Winter Camping in the Snowy’s with Sierra Trading Post

{Hey, guess what? All the photos are by Will. Something new, right?!}

I’m baaaaaaaaack! And guess what? It’s for real this time! Sure, I have a few weekend trips scattered here and there, but I am more-or-less HOME until April. Know what else? It feels fantastic!

Of course, I would be remiss to wax about the glory of my own bed without first sharing a story that is approximately 1.33 weeks late….our winter camping trip with Sierra Trading Post!


{Last} Saturday dawned bright and early as Will, Stew {remember him from Alaska? He flew in for this trip!} and myself blearily crawled out of bed before dawn. Per usual, I hadn’t packed so I was stuck throwing stuff together up until the last minute. Typical. I also suffered through a few well deserved verbal jabs from Stew: we had promptly taken him to a bar after his flight landed the night before, and he was in a world of hurt because of a whiskey drink I had encouraged. Guess alcohol + whiskey does not equal an early morning? Who knew!

We piled in the car, headed north towards the tiny town of Centennial, Wyoming, and knocked out the three-hour drive in order to meet the gang at the trailhead by 10am. We had settled on a trail in the Snowy Range of the Medicine Bow Wilderness, and I was psyched to check it out. Heidi, Lynne and Andy and Chris were already there, so we quickly loaded up our packs and hit the trail!


You know, the one thing I’ve quickly realized about winter camping is that no matter how brief the trip, your backpack is always huge! We were only heading in for a single night, but both Will and I had large 60 liter packs strapped to our backs. Everyone else {excluding Stew, who apparently is a magician} had similar-sized cargo, and Lynne and Alex even had an additional sled full of gear. Winter camping means business!


The snowshoe in was fairly easy so we were all able to take our time and enjoy the scenery. The sun was shining but the wind was viciously whipping, causing me to take off my down jacket and replace it with a hardshell. I swear: my body cranks out heat while snowshoeing and I have yet to figure out the perfect combination of clothes after 32 years!


After a few miles, we veered off the designated trail and began searching for the perfect campsite in the trees. We found a small clearing that offered protection from the wind while facing the east: we really wanted to catch those sun rays first thing in the morning. Between the 9 of us, we had 5 tents, so we all began setting up our little commune of tents.

If you’ve only been summer camping, you may not realize that setting up a tent in the winter is a tad different. First, you have to tromp down the area where the tent will be. It’s great if you have time to let it ice over a little! While that’s freezing up a bit, we tromped out a path into the woods for a bathroom, as well as a separate area for a kitchen. {There is nothing worse than stumbling out of your tent at night to use the bathroom and falling into knee-deep snow!} Another tip? Don’t forget your snow stakes! Regular stakes won’t hold in the snow so you have to use snow stakes to secure the tent to the ground. Finally, after setting up your tent, dig out one-two feet of snow from the vestibule area. This makes it a lot easier to get in and out of the tent and makes it a lot more comfortable to sit there while cooking.


After the serious stuff was taken care of, it was time to play! We did a little snowshoeing in the area and found a hill nearby. A few of hoofed to the top to take in the view while Heidi and Chris got a chance to get some turns in with their split boards. All in all, not a bad way to spend an evening!


The downside of winter camping? You spend a lot of time in the tent! Once the sun sets, everyone tends to crawl inside just so they can get in their warm sleeping bag. I think we climbed into our bags around 6:30 and didn’t come out until 8:30 the following morning!



The other downside? We experienced one of the most fluke sleeping pad malfunctions of all time! While inflating my extra warm winter camping pad, the lamination burst, causing the separate air compartments to blur together. Instead of keeping the air even throughout the mat, all of the air flooded the top half of the sleeping mat, creating a massive bulge. Instead of laying flat on my back, I was bent at the waist, sitting almost completely upright while leaning against the bulge. Naturally, Will offered to switch with me but I wouldn’t let him. After all, he got screwed last time we went winter camping too!

However, I soon learned that the ruptured pad wouldn’t help me sleep, and I ended up laying there, staring at the tent ceiling until 1am. I was wallowing in my exhaustion when I heard Will’s voice in the darkness: “Are you miserable enough to switch yet?” Man, that guy knows me well! We switched mats around 1:30 in the morning which turned out to be the right decision. He sleeps warm so he was fine on the deflated pad, and I got a solid 7 hours of sleep. Perfect!

Everyone finally crawled out of the tents and ate breakfast by 10am; most of us had been hanging out inside, waiting for the outside temps to warm up! It had sunk into single digit temps overnight, so the morning frost was definitely chilly. Fortunately, I’ve finally learned how to dress properly so I was quite toasty!

Stew 1

Stew 2

The rest of the morning was spent playing, frolicking the snow and recording videos that you’ll likely see soon. The snowshoe out was pretty easy since it was all downhill, and before we knew it, we were back at the cars!

