Winter Campervan Camping


Ready to Plan Your Winter Campervan Trip?

Have you ever tried winter campervan camping? If you haven’t yet, you should! It’s an entirely different experience from the busy summer months, especially in the Rocky Mountains or on  Vancouver Island — everyone needs to wake up to snowy peaks, evergreen trees, or the ocean at least once in their life.

We know extreme cold weather camping might sound overwhelming and uncomfortable at first but with the right gear and a campervan equipped for winter weather and cold temperatures (like ours!), it’s an experience you won’t forget.

It’s a whole new world to explore this winter. Swap hiking boots for snowshoes to explore the trails or hit the slopes during the day and enjoy a little apres ski fun at night. Escape the snow and become one with a rainforest. Trust us. You’ll love it.

The How

Winter RV Camping With Karma Campervans

We make winter camping just as good as the summertime. When renting a Karma campervan there’s no need for sleeping bags, our campervans come with all the bedding you need including a super warm duvet to stay warm and cozy, as well as a built-in heater to really warm things up on a cold night.  Of course, you’ll need to pack more layers than you do for summer-season camping, but our camper for winter camping has ample storage to keep everything tidy and tucked out of the way.

We might be biased, but our previous guests agree that Karma has the best winter camper options to live your finest winter van life. All you need is hot coffee to start your day—oh wait! We provide that too.

The Why

Why Choose a Campervan Over Other Resorts, Hotels or Airbnbs?

With so many great options, how do you choose? We’re avid outdoors people here at Karma, so it’s an easy decision for us to make. If you’re on the fence, here are some reasons to choose a campervan for your Western Canadian winter getaway.

Winter camping is more of an adventure! From backcountry snowshoeing to exploring island hiking trails to chasing the mountains best snowfall Karma guests love a variety of winter activities and a good adventure.
Save money if you’re going skiing. You can still hit up the Rocky Mountain ski resorts, just save money by sleeping in a campervan nearby.
There are a handful of RV campsites open for winter camping in Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, Whistler and on Vancouver Island and they are usually less expensive than staying in more traditional winter accommodations.
We offer special rates for Karma campervans in the winter season because we want to show more people what camping in the off season is all about. Check current rates here.
It’s really quiet. Most resorts and hotels in Western Canada will be jam-packed all winter, while campgrounds are a little less popular. If you’re looking for a quiet time, choose a campervan.
You get the entire place to yourself! While you have to share hotel common areas and maybe even airbnbs with other travellers, you get the entire campsite (if not more!) to yourself when you choose a Karma campervan for your winter getaway.
You’re not stuck in one spot. When your accommodations come with 4 wheels and an engine, you can keep moving from view to unbeatable view through your entire trip. Why stay put when there’s so much to see in the Canadian Rockies? We’re your mobile chalet!
Get close to nature. In the winter months, so many of us get stuck inside—we work from 9 to 5 and hardly see the sunshine. If you choose to rent a campervan for your winter trip, you’ll get a fix of nature and sunlight that hotels can’t offer, and a winter campfire is a special experience.
Previous slide
Next slide

Tips and tricks

Conquer Winter Camping Like a Pro

While our campervans run off-grid, we do suggest having access to electrical hookups when temperatures dip below -10º C when you may need a battery top-up from running the heater. As we mention in the walk thru video, you can plug in the provided extension cord into any 110V outlet to activate our battery charger.

Heater Tips: You may have to start your heater a few times to get rid of air bubbles in the fuel line before it stays on. Please wait a few minutes before startups. Heaters run on a 10hr cycle before automatically shutting off by factory default. Do not set the heater above 22ºC or you may risk over-heating the heater and it not operating properly. Ensure the heater exhaust is clear of ice or debris. Ensure you have at least 1/2 tank of fuel. Ensure your battery voltage is above 12V.

Water Supply: We have winterized the water pumps to prevent freezing and will be supplying an empty portable blue water container for your use, which you’ll find in the campervan. DO NOT USE THE WATER PUMP AND FAUCET. You may use the “grey water” jug as normal. 

Tires and Chains: Our campervans are equipped with winter-rated tires from October 1-April 30th. Tire chains can be added on to your rental for a fee. If the roads are so bad that you require chains we highly recommend not driving on them and waiting until they are clear and it is safe to do so. The roads are well-maintained in the Canadian Rockies, however during heavy snowfall or winter storms, there is a risk of road closures or delays. Please consult Alberta 511 or Drive BC online for information on current highway conditions.

