an inch should be enough.

You can also put an additional thin layer of insulation under the mattress. This can either be a standard sleeping mat, a comfortable Therm-a-Rest mat or just thin styrofoam.

Winter Camping With the Roof Top Tent

You can top up with the two layers under the mattress. It is important that you do not overdo it, because your roof top tent should still be easy to close.

In order to create additional insulation and warmth from below, you can also help on the mattress: sheepskins, reindeer skins or a merino blanket as an underlay are not only cozy but also nice and warm.

…just click on the pictures and you will be directed to the shop…

cold weather preperation
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Generate additional heat

The good old hot water bottle is and will remain an insider tip. Put it in the sleeping bag or under the covers and it gives you cozy warmth all night.

Winter Camping With the Roof Top Tent

If you want even more warmth from the lying surface, you can also put an electric blanket on the mattress. There are electric blankets that are operated with 12 V via the cigarette lighter.

Winter Camping With the Roof Top Tent

Make sure that electric blankets use around 40 watts. At 12 V this is 3.3 A. If you use the electric blanket for 8 hours at night, your battery must have at least 3.3 A x 8h = 26.7 Ah ready. It is advisable to have an additional consumer battery in the car. Starter batteries are usually not designed to draw small currents, but rather to provide large currents (100-300 A) in a short time to start the car. If you have overdone it with the use of electricity and your car no longer starts, you should have a separate jump starter on board, especially in remote areas.

With a gas heater you can even heat the roof top tent and/or the annex.

Winter Camping With the Roof Top Tent

If you go camping in your vehicle in winter, it is vital that you have a !!high-quality!! jump starter and an emergency gasoline can with you!

My personal tip for off grid electricity

Since I currently have a hardshell roof top tent, I have put a solar panel on the upper lid of the hardshell roof top tent. This allows me to charge a larger power bank with electricity during the day and at night, when I am lying in my roof top tent, I use the energy gained during the day to operate a small electric fan heater and a small lamp in the evening.

roof top tent with solar panel

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I don’t need to use the car battery to use a lamp and a heater.

The mounting and the wiring is also very simple. For example, the solar panels are already fully wired and can be bought as a set with the appropriate inverter from amazon.

off grid solar diagram

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I only have to put two small cables into the interior of my roof top tent and can control everything from there.

If you want to recreate my solution, I have linked all the parts you need here.

>> Link to my solar panel kit <<

>> Link to my powerbank <<

>> Link the heater im currently use <<

>> Link to my 12V camping light <<

Prepare the roof top tent

You should winterize all moving parts at home.

There is silicone spray for the zippers. By caring for it with a greasy product, the zipper can be pulled more smoothly and can still be opened comfortably even in cold temperatures.

For the ladder, you should also grease the places where there are moving parts. Some telescopic ladders in particular are susceptible to cold and should be well lubricated or sprayed. If the ladder cannot be opened in the evening or cannot be closed in the morning, this can quickly become a nuisance.

The tent’s latches and hinges can take a little WD40 well. The oil ensures mobility and displaces possible water.

If your roof top tent has rubber seals, make sure to grease them or spray them with silicone spray.

Preparing your vehicle

Proper preparation is arguably the greatest challenge of winter camping. Before you start, you should make sure to make your car / truck really winter-proof beforehand – the colder your travel destination is, the more important it is to be perfectly prepared.

Is the car winterproof?

In order to get the car really ready for winter, it makes sense to do a little preparation at home. Some winter measures are done every winter anyway. You should go through all of these annually recurring routines again: Fit winter tires, check tread depth, top up antifreeze, check coolant and top up if necessary, ice scraper and broom on board, check safety equipment, check lighting, etc.

Can the battery still do it?

If you are in the cold for several days, you should be particularly careful with the battery. The best thing to do is to check again what the car battery has left.

A jumper cable is part of the basic equipment for winter camping even with a tip-top battery. If you want to stay away from civilization, a jump starter also makes sense.

frozen car

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Are you a snow chain newbie?

Tire traction chains are a must have in many places. But how do you actually put it on?

It makes perfect sense to practice pulling the Tire Traction Chain once or twice at home. In the worst case, with freezing temperatures and sleet somewhere in the middle of the road, it will not please anyone if you first have to dig out the operating instructions – especially not your own hands!

