Most people probably do all of their camping during the summertime, and summer is a good time to camp, with the warm weather and longer days. But we think there is nothing quite like camping in the wintertime, waking to a crisp winter morning, where everything outside your tent is covered with frost or snow. Winter ‘sounds’ different too, everything sounds more quiet and muted when covered in a blanket of snow, the only sound, the crunch of your footsteps.
Camping in winter and in cold weather does bring some challenges, however, and you should never attempt to camp in very cold weather unless you are well prepared to do so. One of the most important thing is to check (and to know) the weather forecast and not to take any unnecessary risks, obviously if a storm or other harsh conditions are expected, it’s probably wise to rethink your trip.
Make sure you dress appropriately for the conditions, and the old advice you often hear about dressing for the cold is also the best – wear lots of layers. Wearing layers makes it much easier for you to control your temperature and to add or remove layers in order to avoid getting too hot or too cold. A sweat-wicking base layer is always a good idea.
Your sleeping bag should be rated for cold weather and ideally, should be rated for weather a few degrees colder than you expect to encounter.
If you have the option it’s always best to make your camp in a sheltered area, and this becomes more important in the wintertime. Find a site that is protected from the wind, behind some trees or behind a hill. It is important to eat small amounts of food regularly as your body’s digestion process will generate heat and help to fend off the cold.
Make sure also to stay hydrated and to bring and to drink plenty of water. Speaking of water, one useful tip is to store your water bottles upside down as water freezes from the top down this should help to ensure that your bottle does not freeze shut. You can also keep a bottle with you in your sleeping bag in order to prevent it from freezing.
In terms of gear to bring, obviously a fire pit will be a great addition to a winter camp, providing lots of warmth and atmosphere. And having lots of sheltered area to sit inside like an enclosed awning will also help to keep you warmer. If you are in a large ground tent like a tipi a camping stove is a great option. We also like to have some heat pads with us on winter trips, these pads are activated by exposure to the air and can help to keep your gloves or boots warm for hours on end.
If you are into photography, like us it’s essential to keep your batteries warm, we do this by keeping them in an inside pocket during the day and in our sleeping bags at night time.
We camp all year round but we are really hoping that we get a few white days this Christmas we will be right out there!