Story by Ronnie Juhans
Photo by Jens Ottoson / Shutterstock.com
Who is crazy enough to go camping in Germany during the winter? Especially when the night time temps have already dipped to freezing in early November this year. I am that person with a few others that have learned how to pitch a tent, make a fire and enjoy this great outdoor adventure even when the sun rises late and sets early.
Proper planning, having the right gear, and finding the right place to go can make you a happy camper during any season of the year.
During the winter season, you don’t have to deal with bugs, slugs and a crowded noisy campground with campfire parties keeping you up all night which allows you to enjoy the peacefulness of your surroundings. However, if you don’t prepare in advance it can lead to a miserable experience especially if you’re taking the kids along.
If you’re an experienced fair weather camper, you only need to make a few adjustments to your equipment, location, eating and drinking habits, food storage as well as making sure that any electronics will not freeze up and fail during extended exposure to cold weather.
One of the best things that I’ve experienced about camping in winter is to wake up early, gear up and enjoy a snowshoe hike, sledding, cross country skiing or any other activity without having to deal with morning traffic jams, parking nightmares and long lines of folks at sights, entrances, etc. The commute back to your campsite on foot just a couple of minutes away, ending the day with a good hot dinner and chilling out by a small fire with friends has always made for an amazing experience and should be added to your bucket list.
Edelweiss Lodge and Resort
The Edelweiss Resort campground and cabins are open year-round and make for a super affordable winter stay. The campground has a heated bathhouse and guests can store their ski equipment in lockers at the Hausberg Lodge. Campers can use the outdoor hot tub, relax in the sauna or go for a swim at Edelweiss Resort free of charge.
For more info: www.edelweisslodgeandresort.com
Camping Resort Zugspitze
Located at the foot of Germany’s highest peak, this campground has a ski room for storage of your gear, rental area with discounts, as well as a shuttle to the surrounding popular areas. If you don’t fancy sleeping in a tent you can also reserve a mountain hut, or a sleeping barrel which are both quite comfortable and a bit warmer if that’s what you prefer. By the way, there is also a sauna and gym with views of the Zugspitze.
For more info: www.perfect-camping.de/en/
This campsite is located next to Lake Forggensee with a view of the infamous Neuschwanstein castle. If you are a hiker or cross country skier, there are many tracks just outside of the Ammergau Alps. The site is open year-round for tent campers and caravans and has three saunas, a whirlpool, and a relaxation room that is a great place to hang out when the weather gets a bit rough. Skiing, snowboarding, horse carriage rides and many other winter activities are offered directly from the campground. Other amenities include Wi-Fi, kids activities as well as great personal hygiene facilities with heated floors.
For more info: www.camping-brunnen.de/en/
If you live in the KMC or Baumholder area and don’t want to travel far for a winter camping experience, Bostalsee is the perfect campground for you. The site is only a short drive heading north on Autobahn 62 direction Trier. The campground is open year-round with areas for pitching tents, caravan camping, and rustic huts that are excellent for the entire family. The amenities include electrical connections, personal hygiene facilities, trash disposal, Wi-Fi, and is only a short distance from the Center Parc vacation center with indoor pool, outdoor heated pool, and spa. If you want to partake in winter sports you will have to drive to the Erbeskopf area which is about 25 minutes away. There you can cross-country ski, downhill ski, sled, and snowboard. A full rental facility is available on site. Arrive early and you’ll find that parking, purchasing tickets and lines are very easy to deal with.
For more info: www.bostalsee.de/en/
What to bring: Cold weather rated tents, sleeping bags, blankets, cooking gear, first aid kit, sunscreen, water, food, firewood, snacks, all-weather clothing layers, cell phone, and euro cash as plastic is not accepted everywhere.
Dos and Don’ts:
- Do have snow chains and emergency kits in your vehicle. 4WD is no match for icy conditions. Also, water and snacks to tide you over in case of a long delay during travel.
- Do check your camping equipment especially for wear and tear as well as temperature ratings.
- Don’t venture out alone especially when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
- Don’t leave your trash for someone else to gather or leave a campfire smoldering throughout the night.
- Don’t use a heat source that requires fuel and open flame inside a tent or cabin. Although this might seem like common sense, too many people tend to ignore it when they are desperate to keep warm at night.