Wisconsin residents show more interest in winter camping

MADISON, Wisconsin (WMTV) – Winter campsites at Devil’s Lake State Park were sold out on New Years Eve.

After years of battling the cold in a tent, Chad Baker built his own RV from an RV and named it “The Adventure Machine”. He installed solar panels on the roof to help provide energy for heat.

Baker said almost no temperature is too cold for winter camping.

“We went camping at 20 below and our wine or drink will freeze outside,” Baker said. “So you have to take it back for a little while. “

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has seen more people reserve winter campsites since 2020.

Although he prefers a quieter scene, Baker said he doesn’t mind more people taking an interest in the winter leisure activity.

“It’s fun to go out and play,” he said. “Normally it’s a lot quieter than even what we see here today.”

He advised future campers to find local wood near their campsite, bring an ax to chop it, and avoid cotton clothing as it causes sweat and then freezes.

“Moisture is your enemy,” Baker said. “So you have to make sure you reduce your humidity in the vehicle or on yourself. Cotton kills.

“The phrase ‘cotton kills’ is very familiar to those working in the outdoor industry,” said Tom Blount, Madison REI service technician. “So [bring] wool socks, comfortable wool, synthetic underlays and good insulating layers. You don’t want to wear jeans because they will get wet, stay wet, and suck the heat out of you.

Campers should pack their own food, heating supplies, and provide water for them, as normal national park facilities are closed during the winter.

“If you go to public parks that are open in the winter, the facilities are all closed, so you’ll be required to use a pit toilet,” Blount said. “Typically the water is also shut off, so you’ll have to bring your own water and keep it from freezing or being able to melt snow. “

He also said people should pack a foam pad and an insulated mat for sleeping, as the extra padding retains body heat better.

MNR officials said year-round camping reservations are available at more than 20 Wisconsin state parks and forests.

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