The Tire Traction Chains are really only designed for snow. The only exception: even if you got stuck in the mud, tire traction chains can be helpful. Tire traction chains are created on level ground; if you are stuck somewhere in the middle of the snow, it is too late and very difficult to do. As soon as you drive on asphalt again, the chains have to come off.

If you ever tear your tire traction chains, you’ll be happy to have some spare links and a pair of pliers with you. Replacement links are normally included with the Traction Chains, alternatively you can also get them at the hardware store. This allows you to mend the chain relatively easily and you are roadworthy again.

Winter Camping With the Roof Top Tent

Avoid icing

In particular, the liquids in your vehicle should be made winterproof accordingly. You can prepare your windshield washer fluid for the expected temperatures with the appropriate admixtures of antifreeze. In the best case scenario, you should replace the coolant again, as water may have collected in it, which freezes in freezing temperatures.

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Also, be careful with the fuel! When it comes to really icy regions, it is better to fill up with fuel on site so that it is really winter diesel / winter fuel. Like premium fuel, this is better designed for cold temperatures because it is specially enriched for cold temperatures. In extreme cases, you can add additional anti-paraffins to the diesel itself. The additive is best poured into the tank before the diesel. This improves the flow properties of the fuel and binds existing condensation.

If you want to be on the safe side, it is also worth replacing the diesel filter again. There, too, water can collect that does not belong there.

A few more tips for the car:

  • Treat all seals and rubber parts with silicone spray – for the sake of the material.
  • Door lock deicer is a fine thing in some cases. Of course only if you still have to use the key to unlock the car or if the battery in the remote control gives up the ghost.
  • The handbrake can also ice up (especially on older cars)! So think twice about whether you have to put them on in the place where you park. Alternatively, you can simply place stones in front of or behind the wheels so that your car doesn’t roll away.
  • The hot water bottle can help defrosting frozen mopping water nozzles – if you don’t have a hair dryer on hand
    if the doors of the car do not open, a few (light) knocks on the frame usually help
Winter Camping With the Roof Top Tent

Auxiliary heating (not) only for wimps

When camping in winter, the opportunity to retreat to a warm place is definitely worth its weight in gold. If you have to close the roof tent for 1-10 minutes in bad weather, it can be really beneficial to hold your half-frozen fingers in the warm air jet of a parking heater. Within a minute you will be completely warmed up again.

The second advantage of a diesel auxiliary heater: It not only blows warm, but also dry air into the vehicle interior. Ideal for drying your damp shoes, gloves, jacket or clothes. Simply tighten a couple of luggage tensioners in the roof lining between the handles at the entrance and your clothesline is ready. Alternatively, you can of course also use a real clothesline.

Winter Camping With the Roof Top Tent

If you don’t have a parking heater yet, you should think about it in good time whether you want to retrofit a parking heater. The installation can also be carried out by yourself with manual skill and good know-how. If you cannot or do not want to do the installation yourself, contact your trusted mechanic. The installation of a diesel-air auxiliary heater normally takes a day. Plan the installation in advance so that you can test the parking heater in peace and make changes in the event of problems.

winter camping bonfire

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Preparation for the winter roof top tent camper

The right clothes

For a pleasant stay in winter climes, the right clothes should not be missing. Every rooftop tent nomad has their own preferences here, but a few basics for pleasant winter camping are still included.

The famous onion tactic

Everyone knows the onion tactic. But what exactly does it mean? In principle it is very simple: you draw different layers on top of each other. It is important that none of the layers prevent the transport of moisture.

However, it is at least as important to prevent the formation of moisture from the outset. This is relatively easy thanks to the onion tactic, because you can put on and take off individual items of clothing quickly and individually. With several layers you can adapt to external influences and physical strain and thus avoid excessive sweating. Although the different layers of clothing are quite close to one another, the air creates an additional layer of insulation between the individual items of clothing.

clothing for winter camping
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The 3 layers of the onion

The roof top tent camper in winter should be wrapped in 3 layers:

1st layer: skin layer

Functional underwear made of polyester is ideal for the bottom layer. For women in particular, “more is more” applies here, because a long-sleeved functional shirt will transport more moisture than a spaghetti top. Also the underwear should be considered. In the end, several layers of well-coordinated and breathable clothing have no added value if the cotton knickers are no good.

