Winter is upon us. And if you are someone who enjoys the beauty and calmness this bleak and chilly weather brings, then winter camping is definitely for you. You may ask “why would I possibly want to go camping in the freezing weather?” Despite being dark and cold, the beauty of the frozen lakes and rivers, whiteness of snow, and stunning sceneries among others make up for the otherwise dreadful climate it brings. And winter camping has its advantages, although if you’re not fully prepared, it can pose a lot of challenges.
To fully enjoy your winter camping adventure, you need to plan ahead properly and accordingly. In addition to choosing the right gear or equipment, you also need to be aware of how to choose the destination, right campground, travel duration, and other details to make your camping trip successful. Whether you choose to go winter camping with a group of friends or family members, or alone, the list below are some basic winter camping tips that you will find useful.
Location, location, location
One major difference between summer and winter camping is the fact that the outback expands during winter. With a remote campsite, you are bound to uncover more unexpected delights. When it comes to choosing the location for winter camping, you can always online, refer to guidebooks, maps, and any other resource you can find.
Get yourself informed about the whole trip by talking about it to people who will be accompanying you and learning as much as possible about the location where you plan on camping. Read blogs and articles by people who have already visited the place. Write to those people and try to gather a lot of information on the area, like the local conditions, trails, and more.
Don’t overlook the fact that there could be amazing winter camping destinations right in your neighborhood. By choosing such destinations, you get to save a lot of time, money, and gas. You don’t necessarily have to travel long distances to experience winter camping at its best. So, start your search right from outside your doorstep!
Timing is everything
For winter camping, the ideal time would be late winter. Between late February and early March, the days are more likely to be longer and you will have plenty of snow piled up to play with. If you wish to witness some wildlife during your camping trip, this would be the right time because the slight warmth of the weather and the improved light will increase the activity of wildlife. Choosing the ideal time for winter camping will be easier as you gain some much-needed experience.
Distance to Cover
The distance you can cover for your winter camping trip depends on a lot of different factors, including the time of the year you plan on camping, the evenness of the terrain, the number of days you can allot for the trip, your mode of travel (by car, by foot, etc.), and also the weight of your backpack. Remember, if the snow is quite firm, settled, and the condition is quite windy, you could travel faster. On the other hand, if the snow seems to go deep in the form of powder, it could take more time for you to reach your destination. Depending on these conditions, you can plan to cover anywhere between 5 and 15 miles a day. If you are doubtful, just make a conservative estimate of the distance you can cover.
Finding Your Route
Finding your route or trail during winter can be quite difficult with all the snow and bad weather completely covering the path. Before starting for the trip, make sure that you and all others accompanying you on the camping trip have a good knowledge about the route and also have a good map. If you are taking a GPS, make sure that you set up different waypoints ahead of time, so you find it easy to verify your location.
Remember, since it is winter and the trail is most likely to be covered in snow, it is better to avoid following somebody’s tracks blindly. Always make sure that the route you follow is something you are aware of and is safe. Stay with your group at all times, and in case you get lost, stay calm, check your GPS and map, and be audibly and visibly easy to find.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Staying warm and dry is absolutely vital while camping in winter. Obviously, dressing up in layers is the best way to survive the winter weather; when you do so, choose clothing types that are breathable, waterproof, provide great insulation, dry easily and quickly, and also wick moisture. Pack up essentials like a cozy and warm jacket, thermal underwear, wool socks, boots, and of course, gloves.
When winter camping, always wear your clothes even when you go to bed. Even better, heat some water, pour it into a water bottle, and place the bottle inside your sleeping bag for a few minutes before you go to sleep for extra warmth and comfort.
Plan for Exigencies
One important thing that any winter camper should realize is that, regardless of how much time and effort you spend planning for the trip, there is always a possibility that nature could get the best of you. The weather and the conditions of the environment around you during the time of your trip play a crucial role on what you can actually achieve. Therefore, plan for such exigencies beforehand to avoid being caught offguard.
Winter is definitely a great time to go camping. Just keep these simple winter camping tips in mind to make your experience comfortable.