How to Set Up a Tent in the Snow

Last Updated on September 11, 2018 by Dean Anderson

There are many risks to camping in the winter, such as hypothermia, frostbite, and other conditions related to the hazardous climate. If you’re going camping during the winter, make sure when you set up a tent in the snow, it’s done properly.

Setting up a tent in the snow can be a little difficult, but once you know how to do it, you’ll be able to do it easily.

If you want to make sure you can set up your tent properly during the winter season, read on for our guide to setting up a tent in the snow!

Choose the Right Site

You want to find a fairly level spot (make sure you’re not in an avalanche zone). Then begin to press into the snow with a hiking pole or an ice axe. You want to avoid a spot that has voids beneath it.

You don’t want the snow to collapse underneath you as you’re sleeping!

After you have a site, you need to prepare it properly.

Create a Solid, Level Space

Once you’ve chosen a good site for your tent, you want to begin creating a solid, level space to set up the tent.

You can do this by stomping down the snow with your boots or snowshoes until you’ve created a rectangular space that your tent can fit in. You can also do this with an avalanche shovel, if you have one.

An advantage of using an avalanche shovel is that if it’s windy out, you can pile the snow around the site to break the wind.

Anchor the Tent

Make sure you can properly anchor your tent to the ground. Remember, anchoring in the snow may be a little different than on solid ground.

What can you do if the ground is frozen?

You can use what is called “deadmen” to anchor your tent instead:

  • Get some nylon paracord and a rock or a stick
  • Cut the paracord to about 1 to 2 feet long
  • Attach one end of the rope to the tie off point on your tent, where you would usually put a stake
  • Tie the other end of the rope to the rock or stick
  • Bury the rock or stick in the snow, about 1 or 2 inches
  • Repeat this for the rest of your anchor points

A few inches of snow is stronger than you may think. Doing this will make sure your tent stays anchored even without stakes.

Make Sure It’s Ventilated

Contrary to what you might think, it’s not wise to completely seal up your tent from the outside elements. When you set up a tent in the snow, make sure it’s ventilated.

Doing so will allow the moisture from your breath or sweat to circulate. In winter, moisture is the last thing you want.

Now You Know How to Set Up a Tent in the Snow!

Winter camping can be hazardous, but if you are smart about it, it can be a fun experience. An important part of that is properly setting up a tent in the harsh winter conditions.

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