Camping in the cold winter is challenging, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try it. As long as you’re wearing the right gear and preparation, you should be able to have a nice and pleasant experience even when winter camping.
One good thing about winter camping is that once the temperature drops and snow comes in the scenery, the campsites aren’t as crowded as they used to be. Everybody is afraid of cold therefore there aren’t many campers choosing the outdoors in the winter. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try push your limits.
You need to do due diligence and get the outdoor essentials for this sort of experience as you want to be brave, while staying warm and enjoying the winter scenery too.
Here are the outdoor essentials that you need for winter camping:
1. A warm coat
Staying warm at all times while you’re walking or standing is fundamental and the right coat is going to help you on that. You need to go with something that is large enough that fits nice all of your layers, no matter if you’re standing or doing some small chores around your winter campsite.
The choice of the filling is a personal matter as both synthetics and down keep you warm. You only need to choose according to the climate. Synthetics work better in a wet climate, whereas down handles a dry climate a lot more efficiently.
No matter your choice, you should also look for a jacket with an insulated hood as you also want to stay warm and dry in that area. There are many great choices for synthetic jackets so make some time for selecting the right one for your needs.
2. A good backpack
One of the challenges of winter camping is finding the right backpack. Not only that it has to be large enough for storing all of your winter outdoor essentials, but you also need it to be able to carry it too. Winter gear takes a lot of space and the right backpack can improve your winter camping experience, for sure.
The market gives you plenty of options and you should go with one that fits your needs and is comfortable to carry too.
3. An impressive tent
The tent is going to add another layer of protection from the winter temperatures. One thing that sets apart a winter tent from a summer model is that the first one is going to present a lot less ventilating mesh.
Expedition tents for the winter camping are going to feature strong poles, extra guy-lines and sturdy fabrics that handle the powerful winds.
Some brands are well known for the high quality of their winter tents so make a wise investment when selecting your winter tent.
A single-wall tent may work too. Made from breathable and waterproof fabrics, this type of tent doesn’t need a separate fly and keeps you really warm. It’s long lasting and really easy to set it up.
4. Very warm sleeping bag
Staying warm throughout the night is important and your sleeping bag is the main responsible for that. This is why it’s essential that you get a good quality sleeping bag that is made for the winter temperatures.
Even if the temperature ratings for a sleeping bag are only hints, you should always get one that is at or even below the temperatures you’re going to have on your camping trip.
As the size of your sleeping is also important, make sure you select the right size. You don’t want it to be too large, but you want it to be roomy enough for allowing you to add several layers and to slip in some things, extra clothes, batteries or water bottles.
The filling plays a big part in the warmth that your sleeping bag is going to provide. Climate is always to be taken under consideration. For instance, synthetics are going to handle the wet environments a lot better, whereas natural down is a wiser option for the dry winters.
The options are many so make sure you chose according to your needs, environment and budget.
Some suggest sleeping naked or only wearing a single thin layer of clothing in your sleeping bag. Don’t fall for that. Even if you’re not a big fan of the compression feel of a sleeping bag, remember that physics reminds us that wearing more layers of insulation is going to keep you warmer at all times.
5. A strong stove
No matter how much you like a campfire in the summer camping, you’re not going to be able to enjoy it as much in the winter time. The best option for melting snow for water, brew some hot cocoa and cook food is the camp stove. Warm food, warm drinks and plenty of water are also going to keep you warm when winter camping.
When you’re selecting your winter stove, keep in mind that it has to have the highest output possible. The fuel type also counts as stoves that come with pressurized fuel canisters don’t work that great in the winter (the fuel has problems remaining gaseous in the cold). You should go with a stove that uses liquid fuel (white gas is the most common option).
6. A water bottle insulator
You shouldn’t feel weird about wanting to use a zippered coozie for your water bottle. Keeping your water liquid in the winter time is quite difficult and insulators are going to help you on that.
You should also keep your water bottle top-down when winter camping as you’re going to reduce the risk for the cap to freeze shut this way.
One last tip for the road
Some may have a good laugh on this one, but having on you plenty of butter is going to keep you warm in the winter. You should add a tablespoon into your oatmeal at breakfast, one spoon into your soup. Have some hot chocolate with a tablespoon of butter before you go to sleep to stay warm during the night.
Even if the butter doesn’t sound that appealing to some, the calories and fat in butter are going to keep you nice and warm day and night.
Camping in the winter time isn’t easy, but yet again, great things never are!