Winter Camping Essentials: Winter can bring an experience that few understand. This has enormous benefits as it means the trails are less crowded, campsites abandoned and roads deserted, leaving you to enjoy a rare moment of peace and calm in surroundings transformed by the winter season, even if it does have to be in a four wheel drive camper van.
There’s no doubt winter camping can be difficult, tough and with a considerable amount of discomfort, but that doesn’t take away the magical essence of getting outside when almost everyone else is getting inside. It also adds volume to the exhilarating experience of overcoming and surviving inhospitable conditions.
So whether its something you know you’d enjoy, or if you’d simply relish the opportunity of doing it just the once, here’s a load of tips to start your trip safely and a winter camping checklist you should follow. The bonus is that these tips could also prove to be a lifesaver if you are simply driving to the other end of the country to meet the in-laws or are going cross-country to the shops in the winter.
As with most things, you never quite know when you might need an emergency survival pack so it’s always a good idea to keep it tucked in the boot of the car or camper van for when things get a bit tougher than usual.
Plan, Plan and Plan Again
Research the area you intend to visit and the weather and conditions you will be exposed to. This will have a massive influence on what you include in your winter camping pack. Also, make an itinerary which includes where you intend to go and when you’ll be back, and pass it on to a number of reliable people who can monitor if you’ve got to your destination at the right time or if you’ll need some help.
Always Take More Than You Think You’ll Need
Take more clothes, more food, more fuel, more bedding, etc. Taking more that you need will never do any harm, but taking less than you need certainly will.
It’s all about layers. Choose a number of thin layers, then bulk them up with a warm, windproof and waterproof layer. Also, never forget your head, hands, neck and feet. Make sure every layer you have is a mix of warm, waterproof and windproof as necessary.
These have to be warm, waterproof, and most of all have a good grip. If they wont be good in the snow and ice make sure you buy some crampons.
We think the following should be a part of everyone’s winter essentials list and stored in a waterproof bag:
Emergency food and water
Rock salt or grit
Shovel and snow chains
Extra clothes and shoes (see above)
Vehicle tool kit and extra fuel
Blankets and pillows to overnight in a vehicle
Waterproof matches or lighter
Phone, Phone charger and emergency numbers
Eco-power generator like the Biolite Stove or PowerPot
Maps of the area you are visiting
A sense of humour!
Picture Credits and thanks to Greg Hopkins Solution Studios