Camping or backpacking in the dead of winter can be cold business. But you will be rewarded with pristine, snowy wilderness, and very few people. And while cold-weather camping might frighten most people, it doesn’t have to be miserable. Here are a few tips to making your time in the wild during the deep days of winter more enjoyable.
-Eat. If you wake up cold in the middle of the night, your body most likely ran out of fuel to keep you warm. Keep a small snack next to your sleeping bag to munch on if you wake up shivering. Unless there are bears in the vicinity. If so, never sleep next to your food (of any kind).
-Fill one of your water bottles with hot water and throw it in your sleeping bag. Not only will the hot water bottle help to keep your feet warm at night but it will also speed up the drying process for any of your gear that might have gotten wet.
-If duty calls in the middle of the night, get up and get it over with. The longer you wait, the colder you will get.
-Don’t go to bed cold. Drink some hot tea, run laps around your tent, or do a few squats and burpees before hopping into your sleeping bag for the night.
-Stuff all your clothes for the next day in the bottom of your sleeping bag and even fill in the spaces around you. This will cut down on the amount of air in your sleeping bag that your body needs to heat up, and because your body heat will warm the clothing, that also means you can put on nicely heated clothes the next morning.
-Wear a hat and dry socks to bed to add some extra warmth.
-Sleep with both a closed cell foam pad and an air mattress beneath you. The closed cell foam pad will insulate you from the ground, which can suck away most of your body heat, while the air mattress will provide comfort.
As with any new adventure, don’t let the fear of “what if” stop you from seeing for yourself.