As much as I love camping, it’s something I rarely do. The most camping I tend to do is four nights at Beautiful Days most years and of course the camping when climbing Kilimanjaro. And I have certainly never camped in winter and not sure if I would. Luckily, Craig has produced the article for me about his top tips winter camping.
There’s something about camping in winter that gives you so much more thrill. It might be from the fact that hot chocolate and bonfires are so much more fun during the cold weather. Either way, camping during this season is a definite must-try!
And with summer coming to an end and winter fast approaching, why not plan out your trip using these 5 top tips on winter camping? Read on to learn more!
1. Planning The Trip Itself
Before anything else, make sure you do all the research you can about where and when you’re going. Select a campsite that’s safe and near all the facilities you’ll need, such as obtaining firewood, restrooms, as well as a suitable spot for setting up your tent.
Also, try to pick a date during clear weather and at a reasonable temperature that you and your loved ones can take (i.e. cold but not during storms!) Yes, I mention loved ones because I also recommend that you do NOT go alone, especially if it’s your first time. Whether you’re camping alone or with a group, be sure to let someone know the details of your trip and keep them updated with your whereabouts in case of emergencies. This is true for any camping trip, but especially so for winter camping.
2. What To Pack And Wear
Make sure you wear layers! Have a base layer, mid-layer and top layer when camping in the cold. But also, don’t forget your feet and hands! Cover up with thick gloves and socks underneath your boots. Avoid wearing cotton and have wool base layers instead to trap heat for warmth.
Make a list of everything you need, including your gear and other essentials. Pack enough food and water for your journey, as well as your tent, sleeping bag, extra warm clothes, a first-aid kit, survival kit, multi-tools, and any other required medicines and tools for making fire and food. Depending on how much space you have, you could also consider taking a portable air conditioner or camping fan that have in-built heat functions to help keep your tent warm.
3. Setting Up Camp
When it comes to setting up camp, make sure you arrive early. The last thing you want is to have to set up your tent in the dark.
Also, make sure you pack a suitable tent. It shouldn’t only be strong and waterproof, but also easy to set up (particularly in adverse weather conditions). Practice setting it up before leaving with your gloves on so you won’t have trouble doing it for real at the campsite.
Be sure to set up your tent in a secure area – somewhere you’ll get enough protection from the wind and away from avalanche risk areas. Pack down the snow beneath the tent and add a footprint (groundsheet) for added warmth.
4. How To Stay Warm During Winter
To keep warm during the entire trip, follow these tips:
- Wrap up during the night, as temperatures are likely to really drop – wear layers while you sleep and use an insulated sleeping bag and underquilt to maintain your body heat;
- As much as possible eat warm meals and high-energy food such as nuts and sugar, which fuels the body to help keep you warm;
- A bonfire is fun for bedtime stories and to keep warm, but just remember not to set it up too near your tent – also, make sure that you put it out before sleeping to prevent accidents;
- This may seem funny but doing jumping jacks, running, or light activity while outside in the cold helps, it keeps your blood circulating, which increases your core body temperature.
5. Have Fun!
Last but not least, have some fun activities lined up for your trip. Here are some ideas to try while relaxing in the campsite:
- Have a bonfire night with s’mores and hot chocolate to keep you warm – swap bedtime stories before sleeping and bond with your loved ones under the winter sky;
- Go stargazing and identify the different constellations and star names;
- Try ice fishing (although be sure to consult a local guide and don’t take risks).
If you’re planning to go winter camping, use these tips as a starting point for a successful trip ahead. So what are you waiting for? Round up your loved ones and start planning your own winter getaway!
Craig runs Explore Outdoors HQ where he blogs on all things relating to camping and hiking. From inspiration for your next hike to a roundup of the latest gear and equipment, Explore Outdoors HQ aims to be the go-to blog for outdoors enthusiasts.