Including how to stay warm when camping
Winter camping can be a lot of fun, no bugs, snakes, sweating, or excessive people. It’s the perfect setting for hiking or if you’re in a snowy area, snowshoeing. Winter offers some of the prettiest scenery, and with proper planning, it can be as rewarding and comfortable as spring or fall.
However, many people may forget that one of their most important assets lye’s not in their ruck or the quality of their tent but in their boots, and many a sturdy camper has had nightmarish results from not taking proper care of their feet or thinking that winter weather, waterproof boots are enough. Don’t let this happen to you.
Nothing can ruin a winter camping trip fast than soggy, blistered, cold, or frostbitten feet.
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Winter camping essentials
Making sure you have the right camping gear is essential for staying dry and warm. Pack more than one set of everything below in case anything happens. Being prepared could save your life while you are out in the cold.
These camping tips will help you keep warm while enjoying everything that camping has to offer in the Winter months.
These come in a variety of styles and fits, and you’ll want to make sure that you get the right type for both your feet and the conditions you are facing. Things to remember are:
Water Resistance: winter camping brings with it snow, rain, and sleet. Even if your boots have a Gore-Tex lining, remember that water can freeze on the surface and leave you with an ice pack on that expensive insulation.
Breath-ability: Waterproof boots will not allow for enough ventilation of your feet, and you’ll end up with soggy feet that can lead to blistering and discomfort. Also, a sweaty foot in cold weather can become uncomfortable if there is too much ventilation as your feet will become cold when the sweat evaporates.
Surface Material: Consider a pair of boots that will allow you to apply weatherproofing polish or waxes to them. You’ll be able to judge when and where you need more protection and help your boots adjust to the weather you’re facing.
Know your Socks
Cotton: Winter camping is great, right up until you have a wet sock. Cotton is notorious for its inability to dry properly and will leave your feet wet, soggy, and cold. It’s best to leave the cotton for other times of the year.
Wool: Although it can be hard to dry out, it’s thicker and stands up better to moisture from your boots than cotton. When camping in winter, wool is the next best thing to synthetic fabric for keeping your feet up to par.
Synthetic Material: Be thinking Under Armour for your feet. These will help to pull moisture off of your feet and can easily be covered by a warmer pair of woolen socks on top.
Note: When out for winter camping, keep in mind that if you’re layering your feet, be sure there is plenty of spare room in your boots. You can quickly restrict blood flow to your feet if things get too tight. This can cause numbness and will take away all of the benefits of layering: less blood flow = colder.
Foot Powder: It doesn’t matter whether you’re camping in winter or summer; you need to be using foot powder at the end of the day. Cold or not, your feet will appreciate the dryness of foot powder, and your camping partners will appreciate the dissipating odors.
Blisters: Keep your feet in good shape, and you should minimize blisters, but it’s easy to create hotspots and points of rubbing that you never knew you had when you’re layering socks. If you get a blister, be sure to pop it and drain it. Use moleskin and keep the area dry and clean. Winter camping is all about keeping your feet dry, don’t ruin it with a soggy sock from an inadvertently popped blister.
Airing Out: You’ll want to take your boots off at night. You’re in a sleeping bag and under shelter anyway, so let your feet breathe. It’s okay to keep them wrapped up in socks, but make sure they are warm without getting sweaty.
Keep them Clean: Winter camping means keeping your boots dry. Gortex or waterproof, it doesn’t matter. Keep as much snow off of them as possible. Leftover moisture will freeze in and on boots.
Water Bottles: After you get your boots dry, consider keeping them from freezing and helping your feet stay more comfortable in them by sticking in a hot water bottle (sealed properly). Winter camping is all about comfort, so give your boots and your feet a little something to look forward too.
Clean Your Tread: It’s easy to forget about the tread on your boots, but it’s there for a reason. Winter conditions could mean a lot of mud and debris will get caught in the tread of your boots, so make sure that you keep the tread cleaned out, lest you slip and end your winter camping trip early.
Keep your feet in mind at all times if you decide to do your camping in the winter. The views are wonderful, the weather never lacking for challenges, and the experiences inspiring, but winter camping can take a turn for the worst if your feet aren’t taken care of. So be cautious, and always be on the lookout for faltering blood flow and frostbite.
How to stay warm camping in a tent
Many of us think that having space is a good thing, but when it comes to camping, nothing is further from the truth. Having a smaller tent is actually better, as it means that there is less space for cold air to sit. The more people you have in a smaller tent, the quicker the air will warm.
Make sure that the tent is well ventilated while you sleep though as condensation can cause damp which means you will get cold.
