Although winter camping has negative connotations, there are ironically more benefits than summer camping. First and foremost, you can avoid the scorching heat which slows you down. Secondly, there are less crowds and therefore queuing is reduced, as well as the battle for space on the camping site. Lastly, there are no bugs to ruin your experience. Nevertheless, you should be prepared for the cold, so here is a list of essential gear you need to brave winter camping.
4 Season Tent
Whenever you are camping, it is obvious you need a tent. However, winter camping differs to summer camping in that you need a much more insulated tent. A 4-season tent has greater protection against the cold weather for a variety of reasons. Firstly, there is less condensation which keeps the air inside the tent warmer. This means that you will conserve energy. Also, 4-season tents are bigger which means that they can account for the extra layers of blankets or insulated pads you will require too. Lastly, they are designed to be more stable and resit the gusts of wind so that you do not feel the shaking effect of the tent.
Large, Waterproof Backpack
The type of backpack you bring with you on your trip can make or break your camping experience. All too often there is not enough space, the pockets are in the wrong place, or the quality of the material degenerates. Here are some things to consider when searching for the ultimate backpack.
- The Liter
A 50–80-liter backpack should be sufficient for your winter camping trip. This is one the bigger side, because there are more materials to carry when travelling in the colder seasons. You require a warmer sleeping bag, extra padding, thicker clothes, and so on.
- Waterproof Cover
Especially during the winter, having a waterproof raincover for your backpack is essential. It is worth investing in a high-quality material backpack, as it will last you more camping trips, but you must still preserve the material. By having a waterproof nylon or polyester raincover, you can protect your backpack and the belongings inside of it.
Having extra pockets not only helps you keep your items separate, but additionally makes them easier to find. After all, no one wants to dig through piles of clothes before finding their desired object at the bottom of the bag! Having a sleeping bag pocket, for instance, ensures there is space for it. Side pockets are also efficient, where you can keep an umbrella or water.
Sleeping Bag and Insulated Sleeping Pad
If you are going on a winter camping trip and will be staying overnight for a couple of days, you need to have a comfortable sleeping bag. This becomes especially important during the winter season because the ground is wetter, and the air is colder. If you can achieve a good night’s sleep, you will reap the benefits in the morning! We recommend 0F/-18°C, although this varies on location. Usually, you should choose a rating 5°C less than the minimal temperature you would encounter. Winter sleeping bags should also have high goose down, a damp-proof system, and draft tubes.
A sleeping pad is another option if you need the extra insulation. It adds another extra layer to your sleeping bag so that less heat is lost to the environment. You can choose a self-inflating pad which doesn’t require you to pump air into it, and instead you simply have to turn the valve. You can choose a manually-inflated sleeping bag if this is preferrable for you. Not only do these help you stay warm, but are also incredibly comfortable and create a more stable ground. This can help with back pain, and make it easier to fall asleep.
Liquid-fuel stoves are the best type of stove to bring for winter camping. Out of canister stoves and wood ovens, they are the most efficient for colder temperatures. This is because the others suffer a greater fall in pressure when the temperature undoubtedly drops.
They consist of a tank, a pump and a burner. Depending on the ounces, the stove can last between one to six hours, which is sufficient time for cooking a hearty meal for dinner. You can also multi-use the stoves to generate heat, and leave them on whilst they are attended to keep you warm. However, don’t forget to switch them off before going to bed!
No matter the weather, camping requires sturdy shoes. They must be level and stiff, yet comfortable. However, camping shoes for winter must have a few extra features in addition to your normal footwear.
Having thicker boots which extra padding helps to keep your feet warm when trekking across the fields in low temperatures. Ensure that you opt for a larger size, to accommodate the added layers of socks you will inevitably need! Moreover, make certain that the boots are waterproof. Nobody wants soggy feet, and keeping yourself dry will assist you in enduring longer hiking hours.
When winter camping, there are some additional features you may wish to consider. For example, if you are hiking where there is snow, you should bring a shovel in order to make a clear path, help a friend out in case they get stuck. You can even use it to make a level platform for sitting or your tent.
More safety equipment includes flashlights or headlights. When it is raining the ground becomes slippery, and there may be puddles. Moreover, there may be snow. Being able to see the ground clearly is essential.
Lastly, ensure you have a good personal hygiene kit. Sunscreen is still necessary in the cold months. Also, you have a higher likelihood of suffering from blisters or scratches in the winter, due to the uneven ground. Hence, bring plasters.
Overall, we have established that winter camping is incredibly exciting. Whilst it may seem daunting at first, the end goal is always more rewarding. You have the chance to experience nature like you have never seen before, and having the correct gear ensures that you can do this safely.