Winter Camping with Kids

Winter camping is an amazing family activity.  A smart way to adventure with kids in the winter is to find a backcountry yurt or forest service cabin. These are a win in our book because no matter the weather, we know that we can stay warm. Yurts and cabins are typically always built with a stove in tact, but without electricity or running water.  To stay warm, all you need to do is keep the fire stoked.  We (admittedly, Bryan) wake up a couple times throughout the night to add more wood to the fire to ensure a comfortable temperature for the kids.  This also allows for a warm stove in the morning to get that water boiling for your coffee.

We played outside the cabin for hours and hours on end.  It was simple and blissful.  There’s just something about human-powered activities that feels good for our soul.  After we hiked/sledded our way back to the truck, Bryan and I made a pit stop at Hyalite Reservoir and took a swim to test out our Patagonia wetsuits.  With booties and gloves, it would have actually been a pleasant experience!

As a side – this was Bryan’s last weekend in his boot cast!  For those of you who don’t know, he had surgery about a month ago to rebuild his ankle.  So that’s why you may see one of his feet wrapped up in a down coat.  Be safe about recovery, but don’t let it stop you!

We partnered with Merrell for this trip.  They make amazing winter boots for adults and kids alike.  Rated to -40F and waterproof, they are warm enough to get the job done while still having impressive traction.  We’re notoriously hard on our gear and they passed all our tests.  Order your own kids boots here.

To reserve a cabin, check out the forest service website:

Pack List

Have the mindset as if you are going camping – but leave the tent and sleeping pads at home.  Interestingly enough, our packs aren’t any more full in the winter than in the summer because everybody wears all their bulky winter gear.  Firewood and bulky kitchen items, if you wish to bring them, will likely need to go in a sled behind you.  Packing items include but are not limited to:

  • Backpack
  • Winter clothes
  • Warm snow boots
  • Emergency kit
  • Bear spray
  • Fire starter
  • Local fire wood (check where you’re going beforehand to see if this is necessary)
  • Snow Sled(s) with extra rope for towing
  • Basic toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, chapstick, etc.)
  • Platy filled with water
  • Water treatment

Meal Planning

One of the perks of snow is that you can carry a few extra supplies relatively easily by towing it in a sled behind you.  For a typical summer backpacking trip, we are pretty exclusive to oatmeal and dehydrated meals – because every ounce counts.  For winter though, we like to take the liberty to go a little more extravagant.  Because really, the smell of bacon cooking in the morning is about the best smell ever.

Cooking Supplies Needed


  • Bacon
  • Eggs
  • Coffee
  • Oatmeal


  • Dehydrated meals (we love Backpacker’s Pantry)
  • Bars
  • Beef jerky
  • Seeds/nuts (we love roasted chickpeas)


  • Chicken Apple sausages
  • Broccoli 
  • Hot dog buns
  • Ketchup, mustard