Camping during winter is beautiful especially watching the snow-capped mountain and ice skating. However, the freezing nights are simply unbearable. As such, before setting out, be well prepared and carry the right gear in order to survive camping.
When planning to go camping in the cold season, there are several things you must consider such as:
- If the place you plan to visit is a plain, it’s important to consider that it might flood when it rains and you should, therefore, have a backup plan. This includes renting out a cabin where you can run to whenever the cold becomes unbearable. On the other hand, if you are going to a mountain area or a forest, you need to have some skills for protecting yourself against wild animals.
- How many people are traveling with you? This is very important because you don’t want to arrive and realize that some people cannot fit in the tent. Getting the exact number helps you ensure that you carry a well-sized tent and enough beddings.
- How long are you planning to be out there? This helps you especially in packing so that you don’t under pack or pack excess stuff.
- What’s the plan? Work out a plan from your trip. This includes researching the area you plan to visit, how hard winter strikes along that region, places you can ask for help in case something happens and the best modes of traveling. Also, find out some of the important government policies so that you don’t end up breaking any laws.
- Are there any alternative accommodations? Get several alternative accommodations because you never can tell what will happen in winter. This means you should settle in a place where these emergency locations can be easily accessed.
Upon arrival at your preferred destination, you need to keep warm and at the same time, have fun. This means that staying in the camp all through is definitely out of the question.
Here are our top survival tips when camping in cold weather:
1.How to Make Your Tent Warmer
As a winter traveler, you want to know how to make your tent warmer, right? You can start by lighting a fire outside the tent, warm yourself before going to bed and you will warm up faster than you would if you had gone to bed cold. The heat also gets into the tent through convection. Get some camp insulators which can be rugs or tent carpets. Thanks to improved technology, there are disposable heat packs in the market nowadays which are affordable and come in handy.
You just have to put them either in your hoody or in the sleeping bag and the camp warms up. It’s also advisable to sleep in twos or three depending on the size of the sleeping bag. The tent should be big enough meaning; you should not carry a huge tent for three people because the heat will always get lost in the empty space.
Related article: Staying Outside Longer During The Winter Months
2. Travel in Groups
According to a Jack London novel, it’s best to travel in the company of either one or several of your friends. One of the reasons he gave was, friends can protect each other in case of anything and they also help each other to do several things like, set up the camp, put up the tents, inflate the beds and in cooking. If you’re going to hunt, it is more fun when you do it in groups since you can also compete with your friends and see which group catches the biggest animals. The winners can be rewarded by being excluded from chores or by having bigger portions of the food.
The reward is just motivation for hard work. Hunting is one of the minimalist survival tips where travelers only carry what they can’t do without and cannot improvise. In this case, they don’t need to carry food because they can hunt.
Moving in groups is one of the most effective wilderness survival hacks. When friends are around, you can play several outdoor games and therefore, keep the cold away and reduce bore dorm. Playing is a form of physical exercise, and it keeps you fit. Having the company of someone also reduces the risk of being depressed by almost half. It is the easiest way to survive camping during the cold season.
3. Dress Appropriately
Keeping away the cold is probably the most important thing in your mind right now. So how do you ensure you always keep warm? According to science, it is better to dress in layers than to put on a single cloth no matter how heavy it is. This is because air is trapped in between the layers of the clothes and acts as an insulator. Meaning the heat from your body remains concentrated around you.
Also, ensure that your camping cloth is not made from cotton. This is because, when you sweat, cotton materials tend to remain damp for longer and when it gets colder, you feel colder in them. This should be taken very seriously because wearing such a cloth might get you sick. Instead of cotton, use materials such as merino wool, silk and all other synthetic materials.
The outer layer should be made up of strictly waterproof clothing. Also, remember to carry several pairs of gloves and mittens. When you have all that in place, then you’re good to go and you will survive camping.
4. Thoroughly Inspect Your Travel Gear
This might seem obvious, but in reality, several travelers often forego this step and end up with problems. For example, if you assume that the tent is okay because nobody uses it, you might be shocked to find a hole in it when you’ve already arrived or you might find a part of it is missing, this scenario is devastating isn’t it?
Though the tent is the most important gear, you need to inspect everything else including sleeping bags, your blankets and the boots to see whether they have holes because walking in the wet grass in torn boots is very uncomfortable. Remember to check whether your ice shovel has handles intact because you need it for camp survival in winter. There are other camping survival supplies like the flashlight, a map, goggles, a water bottle and a first aid kit. Remember to keep a minimalist survival kit.
5. Always Keep Your Gear Dry
If you’re looking forward to surviving camping, ensure your boots, gloves and sleeping bag are dry. When you breathe into your sleeping bag, it absorbs the moisture from your breath making the inside of your sleeping bag cold. Similarly, avoid blowing air into your gloves as a way of trying to warm your hands because they absorb the moisture just like the sleeping bags. For the boots, keep them at the bottom of the sleeping bag to ensure that they don’t freeze during the night.
You can also add layers of stuff over the sleeping bag in case it’s not warm enough. These may include clothes or anything else available in the camp.
6. Keep Fit and Hydrated
If you’re used to having the morning and evening run, do not let the change of environment stop you. Being fit is the top survival tip for any situation. For instance, when there is a disease outbreak, the people who always keep fit are rarely affected. When camping in the cold, running and exercising warms you up and helps you stretch your muscles so you won’t be feeling tired and sluggish.
There are several sportswear and equipment specially made for the cold season and you will need them when working out. However, you are allowed to eat the ‘unhealthy’ food if it means getting a good sleep. According to researchers, taking high-calorie food just before bed leaves you feeling warmer for longer.
During the cold season, people forget to hydrate. Even when there is no heat to trigger the thirst, always remember to take the right amount of clean water which is good for your health. Instead of carrying your water filter, try boiling the snow because filters tend to work slower in cold weather.
Suggested reading: Winter Trail Survival Food – 3 Easy Recipes
7. Do Everything Possible to Survive
If the place is windy and you are afraid that your camp might be destroyed or are not sure about the security in the area, sleep in shifts. This is done by allowing a group to sleep for about 2 hours while the others keep watch and after the set time, they wake up and the others sleep.
This is what is commonly referred to as survivalist camping. If you run out of food and unfortunately there are no animals to hunt, look for wild fruits and eat to survive camping.
Look out for all the red flags that indicate you should pack your bags and go back home. If the extreme cold weather can damage electronics, imagine what can happen to you. Some people may fall ill while camping and that calls for an end of the trip.
The most common illnesses include frostbite and hypothermia. As much as you are wowed by nature and your best moments are ones spent in the freezing cold when you see any of these signs, it’s better to relocate to a warmer area to survive camping.
Did you find the tips helpful? If you have other outdoor survival tips, feel free to add them in the comment box.
This article has been written by Ronald Pratt for Prepper’s Will.