Winter Emergency Kit: We’ve outfitted our vans with an emergency kit in case you get stuck. This kit includes a shovel, an LED flare and hand warmers. These are for emergency uses only.

A Karma campervan parked in the snow.
Winter Activities

Winter Activities and Sights in the Rocky Mountains

Karma Campervans provides the perfect RV rental experience for anyone looking for a vacation in Banff or the Rocky Mountains.

Our home bases in Calgary, Vancouver, and the Okanagan Valley make it easy to pick up your campervan rental and head out to the Rocky Mountains.

Not sure what to do on your vacation? We have lots of suggestions!

We know one of the biggest hurdles when looking for a Banff adventure is the cost. Karma Campervans offers you an affordable and comfortable Banff getaway.

You can rent one of our exceptionally equipped campervans for as little as $89/night and find a campground in Banff National Park for as little as $30/night. If you’re looking for even more affordability when camping in the Rockies, we have plenty of tips about boondocking and free camping in the Canadian Rockies. There you have it! An affordable, comfortable, and beautiful Banff giveaway.

There are so many hidden gems in Banff, Alberta. The real trouble is trying to see them all! It’s impossible to do in just one trip, so we narrowed it down to the best winter attractions in Banff for you to choose from.

  1. Explore the trails! Strap on some snowshoes, go for a winter hike, or try out a fat tire bike. Always check the trail maps and conditions before you go.
  2. Dust off your skis! There are plenty of places to cross-country ski in Banff. Just brush up on your skiing etiquette before hitting the trails. If you prefer downhill skiing, the Rockies are the place to be! Ski the big 3 in Banff National Park, or skip the lines by ski-touring in the backcountry via road-accessible access points when it is safe to do so.
  3. Rest and relaxation is so much better when it includes a dip in the hot springs! The Rockies are known for the plentiful hot springs, a warm winter oasis surrounded by snow. Check out the world-famous Banff Upper Hot Springs, which is still open to the public. The natural springs are filled with water that pushes up 3 kilometres from the earth’s crust and the temperature varies seasonally.
  4. Go for a scenic drive in your Karma winter caravan. A few of our favourite drives in the Canadian Rockies are:

What about sightseeing? If you want to take it easy on your winter vacation, there’s still plenty for you to see in the Rocky Mountains. Points of interest in Banff National Park in the winter season:

  • Try outdoor ice skating at Lake Louise. The view is incredible! Another good spot to ice skate off the beaten path is Lake Minnewanka in the winter. It’s not as busy as Lake Louise, but the snow is usually shovelled off a portion of the lake. The road signs all say the loop to the lake is closed, but one-half is still open granting lake access.
  • Go snow tubing if you aren’t a skier. Mt. Norquay near the townsite of Banff offers tubing day passes!
  • Ride the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain for incredible views of the townsite and surrounding peaks.

Must-sees during winter in the Jasper National Park:

  • The Columbia Icefields: 25 kilometres across the Continental Divide between Alberta and British Columbia.
  • Athabasca Glacier
  • Crowfoot Glacier: A stop along the Icefields Parkway with a scenic view of a melting glacier.
  • Bow Lake: The source of the Bow River that flows 587 kilometres, through and past Calgary. All visible from this pullover: Mount Thompson and Crowfoot Mountain, as well as Wapta Icefield and Bow Glacier. A challenging 6-kilometre hike leads to Bow Glacier Falls. Explore at your own risk in avalanche season!
  • Peyto Lake is accessible via a short uphill stint from the highway and is uniquely recognizable from photos of the area.
  • Saskatchewan Crossing Viewpoint is a scenic stroll from the highway overlooking the Howse and Saskatchewan River Valleys.
  • Tangle Falls is a must-see pitstop along the Icefields Parkway.
  • Sunwapta Falls and the canyon view are accessible via the Icefields Parkway.
  • Athabasca Falls is a classic destination near Jasper that’s beautiful all year round!

Winter camping is exactly like summer camping, just a little colder. When packing for your winter road trip, here are a few items to consider.