Personally, I prefer merino as the bottom layer – I really like the comfort and the fabric doesn’t smell as quickly as synthetic.

2nd layer: thermal layer

The thermal layer can consist of as many layers as you want or need. This is heavily dependent on the physical exertion. On a brisk walk in the snow you will need much less warmth from clothing than if you want to enjoy the sunset from the bench in the forest.

Merino clothing or fleece jackets are particularly suitable for this layer(s).

Merino wool has one shortcoming: some merino farms subject the sheep to a painful procedure in order to avoid parasite infestation. I prefer products from brands that do not support such procedures, including Orthovox, Devot and Icebreaker.

3rd layer: weather layer

An outermost layer is advisable for windy and wet days. The industry already provides us with a large number of products in this segment that are wind- and waterproof but at the same time breathable. A decent hardshell jacket is a decent investment, but in my opinion it’s worth every penny.

winter camping with roof top tent

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Correct clothing is very important

So clothing should be breathable. Cotton is of course also, but the material also absorbs a lot of moisture and has to dry again first. When it comes to breathability, it is not just about whether air gets through the material, but how quickly moisture can be transported away or dried again.

Synthetic fibers made of polyester in a wide variety of variants ensure good moisture transport and quick drying. Merino wool is unbeatable among natural materials. In addition to being incredibly comfortable to wear and odor-inhibiting properties, merino wool absorbs up to a third of its own dry weight in moisture, but also carries it away from the skin to the outside. As long as the wool can still absorb moisture, the fabric does not feel wet and is still warm when it is damp.

Sleeping bag – comfort or life insurance?

In the more extreme areas of winter camping, a decent sleeping bag is not just a good investment, it’s a must-have. When choosing a sleeping bag, you should therefore consider the areas in which you want to travel with it. All sleeping bags are marked with standard values. You can use it to estimate what you need.

  • The comfort range (Comfort, T comf): This value indicates the temperature value at which the normal woman (25 years old, 132 lbs, 5.24 feet) is barely freezing and so sleeps comfortably in the sleeping bag.
  • The lower limit range (Lower Limit, T lim): up to this temperature the normal man (25 years old, 154 lbs, 5.6 feet) can sleep in the sleeping bag without being too cold.
  • The survival area (extremes, text): In this area there is an acute risk of hypothermia and should not be viewed as a practically usable area for the “normal roof tent nomads”.
The three different comfort areas of the sleeping bag

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What applies to roof top tent winter camping fans who do not meet the norm, I have often been able to test on my winter camping trips with my roof top tent. Hence my opinion: Since every person has a different sensation of cold and needs warmth: it is better to buy a sleeping bag that is too warm than too cold. So orient yourself to the comfort area, the other areas are more for survival and are not fun!

Here is my recommendation for a great winter sleeping bag that is guaranteed to keep you warm! Unfortunately, this sleeping bag is a bit more expensive, but the pleasant warmth at night should be worth it!

REI Co-op Frostbreak 5 Sleeping Bag
REI Co-op Frostbreak 5 Sleeping Bag

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In my opinion, the “REI Co-op Frostbreak 5 Sleeping Bag” is the best winter sleeping bag for the roof top tent. I am very satisfied with this sleeping bag! It always keeps me warm, even in very cool temperatures. If it gets too warm, you can simply open the zipper a little to regulate the temperature.

winter tent sleeping

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Pimp your sleeping bag

If the sleeping bag is not warm or cozy enough for you, you can top it up.

An inlet can be used in addition to the sleeping bag. This inlet is available in different fabrics and in different thicknesses. This additional layer in the sleeping bag is mainly used for thermal insulation, but at the same time has other properties: it is hygienic, protects the sleeping bag and serves as an additional sweat barrier.

Also, a blanket in the foot area is often not a bad idea. Who likes to sleep with cold feet? In addition, hot water bottles also help to keep your feet and your sleeping bag warm throughout the night.

How I keep myself warm

Sometimes I also do without a sleeping bag. If you prefer to sleep in your normal duvet or in a wool blanket, that’s no problem either. I myself have often spent nights in my roof top tent when it was 17.6 ° F outside.

I still have two normal duvets on the mattress so that it is a little warmer and more cozy from below. Alternatively, I would like to test sheepskins, but unfortunately I don’t have any. First put the hot water bottle on the duvets, then a thick woolen blanket. On top of it a large duvet (or I have two narrow duvets, which I lay across as if it were one). From freezing point on, I also put an open sleeping bag over it. So I have it cozy and warm throughout the night and only the sleeping bag is a little damp on the outside in the morning.

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I definitely want to test a sleeping bag with arms and legs. What a great invention! However, I had to be told by winter roof tent professionals: “This is not suitable for roof-top tent nomads, as you isolate arms and legs from the temperature exchange with the body and it only gets colder as a result.” Pity…

inside the roof top tent

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Preparation equipment

The right stove

If you want to cook with gas, you should use gas with a high propane content. Butane does not remain gaseous at temperatures around freezing point and can no longer be used. The best known is probably the winter gas from Primus, but other brands also produce winter gas cartridges.

Pure propane has an extremely low boiling point of -43.6 ° F. The gas is stored under enormous pressure, which the smaller gas cartridges cannot withstand well. Therefore, the propane content in cartridges is usually not higher than 20-40%.

Isobutane is the intermediate solution and has better burning qualities than butane and worse than propane at low temperatures. The boiling point here in its pure form is 10.4 ° F.

Butane gas is much cheaper and has poorer burning properties, especially at low temperatures, since the boiling point is only 30.2 ° F. It is the main component of common camping cartridges.

While butane / propane is mixed for the usual “summer cartridges”, the combination of isobutane / propane is usually used in order to achieve better properties at low temperatures. The higher the propane content in the propane / isobutane mix, the better the cartridge is suitable for low temperatures.

Another insider tip when using gas: if it’s too cold, you can warm up the cartridge a little under the warm ventilation and clasp it with your hands while cooking. Then it also works at -40 ° F

Not only the temperature, but also the altitude have a negative effect on the gas stove. A petrol stove is probably the better choice at minus temperatures above 2500 hm.

If you don’t want to commit yourself, you can get a multi-fuel stove that can even run on petrol, kerosene, alcohol and, thanks to an adapter, also run on gas.

Another alternative is a bush box. These are available in a wide variety of sizes and designs. Even with this variant, altitude and temperature are negligible. Fuel for this can be found everywhere!

Now I want to show you my favorite stoves. You can simply click on the picture and you will receive more information about the individual camping stove:

MSR XGK EX Stove

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MSR XGK EX Stove

The stove of choice for expeditions throughout the world, the MSR XGK EX burns any liquid fuel from white gas to kerosene to jet fuel!

Coleman Guide Series Compact Dual Fuel Stove

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Coleman Guide Series Compact Dual Fuel Stove

Cook breakfast, lunch and dinner in any weather with this Coleman Guide Series Compact Dual Fuel stove. Its handy wind baffles shield your flame to keep backcountry cook times nice and quick.

Esbit Alcohol Stove and Trekking Cookset

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Esbit Alcohol Stove and Trekking Cookset

The packable Esbit Alcohol Stove and Trekking Cookset provides a number of essentials for cooking out on the trail, including an alcohol burner and 2 pots, one of which doubles as a lid for the other.

Vargo Triad Multi-Fuel Stove

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Vargo Triad Multi-Fuel Stove

On thru-hikes and long-distance treks when resupply options are inconsistent or unknown, the Vargo Triad multi-fuel stove burns fuel tabs or gels for all-season, all-terrain performance.

Cooling

Cooling for winter camping? You don’t need that!

In principle, there is a lot of truth in it. But here, too, special precautions must be taken as soon as it goes into double-digit minus areas. Then even a cool box makes sense so that the food and water don’t freeze overnight, but don’t go bad during the day in a warm car (with parking heater). For longer trips you should consider buying a compressor cooler.

As long as you keep the food in the trunk, the temperature inside the car is not a problem. The auxiliary heater heats enough for the front of the car, but the trunk is still quite cool, at least for me.

