|You might be thinking, "Why would anyone want to camp in the winter?" The summer camping crowds have hibernated into their homes and the camps are much more peaceful, while the colder seasons are actually pretty amazing. Trees have shed their leaves and rivers and lakes are frozen. Winter offers a different landscape, and even when it snows, winter is a beautiful season to enjoy outdoors.
Need proof? People love to camp in the snow. But that's because they prepared the right equipment. The key to a successful winter camping trip is having the right gear and being an informed winter camper. Whether you're backcountry or car camping in cold weather, the right equipment will make winter camping enjoyable
l Choose a real destination
When choosing a camping destination for your winter trip, consider your limitations and expectations. Do you like cold weather? Do you like sleeping in the snow? If extreme weather conditions are not your thing, consider checking out more temperate climates.
l Check the weather forecast
Before embarking on a winter camping trip, check the weather forecast. Be sure to know the high and low temperatures to expect, and if there are any storms. Be ready for a change in weather - winter storms are often to be expected!
l Make sure to wear appropriate clothing
Wool socks, warm boots, thermal underwear and a warm jacket are essential, and don't forget your gloves. Layering dressings helps you regulate your body temperature and can make a huge difference in extremely cold temperatures. Pack your clothing according to the climate you're camping in; down jackets are great in dry climates, but not always the best choice in wet climates.
l Pack basic winter camping equipment
In order to feel comfortable while camping in the winter, the right camping equipment is very important. Make sure to choose a sleeping bag that is temperature rated for your destination or warm. And If you're snow camping, consider bringing an extra stove to melt the snow into potable water, and be sure to have extra fuel for your camp stove.
l Winterize your RV or camper
If you're winter camping in an RV, backcountry camper, or trailer, be sure to winter camp. The area of greatest concern for recreational vehicles is chilled water lines. Consult your owner's manual for winter RV tips specific to your model. If your RV has a heater, make sure it's working before you head out!
l Warm your sleeping bag before bed
Cold sleeping bags can take a while to warm up, so warming up your bag is a great way to get cozy at night. Boil water and place in a waterproof container. Let the water cool a bit, then double-check that the container is completely airtight (a leaky bottle can be disastrous!). Put the hot water container in the sleeping bag 20 minutes before bedtime. These heats will make sleeping at night more pleasant and help maintain body temperature while you sleep.
l Bring plenty of firewood
It is difficult to find firewood in the ground in winter. By the time winter comes, summer camps have cleared the forest for lumber, or winter storms have left most of the lumber too wet to burn. An evening bonfire will keep you warm in the evening and make eating outside even more enjoyable on a cold day.
l Prepare hearty meals
While sandwiches and watermelon are great for summer camping, colder weather calls for a more hearty meal. Canned soups or stews are great for lunch. Don't forget to bring your favorite hot beverage: hot chocolate, coffee, tea or cider.
l Pack a book or entertainment
The nights are long so it's nice to have entertainment in the evening. Bring a book to read in your sleeping bag, or if you're auto camping, bring a computer and watch a movie. If you go to bed too early, you will wake up before the sun rises.
Camping is a chance to get away, but in most cases, you're still surrounded by other people. And all those people are looking to enjoy their vacation time, as well. To ensure other campers enjoy their experience as much as you, it's important to follow the unwritten camping rules. Here are 8 rules to remember on future trips.
1. Clean your site: Don't leave a dirty field for the next camper. Leaving trash in pristine, natural spaces is frowned upon, and most campgrounds will charge you for trash or other items. Remember the motto: Take what you bring.
2. Put your fire out: Because you can endanger those around you, this is one of the most important camping rules no matter where you go. Be sure to extinguish fire sources before going to bed, before heading out, or when leaving the location after your stay. A general rule of thumb is to make sure the coals or ashes are cold.
3. Clean up after your pets: Whether you're at a campground, across a campground, or hiking nearby trails, always clean up after your pet. Make sure your pets don't go to the bathroom at someone else's campsite either.
4. Don't wash your dishes in the bathroom: Most campgrounds have specific rules for this. Washing dishes not only takes up a small space in the bathroom, but it is also unhygienic; dirty dishes should not be placed in the sink where people wash their faces and hands.
5. Don't cut through campsites: Avoid walking through anyone's camp unless you know your neighbors. People pay to enter a campsite, making the site their personal space during their stay. Don't break in just to save a few minutes of walking to the bathroom.
6. Respect quiet hours: Almost every campground has a quiet hour, usually starting at 10pm. to 6am. These are for those who need a good night's sleep or are camping with kids. Sounds come in the still of night, so respect the timing. Also be mindful of your early morning routine, which can be just as disturbing.
7. Use lowlights: When driving through a campsite or unloading your vehicle in the dark, turn off your headlights and use low-beam lights. For those around you, bright lights can disrupt sleep. Once you reach the campsite, use your lantern and flashlight.
8. Leave extra wood: If you don't need it at home, leave the extra firewood behind. Pack less is one of those camping rules that works in your favor and those who use your site after you.