RoVent: Winter Camping Skills

RoVent are annual winter camps, for Scouting youth and Girl Guides aged 15-26. Since its 1974, Manning Park has been home to British Columbia’s RoVent camp, and it has grown over the years to become one of the province’s largest winter camps! This year marked the 45th anniversary for RoVent, and the fun theme for the weekend was Pokémon, accompanied by great activities and events.

Camp adventures planned by the volunteers and staff are always a highlight of RoVent, with new activities based on the camp’s theme, including returning favourites from past years. For each theme, participants are encouraged to bring props and attire to match.

RoVent 2019 featured popular activities like ‘snow golf’, hockey tournaments, snowshoeing, cooking contests, eating contests and a dance night. At the end of the weekend, trophies were awarded to the groups that performed the best in each activity and had the best spirit.

Rovent - Hockey

There is no doubt— winter camping can be challenging, especially in the mountains with unpredictable weather and no running water. At RoVent, that meant that all amenities required had to be brought to the campsite by each group. Following the Scouting motto, “Be prepared”, Venturer and Rover Scouts were ready for all types of weather conditions and packed accordingly.

When packing for a winter camp, I highly suggest lining your backpack with a water resistant utility bag, wrapping the sleeping bag in another similar protector, and keeping clothes in a water resistant stuff bag. In the past, there have been incidences where bags accidentally fell into creeks, or snow seeped into campers’ backpacks—leaving their clothes wet. Once this occurs it is extremely difficult to completely dry the clothes on site. By keeping clothes in waterproof packing bags, avoid your contents from being exposed to moisture and the elements.

Also, keep sleeping gear easily accessible in the backpack, especially if your group is arriving to the campsite in the evening. This eases the unpacking process and prevents individuals from having to unpack their entire bag to find their sleeping gear.

To keep warm during winter camps, I typically bring hot pads which can be placed in gloves and socks to keep extremities warm. Another tip is to fill a water bottle with hot water for warmth right before bedtime. Wrap it in something water resistant to avoid leaks and place it at the base of your sleeping bag to keep your feet warm.

In 2013, I attended my first RoVent winter camp at Manning Park. The entire weekend, it snowed with temperatures dipping below -15C. Then on Saturday night, we got caught in a blizzard! If our group had not been prepared for the weekend, we would have been wet and miserable in the weather. Attending a “cold talk” prior to the camp, conducted by the RoVent staff, also helped us prepare—and I certainly recommend all campers join a cold talk in advance!

Catch fun highlights from RoVent 2019, on Scouts Canada’s Instagram.

Rovent 2019

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