The joys of winter camping have been well noted (a few times!), so you should now be suitably fired up for a wintery weekend in the woods. But what are the golden nuggets of information for keeping warm when you’re winter camping?
Of course you’ll learn best from making your own mistakes, but hopefully the following pointers (that we’ve learned the hard way) will help you out on your next weekend adventure in the cold:
# 1 Be Rocky Balboa
As your core warmth comes from within, it’s vital that you’re not too cold when you climb into your sleeping bag. We recommend bench-pressing your camping buddy or putting your leg warmers on and performing a full rendition of Flashdance outside your tent. If you forgot your leg warmers, a few star jumps or press ups should suffice.
# 2 Wear the right kind of clothes
This is fairly obvious one. You might think you look cooler than a pair of polar bear testicles in your rude-boy t-shirt, but you’re literally going to freeze at night. Pack merino wool base layers & insulating synthetics, wear the thickest socks your hard earned dollars can buy, and encase your head in a tea cosy (or beanie).
# 3 Have a big meal before bed
Eat a hot meal immediately before sleeping – and make it a fatty one! Fat is metabolised more slowly than carbs so will last for longer once you enter your deep slumber. We recommend cheese, not only is it a tasty treat, but it’ll also give you the most bonkers dreams. Win win.
# 4 Embrace the pee bottle
There’s fewer things less fun than leaving the heavenly comfort of your sleeping bag to wee outside your tent in the middle of night. If you’re blessed with good aim, peeing into a WELL-MARKED bottle will double up as a hot water bottle, simplifying your nightly continence. For the love of God, don’t confuse it with your water bottle though – mark it with duct tape! Ladies – it’s she-wee time.
# 5 Don’t mess around with your sleeping mat
You lose more heat through conductive heat loss when sleeping than anything else. Never underestimate the power of your sleeping mat – don’t skimp on it! Use one with a R value of at least 4, and take another closed cell mat to use underneath.
# 6 Open your tent slightly
Leaving a gap in your tent helps encourage airflow, reducing your chances of suffocation and condensation (nothing worse than a wet sleeping bag in the morning). Its especially critical if your tent buddy over did the freeze dried meals and played a rectal rendition of Auld Land Syne in their sleep.
# 7 Fast Food
De-hydrated meals, porridge, hot chocolate….let’s not mess about – the quicker it’s prepped and in your belly the better.
# 8 Substitute paper with snowballs
Although an eye bulging experience, it’s quick and effective, more hygienic than paper and will ensure you’ll have the sparkliest ring in the mountains. Be brave and have a go.
# 9 Never neglect your fingers
Life becomes significantly more difficult when your digits are out of action. Even zipping up your jacket or unscrewing your bottle lip can be a monumental chore. Invest in great gloves.
# 10 Lithium batteries over alkaline ones
Use lithium batteries in all your winter electronics – they’re lighter and last on average three times longer.
Any more tips for successful winter camping? Please do share them in the comments section for future reference.
Feature image by Benny Littlejohn
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