Winter camping can involve other interesting outdoor activities, such as skiing and snow boarding that summer camping do not included. And there is fewer campers on the national parks make it less crowded and you can have more ideal campsite easily with less expense. And we hope to provide more useful and important ideas of how to better prepare for your cold weather trip with this winter camping tips.
It’s important to plan your camping or backpacking in the winter as there are so many things need to be taken into account, which includes route, schedule, equipment to bring with, clothing, food and water, campsite, safety issues, etc.
Study the map of the camping area before you go can be really indispensable. You can decide several routes from the map of the camping area and pick some really attractive campsite to pitch your tent and have more fun there. And you can note emergency backup sites and get help from others in winter camping. Decide the camping schedule and share it with your camping teammates according to the place you are going, how many people you are going with, and the amount of equipment you bring. Do not be too ambitious, plan more time on have a good rest and more time for fun. Try not to do winter camping alone, and if you have no accompany during your trip, you should leave your camping plan with your family or the national park administrative office. Moreover, you should not change your schedule unless it’s necessary to take more time for rest as you may get into problems on the trail. And call the people up and let them know you are safe after that night you have finish camping. Bring a compass to navigate your trail as you can not see much far as snowfall starts.
Keep an eye on the weather of the camping area before you go. Avoid heavy snowfall and high winds. You can check the NOAA website for weather broadcast in the backcountry areas. Another problem worth mentioning is temperature. You should wear extra thick clothing if the temperature is relatively lower. We suggest that cotton clothing is not suitable for winter camping, as they absorb moisture and stay wet for a long time which may froze into ice and apply to your skins. Wool and Nylon fabric clothing is more appropriate for winter camping, wool clothing is more thermal in the middle clothing layer, Nylon clothing is more moisture and wind resist as the outer clothing layer of winter camping, and sport – wool fabric for the inner layer of clothing best fitting your skins. Additionally, you should wear boots and gloves to keep your feet ad hands warm and dry in winter camping trips to avoid frostbite, and a hat as well. Gloves can be attached to your outer coat avoid miss. If the snow is quite deep, you need to wear gaiters.
Bring stoves and water filters together with ample food for winter camping which will supply you with enough carbohydrate and nutrition to keep you warm and move forward. You need to have a warm meal after a exhausted winter camping day to relax yourself. Foods should be easy boiling and appetizing of much fat or carbohydrate. And one of the most convenient recipe is foil wrapping food. Drink necessary water now and then to keep your body condition. You can see if you have absorbed enough water as your urine is in light color. Do not eat snow or ice directly as you will take more energy to melt them and may contain dirt. Boil them up and filter with cloth at least.
Winter camping tents should be able to shield heavy snowfall and withstand high winds. Consider tents with more nylon fabric cover and less mesh area for better thermal keeping. And winter tents usually have condensation problems, commonly exist in the space between flysheet ad inner tent due to the temperature inside and outside of the camping tent, water in this space condensate. In order to solve this problem, you should keep the vents of the camping tent open, and keep the wet clothing or other stuffs moist outside your tent. Do not touch the inner layer of the flysheet with your hand either, as it may cause the dew on the outer surface of flysheet to permeate into your tent. Bring a sleeping bag and mattress underlay to keep the bag off ground and away from moisture or coldness. An under laid footprint of the camping tent can make the tent clean and block moisture as well. All these outfit can tremendously increase thermal keeping for thermal keeping. Bring an ice axes to built your campsite, select a plain campsite to pitch your tent, which should be away from avalanche area and can start a fire to boil your meals.
Pay extra attention to the signs of avalanche in winter camping area. Avalanche often happen on slope more than 20 degree, often caused by heavy snowfall, high winds, and visitors. Try to keep away from these avalanche area when picking your camping route, and if you are inevitably camping in a avalanche area, bring a beacon with you. Do not step into the melting snow fields, it’s really unclear and dangerous.
4 Season Camping Tent