A lot of people hear about snow camping, and immediately reject the notion, finding it almost crazy! But these people are missing out. For camping in winter is an experience like no other, it pushes your boundaries and proves the strong from the weak. And the views? Nothing in this world can compare to watching the sun rise over a snowy blanket. The cold weather? Simply makes snuggling into your sleeping bag all the more satisfying. So follow the tips provided and camping in winter will become ridiculously easily, and all the more enjoyable!
Be sure to read about a first hand experience of winter camping in an RV and the tricks they learned at Pete Gone Camping.
#1 Careful with your Clothes
My most important advice, and one many experienced winter campers will agree with wholeheartedly, is that it is always better to overpack than to underpack. When you’re sliding a pair of damp socks over your wiggling toes, you will be filled with regret. So why risk it? Bring the extra pair of socks! Bring the extra fleece! Whenever you make any day trips, or for your trip in general, bring an extra pair of gloves or mittens. These are easily the most lost items on camping trips, and they will be sorely missed. Make sure to bring clothes you can layer easily, with materials suited to the cold.
A lesser known tip is to keep your boots in your tent at night, and if possible even in your sleeping bag. Whilst in summer this might be done to avoid creepy crawlies - don’t deny it, we all have that fear! - in winter we do this to avoid them freezing. Frozen boots will lead to hypothermia in no time, so be sure to stay safe and warm.
#2 Sorting out Sleeping
Now our favourite time of the day, sleeping time! If you’ve decided to go for a tent, I’m impressed but concerned. But nevertheless, it is more than possible. Be sure to do sufficient research on a winter tent, and don’t settle for an unspecialized tent. Check out this article on the best winter tent options and general winter camping advice. Now to choose where to sleep. Avoid setting your tent up at the bottom of a hill, where cold air troughs form, and not at the top of hills where the wind will be your biggest enemy. Avoid camping on vegetation, and if possible place your tent facing where the sun will rise, to give you that extra bit of warmth in the mornings. Choose a flat site, and before setting up your tent, be sure to pack the snow. You can do this using heavy items or walking over it. This will avoid you ripping through your tent later, and the packed snow insulates heat better than loose snow. Do careful research on your sleeping bag, finding one best suited to such temperatures. Another alternative is to get a two person sleeping bag if you’re travelling with another. This allows your body heat to warm each other, and is super cosy! If you don’t wish to fork out for a new sleeping bag and the weather forecast isn’t too rough, then buy a sleeping bag liner instead. Many believe the key to getting warm in winter camping is to add extra layers on top, but this is simply not the case! The true key to staying warm is the layers underneath, as the frozen ground steals your body heat quicker than the air outside. So be sure to bring a sleeping pad, and if in doubt add another blanket under your body.
#3 Food and Drink
Do not make the mistake of thinking that snow is a source of clean water. It is not. Snow often forms around bacteria. But that doesn’t mean you cannot use it to produce clean water. It is best to leave your water filtration system at home, as mechanical filters can break in the cold and chemical filters take longer to work. It is best to go to the old fashioned method of simply boiling your water, which can be done easily with snow. Make sure to drink enough, as staying hydrated will help you greatly in cold weather. During the night, tip your water bottle over, to avoid the spout/opening freezing. As for food, a warm and nutritious breakfast and dinner will help you greatly, with snacks for lunch. It can be more than difficult to get up in the freezing mornings, but this is often aided by a warm cup of coffee. Since bringing our espresso machine along may be a slight challenge, also trying to find a plug could leave to difficulties… we’ll have to settle for cowboy coffee! All you need to make cowboy coffee are grounds and hot water, find out how to make it here.
#4 Go by Motorhome
Snow camping is a real struggle, due to everything from the freezing temperatures to the thick padding on the ground. All these hardships can be avoided, or at least aided, through taking a motorhome for your camping trip. This would allow you to be less stingy with space, meaning you could ensure you have enough warm clothing and food and whatever else you’d like! Sleeping in a motorhome would be warmer than a tent, giving you a better night sleep for your day activities. Motorhomes often having cooking facilities, meaning your warm meals to fill your stomach could be less reliant on firewood! Many prefer travelling by motorhome for camping trips, as it allows you to enjoy the outdoors and beautiful nature when it suits you, and take some little comforts of home with you.
#5 Little Extras
And now for some fun little extra tips and tricks to make snow camping that step easier. For power, aim to use lithium batteries, as these perform more consistently in colder temperatures than others, and are lighter, last longer with a flat decay curve. Keep any gadgets in your sleeping bag or close, as cold temperatures drain the battery rapidly. Be sure to bring enough light, as you’ll underestimate just how long the nights become during winter. Many campers advise bringing a candle lantern for in your tent, as it does wonders to warm your tent and reduce condensation. Just be sure to keep it far enough from you and the ceiling to reduce the fire hazard. A good way to ensure a warm nights sleep, is to exercise right before going into bed. If you crawl in feeling warm with your heart pumping, the trapped heat will get you super cosy and drifting off in no time. Another way to keep your tent warm is to fill the floor space, as this can stop your tent getting warm. Bring in your backpack and other gear to fill the floor. But be careful not to bring in sharp items that could rip the tent, as then the cold is going to get a lot worse! And finally, make sure to pee when you need to, and not put it off. While the process may be less than ideal, the longer urine stays in your bladder, the more energy your body puts into warming it.
I hope a few of these tips can help your next winter camping trip, and help you to enjoy the wonders of camping during this cold, yet festive, season! If you’re looking for a motorhome to help you ease into it, then look no further than Goboony. On our site you’ll find plenty of motorhomes available, all privately owned and waiting to be taken out by you!