Cold Weather Camping 101

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Camping is the age-old recreational activity that is enjoyed internationally. It is used to embrace the great outdoors, to spend time with friends and family, and to get away from the daily grind of everyday routine. While most people love camping in warm and comfortable weather, not many people would willingly choose to embrace the outdoors when the weather is less than ideal. However, by following just a few simple tips, camping can be done in the winter with the same level of comfort as in the summer.

1. Bring an electric blanket

This may seem like a more ‘at home’ comfort, but an electric blanket is probably one of the best ways to keep you warm when camping in cold weather. Not only do modern electric blankets use very little power (which means less strain on your camping electrical supply), but they are easy to cart around and will keep you toasty warm on those cold nights. These blankets can be used throughout the night and work well to keep you a constant temperature while you sleep.

2. Get a decent cold-weather tent

One of the most expensive parts of camping is the purchasing of a decent tent. For this reason, many people tend to skimp when buying their tent and generally land up with an inferior product that does nothing to alleviate the cold or sometimes wet conditions that can be encountered during winter camping.

When camping during the winter, using a weatherproof tent can go a long way in ensuring that your camping experience is more comfortable. These tents are de-signed to be easier to ventilate, protect from wet weather, manage to hold their heat more easily, and prevent an excessive build-up of condensation during the night.

3. Dress appropriately

While this may be a given, making sure to dress appropriately is incredibly im-portant if you want to attempt winter camping. The best winter camping gear in-cludes thermal underclothes (such as underwear and socks), breathable but warm middle layer clothing that will keep you warm while allowing any condensation from your body to escape, and a lightweight, weatherproof final layer that can easily be added or removed as your body temperature changes.
One other important thing to remember about dressing for winter camping is never to undress unless it is absolutely necessary! There is a common misconception that removing all your clothes and sleeping naked in your sleeping bag allows you to re-tain the most body heat. This is the exact reverse of what is true. When removing your clothes, your body almost immediately loses most of its body heat, which can sometimes take an extraordinary amount of time to replenish from using just your sleeping bag.

4. Use a proper winter sleeping bag

Like with tents, sleeping bags can be costly if you are looking for one that is really worth it. This, however, is one of the worst areas to tighten your purse strings on. A decent sleeping bag will last for many years and will end up being worth its price. These bags are specifically designed to maintain your body heat with minimal heat loss. This means that you feel less cold, and your body does not have to work as hard to generate more body heat. An added bonus is that modern winter sleeping bags are also designed to reduce condensation caused by your body’s heat on the inside of the bag.

5. Hot water is a magic heater

If you are really roughing it, you will not have any access to power and will not be able to make use of an electric blanket (thereby rendering point number one of this article redundant). However, most times, when camping, you will have a fire that you enjoy right before you turn in for the evening. This fire can be used to generate the next best thing when camping in winter, a hot water bottle.
Using your campfire (or gas alternative) heat some water before bed and place it into a hot water bottle. This can then be placed at the bottom of your sleeping bag near your feet. This will make your feet (which happen to be your furthest extremi-ties) toasty warm and will also cause residual heat that will work to heat up your sleeping bag and your whole body. It is important that you only use a hot water bottle that is designed and manufactured to be used in this way.

6. Select your campsite carefully

While you may generally prefer campsites that offer more privacy and are nestled in small groves of trees, these are not ideal for winter camping. One of the most im-portant things to take note of when selecting a site for camping in the winter is where the sun rises and if it has a clear path to your campsite. The morning sun is one of the best ways to warm up your, and selecting a site that takes advantage of this is one of the best things you can do.

Conclusion

Camping in cold and dreary weather can turn many people from the idea of spending some time in nature. Cold weather is associated with a miserable time, and many peo-ple think that they will spend all their time huddled in their tent under a mountain of blankets while still feeling frozen. However, by following a few simple tips that are not excessively difficult or expensive, winter camping can turn from something that makes people shiver in discomfort into something that can be as enjoyable as camping in bright sunshine in the middle of summer.