I know that winter camping is a weird concept for many people, and sometimes words just don’t do it justice! Chris, the STP videographer, created this video of our trip and I think he captured it perfectly. If you want to see what our winter experience was like, check it out!



Guess what else? Sierra Trading Post is offering up a 30% discount on all snowshoes, snowshoe poles, avalanche safety gear, men and women’s snowsport clothing and snowsport gloves. Just click on this link, and the discount will be automatically applied to your order. It’s good starting at noon today and will last until February 28, so go buy some snow gear and come winter camping with me!


Have you ever been winter camping? Would you like to or is the cold not your thing?


  • Reply Justin Fricke at

    Does camping in the winter in sub freezing temperatures still count if there’s no snow? If so, then yes. And I honestly can say that I don’t get cold anymore because of that weekend experience haha.

    • Reply heather at

      Haha! Sub-freezing and no snow? That takes the fun away! 🙂 Where were you?

  • Reply Kate at

    This sounds super fun! Thanks for the tips also; some of those I would have NEVER thought of.

  • Reply Marissa Lucero at

    How awesome is that video?! Loved it. I’m still not brave enough to go winter camping…but I’d really love to some day! Just have to learn the ropes.

    • Reply heather at

      Let me know if you ever want to come!

  • Reply Molly at

    I am unbelievably impressed. I feel like I am far too wussy for anything like you described in your post. But I love living vicariously through you!

    • Reply heather at

      I bet you could do it! Proper gear is really what it all boils down to, you know?

  • Reply lynne @ lgsmash at

    I have been really curious to see wills night photos – we were watching him set the shots up and i just knew they’d be really cool. he didn’t disappoint! that last tent one is awesome!

    • Reply heather at

      He wasn’t happy with any of them and we kept moving our headlamps which was screwing up whatever he was trying to do, but I think they are beautiful! I’ll tell him you like them too 🙂

  • Reply GiGi Eats Celebrities at

    So I used to live in Colorado and I am from Wyoming… So I know it’s flipping freezing out where you’re hiking in all these photos – however, the smile on your face in that one photo makes it look as if it’s 100 degrees! 🙂 Sounds cheesy but it’s true!

    • Reply heather at

      Hahah that’s because I was ROASTING at times! I’ve really learned that winter fun centers on what you wear. If you dress properly, you can be warm in (almost) anything!

  • Reply Kovas - Midwest Multisport Life at

    Winter camping is on tap for next year. As you know, we finally went snowshoeing, so now we have one less excuse. 🙂

  • Reply Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb at

    Ok….so, I dunno about winter camping (although I would be willing to try it) What I do know? I love the pics/vid…and ya’ll look like you’re having a blast.

  • Reply Carla at

    no matter how how ephemeral the winter trip theres always so much stuffs.

  • Reply Kayla at

    Will took some great pictures on that trip!!! And of course that one of you at the top is adorable. That video was fantastic!

    You sure are lucky to have a super sweet man to make sacrifices for you every time you have a mishap (aka, always….haha)! When are you going to start traveling with a backup mattress?!?!

    • Reply heather at

      I said the same thing to him 🙂 The irony is that I’ve literally NEVER had a sleeping pad malfunction in all 30 years leading up til when I met him. Then, I have two in the span of a couple months. Go figure!

  • Reply Cathryn at

    You know, I hugely admire you for doing this and it looks like fun but I just don’t fancy being that cold for that long! The playing outside, yes, the setting up camp/eating outside, yes…but sleeping outside and being so cold and having to spend so much time in your tent? It just doesn’t appeal.

    However I love to READ about other people doing it, especially with great photos.

  • Reply Lauren @ Peaks and Passports at

    Winter camping is one of those things that sounds so fun in theory but I’m afraid I’d just be cold the whole time. I think I’ll take a winter hut trip instead but am impressed by those of you who are more hardcore! 🙂

  • Reply Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear ChillWave Parka {Video} - Just a Colorado Gal at

    […] ← Winter Camping in the Snowy’s with Sierra Trading Post […]

  • Reply Camping. In the snow! - run.around.aroo at

    […] go camping with a bunch of bloggers…which means this isn’t the only recap! Check out what Andy, Heather and Lynne had to say about their camping experience in the Medicine Bow Wilderness in Wyoming! And […]

  • Reply Krysten (@darwinianfail) at

    Love seeing your pictures! This looks fun – cold, but fun. I think if you are into winter sports, than winter camping would be the perfect way to spend the weekend!

  • Reply kavita at

    wow superb pictures!!! I love winter camping but specially this type of weather. I also want to go in winter. These all pictures are looking so cool and full of enjoy. I want more information after your read this site. looking forward to see more pictures. so much impressed.

  • Reply Winter Camping with Sierra Trading Post - Wyoming Snowy Range at

    […] go camping with a bunch of bloggers…which means this isn’t the only recap! Check out what Andy, Heather and Lynne had to say about their camping experience in the Medicine Bow Wilderness in Wyoming! And […]

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.