The Dos and Don’ts of Winter Camping – An Experienced Camper’s Guide
If you’re looking for a fun and unique outdoor activity, winter camping is the perfect choice. While camping during the colder months of the year may seem intimidating, it can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. With the right preparation and gear, it’s actually quite easy to keep comfortable and safe while enjoying your time in the outdoors. In this blog post, as an experienced camper and a father of three, I’ll be covering the dos and don’ts of winter camping, from the appropriate gear selection and packing list to the best methods for staying warm while camping in winter.
The Right Gear is Essential for Winter Camping
If you plan on winter camping, you need to make sure you have the right equipment. This includes not only proper winter clothing, but also waterproof insulated sleeping bags, thick and weatherproof tents, and winter camping appliance such as a heater, cookstove, or light. Your gear list will depend on the type of winter camping you plan to do and the environment you’ll be in, but some general winter camping essentials include:
- Sleeping bags with an appropriate temperature rating
- Insulating mats or pads
- Winter outerwear (coat, hat, gloves, etc.)
- Thermal underwear
- Waterproof boots
- Lightweight camping stove
- Heating equipment (such as a catalytic heater)
- Snow shovel
- Ice ax
- Flashlight or headlamp
Tips and Tricks for Staying Warm
Keeping warm is essential for a successful winter camping trip. There are a few things you can do to ensure you stay warm during your outing. Here are some of the best tips and tricks for staying warm when camping in winter:
- Lay insulation. Place insulated & waterproof mats, towels, or other items between your tent floor and the ground.
- Use a heat source. Bring a catalytic or battery-powered heater to warm up the tent. Make sure you read up on the use of fuel powered heaters before you use them.
- Stay dry. Change into dry clothes and wring out wet clothes as soon as possible. Wear wool socks, a lightweight hat, and a waterproof jacket.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water or hot drinks like tea and coffee.
- Keep plenty of food. Eating often helps keep your core temperature up.
- Use layers. Wear layers of lightweight, non-cotton clothes that you can add or remove as needed.
Warm and Toasty Tips for a Successful Winter Camping Trip
As an experienced camper, I have learned a few more practical tips for staying warm and toasty during winter camping:
- Fill your tent with hot air. Before getting into your sleeping bag, blow into the tent (with your mouth open wide) for a few minutes to fill the tent with warm air.
- Try a hot water bottle. Take a hot water bottle inside the sleeping bag with you to keep you warm throughout the night.
- Jump up and down. Get your blood flowing by jumping up and down in your sleeping bag or doing some light calisthenics before getting in.
- Make a hot bed. Make a hot bed by filling a sack with warm rocks from your campfire and placing them inside your sleeping bag.
- Drink hot drinks. Drink hot cocoa or herbal tea before going to bed and keep a thermos of hot drinks next to your sleeping bag.
Winter Camping Safety Tips
As with any outdoor activity, safety is the top priority when winter camping. Here are some general safety tips to keep in mind:
- Check the weather. It’s important to check the weather forecast before you go winter camping. Make sure you’re aware of any dangerous weather conditions that may occur during your trip.
- Dress appropriately. Wear loose fitting and lightweight winter clothes that can be layered. Make sure you check out the outdoor temperature so you can dress for it.
- Bring extra blankets. You can bundle up with extra blankets to stay warm. It’s also good to have on hand in case the temperature drops unexpectedly.
- Know your limits. Winter camping can be a fun and exhilarating experience, but make sure you stay within your personal limits. If you’re cold or uncomfortable, take a break and warm up.
- Stay off thin ice. When camping near a lake or river, it’s important to stay away from thin ice. If you’re unsure if an area is safe, don’t take any risks.
Are You Ready for a Winter Camping Adventure?
Now that you know the dos and don’ts of winter camping, you’re ready to plan your own winter camping adventure. Use the tips and tricks highlighted in this blog post to make sure you’re prepared for a comfortable and safe camping trip. Also, don’t forget to check out the instructional video below for more tips on how to stay warm while camping in winter: