Depending on your part of the world, winter can be the best time to go camping. Countries with long, hot summers usually enjoy mild and sunny winters, making for the perfect camping weather.
Camping in winter does come with its own set of challenge however. Cold nights, rainy weather and wildlife trying to share your bed are just a few things to be prepared for.
With some planning and preparation, you’ll be able enjoy all the beauty of the great outdoors without facing any setbacks.
Warm Up Your Bed
When it comes to winter camping, a thin and flimsy beach tent won’t cut it. While bringing a quality tent is a good start, options such as caravans or camper trailers are a far better choice. Because their sleeping areas are elevated off the ground they’re the best option for staying warm during winter. Their tough design will also give you better protection against wet weather, animals and insects.
Correctly positioning your sleeping area is another way you can keep warm. By lining your campsite up with the passage of the sun, you can take advantage of sunshine during the day, warming up your tent and drying out any condensation formed overnight.
Make sure to bring a quality sleeping bag with you to keep you warm at night. If you don’t have one already, your local camping store will help you find the best type.
Think About Gear
Packing the right gear for your winter trip is essential. You’ll need a few more things than normal to camp in winter, but these needs may change depending on the length of your camping trip and your access to facilities.
Things to consider taking on your winter trip include:
- Gas bottles
- Disposable items such as trash bags and paper towels
- Fire equipment
- Warm and waterproof clothing
- Tools such as hammers, pegs, ropes and shovels
- First-Aid kits and medicine
- Phone for emergency contact
As with your sleeping gear, quality is a must for winter clothing. Dressing in layers is the best way to stay warm, with thermal-wear being a good choice. Thick, woollen socks will keep you warm and they also draw moisture away from your skin. Remember to pack a few pairs in case they get wet.
Planning a Fire
Cosying up around a fire is the best part of camping in winter. Before you get the kids excited though, it’s important to check whether you’re permitted to have a fire at all.
Make sure that the dates of your trip are within the range for the fire season. Campfires can sometimes be completely banned in certain areas, or their permissions could change over time.
If you’re cleared to go, the next thing is to make sure you’re prepared with everything you’ll need. Even a simple shovel is quite often forgotten and makes digging out the firepit and handling the embers much easier. Fire starters for wet weather and a hatchet to gather kindling are also recommended. If you have the space for it, bringing along some dry firewood will also save you a lot of time and frustration at camp.
Prepare for Rain
For the most part, setting up tarps beforehand should be enough to protect you against the rain. Tarps and other camping equipment should be set up firmly on solid ground and ideally on a hill or other high ground for drainage. You should avoid setting up near areas such as sand and dirt, as they will soften further under rainy conditions.
Make sure to pin tarps down firmly so water doesn’t pool on them, but not so tightly that their ropes might break under rough weather. Also consider the route that rain will take once it falls from the tarp. Ideally you could dig or build a channel to divert any run-off away from your camping area.
It’s always best to avoid rain, but if you’re camping in a remote area, it can be a welcome source of water. Bringing along equipment to catch rain will make the most of it and help top up your water supplies.
Are you planning a trip this winter? Let us know in the comments below.