Cold weather camping is a favorite for many people. One reason it’s their favorite type of camping is they know how to do it. Cold weather camping isn’t something that should be done on the spur of the moment. It takes a lot of planning and preparation. Here are some things that you should know, and things you should do, when cold weather camping:
- Only eat ice or snow if it has been boiled.
- Stay off icy ponds, streams, and lakes.
- Pack more matches than you think you’ll ever need. Store them in a metal storage container. Plastic can break if it’s frozen and dropped.
- Keep double the amount of wood and fuel you think you’ll need on hand.
Bring your tinder or kindling from home.
- Have your tinder and wood ready to light when you go to sleep at night. This will make starting a morning fire easy when you rise.
- If your flashlight batteries act up because of the cold, you can revive them by warming them by the fire.
- Keep heaters out of your tent to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Wear several layers of light clothing versus one heavy layer of clothing.
- Do everything within your power to stay dry.
- If you are in snow, wear dark sunglasses. This will prevent snow blindness.
- You should wear water-proof shoes.
- Wear two pairs of socks, a cotton pair and a wool pair. This will keep perspiration away from your feet and increase insulation.
- Wear mittens instead of gloves. If your mittens get wet, pull a pair of socks over your hands.
- Wear a warm hat that covers your ears and neck.
- Wear a scarf to keep body heat from escaping from your neck area. Wrap a scarf around your face if you need protection from wind and cold.
- If your clothes aren’t keeping you warm, put a layer of paper between your body and your clothes.
- Use a sleeping bag that is the proper season rating. You should know that mummy style sleeping bags will keep your body the warmest. If you don’t have a mummy style sleeping bag, bring an extra blanket or two to stuff down into the bag around your shoulders. This will help prevent cold air from seeping into your sleeping bag.
- Avoid sleeping with your head under your blanket or sleeping bag. Your breathing will make the area humid and damp and reduce the insulation properties.
- Use a ground cloth to protect your bag from moisture.
- Use a sleeping pad instead of a blow up mattress or cot.
- Move around and exercise a bit before you get into your sleeping bag. Your body heat will warm up your sleeping bag a lot faster. Just be careful that you aren’t perspiring. If you do, remove those clothes before you get into your bag.
- Place the clothes you plan to wear the next day nearby. Place them in your sleeping bag the next morning before you get up. This will help warm them up so you aren’t chilled when you do change into them.
- Drink two quarts of fluid daily when you are cold weather camping. This is in addition to the fluids you take in at mealtime.
- Educate yourself and learn how to recognize and treat health problems that could result from cold weather.
This is just the beginning of what you should know and do if you are going to go cold weather camping. It’s a good idea to read a cold weather survival manual before you embark on any major camping trips in the dead of winter.