Being comfortable is king to enjoying winter camping. Take a look at our suggestions to help you gear up and get out there when the weather is cold but the campfire’s hot.
Winter around the country can mean different things – some camping during winter can mean your site gets covered in a blanket of snow, where in other areas the temperature is cool at night and moderate during the day. Depending on the type of weather you’ll be camping in you’ll need to adjust your shelter and bedding options to suit but there are a few things every winter camper should be aware off.
Make sure your tent pegs are suited to the type of ground where you’ll pitch your tent or shelter. For example in light sandy soil conditions a strong sand peg should work well however in snow covered ground or loose sand locations a longer more sturdy peg will keep your tent and shelter firmly in place. Laying a ground sheet underneath your tent will help keep the dew and moisture away from your gear. Pitching your tent or shelter in a location that will take advantage of the morning sun is also a nice touch and one that your fellow campers will appreciate!
If you’re likely to be camping in light snow or humid conditions it’s a good idea to pitch a fly sheet over your tent or even a tarpaulin. This will trap ‘dead air’ between your tent and the cold air providing extra insulation and will also help reduce moisture and condensation from appearing in your tent. The same principle applies to your swag – a fly and ground sheet will help prevent condensation and creating a layer of dead air will help give you a comfy and warmer sleep.
Hot Tip: Using a ground sheet underneath your tent or swag will help prevent moisture from entering your shelter from below.
What you sleep in or on can also affect your comfort level. In cold conditions the humble air bed isn’t the best insulator so it’s a good option to use a self inflating or 4WD mattress. These bedding options also trap dead air and your body warmth will help to create a warmer bed of air to sleep on. Your choice of sleeping bag is also important so it’s a good idea to match the bag to the climate. Along with fill material and weight, sleeping bags are also rated on their insulation or temperature rating. Sleeping bags such as the Blackwolf Samurai sleeping bag are suited to sub-zero temperatures where as less insulating sleeping bags will keep you comfortable in plus zero degree conditions. Some of us ‘feel the cold’ more than others so it’s important to take this into consideration when deciding what sleeping bag you’ll need. We recommend using a sleeping bag rated to below the temperatures you’re expecting – it’s easier to make yourself cool than it is to add extra warmth!
Hot Tip: Hot water bottles are great additions for a warm sleep!
What to wear
Dressing in layers is a great idea as this allows you to adjust your warmth to suit the conditions or activity. A base layer such as thermals will control your core body temperature. An insulating or middle layer such as a fleece jumper will create a micro climate and trap warmth around your body. An outer or protective layer will protect you from the elements such as wind or rain.
How To: As most of your body heat is lost through your extremities don’t forget your accessories such as beanies, scarves and gloves.
Everyone loves a warming winter meal and we all have memories of a great winter stew or roast. Bringing these meals to the campsite in winter and sharing them with family and friends are easily some of the best pleasures of winter camping. Cooking over a fire is a great idea as the campers are able to enjoy the warmth provided by the fire whilst the meal is cooking. Options for cooking over a fire include the traditional cast iron cookware or fire grill and cast iron plate. Cooking options not needing a fire include thermal cookers and Cobb cooker. All of these options are perfect for cooking delicious stews, soups and roasts.
Hot Tip: When cooking with cast iron, charcoal briquettes provide a long burning and consistent source of heat making cast iron cooking so easy! If firewood is your heat source, don’t forget to bring enough firewood for your heating and cooking needs!
Comfort and warmth are key for enjoying your winter camping experience. Hot showers and gas heaters are just two options that will make your winter camping trip much easier and more comfortable. Gas heaters are great as they are portable and provide a constant source of heat. Water heaters such as the Coleman Hot Water on Demand system are popular options for winter campers – who can say no to an instant warm shower or hot cuppa?
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