Winter camping: challenges and getting started

You can love camping in the winter, the cold is something that can be offset by the crackling of a fire, and winter camping just feels different than camping in milder weather. There are several reasons why we believe this to be true. Winter camping can be very atmospheric, maybe the camp can be covered with snow, or maybe it will just be so cold that your breath freezes when you speak or even breathe. The sun is creeping, you are amid mountains covered with snow, a mug in your gloved hands is pipping with a hot coffee, silence is all around you, and you feel this tranquility and glory.

How to get started with it? 

Winter camping is indeed amazing. The main rule, though, is proper preparation. You could start with special training or courses that provide you with instructions on safe winter camping. There are various winter camping classes to choose from, so adjust your choice to your needs. It may include map and compass navigation, safety skills, what and how to pack, which tent to choose, like harsh weather 4-person tents or ultralight 2-person ones, which route to select, etc. 

The next significant step recommended by many experts in the field is camping in your backyard or some close to your home place. If it does not actually work for you, you can always easily get back home. It is much safer and is considered camping basics for beginners especially (and it applies not only in winter). 

One more way to get started with winter camping yourself is going on a guided hone. It feels good just to have someone experienced by you and have them teach or guide you in the process. 

Figuring out the appropriate clothing, gear, food, and cookware is also an inevitable part of the smart winter camping preparation process. Proper sleeping bags, thermal clothes, lightweight stove, snowshoes, lighter, axes, etc. There are a lot of things to take into account depending on the number of people camping, weather conditions, geographical location, duration of your trip, and the like. 

Moreover, being well-prepared for winter camping makes it way easier for you to go summer one more effortlessly. Keep in mind there are some areas that are snowy even in summer. And guess what? It won’t be an issue for you as you have already pulled out all the stops and gained all the needed skills. 

Last but not least, always have a plan. This way, you are bound to enjoy the trip to its full.

What challenges to overcome?

When you hear the word winter, one of the first associations that may come up to your mind is snow. Walking in snow is a bit harder and may take longer than in summer. Remember to consider this fact.

While you might be worrying about snow and its influence, we will interrupt you here and state the fact that it is actually water and wet weather, which are more dangerous and challenging for camping. As long as you are “waterproof,” snow is not even an issue for you. 

Visibility and daylight are some kinds of obstacles for camping beginners. Leaving markers, trails or landmarks could be easily lost because of snow. So, always take care that they are easily seen or noticed so you can not get lost. 

The obvious thing to mention, though, is getting cold. Of course, you may get cold. That is why we recommend wearing layers, lots of layers of clothes, and don’t wait until you start to feel cold before adding some of those layers. If you are too cold, it might take much longer to warm up than you think. Never go to bed when you feel cold. It will take longer than you think to warm up when you are lying in your tent. Before going to bed, it may be a good idea to have a hot drink or eat a hot meal, or if that is not possible, take a quick run around the campsite or do a short jog to warm yourself up.

Finally, selecting the perfect site. Try to choose the right place for your winter camping. Choose a location that is protected, and you should avoid the bottom of hills or natural trenches in the landscape where cold air tends to go down, as well as hilltops where winds will lower the air temperature. Ideally, choose a flat site, position your tents and canopies well, and swing the tents so that the entrances are perpendicular to the direction of any prevailing wind.

Wrapping up

When winter camping, it is very important that you are properly prepared and equipped. Otherwise, at best, you will probably not have a very comfortable experience. At worst, you may be in danger of risking your health or even your life. The good thing is that it is easy to be well prepared, and although this is not an exhaustive list of tips for winter camping, these are some general guidelines for enjoying nature during the winter.

A camping tent in winter is something special. There’s nothing quite like kicking back in the comfort of your tent while enjoying the winter scenery. However, winter camping can also be challenging and can easily become uncomfortable if you don’t have the right gear. The right gear and tent should keep you warm, comfortable, and dry during winter camping expeditions.

Most importantly, enjoy yourself. There is nothing like enjoying a mug of hot chocolate or soup while chatting by the fire surrounded by nature in the wintertime.

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