Winter camping tips
Are you adventurous enough for winter camping?
Let’s be honest, there are many of us that cringe at the thought of trudging out in the snow to go tent camping in the dead of winter. However, with the right gear and the right smarts, winter camping can actually provide an incredibly peaceful and rejuvenating experience. Here are 10 winter camping tips to take into consideration before packing your bags.
Pack the snow
Wherever you decide to set up camp, it’s crucial to pack down the snow first. If you have snow shoes or skis along this can make the job quicker. A good pair of boots will assist you as well, although it may take you a bit longer. Packing down the snow ensures you don’t puncture a hole in your tent when accidentally stepping on some soft snow.
Chemical filtration systems take longer to work in the cold. Your best bet for safe water is boiling snow. Do not assume that snow is sterile! Boiling it is a necessary step for your health and safety.
Pack a pee bottle
No one wants to trudge out into the cold and snow to heed nature’s call in the middle of the night. Pack a very clearly designated bottle that will allow you to relieve yourself inside the tent during the night.
Bring appropriate sleeping pads
You lose the most heat through conductive heat loss. An appropriate sleeping pad (or two) is not just about padding in the winter – it’s about staying warm. Make sure your pad has an r value of 4 or more.
Sleep with your boots
This may sound like a silly recommendation, but trust us. There is nothing worse than sliding your feet into cold, frozen boots in the morning. If you have removable liners to your boots, you can slip those into the bottom of your sleeping bag. No removable liners? Stick your boots in there for a warm greeting for your toes in the morning.
Pack extra hats & gloves
Hat and gloves have similar tendencies to socks in the dryer. They just happen to go missing no matter how diligent you are. Make sure you pack an extra set (or two) for those times when they scamper off.
For any electronics you’re bringing along, you’ll want to choose lithium batteries. They perform the best in cold temperatures, are lighter, and last longer.
Flip your bag
If you’re camping more than one night, make sure to turn your sleeping bag inside out and place it on top of your tent during the day. This will allow your sleeping bag to dry out, especially if it has a black liner.
Choose your campsite wisely
Avoid the bottom of hills where cold air troughs are found. Also avoid the tops of hills where you’re exposed to the worst of the elements. Choose a sheltered, flat location with no avalanche danger. You’ll also want to pitch the tent perpendicular to the prevailing winds.
Vaseline is your friend
If you have any exposed skin, coat it in vaseline. This will help protect your skin from highly uncomfortable and dangerous frostbite and windburn.