It's that time of year, when many of us can't help but hope for warmer weather. But you don't have to wait for spring to get outside! Winter camping can be fun... and surprisingly comfortable, if you know how to prepare.
Winter camping can also give you access to stunning snowy landscapes. And since fewer people are willing to brave the elements, you might have those landscapes all to yourself.
Stop wishing the winter days away, and get outside for some winter camping.
In the winter, sunlight is much more desirable than on a hot summer day. While in the summer you might look for a shady spot, in the winter you should look for a campsite that allows sunlight to hit your tent in the morning. In addition, find a spot that can act as a natural wind blocker. Boulders, earthen mounds, or big trees can protect you from those icy wind gusts.
To ensure a good night’s rest, it’s important to invest in a sleeping bag for winter temperatures. Consider what types of destinations you'd like to visit, and what temperatures you'll face there. A sleeping bag is going to be one of your biggest camping expenses, so you'll want to find one that works for your style and comfort.
You can also buy a sleeping bag liner to make your current bag work for colder temperatures. Or bring extra blankets. Just steer clear of cotton comforters. Cotton can prove dangerous if it gets wet and freezes.
The first function of a sleeping pad is comfort. But they're more than just cushioning. Whether it's foam of inflatable, sleeping pads keep you off the cold ground with added insulation. By avoiding contact with the floor, you can stay warm in your sleeping bag for longer.
Laying a tarp on the ground beneath your tent can also help with insulation.
It’s easier to regulate body temperature when you dress in layers. If it gets hotter or colder during the day, simply add or remove a layer. While staying warm is obviously important in the winter, you don't want to get too warm and sweat. So the ability to remove layers when the afternoon sun starts shining is key.
Even while sleeping, it’s a good idea to dress warmly but have the option to remove layers.
Depending on what type of climate you will be camping in you will want to consider wearing clothes with either down feathers or wool. When choosing between wool and cotton, always choose wool for the winter months. Wool naturally insulates and traps moisture less than cotton.
If you do get wet, strip down as soon as possible and change into dry clothes.
Put that new diet on hold for winter camping. Hearty meals like soups, mashed potatoes and biscuits will keep you warm. The extra calories will generate energy, keeping you warm throughout the night. If you find yourself starting to shiver in the middle of the night, eat a quick snack. Keep something handy that won't freeze, like beef jerky.
Your favorite hot beverage such as tea, coffee or hot chocolate will make it a lot easier to crawl out of that warm sleeping bag each morning.
In addition to keeping warm, you also need to make sure your body recovers properly. Bring heating pads to relieve sore muscles and joints in the evenings. And a pair of OOFOS shoes will help those achy feet recover after a long day of winter hiking and activities.