Have you ever been winter camping? Well if not then I can tell you that even though it can get quite cold it is just as much fun as camping in the other three seasons so long as you have the right clothing and equipment and are packed properly to take on the cold weather. In return, you’ll experience camping with absolutely no bugs and a constant cool winter breeze.
Having the right items to keep you warm and safe, finding the right location for your camp and making sure that you are sleeping in the right bag for the temperatures are all critical to a successful trip.
Here are my my top ten tips for a great Winter adventure:
1. CHECK THE WEATHER BEFOREHAND.
Always make sure to research what you are in for when it comes to weather before running into the great outdoors.
2. PACK LAYERS.
After checking the weather you will know if you are expecting something unique or unusual and can decide which clothes to pack. No matter what the weather will be you should always pack layers, and as you start to sweat you can remove them. Adjust your layers so that you do not get too warm. It is always important to be warm but not wet, otherwise as soon as you slow down the sweat will freeze.
3. BE PREPARED.
Make sure you are packing properly and all set to take on whatever nature throws at you. That means that you have everything to keep you warm, you have the right gear and you have done your research on foods and animals.
4. PACK EXTRA FUEL FOR YOUR STOVE.
Although you may think that you have packed enough fuel for your meals, you also have to remember that if you are going to boil snow to make water you will need extra fuel. In the winter your fuel will also tend to burn off much faster than it would in the summer due to the temperature difference.
5. PACK THE SNOW.
Before setting up your tent, pack down the snow on the spot where you will be setting up your tent. If you have skis or snowshoes, you can stomp around until all the snow is packed. If you only have your boots it will take much longer (so consider starting a fire if that’s permitted).
6. BOIL THE SNOW.
When you go winter camping there are few things that you may not have direct access to, and fresh water is one of them. It’s almost always available in different forms though. Instead of bringing a water filter(which will not be of much use to you with a block of snow or ice) you can boil the snow and turn it into drinkable water. You won’t even have to bring any extra materials, you already have a pot and stove for your meals!
7. FLIP YOUR WATER BOTTLES UPSIDE DOWN.
If you turn your water bottle upside-down it will keep the water from freezing over. Ice forms from the top down, so keeping the spout of your container facing down prevents it from getting blocked by ice. This will also insulate the bottle and keep the water cold but not frozen.
8. BRING EXTRA TOQUES AND MITTS.
You may think that one toque and one pair of mitts is enough but you will want a back-up pair once your first set gets wet. You may not realize that they are wet either. Make sure to change into warm and dry mitts after a bit of exercise. Wear the same damp ones for a long time and you risk freezing.
9. BRING SNOWSHOES.
If there is only a little bit of snow on the ground then hiking would be you best option, but if there is a good thick layer of snow then you may want something more secure that will float on the snow instead of sink into it. Snowshoes or skis work best for that. Snowshoeing is also a lot like hiking so it is easy to get the hang of it and you will learn a new skill.
10. PACK A SLED.
If you will be hiking into your campsite with all of your gear, a sled would be a great idea. Having a sled would permit you to divide gear between the sled and your pack. Reducing the weight on your back allows you to pack more and still be comfortable while hiking into your campsite.
Although going camping in the winter may seem like the worst idea in the world, if you are well prepared and ready for whatever gets thrown your way, I find that it’s the best time of year to go camping. You get to experience the best sunsets over the snow and the sparkle of fresh fallen snow (and those pesky biting insects are frozen stiff!).