Camping in the wintertime is an incredible experience. On top of the landscape looking like a sparkly wonderland, fewer crowds means you’re often lucky enough to have the mountains to yourself. However, the whole experience can go from magical to miserable fast if you don’t come prepared.
Here are a few tips to stay warm while camping this winter season.
Photo by Rishabh Shukla on Unsplash
1. Have the proper gear
Investing in gear that’s built for the winter will go a long way. However, small changes in your existing gear can make a big difference. For example, switch out your gloves for mittens. Mittens help spread the heat between fingers and, when paired with air-activated heat packs, almost guarantees toasty warm hands.
2. The water bottle trick
There’s no better feeling after being out the in snow all day then snuggling up in your sleeping bag for a good rest. Normally, as your sleeping bag has also been out in the cold with you, it takes a few minutes of shuffling around in a cold bag before it warms up. Skip the shuffling and use the old water bottle trick. Boil some water on your camping stove and pour it into your water bottle (preferably a hard plastic water bottle that will disperse the heat). Make sure that lid is on super tight, throw it into your sleeping bag and voila!
3. Bring extra layers
While the days may be sunny and warm, your activity can impact your body temperature—and health. If you’re hiking hard and working up a sweat, don’t stay in your damp clothes for longer than necessary. Wet clothes get cold very quickly and can bring your body temperature way down. Bring a spare shirt, pants and socks to throw on when you’re done hiking for the day.
4. Keep your head covered
Most of our body heat escapes through our head, so keep it covered. This is true of our feet as well, so investing in wool socks will always be a good idea. That and waterproof boots, because even fancy socks are useless when wet.
5. Stay hydrated
Bring a water filter and remind yourself to use it. Even though we may not sweat as much in cold climates and don’t feel the need to reach for our water bottles as often, our bodies still need water to help regulate our internal temperature. Staying hydrated will help you stay warm. Having extra water will also be helpful in order to make several cups of hot coco.
6. Bring lots of snacks
Everyone’s favourite tip! Just like staying hydrated is important for staying warm, so is staying well-fed. While your body is burning calories, it experiences an increase in temperature. They don’t call it “burning” for no reason! Replenish necessary calories throughout your trip.
7. Don’t wait to get cold
Don’t wait until you feel cold to layer up. It will be a lot harder to warm up if you’re already feeling chilly. This also applies for bedtime as well. Don’t go to bed cold, as it will take you longer to heat up your sleeping bag. Heat yourself up with some tea, do a couple jumping jacks (not enough to get sweaty though!), or anything else you need to warm up a bit before you call it a night.
8. Choose the right sleeping pad
Don’t forget your sleeping pad this winter season. Although snow is very soft and comfy to sleep on, it’s crucial to have an insulting layer between you and that cold ground. Inflatable insulated pads are best. Ask for suggestions within your price range at your local outfitter.
9. Pitch your tent at a protected spot
Try to find an area to pitch your tent that is both sheltered from the wind and not too close to any bodies of water. Streams and rustling rivers create micro-climates of colder air around them, which can make it harder to stay warm.
10. Take advantage of your body heat overnight
Stuff your clean, dry clothing you plan on wearing the next day at the bottom of your sleeping bag for the night. The sleeping bag will help insulate your body heat and your clothes will be warm the next morning!
Make sure to snuggle up with your boots overnight, too. Don’t throw them into your sleeping bag but keep them by your feet inside the tent. If you leave them outside, they’re likely to freeze.
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