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Winter Camping Primer

It's All About Being Prepared


Winter Camping Primer
Photo © David Sweet licensed to About.com Inc.

Winter is a wonderful time to go camping, even in colder climates up north. Although many snowbirds may head south to do their camping in warmer locations, there are others who remain in the north to enjoy camping under true winter conditions. With proper equipment and adequate preparation, any warm-blooded camper can enjoy the outdoors even in the snow and cold of winter.

What is there to enjoy about camping in the cold of winter? Well, have you considered these reasons:

  • Views are great without all the leaves
  • You can eat more, you'll burn it off
  • Snow covers rocks under the tent
  • Fellow campers don't smell as bad
  • Drinking water stays cold
  • You can walk on ice, but it's not advisable
  • NO crowds
  • NO dirt
  • and..... NO bugs

As tempting as it may sound to head outdoors like any summer day and go camping, it is not that easy. I cannot impress upon you enough the importance of preparation. First, you have to dress in ample clothes to ward off the cold. Next, you will need more efficient sleeping pads to reduce heat loss between you and the ground, a sleeping bag with insulation rated to temperatures lower than those expected at night, and a four-season tent to provide adequate shelter for the potential wet and freezing conditions of winter. Also, you must know how to prevent hypothermia and what to do in the case of frost-bite.

Although beautiful and serene, winter camping can be quite hazardous. There is no substitute for experience! If you are a first time winter camper, take your first trip with someone who has winter camped before. Never winter camp alone, the knowledge and experience shared by others can be invaluable.

Any activities in the outdoors during winter will be strenuous, particularly with all those extra layers of clothes. Consequently, winter camping will test your strength and stamina, so you'd best be in good physical shape. So, prepare your body for the demands of winter activity; prepare your mind with the knowledge to handle winter hazards; and prepare your campsite with gear that's adequate for cold weather conditions. That being said ...

Let It Snow!

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