Winter camping can be extremely fun. Camping doesn’t always have to be sunny, offer idyllic views, and involve hiking trails full of colorful wildlife. Sometimes fighting the elements and testing yourself brings out the best in you and will give you a more memorable trip.
Whatever the reason, winter camping is a little more testing than summer camping. There are a few extra things to think of, and not being fully prepared can cause you some serious problems.
With that being said, here are a few things to take into account if you’re new to winter camping:
Wrap up Warm, Then Warmer
Anyone who has been too cold and too hot will tell you that being too cold is by far the worse of the two. So wrap up warm and don’t feel bad about going a little over the top on the layers. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and it’s not difficult to remove a layer or two should the weather change.
Don’t forget gloves, a hat, and some warm socks. Keeping your hands, head, and feet warm is incredibly important. Check your boots aren’t damaged before setting out on each camping trip too, a leaky boot can ruin a good trip.
Keep Well Hydrated
It’s not just the hot summer weather that saps your energy and dehydrates you. It’s just as important to stay hydrated in cold conditions. You can drink warm drinks to warm you up while you keep hydrated as a win-win.
Choose a Good Spot to Set up Camp
Where you choose to set up camp and be make or break. It’s hard to list everything you need to look out for, and a lot of it becomes intuitive the more you camp (and learn from mistakes). When camping in cold conditions however you need to check from which way the sun will rise.
Having the morning sun shining down on you is going to make all the difference and boost the temperature a degree or two. Avoid drafty spots or wind traps too. Do everything you can to make the most of the spots available.
Know Several Methods to Make Fire
One of the first things you learn at Boy Scouts is how to make a small camping fire. This is because it’s extremely important and may just save your life one day. Not to mention warm food on a cold day feels awesome.
Waterproof matches are always a good idea. I pack some of those and have them hidden in one of my backpack pockets for emergencies. I also have an auto-ignition stove, and some magnesium fire starters.
Don’t Let Damp into the Tent
This is another one that is a painful lesson learned for most people. I recommend checking, then double checking that your tent isn’t going to leak anywhere. Because once it starts, it’s often too late to put a plug in it.
Take into account how level the ground is you’re pitching on too. If you have some heavy rainfall overnight are you going to be surrounded by a moat? Or worse, will you find yourself in the middle of free-flowing water?
Settle into Bed Nice and Snug
Don’t get caught out by temperatures dropping sharply overnight. Sleep in at least a couple of layers of your clothing and wrap up in a nice high tog sleeping bag. Take the previous tips seriously and don’t let any damp into your tent. You may notice condensation building up inside the tent too, this is because your breath is a lot warmer than the temperature of the air. There isn’t much you can do about it other than airing out the tent the next day.
There you have it. Some of the basics, but often overlooked essentials to consider when winter camping. But, most importantly, don’t let anything (including the weather) ruin your experience. Keep warm, keep safe, and happy camping!