Camping in the winter can seem like a daunting task, but in a Jeep, you’ll be able to get to your destination with ease as well as have the camping experience of a lifetime.
The most instagrammable shots are in the most remote locations, and for that reason in this article, we will be focusing on using your Jeep Wrangler for the ultimate winter camping.
However, any Jeep with a four-wheel-drive will work in these kinds of environments.
For the ultimate winter Jeep camping trip, you are going to need to be prepared with warm-weather essentials for yourself, your campsite, and your vehicle, including:
- Portable Heat
- Sleeping in Your Vehicle
- Keeping Electronics Charged
- Packing the Essentials
- Packing Extras
- Selectable Locking Differentials
- Picking the Right Campsite
If you are ready to take your Jeep Wrangler into a winter wonderland and have the camping experience of a lifetime, keep on reading. We will give you our 8 tips for the ultimate winter Jeep camping trip.
Our 8 Tips For Winter Camping in a Jeep Wrangler:
1. Layer Appropriately and Early
It is so important to keep yourself warm and cozy when you are camping in the winter. You will need to be sure to pack extra layers for yourself and all members of your trip, as well as spares in case your layers get wet.
Packing the appropriate layers is very important. Investing in a good set of thermal underwear and other thermal tees is very important. Each person should have quite a few of these.
Next, you should bring many wool items, as wool will keep you warm even if it gets wet. Wool socks are a great bet in case your boots aren’t as water-tight as you originally thought they were. Wool sweaters are always a great investment, as well.
They even sell wool underwear, as well. Additionally, you can never go wrong with a hand-woven wool blanket to not only keep you warm but also to bundle up in for those perfect Instagram-worthy shots around a fire at dusk.
It is very important not to wait until you are already cold to layer up. Keep an eye on the current temperature on your smartwatch, or look at the hourly forecast on your phone. Add layers as the temperature drops, before you even begin to feel cold.
If you already feel cold when you add an additional layer, it is going to take you that much longer to warm back up. There is no need to feel miserable on your camping trip of a lifetime!
2. Have Portable and Easy-To-Use Heat Sources Available
There are many clever and easy items that can be used as a source of heat when things get a bit too cold.
Some of these are as old as time, like hot water bottles, which you should always have a few of. Just make sure you know how to warm them with your camping set-up.
Additionally, you should bring some disposable glove and boot warmers. These single-use warmers will allow your extremities to stay nice and toasty, warding off frostbite when your hike goes a little bit longer than expected.
If all else fails, you will be able to feel secure knowing that your Jeep Wrangler has a fast and powerful heating system. You need to make sure your Wrangler’s HVAC is fully operational before setting out on your journey.
3. Sleep in Your Jeep Wrangler
If you have the space for it, the easiest way to camp in the winter is to go ahead and sleep in your vehicle. Don’t worry, you don’t need to have it running all night!
Your Jeep Wrangler will have more insulation than most tents, so it will keep you warmer than a standard tent ever could.
However, that does not mean that you don’t need extra gear for a good, warm night’s sleep. You are going to need heavy blankets, such as wool blankets. Insulated sleeping bags, and potentially other items for comfort.
While you should not leave your car running all night, one benefit of sleeping in your car is, if it does get too cold in the middle of the night, you can run the heater for a bit.
If you get your Jeep Wrangler nice and toasty, it will stay warm enough for comfort for hours before you need to run it again.
A lot of smart thermostats in houses use this same method of warming up quickly and slowly cooling down within a comfortable range, and you can duplicate this behavior for yourself.
4. Keep Your Electronics Charged
When camping, it is always important to have communication readily available when something goes wrong. This is particularly true in the winter. When you run your Jeep Wrangler, be sure that your electronics are plugged in and charging.
When your phone is not in use, make sure to have it turned on to airplane mode. This will keep it from searching for that faint signal out in the wilderness and keep its battery nice and high. For most smartphones, you can also turn your phone on to battery conservation mode, as well.
You should also invest in some solar panels to affix to the dashboard of your Jeep Wrangler so that you have a sustainable and eco-friendly power source on the go, wherever you go.
5. Pack The Essentials
There are always camping essentials you should never be without, and it is no different for Winter camping.
Be sure to have these items in a go-bag so you can go adventure with ease without having to be too worried that you forgot something.
These items are:
- Secondary Navigation
- GPS, Maps, etc
- Extra Batteries
- Sun Protection
- Hat and SPF (yes, even in the winter!)
- Knife and Multi-tool
- Fire Starting Kit
- Emergency Shelter
- Such as a bivy
- Toiletry and sanitation kit
- First Aid Kit and Medicine
If you pack these essential items, you will be sure to be able to handle whatever nature throws at you with ease.
6. Pack Extra Everything
Thankfully in a Jeep Wrangler, you have tons of space. If you are worried about being able to fit it all while also sleeping in your vehicle, remember that you can purchase a rooftop storage system for all of your extras.
If that doesn’t work, you can get lock-boxes that can be stored outside of your vehicle at night.
You need extra food, water, and clothing past the minimum you need to bring with you for your extended length of stay.
This will help keep you covered if the worst happens and you are stuck in a snowdrift or fall through the ice. Making sure you have plenty of everything is the best way to keep yourself safe and healthy.
7. Make Sure Your Jeep Wrangler Has Selectable Locking Differentials
Selectable Locking Differentials don’t come standard on all Jeep Wrangler trims, but for winter camping they become a bigger essential than any other time of the year.
Normally, you can use many other methods to get out of a tight jam when you get stuck in the mud or another sticky situation in your Jeep Wrangler.
However, in the winter, it becomes increasingly difficult to shovel your vehicle’s way out while the spinning tires make slick ice in the snowdrift you are stuck in.
You are likely to become sweaty, hot, and fatigued, which can all be dangerous when it is below freezing outside.
Additionally, when you turn your locking differential “on” you will be able to plow through snowbanks no problem without losing traction. This is simply the best way to go to remote winter camping destinations.
However, if you think an automatic locking differential would be just as good, hold your horses. An automatic locking differential will keep you from maneuvering winding and icy mountain passes safely.
If you have an automatic locking differential on your Jeep Wrangler already, you should probably go ahead and count mountains out of the list of your wintertime destinations as you don’t want to put yourself and others in unneeded danger.
8. Location, Location, Location
Picking the right campsite can take your camping trip to the next level, and this is the truest during the winter months.
There are quite a few things you need to look for when picking the perfect camping spot for your winter wonderland experience in your Jeep Wrangler.
You need to pick a spot that is shielded from things like obviously damaged trees in case the wind picks up, that is shielded from wind, and that won’t be in the line of fire if there is an avalanche.
You should also make sure that your spot is on flat ground to ensure your Jeep Wrangler doesn’t begin to slip down the mountain if there is a snow-melt.
You should also look for spots that will be exposed to sunrise light. These spots will make your camping spot nice and warm during the day, as well as heat up the interior of your Jeep Wrangler, which will do some of your work for you.