A Winter Camping Guide

By Doug Williams
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A Winter Camping Guide

Doug Williams
 
 
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We all love camping, I’m sitting here in the Outdoor Revival office with some of my kit next to me as I’m hoping to get an overnighter in later this week, we’ve got some kit to review and you can’t do that stuck in an office!

If you decide to go camping this winter, which, if you can you should, there are things that you need to consider that you wouldn’t normally think of if you’re used to camping at other times of the year.

As with all tips you’ve got to use your common sense to make sure they work for you and your situation, don’t just follow blindly when you read things, ultimately they need to work for you and the only way of knowing that is to include them in your planning and preparation.

 

Talking of planning, that’s the first thing you’ve got to do properly, especially if you want your trip to go smoothly and minimize any issues that might occur.

What are your goals are for the trip? It’s much easier to plan when you know what you want to get out of the trip, is it to relax, practice skills, introduce your kids to winter camping?

When you’ve got a good idea of why you’re getting out winter camping you’ll be able to think about where you can go to accomplish your goals, then when you’re got an idea of where you can look at the details of the route, weather, etc. Even though it’s a winter camping trip, it’s not going to be much fun if there’s 6 feet of soft snow to get through, or the rivers higher than it was in the summer.

You should also be aware of all the members of your group: the level of experience of each member and how they would be able to handle hiking or camping in the cold weather. Planning a winter camping trip can be fun, and it will make the trip go more smoothly.

As far as personal equipment, there are certain things that can really help you stay warmer when the cold weather hits. You need to be aware of the right things to bring so that you can protect yourself.

 

Insulation is key, take enough layers. You want to be sure to cover every part of your body that you can. You can always take something off, but if you do not bring enough with you, then you may struggle with the cold weather.

Some fabrics work better than others in the cold of winter, Wool is a great material since it’s warm and can still insulate even if it’s damp, it retains air, trapped in the fibers. A drawback of using wool is that many people do find that it is itchy on their skin and therefore not very desirable and some people find it’s too itchy.

Another material that you should look into is either pile or fleece fabrics. The reason that these fabrics are good is that they have a very similar insulation property as the wool fabric does, without the supposed itchiness. A problem with it can be that it is not very wind resistant unless it’s layered with a windproof fabric.

There are also certain body parts that you should be extra careful to protect and keep warm. The head is the most important part to protect – you actually lose a good amount of heat from your head when it’s uncovered, because of this it is generally necessary to wear a hat when camping in cold weather.

Even if it is not just your head that is cold, putting on a hat will certainly help you stay warm.

 

You should also keep your hands as warm as possible with good-quality gloves or mittens. Mittens are sometimes a better option than gloves because the fingers keep each other warm. With gloves, they are separated and don’t warm each other up. It is also important to keep your feet warm; I’ve had a few camping trips where I’ve got cold feet it’s not nice and it should be avoided!

There’s a lot of choice for protecting your feet, a huge range of socks as well as boot types, ones that have linings, ones without, etc. You can even get heated pads to go into your boots.

Food can make a huge difference to your comfort and enjoyment. You need to look at what type of food to take with you. It needs to provide enough calories for the energy you use moving about and living in the cold, it’s always good if you like the taste of your food and it also needs to be nutritious so that you’re healthy. When it comes to health you need to be very aware of how to take care of your body, keep yourself clean and if there’s any little niggles such as a blister it needs to be addressed quickly.

This means that some First Aid training is a good idea, preferably for each person that’s going on the trip.

Camping in the winter is great fun, I love it and it can be great fun for you as well, just prepare well and all should be good.

 

Let us know if you’ve got out this winter, we’d love to hear of your adventures.

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We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it.

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