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Winter Camping

by Bridey Heing

Nov 20, 2014

© Shaiith | Dreamstime

Trends / Unique Itineraries & Tours

Temperatures may be dropping, but the onset of winter doesn’t have to mean the end of your outdoor adventures. Winter camping is a great way to enjoy the cold months and see all the beauty of the season. Plus, it’s a fun way to get out of the house when cabin fever sets i. With a little planning and a few safety measures, you’ll be ready to head out into the wilderness.


Camping gear for winter is a little different from gear in the summer, although it may not be necessary to buy all new gear depending on what you already have. First and foremost, make sure your sleeping bag is rated to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. This is crucial to keep you cozy and safe on cold winter nights.


Another critical component to staying warm is layering your clothes. Start with something wind resistant that wicks moisture away from the body, to ensure you don’t end up wet while hiking. Stores like REI have great, simple layering options that will give you mobility and warmth — both of which you will be grateful for on your camping trip.


Your tent should be waterproof and wind-safe, with poles set widely to stand up to gusts. Lining the bottom of the tent with a sleeping pad will put one more layer between you and the snow, and it can make your night much more enjoyable. Also consider space: You’ll have more gear in the winter, and more of it will have to be in the tent with you rather than left outside like it could be in the summer.


For cooking, make sure you have dry wood. Anything that can freeze is unreliable, so opt for the old cooking-over-the-fire method. Having back-up meals that don’t require cooking is also a good idea just in case. Make sure meals have plenty of protein to keep you going in the cold.


The best thing you can have while winter camping is common sense. Be realistic about the temperature, how far you can hike and what you want to get out of the trip. Always check with parks before heading out to camp, to make sure there are rangers on duty who can help if something goes wrong. If you are planning a multiday hike, consult with any friends or family who have done something similar, or stop in at a store like REI to find out what you will need to know. Being prepared for the worst is crucial when you are out in extreme temperatures.



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