Warm camping is essential in the Winter months so knowing that your tent is up for the job is a must.
If you are looking for an all-round tent that is great for all weathers then make sure you look for:
- a tent that isn’t going to collapse if it suddenly snows. You want one that is going to encourage the snow to slide off.
- make sure that your tent is waterproof.
- think of flooring in the tent. What insulation does it have? Can it survive all your Winter boots walking across it.
- does your tent have the right ventilation?
Our top five tents that we have brought ourselves over the years are:
GEERTOP 4 Season 2 Person Waterproof Dome Backpacking Tent for Camping Hiking Travel Climbing*
This is a portable tent that has aluminum poles. It’s waterproof with tape-sealed stitching to keep water out. It’s really stable and great in all weather, including the wind.
Naturehike Cloud Peak 4 Season Backpacking Tent for 2-3 Person Hiking Camping Outdoor*
This two persons tent is great for backpacking. It’s easy to pitch and includes pegs and ropes. this has a ventilation opening at the top to help stop condensation.
FE Active 4 Person Camping Tent – Four Season 3 to 4 Man High-End Waterproof Rip-Stop Tent Compact*
This 6-pound tent is great for four people and makes a great emergency tent if needed. This is great for strong winds and really sturdy if you get caught in a storm.
Asteri Lightweight Camping Tent 2-4 Persons Double Layers Waterproof Backpacking Tent With Fly & Floor Mat Easy Setup Hiking Tent *
This durable tent has steep walls and with an adaptable rain-fly and mesh to help let condensation out. it’s heavy-duty too so great in the cold winter months.
GEERTOP 1 Person Backpacking Tent 4 Season Single Outdoor Lightweight Waterproof Camping Tent*
All packed away, this tent only weighs 1kg and can fit into a backpack perfectly. With just two tracking poles, this tent can be put up quickly then rolled to close.
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Cold weather camping
Fleece jacket and fleece gloves
This needs to be a good thick hooded jacket that is warm and has layers. Waiting until you are already cold could be dangerous so make sure you are ready to add a layer as soon as the temperature starts to drop.
Wool hat and scarf
We all know that we lose a lot of heat from our heads so wearing a hat at all times is a must. A wool hat helps you to retain your body heat. Wearing it to bed is a great idea too!
Water-resistant sleeping bag
Going to bed cold is horrible at the best of times but when camping, going to bed cold could be dangerous too. If you think that your body temperature is low then before sleeping, jump up and down, stomp, or even do some star jumps to get the core temperature back up. Nothing is better than body heat for warming up a sleeping bag.
Sleeping bag cover
A sleeping bag cover can act as an extra layer between you and the cold damp air. You could even lay a blanket underneath your sleeping back to help protect against the cold too.
Closed-cell sleeping pads
Having disposable heat pads are great for keeping warm at night and for emergency use. Pack extra just in case the weather changes quickly. They are great for extra insulation when body heat just isn’t enough.
Plenty of spare blankets
Bring as many different warm blankets as you can, some thick and some not. This way you can adapt to the changing weather. If you get cold, layer up but remember to take one layer off at a time if you get too warm. Sweating could cause your body to get cold quickly and your sleeping bag to get damp then cold.
Lightweight, waterproof jacket
Waterproof trousers and waterproof jackets are great if you expect a lot of rain. There is nothing worse then wearing wet clothes when you are cold. Wear layers underneath your waterproofs so you can easily take them off and not get everything else wet.
These are great for waterproofing your items in your backpack in an emergency.
Long tent pegs
Make sure pack way more than you need.
You never know when a head torch will come in handy. Make sure you have spare batteries and a backup torch just in case.
Food and water
This may be a given but remember to pack enough high-energy food and water. Getting dehydrated is a huge risk in Winter because of the lack of humidity in the air.
food wise, pack what you need to stay full. Food that cooks quickly is the best as sitting down for too long will make you cold quicker. Food like oats are great as they realize slow sugars into your body. Canned goods are easy to cook over an open fire.
Make sure you snack throughout the day too. Bring dried fruit, cereal bars, nuts and dark chocolate to keep you going for longer.
First Aid kit
This needs to be packed with all the essentials that you are going to need like:
plasters in all shapes and sizes
gauze dressings in all shapes
4 sterile eye dressings
crêpe rolled bandages
disposable sterile gloves
alcohol-free cleansing wipes
skin rash cream
insect bite cream
painkillers like paracetamol
eyewash and eye bath
Camping in the wintertime can be really great fun and if you have all the above then you should have a great time.
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