  1. Layers! You’ll want the right outdoor gear, including a fitted base layer to protect from any wind, fleece for extra insulation, and waterproof jackets because no one wants to deal with the wet cold.
  2. Extras of all the basics: socks, sweaters, gloves and hats. Wear one set adventuring during the day and swap for the clean and warm counterparts in the evening.
  3. Drinking water that won’t freeze. You may want to bring insulated bottles to keep your water from freezing. Note: a large water container is provided for your trip
  4. Lots of easy snacks. Any time you’re camping, you want to stay hydrated and healthy. Pack lots of nutritious snacks you can easily grab on the go.
  5. A hot water bottle. You know the feeling of crawling into cold blankets even at home in the winter and how it takes a few minutes to warm up? Skip that chilly bit by tucking a hot water bottle into bed before you’re ready to hit the hay for the night.
  6. Fire starters and more wood than you think necessary. It’s a bit trickier to start a campfire in the snow, but fire starters help get the job done.
  7. A sled and snowshoes to carry your supplies around the campsite and pick up wood from the pile a little easier.
  8. And don’t forget to ensure your van’s fuel tank is full when heading out!
  9. You may also need snow chains if driving in heavy snow conditions. These can be added to your vehicle for a fee. (Although if the roads are so bad that they require chains, we recommend not driving on them until they are safe to do so)

Plan Your Campervan Ski Trip

Karma Campervans are perfect for Rocky Mountain ski trips! They’re much more affordable, especially if you want to stay directly on the hill. You can park your campervan in ski resort parking lots, or some hills have their own dedicated winter camping. Don’t worry about all your gear—our campervans have plenty of storage!

Skiis sitting in the snow.

Karma Campervans are perfect for Rocky Mountain ski trips! They’re much more affordable, especially if you want to stay directly on the hill. You can park your campervan in ski resort parking lots, or some hills have their own dedicated winter camping. Don’t worry about all your gear—our campervans have plenty of storage!

Which ski hills can you park your campervan at? Some of the best ski destinations in the Rockies allow this. Here’s the rundown on the big hills:

For more winter camping options visit Alberta Campground Guide or Camping and RV in BC Winter Camping Guide.

If it’s your first time skiing in the Canadian Rockies, you better be excited! The skiing is unlike any other. Here are a few things you should know to prepare yourself for the experience.

  1. You will need layers. With frequent chinooks, some days there’s fresh powder while you might only need a light jacket instead of a full parka. Skiers love thermal underlays and hand warmers.
  2. You will need water and snacks. Lots of people ski with small backpacks so they don’t get dehydrated while on the long runs. All the ski resorts have full restaurants somewhere on the hill though.
  3. Spare socks! There’s nothing worse than damp feet.
  4. Don’t forget your helmet. You need a bucket to protect your dome!
  5. Goggles with lenses for varying visibility. Sometimes the weather changes on each side of the mountain, and you don’t know what you’ll get until you’re up there.
  6. If you haven’t skied in a while (or ever), schedule a quick lesson on the mountain and get acquainted with the runs. With their professional help, you’ll feel much more confident going on your own.
  7. If you do know how to ski, but haven’t been in the Rockies before, be prepared for a learning curve. The ranking of runs is a little different in the West. What you might consider a blue is probably ranked a green run in the Rocky Mountains.
  8. Make use of the warm-up huts on the hill. It can get cold up there!
  9. Spend time skiing on easier hills before you go if you can.
  10. Study the trail map before your trip and bring one with you to refer to as needed. There are so many runs open on all the Rocky Mountain ski hills that it’s impossible to remember them all.

We’re often asked: Where can you park your campervan overnight in Banff National Park? We wrote a blog post with all the details, but here’s the Spark Notes version.

Technically, you can only camp overnight in designated Parks Canada campsites. However, with parks as big as Banff or Jasper, you have a few other options if you don’t set up a real camp, like your fire pit and picnic table. If you want to save some money and are okay with an unserviced parking spot, look for roadside stops, parking lots, or overnight street parking. Always check for signs before you tuck in for the night! Read all the details about parking your campervan in Banff here.

A road along a snow-covered mountainside.
Road Trip

Can We Help You Plan Your Rocky Mountain Road Trip?

Have any questions? Ask us! We’re happy to help you plan your winter camping trip in the Rocky Mountains. Above all, we want you to have fun and stay safe when camping! Especially in the winter months.

Ready to hit the road? Share your Karma camping trips with us on social media by tagging us @KarmaCampervans and using the hashtag #GoodCamping. Need some winter camping tips? Our staff are avid campers and are always ready to help. See you out there!

Rocky Mountains

Rocky Mountain Campgrounds And Camping Spots

We love that our home base is so close to the Rocky Mountains in the big city of Calgary and we’ve made it our mission to show Karma guests what all the hype is about. Choose from one of these many winter campgrounds just a short drive from Calgary. You won’t want to head home after your road trip.

Finding a campground that’s open (and good!) in the winter might seem a bit tricky, so we’ve made a list of our favourites. Take your pick!


Choose a Location:

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.