The beauty of nature is that it is alluring even in its worst form. And the ones who are into camping will be able to relate to this even better.
From Maine to the Italian Alps to Antarctica, the one thing that takes campers there is the chance of indulging with nature and admiring its beauty, no matter how dangerous it is.
We felt it was about time we talked about how to camp in cold weather , as people who are getting newly into camping have an interest in it. So without wasting any more time, let us get into it as there is a lot to cover.
Is it risky?
We are going to be extremely frank here, of course camping in colder weather will not be as comfortable or easy-going in comparison to one on a bright sunny and summer day.
However, the experience of overcoming challenges and surviving under demanding conditions will teach you the true fun of camping and it will be an adventure you won’t forget.
Over this article, we will be talking to you about everything starting from the basics to the advanced stuff on how to camp in cold weather and how you can make the cold more about your advantage and less about discomfort.
Handling The Basics
Before we get into the expert and detailed stuff, there a few simple things that you must keep in mind when camping out in the cold.
Be Aware of the temperatures
Do not go into the camping site thinking that yeah it will be cold. That will be a big mistake. Always keep in mind to know the temperature there beforehand. It will help a great deal in your packing and overall preparation.
Flag Your Spot As Soon As You Decide On It
When you are looking into how to camp in cold weather, the spot you chose to set up your camp is very important. Try to look for a place that is dry, flat, and safe from all hazardous elements.
You would want to flatten the spot as soon as possible and make up your tent as well because snow will start to melt and refreeze in a very quick time.
Then the snow becomes hard to manipulate and creates a whole lot of hassle.
Staying Warm Is The Main Focus
You would definitely not want to shiver and die out of the cold while camping. One of the most important things that you need to keep in mind is bringing gear to keep you warm
. We would like to start with the sleeping bag. Many campers make the mistake of buying a cold-weather sleeping bag without any insulation pads underneath them. These are usually low-quality sleeping bags and come very cheap.
We would suggest not get those in order to save money, because they are no good without insulation pads, as they won’t keep you warm. So make sure to invest in a high quality insulated sleeping bag. It will be worth the purchase.
How To Know My Sleeping Bag Is Insulated?
While you are shopping for a cold-weather sleeping bag, make sure to look for one with the R-Value mark.
This means that the bag is insulated and has the ability to insulate the heat and the higher the rating the more capable it is in doing that.
We have field-tested many R-Value rated sleeping bags over time and we can ensure you that the rating is not just a gimmick. It actually works.
Stay Hydrated, Stay Warm
Your body does not only need fluids during the summer. It needs to stay hydrated when temperatures are down as well.
Carry a thermal flask to keep your drinking water warm. We would suggest you go with stainless steel bottles and not the BPA ones because they tend to be harmful and also smelly as well.
Keep Your Feet Warm
We have heard multiple stories of campers where they had worn normal sneakers to go camping in the cold and came back with a pained leg. Do not make this stupid mistake.
Wear good quality boots, and if possible get specific cold camping boots as well. Ditch normal socks as well, go for high-quality wool or socks of a synthetic blend to keep your feet insulated.
THINGS TO AVOID
There are also some things that you need to avoid in order to have a good camping experience.
Let It Loose
Avoid tight clothing. No matter be it shirts, socks, gloves, or underwear. Do not wear anything tight, as it will limit blood flow throughout your body and will not keep you warm.
Cotton clothing does not work well with moisture as well and will not only lower your overall body temperature but attract bacteria as well.
Do not keep yourself too warm
Do not wear anything other than wool fabric clothes.
Do not keep your head unattended, wear a cap.
Do not hold on to your pee.
Tackling Your Tent With The Wild Winds
Depending on the place and weather conditions, you are likely to face some crazy high winds. Whether you come across it or not, it is always good to know how to handle it. In the case of wild winds, one has to check the tent every few hours for the rigging and if everything is alright.
As winds are more fierce during the night, you and your camping partner will need to sleep in shifts. You can get a high-quality tent with a good wind rating to keep you safe and protected.
However, if you are not willing to spend on that then the best you can do is tighten the line and pray. Because, no matter how much we try, beating nature is impossible.
