Prep for Winter Camping, Part Two

hEarlier this week, we took a look at some tips to help those who fancy winter camping get a head start on prepping for the snowy season. Today we’ll highlight some more winter camping tips, with a specific focus on the gear you’ll be taking with you.

Your gear may need an upgrade.

Odds are, the gear you wear throughout the warmer seasons simply can’t handle the cold temperatures and snowy terrain that accompanies winter camping. Let’s take your tent, for instance. If you plan on camping in the winter, you’ll most likely need to invest in a tent made for it, such as a mountaineering tent. These tents feature added insulation and wind protection to handle the harsh climate. Also, make sure to buy snow stakes to secure your tent, as regular stakes won’t hold up.

Winterize your gloves,

Cold, wet hands can quickly make your camping trip miserable, not to mention lead to frostbite. It’s near impossible to work with your hands while they’re freezing, let alone enjoy yourself, so I’d advise you to pick up gloves designed for the winter. Furthermore, I’d pack extra pairs of gloves, so you can make a change if one pair gets wet. Look for gloves that are long enough to tuck up into your sleeves and offer great insulation. Also, if you can, try to purchase gloves that feature grips, do that, as this feature will be helpful if you’re using trekking poles or skis.

Keep your feet protected.

It’s funny to me how many people grab a pair of hiking boots from a department store or shoe store and think they’ll endure harsh conditions for long. Yes, these boots may cost less, but is saving a few dollars worth the misery and danger of cold, wet feet. If you think you’ll be hiking or camping in the winter, it’s a good idea to invest in a reliable pair of boots made for the job. Many boots from companies like Merrell, Keen, or The North Face are waterproof, insulated with Gore-Tex, and are equipped with higher quality grips or spikes.

No one wants to freeze at night.

You’ll need to learn to see through marketing lingo when you’re buying a sleeping bag for the winter, in order to ensure you’re purchasing one that will actually protect you against the harsh temperatures. Make sure to buy one that is rated at least 10°F lower than the lowest temperature you think you’ll face. Believe me, it’s better to be too warm than too cold when you’re camping in the winter. I’d also look into investing in a sleeping pad to add further insulation between you and the freezing ground. Although this adds more weight to your pack, you’ll appreciate the extra bit of warmth it provides. Finally, you can further increase the toastiness factor by using a sleeping bag liner.