Learning how to camp in winter is undoubtedly awesome. It is a one-of-a-kind experience that you should try even at least once in your lifetime.
Mother Nature during the snow and cold season is serene. If you are in the right place, you can describe the surroundings as majestic. Everything is calm and placid. No bugs. Not utter disturbances or whatsoever.
But of course, utter preparation is essential to ensure that the adventure will be pleasurable. Keep in mind that the temperature, visibility, and terrain can influence the outcome of any winter camping trip.
Clothing is essential for your survival during a winter hike. You should never disregard it, as you might suffer from hypothermia and frostbites if you are too nonchalant.
One layer of clothing is not sufficient for a winter hike. It requires at least three layers so that you remain comfortable and insulated.
Thick jackets are the best choice here, as they have excellent insulating capabilities. You can either opt for jackets made from fleece or synthetic. If you are going to get fleece, make sure that it weighs substantially. Get a pair of long underwear or fleece pants for your legs.
If you are expecting a terrain that is covered by snow, wearing a pair of simple hiking boots should be enough. However, if the snow is too deep already, a mountaineering boot must be your priority. It is waterproof and provides maximum levels of insulation. You can use gaiters to prevent the snow from entering your boots.
It is not enough that you know what to wear. You also have to know what to carry, secure, and prioritize in any winter adventure. Of course, I have to emphasize that these gears should be durable, tough, and temperature-resistant.
Never forget to pack the following items:
The tent is your shelter in the wild. But since we are dealing with low temperatures and unfavorable external conditions, your tent has to be some kind of "special."
The backpack is indeed a piece of outdoor equipment that you should prioritize is any winter hike. Keep in mind that you will be bringing a lot of stuff for this particular excursion. Hence, it is ideal if the backpack you carry is both spacious, organized, and easy to handle.
As a recommendation, you should pack items that would help you last two to four days. Meanwhile, here are some of the sizes of backpacks that are fitted for a winter hike.
You will not experience the pleasure of a winter camp if you are going to stay a night or two. Of course, this is where sleeping bags come in. When choosing a sleeping bag for winter jaunts, it is necessary that its temperature rating is 10 degrees Fahrenheit than the actual external temperature.
It is not sufficient to have a sleeping bag alone. You also need a sleeping pad for better cushioning and insulation. It is a bad thing if you will just lie directly on the floor of the tent. It will send a lot of discomfort throughout your body.
It is ideal if you pack two sleeping pads. Doing this will prevent your body from losing its heat, especially if you are camping in the snowy terrain. The combination of a closed-cell foam pad and a self-inflating pad drastically reduces the coldness emanating from the ground.
Furthermore, be mindful of the R-value of a sleeping pad. It ranges from 1 to 8. The higher the number, the stronger is the ability to insulate. For winter camping, get sleeping pads that have an R-value of 5 or higher.
Cooking is still essential in a winter camp. That's definite. You need to fill your tummy with warm delicacies so that you can combat the cold.
Of course, backpacking is useful when it comes to this task. Fortunately, there is a myriad of stoves that you can choose from. Specifically, they just vary on the fuel they use.
A liquid-fuel stove is excellent for low temperatures. It has a clean burn, too. However, this is somewhat heavy. Moreover, it is slow in cooking, too.
Meanwhile, a canister stove is both lightweight and compact, which is ideal for any camping and backpacking adventures. But at the same time, it doesn't do well in the cold weather.
Given the complexities, I think bringing a liquid-fuel stove is suitable in low-temperature applications. If you still opt for canister stoves, make sure that they have a pressure regulator to enhance its flame generation.
You might want to consider a sleep if the destination is pretty distant. You can put your items there so that you drag them conveniently.
There are times when camping in the winter is not a good idea. For instance, blizzards and strong winds can make things difficult for you. These things might even trigger avalanches, and that's not something that you don't want to encounter.
Always be on the lookout for the weather forecast. Always plan ahead and never miss any reports coming from the weather station. These are the information that could potentially save your life from danger.
If the weather out there is terrible, cancel the trip. Find some other day where the coast is clear. Always remember that camping is for leisure and fun. It is not done for thrill-seeking and putting your life at stake.
If you want to fight off the temperatures during the winter season, your body must be dry all the time. Sweat and moisture can amplify the coldness you can feel.
Keep in mind that water is an excellent conductor of heat. It causes a rapid drop in the temperature of your body by cooling it down.
This is one of the reasons why you need to pack extra clothes during your trip. Once you start perspiring, stop and peel the layers of your clothing. In this way, you can regulate your body heat.
Furthermore, this also highlights the importance of waterproofing and waterproof gears. As much as possible, you must protect your skin from being breached by water. Don't let the snow touch your feet or any of your extremities.
You can optimize the insulation of your tent by filling it with your camping utilities. You see, too much space diffuses the heat in the air. If the content of your tent is just you, then expect that you can feel chills.
If you deem that your tent is roomy, you should put your camping equipment there. Of course, you just have to leave the wet ones outside. In doing this, you will be able to trap the warm air in a limited space, allowing you to feel cozier.
It is also a good idea to keep your gadgets close to you. I have to inform you that low temperatures can suck up the juice of batteries. Hence, they should be kept warm, too.
Keep in mind that sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and tents don't create heat. If they have insulating capabilities, then the best they can do is to trap heat, not create it.
It is actually your duty to heat your body so that you can fend off the coldness. Aside from setting a campfire, it is also a good idea to stretch and do some exercises. Your body heats up while doing physical activities.
You can run or repeatedly jump until such time you are feeling the heat growing inside you. If you are sweating, change your clothes. After that, slip inside your sleeping bag so that you can maintain cozy body temperature.
The process of digesting and breaking down of nutrients also generates body heat. If you are feeling cold, it is wise to eat some snacks. Doing this can kick start the metabolism of your system.
Energy bars, chocolates, and jerkies can provide you with calories. An hour before bedtime, have warm intakes. A bowl of soup or a cup of milk can undoubtedly prevent you from shivering.
The success of winter camping is also dependent on the conduciveness of your campsite.
There are preferences when it comes to this matter. But if we are talking about comfort and safety, several guidelines can be taken into account.
The general idea that you have to be in an area where there's natural protection against the elements. Don't camp on the bottom of hills and cliffs as they are prone to landslides and avalanches.
You also don't want to settle on the top of a mountain or hill. These are places where the winds are strong.
Ideally, the choice here is an area where the ground is flat. If there's snow, compress it by walking or stepping. Stuffed snow provides minimal insulation than dispersed snow.
These are the methods that can ensure that your winter camp is splendid and free from any inconveniences. While it is true that dealing with low temperatures is an arduous task, it is not impossible either. You just have to come prepared.
Do you know other tips on how to camp in winter? If yes, share it with us in the comment section below!