Camping during the winter is an entirely different experience than camping during other seasons. There is a sense of peace and tranquility that comes from being surrounded by leafless trees and freshly fallen snow. Watching water drip off of small icicles on the edge of a creek or listening to a lone bird calling in the trees relaxes the mind, allowing you to escape from the stress of everyday life.
Unfortunately, however, winter camping also comes with some unique dangers. If you are not properly prepared to face the weather, you can quickly wind up in a serious — or possibly even life-threatening situation. The way to avoid danger is through proper planning. Taking the right clothing, food and gear with you can help you stay safe while you enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Try incorporating the following camping tips on your next winter adventure:
Camping often involves physical activity such as putting up a tent or going for hikes. During these times, your body can generate a lot of heat. If you are dressed too warmly, this can cause you to sweat, getting your clothes wet in the process. When you stop, this excess moisture in your clothing can create a dangerous situation. Being wet and cold puts you at risk of developing hypothermia.
The best way to avoid this is by dressing in layers. That way you can remove clothing when you get too hot and add clothing when you get too cold, helping you to maintain the ideal body temperature at all times. Also, be sure you wear breathable fabrics made from natural fibers to reduce perspiration. You may even want to look into clothing made from special moisture-wicking fabrics that are designed to pull the sweat away from your body.
Finally, pay special attention to your hands and feet since they are more prone to frostbite than other areas of your body. Wear warm socks with waterproof boots. On your hands, wear heavy-duty gloves that extend up past the cuff of your coat to keep snow from getting inside. Also, consider carrying hand and foot warmers for extra heat when you need it.
Finding firewood in the winter may be more challenging than during other seasons, simply for the fact that the ground is covered in snow. Consider bringing your firewood. Also, don’t forget to bring supplies for starting the fire such as matches, dryer lint, or even a magnesium fire starter.
If possible, choose a camping spot that is in the sun throughout the vast majority of the day. This will help warm up your tent and your body, making the camping experience far more enjoyable. Also, don’t forget to angle the door of your tent away from the direction of any wind so that it has a harder time getting inside.
Cold weather causes your body to burn extra calories. Make sure you bring nutrient-rich foods that will give your body the energy that it needs to stay warm. Also, don’t forget to drink plenty of liquids. When temperatures are cold, you may not feel very thirsty. However, it is important to stay hydrated. Consider bringing hot apple cider or hot chocolate along as a way of motivating yourself to drink more liquids.
These camping tips should help keep you safe and warm on your winter adventures. Just remember that camping during the winter requires far more thought and planning than summer camping. As long as you are prepared, however, it can be a richly rewarding experience.