There is a common misconception about camping in cold weather. It is assumed to be something extreme or impossible. In reality, as long as you have the right tent and gear, you can camp during the off-season with your friends or family for an experience unlike any other.
Of course, if you are a beginner, you may not be certain regarding going about camping when it is cold. But that does not mean you should not try it. Keeping this in mind, if you are up for the challenge, here are some tips to consider for your next camping trip in the cold.
How to set up your Campsite
First, know how to set up your campsite. When it comes to finding a campsite, look for one that isn’t under a tree with branches heavy with snow. Once you have found the perfect place, you will need a shovel to clear the snow around your campsite. Dig in the snow for your tent to protect it from the cold wind. Moreover, if you pack snow under your tent, you will have more than enough sleeping space to sleep comfortably.
On the other hand, spend as much time as required to organize your campsite. Especially if you are going to be shoveling, prepare your site as earlier than sunset. Also, if you are going to keep things outside your tent, take a tarp to protect them from snow.
Wear good Snowshoes
If possible, take good snowshoes along. If not, then skis should do the trick for you.
With the right shoes on, you will set up camp in no time. While setting up camp, make sure the area you are about to pitch your tent is even. But that is not all. Make sure the snow is solid and does not give away when you finally set up your tent. Failing to do so can result in the tent floor sinking into the snow. Now, you wouldn’t want that, would you?
Wear Woolen Clothing
If you will go camping in the cold, you will most definitely make a fire. Whether the fire is to cook food or dry your clothes, the last thing you want is your clothes getting damaged by the flames. If you will sit next to a campfire for hours, make sure the clothes you are wearing can withstand the high temperatures.
It is best to stick to woolen clothing. Surprisingly, wool has the best fireproof properties out of all the natural materials you can think of.
Keep Extra Gloves and Hats Handy
No matter how many pairs of gloves or hats you take along with you, they will never be enough. You must understand and realize that winter camping is completely different. Simply put, you will eventually require extra gloves and hats to keep yourself warm at all times.
On the other hand, pay close attention to your skin. The cold can take a toll on you if you are not careful. It is wise to apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly to exposed skin to prevent frostbites and windburns.
Take the Right Sleeping Bag
If you want to stay warm and sleep comfortably while winter camping, you will need a thick sleeping bag. In fact, take two just in case you need to protect yourself from the cold from the ground. If temperatures drop, then put other clothes under your sleeping bag to keep yourself warm enough to sleep without getting up in the middle of the night.
Dry your Sleeping Bag during the Day
Once you have slept enough, and it is time to go about your daily activities. Make sure you take out your sleeping bag to dry. After turning the sleeping bag inside out, place it on top of your tent under the sun. But remember to buy a sleeping bag with a black interior so that it dries quicker.
Boil Snow for Water
If you are camping during winters, you will never have to worry about a water shortage ever again. You will not have to worry about taking purification tablets and water filters. All you need to do is to boil the snow. Now, this does not mean the snow around you is sanitary to be consumed directly. Snowflakes contain dust, so basically, snow is not sterile. You simply fill your cooking pot with snow and boil it. Doing so will ensure the water to safe to consume. In fact, you will have all the water you will ever need for your camping trip.
Additional Tips to Keep in Mind
- Invest in a quality canvas tent. It will serve as your home away from home.
- Don’t forget to take batteries and lighting sources like candles, lanterns or flashlights.
- To avoid burns or freezing, take camp chairs along with you. Do not sit directly on the snow.
- Electronics and gadgets lose power quickly in the cold. Take power banks with you so you are not out for the count.
- Take meals that are easy and quick to prepare.
- As already mentioned earlier, boiling snow for water is an excellent idea. But you will need more fuel than usual.
- To make a fire, come prepared with paper, lighter and wood. Don’t forget those fire starters either.
- Do not underestimate how cold it can be. Since many campsites lack services during winters, you may not be able to buy wood when you need it the most. For this reason, take enough wood with you beforehand.
The aforementioned ideas are a few of many others that can be integrated into your next camping trip when it is cold. Hopefully, you will have all the information you need to have a fun trip, despite being a beginner. But then again, there is no harm in doing additional homework online, since it will only make you better prepared for the challenges you may have to face at your campsite.