Top 5 Winter Camping Destinations to Bring Your Portable Hammock

December 28, 2020

women sitting in camping hammock during winter looking at snowy landscape

Winter is coming. No, really. And if you’re an outdoorsman who doesn’t want to let Old Man Winter ruin your camping plans, this is the blog for you. Winter hammock camping is becoming more and more popular due to its eco-friendly footprint and lightweight portability - but, just because it’s easy to carry, doesn’t always mean it’s easy to do. 

There are some big, big differences between winter hammock camping in Florida and winter hammock camping in upstate NY - the major difference being that you can get hypothermia if you don’t have the right gear in upstate NY’s winter (the other difference being that you might get eaten by an alligator in FL, but that’s neither here nor there). Moreover, how do we know which state has the best winter scene for camping? Which state parks can we even camp in?? 

Luckily for you, I have prepared the ultimate guide with the right gear, the right portable camping hammocks, and the right winter travel destinations to guide you in the right direction. We’re also going to go over some safety tips, so let’s knock that out of the way real quick: 

How Cold is Too Cold for Winter Camping in a Hammock?

This depends on how experienced you are. If you’re just looking for some winter fun it’s your first time camping with a hammock in the cold, you really shouldn’t camp in conditions lower than 30-40 degrees F (or -1 to 4 degrees C). If you’re a much more experienced camper and know your way around a foot or two of snow, you may find you will be able to tolerate lower temperatures. 

However, it’s important to note that winter hammock camping is not the same as winter camping. Camping in a wind-breaking tent provides you much more warmth, and doesn’t require quite as much preparation. However, with the right winter camping gear and hammocks, you should be able to be pretty comfortable in even frigid temperatures! 

Here’s my ultimate winter hammock camping gear list:

What Do I Need for Winter Camping in a Hammock?

Winter Camping Clothes

  • A winter beanie. Our ears are thin and don’t stay warm easily! Keep them covered.
  • A buff or scarf. Cover that neck, baby! Even when you’re huddled over a camp fire, you may find the back of your neck gets cold fast. 
  • Glasses and/or goggles. Nothing reflects the sun quite like white, sparkling snow. Keep your peepers protected and don’t overlook this gear! 
  • Thick winter gloves. These are pivotal, especially for winter hiking! You’ll also need them for your portable hammock - you can’t set it up if your fingers are frozen! 
  • A breathable base layer. NO COTTON! Cotton absorbs moisture and is a big cause of avoidable hypothermia. Make sure what you’re wearing is moisture-wicking. 
  • An insulated mid-layer. A windbreaker is perfect here! This layer is supposed to help you retain heat, so don’t skip it! 
  • A waterproof outer layer. I have a mind-blowing fact to share: snow is water. So even if it’s frozen, make sure the outer layer is waterproof.
  • Thick, comfy snow boots! Even if you don’t plan on winter hiking, it’s easy for your feet to get cold. Make sure you have layers of socks and boots you’re comfortable walking long distances in.

All dressed up? Good. Let’s move on to the camping gear list

Winter Camping Gear for Hammocking

  • A waterproof bag. Don’t destroy your new phone or camera by dropping it in a snowbank. 
  • A cold weather sleeping bag. Winter hammock campers know that this is what will make or break your winter travel plans. If you don’t have one of these, don’t bother trying to winter camp in a hammock! 
  • A backpacking stove. If everything is too wet to build a natural fire (or if the park doesn’t allow it), this is your next best bet. Choose from a liquid fuel stove or a canister stove and get cookin’! 
  • First aid kit. It’s easier than people think to get hurt in the winter woods. Don’t get caught with nothing to aid you if you get scraped or wounded!
  • A portable hammock. WiseOwl has multiple options, and even a few options for kids, too! In order to sleep in it in the winter though, you’ll need...
  • A hammock underquilt. This hammock quilt packs a major punch. You’ll be so surprised how much warmer they keep you, even in sub-zero temps! 
  • A hammock sleeve. While you’re off adventuring in the wilderness, this sleeve will keep your hammock safe and dry from the cold, wet environment.
  • An insulated blanket quilt. Ideal for staying extra toasty! This one specifically comes with a carrying pack to make transportation that much easier. 

