Packing wisely for winter camping

by Pete

won’t pretend that I was born like a 4-seasons camper. Getting cold is a situation I need to avoid at all times. Cold hurts. I’m happy to be working from out of home as a freelancer and also happy that my clients don’t see me working in my thermo wear, wearing a beanie, a scarf and loving my skiing socks on regular Tuesdays without any snow around.

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I’m built for tropical climates, but hey, I’m also an outdoor person! I’m not supposed to stay inside from October until March. So I faced my challenges and experienced some winter camping. I’m not talking about camping in the snow here (that’s still a bridge too far for me), but outdooring when you most probably would prefer to stay inside. Read along when you don’t want the cold to keep you away from mother nature any longer!

Time to exaggerate yeah…
If there is one advice I may give you when you’re heading out to go winter camping: exaggerate the cold you’re going to face. Whatever place on earth you’re living, camping in your local wintery season will bring you colder nights than you’re used to. Staying warm will help you to actually enjoy sleeping in your tent, so prep well for wintery nights. My dad always says the extra stuff just drives along for free and I couldn’t agree more in this case. It will really be a bummer if you didn’t bring this hot water bottle because you thought it would not be that bad…

Pick whatever really works for you
Me freezing without the right bedding haha..
Me in the Robens Carpathian sleeping bag
Campsite Camping Gletscherdorf | WOW what a view!
WOW what a view!

Prepare for moisture all over the place
I don’t mean those beautiful misty fields that dry soon after sunrise. I mean condense that’s there 24/7, wet socks and mud all over the place. Comes with the package and shouldn’t be too big of an issue when bringing enough dry socks, rain boots and a small portable fireplace/ stove to not only warm your hands, but also to dry the essentials. When shit hits the fan and you have to run to the loo in stormy weather, make sure you’ve cleared some space for your wet shoes and jacket. You don’t want to mess up the little dry paradise inside your tent.

Beat the cold
Yeah… this is really an issue: the cold. First of all, try to avoid sleeping on the ground. As you will see in one of my next posts, a rooftop tent could be a great solution. Or, when you’re not even near one of these, make sure you don’t touch the ground by using a stretcher. Useless to say that you really need a good self inflatable mattress and super sleeping bag when winter camping. I will tell you more about picking the right sleeping bag later on. One of my favourite insider tips is to snuggle with a hot water bottle in your sleeping bag to heat things up. This also works for crappy sleeping bags haha.. When temperatures really go crazy, don’t feel ashamed to wear your gloves and a hat in bed. As you could read in my previous article about how to sleep well when camping, I always sleep with a beanie when camping. Anything to overcome the cold… Didn’t find the funds yet to buy a good sleeping bag? Then really bring a sleeping bag liner. Creating layers inside your sleeping bag will help to insulate. Also an extra blanket (to cover your mattress) will help you to stay warm.

How can chilling at night be fun in the winter?
Well, by wearing snow boots, holding a hot water bottle close, drinking lots of wine, by bringing a headlamp, by always wearing a hat and by gazing up to starry winter night skies. Another tip: bring enough thermo (under)wear. Don’t be afraid to invest a bit on this part of your equipment. I know thermo wear is madly expensive, but it’s really well worth the spend. To speed up the thermo effect, I like to shower hot and quickly put on my thermo wear to keep the heat in.

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