If you feel suspicious every time someone says winter and camping in the same sentence, then you aren’t the only one. It’s cold, the wind is strong, and often, setting up a tent is already a challenge. However, what if we told you that if you go right about it can result in one of the best weekends for you.
Just as you would plan your birthday or your wedding, winter camping requires that you do some prep work. And the best way to go about it is to select a destination where you’ll settle. Now if experience told us anything, you don’t want to go straight into the wilderness but rather stick somewhere closer to the road in case things go south.
Secondly, once you’ve settled on a destination, you need to make sure that there is firewood. Even if you don’t need it at first, it is nice to have options. Additionally, it would also be nice to have water somewhere around you if don’t want to melt the snow all day. Lastly, you want to know the forecast for the next two days as looking further is like playing a lottery, you’ll never know what you’ll get. The best way to go about it is to see whether there is an airport somewhere in the area. Planes get weather reports more frequently, therefore, you’ll have more relevant data on hand.
Winter camping is not the same as skiing so you want to make sure that you have layers of clothes. Extra pairs of jeans, an extra pair of socks, and even a second pair of moon boots in case the weather gets rough. Secondly, get a tent with a wood stove. Especially if you plan on staying a while.
Now the reason why you need a wood stove is that you won’t run out of fire material and you’ll always have a source of warmth, so this is a must. Once that is out of the way, you need to make sure that your head and hands are warm. Grab a warm, thick hat and mittens as they are better at keeping the warmth inside compared to gloves. While we’re on the subject of hands, you might want to get a shovel as these are always needed.
Finally, and this might surprise some of you, you need to make sure that you have sunglasses and sunscreen. The reason being is that reflective snow can and will cook your skin. Now if you need a place to get stuff, you can get a tent by visiting RBM as the prices aren’t that spikey and the delivery is prompt. You can get warm boots, mittens, and hats in just about any winter sportswear store, same goes for sunscreen and glasses.
Now that you’ve picked your destination, grabbed all your gear, it is time for the hike itself. If the snow is one foot shallow, don’t even bother about snowshoes, just wear a pair of gaiters and you’ll be just fine. During the climb, from time to time, turn around and scout the area so you don’t get lost on your way back.
Another thing to keep in mind is that under any circumstances you do not want to get cold. It is significantly harder to get warm again in such conditions. However, this also means that you don’t want to stuff your shoes with socks, don’t overdo it as it will make you less mobile and can even damage your feet in the long-run.
You’ll also have to keep an eye on the elevation-level. If you feel like you need to surmount a hill, layer before the hike as wind will make things harder for you. You don’t want to get sweaty either as you’ll get cold faster that way. And speaking of liquids, staying hydrated and fed is the best way to keep your body warm.
Unnecessarily stressing your body is also a bad idea. If you feel like you need a break, then take it. Do not postpone it just because the finish line is a couple of strokes away. Take a break, recollect yourself, and only then continue the journey.
Read More: The Surprising Health Benefits of Camping
When Settling for the Night
So you’ve made to the selected place, now what? Well, it is time you grab that shovel and start fanatically stomping that snow flat. While you are doing so, also make sure that the area you are clearing is bigger than all your belongings. Once you are done flatting the snow, let it stay that way for a while before you pierce your tent.
After you are done wrestling the snow, you might want to put some clothes on to preserve the heat your body generated during the process. But again, don’t overdo it as you’ll need to set up the tent first. Once you’ve done that, you can settle on a stove position. The best-case scenario would be in a place where the wind is in your favor. If you are feeling bored, and let’s be real, you probably are, get a book, play some games, or do some cooking. The point of such vacations is to get mental rest, recharge your creative battery so to speak. If you got bored of doing that, there’s always an option to do some extra hiking, sit-ups, anything that will boost your metabolic heat.
Finally, when calling it a day, you can fill bottles with some warm water to keep you comfortable at night. These will last for 3 to 5 hours tops but that should be enough to keep you through the night.
Winter camping is definitely not for everyone but if you approach it the right way, this just might be the thing you need. Especially today with the global pandemic and stuff, having a deserted place to rest can give you the extra more boost you’ve been needing so much.