Winter Camping - 2023 / 2024

Snowshoeing Course

Winter Camping

Winter Camping course covers both winter tent camping and non-emergency shelters. *** This course requires previous experience with floatation on snow (e.g.; snowshoeing, skiing, splitboarding, etc.) ***


*** This course requires previous experience with floatation on snow (e.g.; snowshoeing, skiing, splitboarding, etc.) ***

This course covers both winter tent camping and non-emergency shelters.   Lecture topics include selection and proper use of equipment, rental options, planning and site selection, winter cooking, and setting up a safe and comfortable camp in the snow.   Note that the classroom assignments and lecture must be completed prior to the field trip prep. 

The field trip prep will be a full Saturday to demonstrate and practice tent set up, sleep system set up, stove usage, food prep and more.  There is an option to test your gear by staying the night in your winter tent set up.  Note that the field trip prep must be attended prior to attending the field trip weekend.  

The field trip will start with a snowshoe to the campsite.  We will set up our tents, review our set up choices then focus on other non-emergency shelters..  

Please note you must sign up for one Field Trip weekend.  The location may change and will be finalized as the date approaches for each weekend. 

Graduates of this course are eligible to join overnight winter camping activities that do not involve travel in avalanche terrain or travel requiring the use of an ice ax.  For trips requiring these advanced skills, students are encouraged to take the Intermediate Snowshoe Course.

It is recommended to have some backpacking experience and highly recommended to have taken the backpacking course. 


  • Complete online classroom assignments
  • Attend winter camping lecture 
  • Attend winter camping field trip prep, with optional overnight. 
  • Attend winter camping field trip
  • Hold a Low Impact Recreation Badge
  • Hold an Avalanche Awareness Badge
  • Completion of conservation activities required to obtain a Stewardship Badge on your Mountaineers’ profile page.


  1. Winter Camping trips, including the field trips for this course, are usually held at locations near mountain passes that require driving on side roads or icy parking lots. Before signing up for this course please be sure you have access to a winter-capable vehicle.  An AWD or 4WD vehicle is best, but a 2WD vehicle with reasonable ground clearance and snow chains can work in benign-to-moderate conditions.   Lack of access to adequate transportation will not be considered a sufficient reason to refund the course fee. 
  2. A moderate physical conditioning level is necessary. The field trip involves approximately 3-4 miles of travel round-trip and up to 600 feet total elevation gain on snowshoes. This is the equivalent of approximately 6-8 miles and up to 1,200 feet elevation gain if wearing hiking boots on a trail. 
  3. If you are new to backpacking, winter camping and the Ten Essentials, expect a moderate level of investment in equipment ($500-1,000 for new or mostly new items). Used but quality gear and clothing is a good way to begin building your inventory. It is also always wise to rent or borrow equipment before investing in them. Check the Required Equipment list in advance to begin budgeting for the items you will need for this course. (We will also cover gear in detail during the lecture.) 
  4. Students must complete the lecture, online classroom, field trip prep and field trip during the first year.  Completion of the lecture and online classroom materials is required to attend the field trip.  There will be a $50 administrative fee charged to second year students needing to make up lecture and field trip activities.  Students may take up to two years to complete the Low Impact Recreation, Avalanche Awareness and conservation requirements.
  5. Guests can participate in two activities prior to joining.  It is not possible to graduate this course as a guest participant.


  1. Register and pay for the course
  2. Register for the Lecture
  3. Register for Field Trip Prep
  4. Register for one Field Trip 


Use the link below to apply for graduation.

Graduation Application

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

There is some equipment that will be required to complete the course but we suggest that those new to winter camping refrain from purchasing new equipment until after the classroom session. This will probably avoid a few of the mis-steps of over purchasing or purchasing inadequate gear. A sizable portion of the on-line classroom and lecture is devoted to what gear to get, how/why to choose it and where it may be purchased or rented. Some of the things on the list are:

  • Tent (3 or 4 season)
  • Winter sleeping bag
  • Insulating sleeping pad (R-value of 4.0 or higher)
  • Stove and fuel
  • Critter proof food storage container
  • Snow shovel
  • Extra gloves
  • Snowshoes *required for the field trip

Check out the gear rentals: Snow Links

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.