Very few people prefer to camp during the winter, because there is the scare of frostbite or other curveballs Mother Nature might decide to throw. However, camping in the winter has its advantages, such as having more options for camping locations. The lack of other campers yields a quiet experience that bonds nature, spirit and body together.
It is vital, however, to keep in mind that the harsh weather of winter makes camping much rougher than in the summer. Even little things take much longer to accomplish due to the bitter cold and extra equipment you have to lug around. Not to mention the days are much shorter in the winter, which means you have much less time to get things done while the sun is still up. Because of this, it’s important to be over prepared rather than underprepared in order to get the most out of your camping experience. Therefore every winter camper should bring a basic assortment of gear to get the most out of camping in the winter.
Winter Camping Preparation Tips
- If you carry a camera, make sure to tuck it in a warm place (such as your jacket). Otherwise, the cold will affect the LED screen, making it operate slowly and possibly causing damage.
- When not using your LED flashlight, keep your batteries inside your pocket. If batteries get cold, they may not work properly.
- Tie a string to your LED flashlight to secure around your neck when using it.
- Store your clothing in an airtight sack to avoid moisture seepage.
- Hang damp hats and mittens on dry surfaces to avoid dreaded sublimation.
- Avoid setting items in the snow, as you may forget where you set them.
- Do not wear cotton; the cold air ruins its insulation properties.
- Do not use metal cups or whistles; the cold metal will stick to the warm tissues of the mouth.
- Wear black or dark clothing. Dark clothes absorb heat from the sun, providing much needed heat for your body.
- Bring sleeping bags with excellent cold ratings. Warm it up before sleeping by lying on top of it.
- Carry a survival knife that folds back and locks open. Survival knives with different blade sizes, scissors, etc. are perfect multi-tools for cutting ropes, twigs, and more.
- Bring an LED lantern, as they last longer than normal lanterns and illuminate the night much better than other lanterns.
- Carry an LED headlamp whenever hiking, climbing or cave exploring. Just like the LED lanterns, LED headlamps are much brighter than normal lights in addition to longer lasting.
- Bring lots of water for your camping trip. Even in the severe cold it is easy to become dehydrated from hiking due to sweating under layers of clothes. Whenever you go hiking, fill your water bottle with hot water to keep it from freezing over.
- Carry a lot of food rich in protein, minerals, vitamins and fats.
- Sports equipment bag and/or duffel bag.
- A jacket with a zipper to keep from getting too sweaty while hiking.
- Snow pants to keep your legs dry, along with extra pairs of pants.
- Wear wool sweaters or polar fleece sweatshirts instead of cotton.
- Wear long sleeve shirts made of wool of synthetic fiber.
- Bring long underwear to keep your vitals toasty.
- Keep your hands warm by bringing several pairs of winter gloves or mittens.
- Bring at least two hats, one for sleeping and one for the day. Hats keep your head warm, effectively keeping the rest of your body warm.
- Bring a plastic mess-kit for eating; include a bowl, cup, fork, spoon and plate.
- Bring lots and lots of toilet paper.
While camping during the winter may be harsh, following the guidelines mentioned above will make your experience as enjoyable and safe as possible. Without the proper gear, your camping trip can quickly turn into a winter nightmare. If you take all the right precautions, winter camping will prove itself to be a beautiful experience that opens new worlds to you. Besides, who can pass up an opportunity to depart from the hectic environment of human civilization to reflect on the natural earth in the peace of winter?