Firstly, pick a sheltered and scenic destination not far from the roads – just to be sure you will manage to reach the way back easily if necessary. It’s not difficult since most campsites specify their distance off the nearest roads.
Don’t forget to know the weather forecast not to be surprised by extreme conditions and be sure you are dressed accordingly.
Take necessary equipment with you to preserve yourself from being lost, disconnected or getting ill – it’s winter time, so there will almost definitely be windy, snowy and harder to set a fire.
Remember – if you choose winter camping, it’s not a survival experiment, it must be a cold season open-air entertainment. We suppose you won’t be willing to stay at the same place all the time, thus put on relevant boots and experience all the best you can.
Winter camping differs a lot from summer camping – because of weather conditions it is much slower and the mileage should be reduced not to overwhelm your strength. It is a serious test on everyone’s endurance and even health, so limits shouldn’t be exceeded.
Clothing. When winter camping, you have to watch over your body temperature and moisture. Do not forget not only to dress properly putting on underwear clothes that are but also take water-and-wind-proof ones. Cotton isn’t a good idea, so you better choose woolen or synthetic materials that are better suited. Boots should be warm as well as waterproof. Put on your hat to save half of your body’s heat and don’t forget to take at least two pairs of gloves and plenty pairs of dry socks, even if you’ll spend just one night out. You will appreciate this if you go for a walk while in daylight. If it’s a real winter camping with tons of snow everywhere your eyes can catch around, of course.
Food. Carbohydrates will keep your body warm and give you energy, so be sure they are included in your diet. Think of a place you will be staying at and choose the right pots to fix food easily. Not to dehydrate drink plenty of water, even if you are not thirsty – it will generate warmth for your body. A wool sock or other material will not let your water to freeze. Warm food is essential for your comfortable and exciting winter camping, so be sure you will be able to set fire.
Shelter. As we have mentioned in our last entry, make sure the destination of your winter camping trip is sheltered so that snow and wind would bother you the least. Think if the common three-season tent will handle high winds and snow. If the weather is quite mild for winter, it should be ok. To protect a tent from wind at least a bit, dig a 10-20 centimeter hole for a tent on packed snow.
Now when you are ready to start activities around your campsite, watch out for the third part of winter camping tips very soon.
Day at the camp. Try to prevent your sweating and heat buildup by adding or removing clothes. Remember, that evaporating moisture makes campers cold.
At the end of the day or when stopped for a long break pay attention to adjusting clothes for not to cool off too much, because later it would be hard to warm up again.
As the camp is set up, put dry socks if the ones on your feet seem to be wet. Otherwise, you can get cold very soon. Sitting in a cam, try to put something under your rear not to pull body heat out. Your sleeping bag will be just fine. Take a snack and exercise for a few minutes before going to bed – these will provide you enough fuel to generate body heat for a cold night.
Night and morning. It would be wise to take two sleeping bags with you – you’ll slip into one and put the other one under it to prevent from being awake at night because of cold. Don’t take off your socks and hat – it will also hold the body heat.
Try not to breathe into your sleeping bag, because the moisture will make bag wet and its insulating ability will be reduced.
If you don’t want to find your boots frozen in the morning, you better put a bottle of warm water inside. Think of how to vent your tent to prevent it from condensation at night and you will not have troubles because of wet clothes and sleeping bag.
Awake, warm up your clean socks and other pieces of clothing – just pull them into your sleeping bag for a few minutes and try to stay in your sleeping bag as long as possible to stay warmer. Exercise for a few minutes while cooking breakfast and packing – this will make you feel well before meeting the new day and, maybe, returning home in excitement.
The best adviser in each situation is your intuition. Nature sends it’s signals also, so you just have to pay attention whether you should better go back home, or stay and enjoy camping in severe conditions. Remember – safety first. But if prepared properly, impressions from winter camping could warm you up even on cold nights at home.