15 Winter Camping Tips

winter-camping-by-alexindigoWinter camping isn’t for the faint of heart—it takes a little bit of know-how to stay comfortably warm during a winter camping trip. While we’re not exactly in sub-zero freezing temperatures here in Northwest Arkansas, winter will soon be here and it’s already snowing in some parts of the country, including popular camping destinations. If you plan on going camping this winter, try out these tips for a more comfortable time:

  1. Dress in layers but think twice about cotton. Cotton doesn’t stay warm when wet so after sweating while hiking, you’ll freeze. Microfibers, wool, or silk are better choices.
  2. Waterproof boots keep your feet from becoming blocks of ice.
  3. Wear a hat and gloves and don’t skimp on dummy cords so you don’t lose them even if you take them off to do something.
  4. In the same vein, carry extra gloves and hats so when you do lose one, you don’t have to cut a trip short.
  5. Don’t constrict blood flow to feet with too many socks or tight laces. While layering up on socks is a good idea, make sure you have full control of your toes and feet. Boots should leave ample room for extra sock layers.
  6. You can mix water with flavors to lower freezing temp. We love Camelbak’s Elixir for a non-sticky way to flavor water and keep it from freezing.
  7. Snow isn’t sanitary so don’t just eat it without boiling it. Snow forms around particles, which include not only dust but also viruses and bacteria floating around in the air.
  8. Pack down snow underneath your tent to prevent melting snow under you and breaking your tent. If you stand on a soft spot in your tent, you can punch a hole right through it.
  9. Use special stakes for frozen conditions or dead man your tent lines. Carry as many gallon sized bags as you have lines and fill them with snow to use as weights if you’re camping in a snowy area.
  10. Keeping up your energy is important so snack throughout the day. You’ll need upwards of 5000 calories per day on a winter camping trip.
  11. Use a sleeping pad and sleeping bag liner to keep your body insulated and dry. We like the Therma-Rest NeoAir because it has reflective properties to keep your body warmer.
  12. Even if you’re a morning person, don’t just straight out of your sleeping bag. Try to take time getting ready in the morning and warm up clothing in your sleeping bag before starting your day. Be sure to wear all your layers to stay warm while your body begins to generate heat again.
  13. Look for zippers on top layers to ventilate, especially under arm zippers. During activities, you’ll start to sweat and that sweat spells trouble unless you find a way to get it out of your clothing. Zippers make a huge difference.
  14. Use a stove, since wood can be difficult or impossible to find in winter.
  15. At dinner, drink warm fluids to stay warm while making a one pot meal. Keep cleanup simple so you don’t need to have your hands out of gloves for long to clean with a one pot meal.

If you’re going on a winter camping trip, be sure to visit us to get all the winter gear you’ll need!

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