If you’re not hammocking, no worries - bring these along with your hammock: 

  • An all-season tent. Don’t skimp here, folks. 3-season tents will NOT provide the heat retention required to be comfortable in the winter, especially if you’re elevated. 
  • A tent footprint. Many people don’t know what these are, but they’re important! Place these tarps underneath your tent to add some extra insulation and keep you warmer. 

What Are the Best Winter Travel Destinations? 

Finally, what you’ve all been waiting for! I’ve compiled a list of the best places for winter travel camping this season, so you don’t have to. Sit back in your nice portable hammock and get ready to get inspired! 

The 5 Best Winter Camping Destinations

 wild river state park in minnesota during winter

1. Wild River State Park - Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

The Wild River State Park is every winter sports lover’s dream! You can ski, hike, even go on snowshoe trails - not to mention all of the family activities on the site. If you don’t have your equipment, you can always go to the rental place to get everything you need for a great time. 

This park is also home to a perfect winter campground with amazing views and scenery that is perfect for winter hammock camping or bird watching! 

morning sunrise with sunlight on peak in white river national park in colorado during winter

2. White River National Forest - Northwest Colorado

This is the perfect park for beginning campers. This national forest is a popular camp spot with all kinds of amenities, ski areas, winter animals to see, and sports locations. You can hunt, fish, ski, and hike, all while viewing the beautiful snow-capped mountains. 

This is really the perfect winter forest as well - so take your portable hammock and find 2 trees that really speak to you! 

snowy peaks in the Adirondack Mountains, New York State Adirondack Park

3. New York State Adirondack Park - Upstate New York

Arguably one of the most famous campsites, the Adirondacks are the perfect place to set up your hammock and enjoy the winter scene. If you get a little tired of the cold, head over to the Old Forge camping resort for some warm comfort, hot cocoa, and winter activities! 

This camping area also includes historical museums (great for families!) and skiing slopes - not to mention AMAZING wildlife! Remember that upstate New York is known for having particularly a particularly cold winter, so make sure you have everything - from your hammock sleeve to your underquilt

stream in the winter forest at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Michigan

4. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park - Ontonagon, Michigan

The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is one of the most underrated campsites - but trust me, it’s a hidden gem! With cross country skiing, winter hiking trails, well-maintained campsites, tour guides, and unbelievable views, this is a go-to spot for anyone’s holiday vacation.

If you’re winter hammock camping here, you’re sure to have a good time - but don’t miss out on the incredibly well-designed campsites either! 

aerial view of Westmoreland State Park in Virginia during winter

5. Westmoreland State Park - Virginia

This park is one of my favorite places to go, no matter the season. Why, you ask? Well, it has something for everyone! This park is a must-see for those who love nature, history, archeology, or just plain ol’ camping! 

There are gorgeous year-round river views that you can see from many camping areas, incredible wildlife for those who love to see nature’s bounty, literal whale fossils to look at and observe, well-maintained and lovely hiking trails, areas to lay down a picnic mat and enjoy a nice meal, a lovely nearby town, and over 130 camping spots to choose from! 

The US of A is an expansive place, so of course I can’t go over all of the amazing winter adventure vacation options in one article alone. But, I’ve selected the ones that I found were the most fun, easiest to camp in during winter, and, most importantly, great for hammock campers! 

Final Thoughts 

If there’s one final piece of advice I can give you, it’s this - don’t get caught in the snow unprepared. It’s not just stupid, it’s stupid dangerous, ESPECIALLY hammocking in the winter. Like I said, winter hammock camping can be a blast, but only if you’re prepped, and know the best locations to go! 

If there’s another final, final piece of advice to give you, it’s that you check out our website to get anything else I might have missed or anything else you feel like you may need. In the meantime - have a great trip, and don’t forget to stay warm! 

Contributing Writer: Aurora Detor

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