Guide to Winter Camping
If you’re like us, you live to get outdoors as much as possible - even through the winter months. If you’ve never considered winter camping, you should know it definitely has some perks. There are far fewer people to encounter and never any bugs! This sounds incredibly dreamy, but to pull it off, you'll want to follow some tips in our guide to winter camping.
Read on to learn how to prep your teardrop trailer, stay hydrated & well fed, pack the right clothing & gear, and have some fun in the snow! You’ll want to make sure to take any necessary precautions and have the best winter camping gear to be ready to experience your terrain in a whole new light.
Prepare your Pod
If you have an Original TOPO, first make sure it’s ready for a cold-weather adventure. If you have a water tank, you’ll want to winterize it to protect your water pump. Check out our blog and video to walk you through the winterization process.
For the TOPO2, winterization is not required as long as the trailer is stored indoors at a temperature of at least 40 degrees when not in use. Think about it like living in a house through those cold winter months: if you don’t keep the heat on, your pipes can (and will) freeze! This is the same for TOPO2, but as long as you keep it stored indoors while not in use, and keep that heater running when you go out, you can utilize running water in all seasons!
While all Escapods are fully insulated and do an excellent job of retaining heat, it doesn’t hurt to have a couple of other tricks to keep your cabin as cozy as possible. For starters, you could opt for our blackout insulated window covers to help with insulation and any potential heat loss for your Escapod. They also help keep condensation on the windows to a minimum.
In addition to your regular bedding, it might be a good idea to purchase a sleeping bag or Rumpl for some extra warmth - especially if you have an Original TOPO without the propane heater. When choosing a sleeping bag, make sure it has some sort of insulating material. This could be either goose down or a synthetic insulated material. Another quick trick would be to add a heated electric blanket to your camping kit. There are many that are 12V capable, which works nicely with the available outlet in your cabin of the Original TOPO.
Stay Hydrated & Full
Even in colder temperatures, you need to bring plenty of water for your trip! Staying hydrated is essential to enjoying your winter excursion. In the winter, it’s easier to forget that you’re still losing water through perspiration and breathing. With a winterized pod, we recommend carrying water in jerry cans in your tow vehicle. If you get into a pinch, you could melt snow for drinking water, but be sure to bring it to a rolling boil for at least 3 minutes in order to kill all possible bacteria!
Eating is always a necessary act, but for winter camping, it does more than fill your stomach. Food can also be used as a source to warm your body up! Try to eat throughout the day and make hot meals to generate a little extra heat. One thing you can do to make cooking in the cold easier is meal plan and partially prep your food before you leave the house. A great time-saver is to chop up your veggies or meats and store them in water-tight containers so you can just throw them on the stove when you’re ready to cook!
Some hot (and easy!) meal favorites we love include the following:
Breakfast: Hot Chai Tea followed by Oatmeal with seeds, nuts, dried fruit, and your favorite nut butter or a yummy Sweet Potato Hash is a definite yes for us! With sweet potatoes, veggies, eggs, and an avocado to top it off, this meal will provide plenty of fuel to start your day. Our Sales Specialist, Shawna McGowan prepped this meal while out skiing in the pod, and you can check out the results here:
Lunch: We love a good panini sandwich, like this deluxe grilled cheese and a side of tomato soup! Or, if you’d like to keep it simpler, you can always pack a picnic of trail mix, crackers, cheese, pepperoni, or summer sausage. (Pro-Tip: cut and package these up when you’re doing your meal prep so you can just throw it in your backpack and go!)
Dinner: One-pot Chili is a classic favorite! If you want to add a side of carbs (and who doesn’t?), we recommend instant mashed potatoes or rice. They cook up a lot quicker and are just as tasty.
The perfect addition to any of these meals is a hot beverage, which can be provided with the help of a thermos. A thermos will insulate your beverage and keep it warm throughout your entire meal.
Pack Cozy Clothes & Gear
To ensure comfort for your chilly trip, pack clothes to keep you cozy and safe. The most important thing about your clothing choices will be to stay dry and warm.
One of the best things you can do for yourself in winter camping is dressing in layers, so let’s start with your base layer. Base layers wick sweat from your skin to help keep you dry. It’s important to stay away from cotton fabrics as they absorb moisture and trap it next to your skin. Synthetic long underwear or merino wool leggings work wonderfully.
Your middle layer is your insulator! There are a few different choices here that are really dependent on the activities you’re planning. You could do a fleece vest, a fleece pullover or full zip, or an insulated puffy jacket.
Next up is your outer layer, which will be your shell. Its purpose is to shield you from weather elements like that brisk winter wind. It can be a lighter layer, but you will want it to be waterproof!
Warm accessories are essential to maintaining your body heat. You want to keep your feet, hands, and noggin’ protected from the chill.
Depending on personal preference, you may or may not need insulation. The most critical thing is to maintain circulation in your feet. Another important shoe option is your camp shoe. You’ll want something cozy, but also with a solid sole.
For gloves, we want to follow the same mentality. Layering is your friend! You’ll want a waterproof pair on top with a mitten or something a little cozier underneath. You’ll lose some dexterity with this, but it will keep your fingers nice and toasty.
You don’t have to go too crazy on your hat selection - basic wool or a synthetic beanie will do the job. Just ensure your hat covers your ears and you should be all set! If your face typically gets cold, it might be wise to consider a face mask or balaclava.
If you’ll be taking up residence in a TOPO2 during your winter excursion, don’t forget to utilize the heated mudroom. This can dry your gear quickly and get it warm for the next activity outside. On the flip side, if you’ll be in the Original TOPO, a great addition to your build would be the ROAM Annex Room paired with a buddy heater. This can act as a heated room in addition to your pod where you can keep your gear warm or have additional space for more camp companions!
Now that we’ve covered things to prepare for your journey, what about some fun things to do? There are many unique activities that you can only do in the snow.
If the snow is only a few inches, you’ll probably be able to hike without any additional gear. If you’re nervous you might slip on icy terrain, micro-spikes are a great way to ensure traction. But, if the snow is a little deeper, snowshoeing might be the perfect activity to help you float above the snow and get you to where you hope to go.
Another option to get around would be to hop on some cross country skis! Though it can be intimidating if you’re new to the sport, most first-timers are surprised to find how much they enjoy the fresh air and exercise. You can go for as long as you want and still enjoy the wintry landscape.
Lastly, what about those times when the weather might be a little too much to go out and about? For some indoor pod activities, lower your middle cabinet and lock it into place to watch your favorite movies! You could also bring along some board games (such as Pendleton roll-up games), read a new book, or listen to your favorite podcast while you hunker down with your loved ones.
Hopefully, this helps prepare you for a better experience while winter camping in your Escapod. Whether in an Original TOPO or a TOPO2, you can have so much fun out with your teardrop. Best wishes and happy trails to you. We can’t wait to see all the new terrain you experience in your Escapod in all four seasons of the year!