Four basic hacks to know before you go winter camping this year
Winter weather doesn’t have to keep you from enjoying the beauty of nature up close. There are plenty of ways to stay warm so you can keep camping all year. Here are a few of our favorite tricks for cozy camping this winter.
1. Bring the best gear
You’ll need specific types of tents, backpacks and sleeping bags if you’re winter camping. Having a slightly bigger tent than you really need is a good idea for winter camping because then you can store your gear inside, away from winter weather. Your backpack should be able to accommodate any additional gear you bring, like skis or snowshoes. Sleeping bags do come in cold-weather options, so you can choose one that’s lined for extra insulation or has venting if you tend to sleep hot.
2. Wear clothes that make sense
Layers are perfect for winter camping. Water-resistant clothing and items made from less absorbent materials can keep you warm longer. Avoid cotton and synthetic materials, which tend to be more absorbent. Bring along some individual warmers that you can put in your boots and try heated gloves, since keeping your hands and feet warm is vital to winter camping.
3. Eat the right food
Proper nutrition is always important, but it’s especially vital if you’re going winter camping. Regulating your core body temperature will help keep you toasty and cozy, even on the coldest nights. There are dozens of freeze-dried meal options that you can make by just adding hot water, giving you a hearty meal for a cold night. Since your body burns calories to keep you warm, you should expect to eat and drink more than you ordinarily do in the course of a day while you’re winter camping. Make sure to pack enough supplies based on that higher intake.
4. Know how to set up your tent
Since there’s a chance you’ll be camping on snow, bringing the right tent for winter camping is only half the battle: you also need to set it up differently than you would if you were camping during the summer.
Choose a campsite that has wind protection, perhaps close to trees, though you don’t want to set up your tent directly under the trees. A branch heavy with snow could break off and fall on your tent. You can also set up your tent to face the sunrise, which will warm you up more quickly in the morning.
Once you’ve chosen your campsite, pack down the snow to make it tougher for the snow to seep into your tent. You’ll need snow stakes to secure your shelter. Though it may seem strange, you also need to vent your tent, even if you only open the vents partway, to keep air flowing and reduce condensation building up and freezing inside.
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