For hard-core, outdoor enthusiasts, waiting for the summer to go on a camping excursion is a waste of time and is only for people who aren’t strong enough to enjoy the colder pleasures of a winter camp out.
In some parts of North America, winter camping is only feasible for the very experienced outdoors person; a regular John or Jane Doe simply would not survive the cold and the harsh conditions. However, in the parts of the continent where the weather is milder, winter camping is a viable vacation option and with a little preparation can be a very enjoyable experience.
First of all, before on decides to embark on winter camping, one must be very aware of the weather conditions; if a heavy snow or rainfall is predicted, it may be best to call off a camping endeavour. The objective is to have a good time, not merely gain “street credibility” by barely surviving.
Secondly, one’s mode of transportation must be considered and one should pack accordingly. If driving to a campsite, one can bring extra provisions to add a degree of luxury, but if one is hiking, one must bring only the absolute essential gear to sleep adequately, stay warm, hydrated and fed. If one is attempting a canoeing or kayaking expedition, one must also remember to pack one’s tent and sleeping paraphernalia in a sealed, waterproof bag in case one falls into the water. As one who has experienced a tumble into icy river water after tipping a canoe in the middle of winter, the author can assure that a dry tent and sleeping bag do indeed come in handy. A change of clothes should also be kept in a sealed plastic bag.
Along with a dry tent, a hiker, a skier or a kayaker must also provision him or herself with proper winter clothes. As with tree planters who may work in cold-weather conditions, the winter camping enthusiast must never wear cotton; cotton absorbs moisture and keeps it against the skin, which can cause hypothermia. Non-cotton thermal underwear, heavy trousers and shirts, woollen sweaters, socks, and caps, heavy gloves and properly insulated winter jackets are necessary, as are good, solid, warm and waterproof boots. Furthermore, several layers of clothing work better than one or two bulky layers: If a person gets too hot hiking or exercising, a layer can be removed without the danger of getting a chill.
Another point the winter camper may want to keep in mind is that big tents are more difficult to keep warm. While the extra space of a giant tent may seem like a nice idea, the reality is that in cold conditions, a certain amount of cosiness is required to keep the temperature comfortable while sleeping.
While winter camping may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it can be quite fun and adventurous if undertaken with the proper preparation. Camping in the colder parts of the world during the winter is never recommended, but if a person lives in milder areas, it can be done safely. The main things to keep in mind are weather conditions, keeping one’s tent, sleeping bag and clothes dry, wearing the right clothes and using the right size of tent. Although more things are needed for a camping trip in the cold, these five considerations are a good start for planning a colder weather winter excursion.