When you are ready to go out on your camping trip in the winter, it’s best that you are prepared to the fullest. Let’s look at winter camping, what it is and what equipment you will need to enjoy your trip.
Winter camping is living outdoors in the snow and cold. It may sound like it isn’t a lot of fun, however if you prepare for your winter camping trip, it can be a source of great fun. Winter camping is challenging and adventurous and has many benefits. It’s easier to find a camping spot in winter because not very many people camp out in the winter as they do in the summertime. It’s fun to camp where it is quiet and there are no other campers or crowds to bother you. Of course, it goes without saying that the physical and health benefits are great – you are exerting yourself physically trudging through or on the snow, as well as breathing in crisp, fresh air.
There are some basic things you will need for equipment when you go out winter camping.
- Sleeping bag for extreme temperatures
You will need a good sleeping bag . Don’t worry too much about the manufacturer’s cold rating, because they are tested in lab-perfect settings. Get a good sleeping bag with the coldest rating you can. Be sure to warm it before you climb in for the night by lying on top of it. You should change into clean, dry clothes before you go to bed too – clothes that don’t have any moisture build up in them from your day of camping.
- Puma Knife / Survival Knife
Packing a puma or other survival knife (a fold-back knife that locks open) is also necessary. It will give you the ability to cut through ropes, twigs or anything else you need to. Many survival knives also include various blade sizes for different jobs, compact scissors for trimming fishing lines or ropes, and screwdrivers in case you need to make small vehicle repairs. Look for a knife that can fit in your pocket or on a belt if you are looking to reduce the amount of space your equipment takes up. Additionally, a quality, sturdy knife offers some protection against wildlife.
- LED Lantern
A LED lantern is the best light source available for outdoor recreation, including winter camping or hiking. Though LED lanterns cost slightly more than regular lamps initially, the LED lanterns are longer lasting. The bulbs last hundreds of hours longer than typical lanterns and use less battery power, which saves you money in the end. That means you can be confident that your light source will not fail you at a critical time. A lantern is perfect for illuminating an entire camp site while cooking food or setting up camp.
- LED Headlamp
If you are going to be doing any hiking, climbing or cave hiking while winter camping, then you will want to purchase a LED headlamp. LED headlamps are exceptionally brighter than regular headlamps and last much longer. The light produced from a LED headlamp is much better than a regular headlamp as well – more defined and brighter means that you can see better without using your hands.
- LED Flashlight
You should always carry a LED flashlight with you on your person or in your bag, in addition to in your vehicle. When you sleep at night, you should keep your LED flashlight beside you in case you need to get up in the middle of the night for something. LED flashlights last much longer than typical flashlights and will produce a better quality light. They also are available in compact sizes so they don’t take up much room and can be easily stored. With a LED flashlight, you don’t have to worry so much about the bulbs burning out because the LED flashlight bulbs last much longer than typical flashlight bulbs and use less battery power.
Don’t forget to take lots of water with you. It’s a good idea to put hot water in your bottle when you go out for the day. It will keep your bag warm as well as keep the water from freezing.
Winter camping takes a lot more energy than you may realize, so be sure to pack lots of proteins, minerals, vitamins and fats in a steady diet to keep yourself healthy and your core temperature normal.
Winter camping is a lot of fun but you must be prepared in order to really enjoy your trip. Always make a plan for your winter camping trip – where you’ll be staying or hiking, the general area, what you will be doing and when. Give a copy of your itinerary to family or friends in case you end up lost. Include a map of the area that you will be in for your family and friends as well to aid in a search should one need to happen. Always check in, when you can, with your family so that you can be sure that you are 100 percent safe during your winter camping expedition.
~ Ben Anton, 2008