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I.C.Y.M.I.: Alberta Winter Camping: Things to Know

COOL WINTER GUIDE: Stories and information for all things winter in Alberta. Have you ever been camping in the winter? We already know that Alberta has a lot to offer the outdoor enthusiast all year round, but camping in the snow?
2-2A-Alberta Winter Camping

There are a lot of reasons why people love it, and yes, it is “pretty cool!” However, learn as much as you can beforehand, because good preparation is the most important thing.

What is the best weather for winter camping?

Alberta winter camping is better when it is a little bit cold. You don’t want it to be warm enough so that there is heavy snow melt. A good temperature range is between -5 and -20 Celsius. However, sudden weather changes and winter storms are common in Alberta and need to be considered in the preparations.

What will you need?

Clothing Layers — The most essential thing is that everyone stays warm and dry. Dress in layers and have extra warm clothes with you. You will need socks, boots, gloves and a hat. Keep everything dry. You don’t want to sweat under your heavy outer layer, or into your base layer.

Tent or RV — It should be heavy enough to handle high wind and snow fall, but small too, so that you are not heating a large area. If you are going to tent, find a campsite protected from wind that gets the sun and is on a level surface. If you don’t want to rough it, there are other, easier options for winter camping. Rent a winterized RV or check to see if there are heated cabins at the campground. There are places that will see that you can get a great winter camping experience without roughing it.

Sleeping Bag and Sleeping Pad — These are going to be your best friend when you are out there. Your sleeping bag should be warm and winter rated. A sleeping pad is a mattress that will keep you insulated from the ground. Also have a hot water bottle, or heated rocks wrapped in towels.

Why do it?

There is so much beauty out there. Here in Alberta we are lucky to have long clear nights and clear sunny days even in the winter. Our nights have been especially photogenic this past year. It’s great to get away from everything and reconnect. Those brilliant night skies are one really great reason why winter camping is becoming more popular.

Be ready for anything

Just be sure to plan ahead on what you will do and where you will go. Bring food prepped and ready to cook, and check with the campground about firewood and water. Have all your activities planned, so that you are never bored or stuck outside in the cold for too long. And don’t forget to have fun!

Susan Hofforth is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the Cool Winter Guide advertising feature. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.

This article was originally published on December 13, 2021.

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