Winter camping? You've got to be kidding! No, there are actually some good reasons to go camping in the winter. Winter camping may not be as appealing as other times of the year, but if you are into skiing, snowmobiling, or ice fishing, winter camping might provide a good base camp for those activities.
One thing is certain: winter camping requires special equipment and special preparedness. If you are camping in an RV, the RV must be equipped to withstand cold temperatures. That means being well insulated and having an adequate furnace or other heater(s) and protecting all the water based systems against freezing. If you are camping in a tent you will want a 4-season tent for starters. Then you will need winter sleeping bags. A tent heater may be a welcome addition. Just be sure to follow proper procedures for safe use. When camping on snow I have found it useful to have a couple of extra sleeping bags, he rectangular type that can be opened up. I laid out one on the floor of the tent under our sleeping bags, then put the second one over our sleeping bags, giving us extra protection against the cold from the snow beneath the tent and retaining body heat that escaped from our personal sleeping bags. Temperatures that night were well below freezing but we stayed warm and comfy all night.
Your provision may also need extra protection against freezing. If you are in an RV and your furnace and/or heaters are sufficient to maintain a room temperature that is comfortable or at least above freezing, your provisions will probably be OK. But, if you are camping in a tent, you may have to take steps to protect at least some of your provisions from freezing. Ice chests are used to keep things cold during warmer months but you might find them useful for protecting things from freezing during colder times. If you have anything that is particularly sensitive you might try putting inside the foot of your sleeping bag, if it will fit without messing up your comfort. Vehicles like cars and trucks soak up some heat from the sun during the day and may help protect your provisions from freezing over night. If you wake up to find your provisions frozen, consider running the heater for a while before retiring or even getting up a few times and running it again during the night. If you are safely using a tent heater it might protect your provisions over night inside your tent but I prefer not to use a heater when I'm sleeping for fear I might never wake up!
Winter camping also means dressing properly for the weather. You need to consider both temperature and wind chill to determine how warmly to dress. It is always best to dress in layers so you can adjust as temperatures rise during the day or your own activity starts to make you too warm. Getting warm and perspiring in cold temperatures is a recipe for hypothermia. Try to keep your clothing dry. Brush off snow before going where warmer temperatures will cause it to melt. Change out of wet clothes as soon as possible. You will lose body heat 25 times faster in wet clothes than in dry clothes. Extremities, like fingers, toes, noses, and ears are especially susceptible to cold. Warm gloves or mittens are needed on your hands. Warm socks and winter boots to protect your feet. Chemical hand and foot warmers can be added for extra warmth. A hat that covers your ears or good ear muffs or a warm hood can help keep your ears warm. My favorite winter hat is a Ushanka -- a Russian ear hat. Its warm, fuzzy flaps cover my ears and much of my cheeks. About the only thing you can use to protect your nose is a face mask. It surprised me just how much even the thin nylon face masks we can wear under our motorcycle helmets did to keep my nose warm. The only problem I've had with face masks was that they often caused fogging of goggles and eyeglasses.
Winter camping activities will probably include a roaring campfire that is even more welcome and enticing than at other times. Of course if your camp is a base camp for skiing, snowmobiling, or ice fishing you will be spending a lot of your time participating in your preferred pastime. Make sure you have properly prepared yourself and your equipment so you can enjoy a failure-free outing. Also take appropriate precautions for each activity.
As you should for any remote outdoor outing, be sure to leave word with some you trust as to where you are going and when you expect to return so they can initiate search and rescue if you run into any trouble.
Most important of all, be safe and have fun! The safety of you and your companions should always be a priority. Getting sick or injured is never something you want to happen.
Winter camping is cool!