Snow is in the mountains, but don’t be so quick to hang up the camping gear. If you prepare and have the right equipment, winter camping can be just as much fun as any summer camping trip.
First things first, it’s important to stay warm and dry. Make sure to layer properly, wearing layers that wick away moisture, insulate, and waterproof.
When you’re camping in the winter, hand and foot warmers can be a lifesaver. There are even oversized warmers designed for sleeping bags. Many sleeping bags are designed for winter camping, such as Coleman’s Palmetto Cool Weather sleeping bag, made for camping in degrees between 20-40 degrees Fahrenheit. Investing in a thermal, or insulated, sleeping pad is a must. It makes a huge difference when you’re camping on snowy or icy ground.
Keep your water bottle in your tent or sleeping bag overnight to keep it from freezing. If you do need to keep a water jug outdoors, make sure to set it upside down so the water closest to the nozzle doesn’t freeze.
It’s important to stay hydrated and well-fed when camping in the winter. If you’re planning on cooking, make sure to prepare ahead of time. Chopping and seasoning your meat and veggies at home will save you the trouble of working with numb hands. Make sure to snack and drink water regularly on hikes. Foil dinners are great for cold weather because you can cook your food and heat your body at the same time. If you plan on making a fire, use some of that foil to line the bottom of the pit before you build up your logs. It will keep the melting snow from interfering with your flames.
Winter camping is a great time, if it’s done right. The bugs are gone, the tourist crowds have vanished, and winter brings a stillness to natural places you’ll experience at no other time. Prepare properly for it, and you’re guaranteed to have the time of your life.
Photo by Esther Aboussou