Making Up The Tent
Winds or no winds, there is no denying the fact that setting up a tent in the snow is not an easy task. Nonetheless, it will become easier if you follow a few simple things.
Flatten The Snow
As we mentioned earlier, you would want to set up your tent on a flat surface. If you do not find anything flat then just stomp the snow around to make it flat.
We Will Build A Wall
Not to stop what you are thinking, but rather to protect you and your tent. If you have the manpower then build a snow wall around your tent as it will reduce wind impact by a great margin.
Not Your Average Snow Stakes
Refrain from using regular snow stakes. Rather get the snow stakes that are specially for snow camping. They are also very easy to use as well.
Keep Your Sharps Away
No matter what type of tent you get, they will be very soft and sensitive irrespective of their variant, because that is how tents are.
Hence, keep your pocket knives, ice axes, shovels, or any other sharp objects out of your tent. The last thing you would want is a ripped tent in the cold.
Cooking In Winter Camping
Just like every other aspect of camping in the snow, cooking also comes with multiple challenges. However, that makes it more interesting and fun as well. The fun part is that you can mold up the snow to make your desired shape for the cooking place. Be it seats, tables, and whatnot. Be it winter or not, some basics of camping cooking stick to all weather conditions. Those are:
Stay as far as possible from the trail or other campers around you.
Dispose of the waste properly.
Do not cut trees for making fire. Rather use deadwood
Be respectful of nature and conserve it
What To Eat And What To Drink?
Keep The Meals Short
You do not want to bloat yourself out by eating more than you need. Hence make your lunch short. Eat sandwiches or quick snacks to keep the body running. Whenever you are feeling hungry just munch on these snacks
Keeping The Meals Hot
Even though we suggest keeping the meals as short as possible, our appetite won’t accept that at times. If you are looking to enjoy a full meal, go for something hot and simple. Having soup or soup noodles with eggs will not only lessen the hassle of cleaning but will also keep you energetic as well.
Securing Your Food
During the summer, you can scatter your food all across the camp and it won’t really matter. However, in tough conditions like this critters will just devour them with any given chance.
In order to keep your food nice and secure, keep your food in your backpack and hang it on a tree. And that would be more than enough.
Carry A Portable Stove
Finding deadwood or something to light up fire is often a tough task, especially in colder weather. So instead of taking all the extra hassle what you can do is carry a portable stove.
Most of the portable stoves and canisters found on the market will be more than enough. However, make sure that the stove is not heavy or it will ruin the purpose of portability.
Does Body-to-Body Warming Work?
Yes, it does. According to the theory of thermodynamics, heat will transfer more quickly depending on the increasing temperature. So yes, if you get cozy up with your partner in the tent you can warm yourselves up.
How Do You Keep Your Tent Well Insulated?
Stay in close contact with your partner and do not let any wind blow up. Stuff extra gear around the tent Put up a blanket against the tent like a barrier.
As we have mentioned multiple times before, camping in the cold will always be risky. Hence, you would need to take the necessary measures to cope up with it
. Before we get into the safety instructions part we would like to inform you about the deadly situations that you might face if you do not know HOW TO CAMP IN COLD WEATHER properly.
In extreme conditions, the risk of hypothermia and frostbite increases to a large extent. You will be able to tell if you got it or not if you feel any of the following
Loss of sight
Tackling An Avalanche
While it might seem cinematic, there is no going around the fact that an avalanche can occur at any given time, so it is better to be safe than sorry. To tackle an avalanche there are a few items that you must definitely have at your disposal.
The first is a transceiver. This is a tracker like equipment that will emit a signal for an avalanche. Make sure to learn how to use it properly before you get one.
A probe is more like a pole but it is collapsible and has depth markings. In case you do face an avalanche it will help to get into the snow and find the victims.
A Snow Shovel
This might come as no surprise, you will need to get a good snow shovel as it will help in all cases. Make sure that you get the one for snow and not the regular one.
Regardless, do not stress yourself out with thinking these. If you follow everything that we talked about in this article carefully, then your camping in the cold weather will be a smooth breeze. Always remember that the idea is to have fun while camping and that should be the main focus.