Camping is a way of spending time in the wilderness to experience nature. While it can be a relaxing and fun activity for experienced individuals, it also takes patience and the proper know-how to live away from the comforts of home.
Camping is not only a great way to disconnect from the overwhelming impacts of technology; it is also an opportunity to challenge yourself by experiencing the outdoors in extreme weather conditions, such as camping during the winter season.
If you’d like to try camping in winter, here is a guide to get you started.
1. Check The Weather Conditions
A good camping experience relies heavily on weather conditions. More experienced campers may find it convenient to set up camp despite rain or snow. If you are a beginner, who wants to stay as dry as possible, you should check the weather forecast before a camping trip. You should also verify if avalanches are frequent in the area. If so, it is best to pack your avalanche equipment to keep you safe throughout your adventure.
For your security and convenience, you can check the status of the campsite online and determine whether the conditions are favorable.
- Understand The Basics Of Winter Camping
Winter camping has many differences compared to summer camping. You need to put good thought into the following before you embark on a winter camping trip.
- There are three types of winter camping: cold camping, hot tenting, and building a quinzhee. In cold camping, you don’t have a heat source in your tent. Hot tenting means using a tent that can accommodate a wood stove. Building a quinzhee is a snow shelter that can take a long time to make and requires skill. As a beginner, you can choose the most accessible and convenient way to build your shelter.
- When camping in the winter, ensure that you bring the appropriate camping gear. Prepare a sturdy tent, a down sleeping bag for winter, and thermal sleeping pads. Avoid four-season tents that are bulkier; instead, choose tents that are made for harsher conditions and that you can pitch faster.
- Warm clothing is a must in winter camping. Pack some base layers, waterproof jackets, puffy coats, fleece pants, regular pants, warm gloves, and socks. Wear waterproof boots.
- Winter camping may cause you some cold injuries like frostbite and hypothermia. To avoid these, educate yourself about these possibilities, and pack a first aid kit that can sufficiently address the concerns.
Pack healthy foods and bring lots of water to keep you warm. It’s best to get high-energy, well-rounded foods with plenty of fat and calories that can generate body heat.
3. Mind Your Experience Level
While experience can make your winter camping trip convenient and enjoyable, you’re not required to have any if you want to try camping in the cold winter. By being mindful of your experience level, you can gauge the length of your trip, the activities you can partake in, and the gear you need to bring.
Remember not to go overboard. Someone who has been camping in the wilderness for years may be more comfortable planning a multi-day winter camping trip. But if you’re only a rookie, you can set a one-night trip as a starting point to see if winter camping is something you can do.
You can also learn different ways of staying warm to ease into winter camping. The more you know how to survive in the winter cold, the easier it will be for you.
4. Know How To Pitch A Tent In The Snow
Beginners may want to camp out using a tent and leave the igloos and dugouts for those more experienced. Pitching a tent gives you a different experience depending on your location. If you plan to camp in an area without snow, you can set up your tent the usual way.
If the area has a few inches of snow, you must pack loose snow by stomping around it with snow boots. If the place is windy, build a wall around the tent or dig out a couple of feet of snow, where you can set up the tent to reduce the impact of the wind. To hold down the tent, use stakes made for snow. Weight it down if you have to.
5. Safely Heat Your Tent
As mentioned before, you can pack a tent stove and use it with an appropriate tent to keep you warm. You also have the option of simply building a fire right outside your tent where you can cook.
While these are practical measures, there are more ways to stay warm such as heating water bottles by the fire. Candle lanterns can also be hung on top of the tent to heat it. Heating stones or rocks and then sleeping on them is also one proven way to sleep warmly.
As a beginner, you can go winter camping by learning different tips and tricks to stay safe and warm. The weather conditions are a great determiner in deciding what to bring and how long the trip should last. Whether you are new to camping in general or only during the winter, arming yourself with knowledge can help you avoid dire consequences.