Winter weather camping definitely is not for the faint of heart, but can be enjoyable and rewarding as long as you are prepared. Check out our tips for winter weather camping and hiking to maximize your experience braving the tundra.
1. Bring the right gear
For cold weather camping you’ll need to invest in higher quality camping gear if you don’t already own it. There are many budget friendly options for camping in general, but if you will be camping in inclimate weather it will be worth the extra bucks to stay comfortable and well prepared.
If you’re used to camping in the summertime, you will likely need a new sleeping bag that can withstand lower temperatures. Many sleeping bags advertise the temperature range they are designed for to help guide you. Basic winter accoutrement are necessary including warm down jackets, gloves, thicker socks, etc.
2. Sleep securely
Your body loses heat in a variety of ways when coping with cold temperatures. One easy way to avoid losing body heat is to make the proper sleeping arrangements. Sleeping on the cold ground will siphon away your body heat through conduction. Even a cold weather sleeping bag without proper insulation between you and the cold earth will not protect you from losing a considerable amount of body heat. Bring along an insulated, closed cell foam sleeping pad to place beneath your sleeping bag so that you will stay warm and toasty all night long.
3. Warm up techniques
There are several low-tech ways to warm up if you are running chilly in the night. After cooking dinner, boil some hot water and pour it into a heat safe water bottle. Place the hot water bottle at your feet in your sleeping bag to provide extra warmth. Try packing some hand and feet warmers (activated by a chemical reaction) and pad your gloves, shoes, jacket pockets (or wherever else with them). They are long lasting and give you a boost of warmth.
Bring a couple pairs of extra thick socks for your hands and feet. Wet socks are a sure way to shiver in your boots and socks are more comfortable to wear to bed then thick gloves are. If all else fails, sleep with a buddy — double the body heat!
Besides all of that, be careful not to run to hot and start to sweat. Your body perceives sweat and will start to cool you down in response. Added moisture in your sleeping bag will also freeze faster and cool you down as a result.
4. Pack some power
Try packing some portable power station or backpacking solar power. The power station is powered by solar power as an alternative to a gas generator. In addition to being more eco-friendly, has a ton of obvious benefits for your camping including charging essential electronics, medical devices and, most importantly, a space heater for those sub-zero nights. The backpacking solar powers are a great way to harness useful solar energy while you hike during the day to your next destination.