Alternatively, groceries can be stowed away where there is no spare wheel in modern cars. Or you just pack everything that is allowed to freeze in a box and put it in nature. Most foods can withstand the cold quite well – but be careful not to attract any uninvited animals!

Igloo ECOCOOL Roller Cooler - 90 qts.
Best cooler box for winter camping!

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From hand to toe

All extremities are particularly exposed to the cold. Especially at very low temperatures, you should be careful and react quickly if your fingers or toes get too cold. Some small but fine gadgets have proven themselves in winter camping.

In addition to good gloves, a pocket warmer can be useful for your hands. These are available in a wide variety of designs, depending on your needs: from inexpensive gel pocket warmers to high-quality petrol pocket warmers. In addition, the good old mittens are worth gold as overgloves!

Winter Camping With the Roof Top Tent
Zippo 12-Hour Hand Warmer

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A seat cushion or fur is almost a must for comfortable sitting outdoors. There are many different variants, right up to the most comfortable heated camping chair.

To avoid cold feet, you should take care of good footwear. They should definitely be waterproof and warm. I wouldn’t skimp on proper shoes – I’ve had good experience with Gore-Tex products, so my feet stay warm and dry even in snow and rain.

Ignik Hand Warmers
Ignik Hand Warmers

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Wool insoles for the shoes are almost mandatory for me, and they are even heated. If you want to go to icy regions, you can treat yourself to a pair of decent heated insoles for your feet. Ideally, these keep out the cold, wind and water, but also ensure warm feet in the sleeping bag.

Practical tips for winter camping in a roof tent

The roof top tent, the vehicle and you are now well equipped and prepared. For a pleasant winter camping holiday in the roof top tent, we have also collected some practical tips from experienced roof top tent owners.

winter camping in the roof top tent

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The victory over the cold

With the right preparation, you have achieved more than half the battle on the subject of cold. If you then observe the following tips, hardly anything can go wrong:

  • Once it is completely frozen, it is difficult to warm up again. Always make sure: never cool down completely! As soon as you feel cold, respond to it. Dress up warmer, warm up with exercise or in a warm car!
  • You lose a lot of heat through your head. So: put on your hat at night too!
  • A tubular cloth can be used in many ways and can also be varied at night from a scarf to a complete headgear. You can even pull the cloth over your mouth and breathe comfortably through the tubular cloth.
  • Take a pair of decent work gloves with you when you travel! Fingers quickly become a problem when doing outdoor activities (e.g. closing the roof tent or setting up the awning). It starts at temperatures below 10 degrees, especially when the tent is wet. It is important to know your tent. You may be practicing the most important moves at home in a warm and dry place.
  • Better to have one too many blankets than not to have one with you.
  • Take a change of clothes with you to bed, then they are already warmed up
  • Hot water bottle to bed with
  • It can be useful to take shoes with you in the sleeping bag so that you do not freeze.

Eat & Drink

You can also make winter camping really pleasant with the right food and drink:

  • Warm up from the inside. Soups and stews are great in winter. They can also freeze and are still delicious.
  • Don’t go to bed hungry. Otherwise the body has no energy reserves and freezes faster at night. So take a long time to have dinner.
  • No alcohol. For every 50 g of alcohol, the body temperature drops by half a degree!
  • Eat hot spices (e.g. chilli) and drink (e.g. ginger). If you are lucky, they stimulate your blood flow to your extremities.
  • Plates and cutlery made of wood, bamboo or plastic are more comfortable to handle and do not get so cold or warm again more quickly at low temperatures.

Good to know

  • Before you snuggle into the tent: empty your bladder! Better once more than once too little. Almost nothing is worse than having to go out into the cold at night!
  • Exercise helps against freezing. In the morning in particular, it is helpful to exercise a little and bring the body up to temperature.
  • Make sure that your clothes are as dry as possible.

Also note

What can still happen? What unforeseen events can happen. What do you have to be prepared for?

Snow load on the tent can be too heavy for your roof tent, depending on the age and design. In some hard shell tents, the gas pressure springs can be reinforced from the inside or fixed as standard, in some not. In general, make sure that there is not too much snow on your roof top tent.

 

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