One of the hobbies that attracts experienced campers, survivalists and anyone who enjoys the snow and likes to live on the edge is winter camping.
Winter camping is just what it sounds like – camping in the snow when the temperature is extremely cold. This can be a great deal of fun – particularly if you enjoy winter activities like snowshoeing, skiing or sledding, but you have to be careful because the temperature can be deadly.
You need to make sure that you have the right gear with you and that you have considered all of the pitfalls. Winter camping should not be attempted by the novice camper unless they have done a great deal of prep work.
Why do people choose winter camping? There are actually several common reasons and you may have your own reasons as well.
When it comes to choosing a tent for winter camping, there are two things that you want to keep in mind. First, even though it is more of a pain to haul around, heavy-duty canvas tents with thick material are going to keep you warmer than standard nylon tents.
Second, conventional wisdom says that you should go a “person” or two larger when you are choosing a tent for camping (a four person tent for two people for example). But in winter, you might want to stick with the smaller tent, because the more compressed you and your group are in a small space, the more body heat you will be able to retain.
When it comes to winter camping gear, you want to keep in mind that it is going to be out in the cold and possibly will get frozen. This means that the thin canteen that you use in the summer will have to be traded in for one that will not freeze the water inside.
The same thing goes for your other gear. Your sleeping bag needs to protect you against the cold and wind. You are going to have a harder time starting a fire so you may need to bring lighter fluid that you normally wouldn’t need to use in the summer.
The point here is to examine your normal camping gear and make sure that you evaluate every piece for winter camping to make sure it will function properly.
Here is a checklist that will keep you safe if you plan to go winter camping:
Winter camping food should be in enclosed containers where it will not get frostbitten. Canned foods, meats and many other foods will not survive extreme temperatures without some sort of insulation to keep them from getting too cold.
Of course, with items that are intended to be frozen, you can make use of these temperatures for storage, but keep in mind that you still may need to thaw the food before you can eat it.
Winter hammocks are also quite popular. This is even more dangerous than normal winter camping with a tent because you don’t have the protection of the tent walls to protect you from the wind. Make sure you are dressed in layers and in a super insulated sleeping bag if you plan on hammocking at night.