by Vince Tuscano
Winter camping means having to deal with harsh elements and cold weather. The latter is perhaps the most outstanding feature of the winter camping experience. Cold weather can be a source of great discomfort for many, but for some survivalists, camping in the snow poses an exciting challenge and is a way to put your skills to the test. If you’re well prepared and know what you’re doing, winter camping can help you better understand your capabilities as well as your limits.
Winter Camping Tips
While winter camping is not everyone’s idea of fun, it can still be made enjoyable and comfortable. The important thing is to be prepared as you will be needing more gear than you would while camping in the summer.
There are lots of benefits to be gained from winter camping. There are fewer campers, more space, and cheaper fees. You won’t be bothered by bugs. If you are properly equipped, you will enjoy a restful sleep. The campfire also becomes more enjoyable in the snow.
To make the most of your winter camping experience, you need the right gear, the right attitude and these tips that we have collected:
1. Prepare for winter camping.
To bug out or not becomes a critical decision when we are faced with an emergency, disaster or when SHTF. Winter is a season that involves a lot of preparations for everyone. But for preppers, winter preparations don’t just mean planning your winter wardrobe and arranging Christmas decorations. It should also involve carefully organizing a winter bug out kit just in case the unexpected occurs. Read more…
2. Go to bed warm.
Warmth originates from within, and any insulation from a sleeping bag or clothing is merely concerned with keeping it there. It’s pointless bedding down if you’re already freezing, so get warm by doing star-jumps before going to bed or performing sit-ups or press-ups in your sleeping bag. Click here for the full post.
3. Eat for warmth and energy.
If you are expecting a cold night or period you should adapt your food to it. Your body basically burns sugars to create heat for itself. Therefore it is a good idea to add a bit more butter to your menu. Also pasta is a great energy source. These foods are long-term sugars. Your body will stock them in the form of fat and convert them to sugar when needed. Of course you should add short-term sugars too during the day to keep going. This is what I would eat on a day of winter-expeditioning. See more…
4. Pack the snow.
Before setting up your tent, pack down your campsite. If you have skis or snowshoes, that means tramping around hard until all the snow is packed. If you’re shod only in boots this will take some time, but if you don’t do this, you run the risk of stepping into a soft bit of snow in your tent and tearing the floor. Continue reading.
5. Stay dry.
If your inner layers get wet, you will be cold. Bring extra clothes that you can put on when you get wet (even if you don’t plan to use them). This also extends to your gear: if it starts raining, sleeting, or snowing, cover your gear with a waterproof layer or put it in your tent, the trailer, car, shelter, etc. When there is wet weather – stay out of your tent as much as possible. When we go in there unnecessarily we take a lot of ice/water with us into our tent and everything gets wet. If it’s wet it will be cold! When you pack your extra clothes in your backpack, put them in a plastic bag to help keep them dry. Read more…
6. Start fall and winter trips early in the morning.
I will never forget the ski trip I did one November where we didn’t start quite early enough in the morning to reach our cabin before dark. We’d forgotten how early the sun goes down in November and we hadn’t budgeted enough time with the trail breaking we were doing in deep snow. We never did reach that cabin and it was a long ski back to the cars by headlamp as we finally arrived at the vehicles near midnight. Lesson learned! Short days require a very early start if you have many miles to cover before reaching camp. (And another reason to choose a trip that’s short and easy). To read the whole article, click here.
7. Snow is a variable matter and only rarely is one situation is like the next.
In soft snow you will have to dig down a little and tread the snow before you pitch your tent. Next time the snow may be rock hard and you set up your tent as you would in summer. It is desirable to get your tent somewhat lower into the snow, but never further than half the height of the tent. This way it is less exposed to the wind and it prevents the wind from getting under the tent. You can also support your tent by shoveling some snow against the sides. But do not dig your tent down too deep! Wind and snowfall may cover you tent altogether or at least block the entrances. See more….
8. Keep your matches in a metal, not plastic, container.
Plastic can break if frozen. Always pack way more than you think you’ll need. For the full list, click here.
9. Put boiling water in your water bottle and sleep with it at your feet.
Fill your water bottle with boiling water (make sure it’s able to withstand boiling temperatures, like a Nalgene) and put a sock around it. Keep it in your sleeping bag for extra warmth. In the morning, you’ll have non-frozen water to drink.Continue reading.
10. Don’t go alone.
You should always camp with someone else when the weather is cold, in case of emergencies. Always leave behind a detailed trip plan and do not deviate from that plan. Read more…
11. Improve zipper pulls.
Most of the ones on jackets, pit zips, and leg vents aren’t necessarily designed to be used with big gloves or bulky mittens. I add pieces of lanyard roughly 3 inches long. – See more at: http://www.backpacker.com/skills/beginner/winter-camping/winter-camping-tips/
12. Regulate your temperature on your hike.
It’s easier to stay warm than it is to re-warm. Don’t let yourself get chilled, or sweaty. Anticipate upcoming temperature and layering changes to stay ahead of them. For example, it’s smarter to layer up just before reaching a windy ridge top than it is to top out, get chilled, and then fight against the wind while layering up. Click here to read the whole article.
13. Don’t cook in the tent.
Cooking inside a tent can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning –ventilation is critical. Set up a cooking tarp with good ventilation. See more…