Winter camping is not as daunting an endeavor as it may sound. It is equally as immersive as camping during summers, and just as rewarding when it comes to being one with nature.
The only thing you have to tackle is staying warm. Here is how you do it.
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There IS A Right Tent For Winters
While an avid camper will purchase a winter tent and camping accessories that they can stretch throughout all seasons, the size of your tent can influence the inside temperature. It’s simple, the bigger tent you buy the harder your tent stove has to work to keep the space warm. Smaller tents get warmer quicker and tend to stay warm longer through the night when you have turned off the heating mechanism.
Wall tents fashioned out of synthetic materials are also a bonus in keeping you insulated through harsh weather conditions.
Putting Thought into the Campsite
When you pick out a camping spot make sure you hitch your tent where it receives a barrier from gusts of cold winds. Some of the ways you can achieve this is by finding a spot behind a ridge, or in front of a bunch of trees facing the direction where the winds are coming from.
If you can, always try to settle your campsite at a lower point in the mountain even if you have to hike higher up. That way you save a few freezing degrees just from a lower altitude.
Another excellent way to balance the temperature is camp where the sun directly hits the ground in the morning. This way when you wake up you as well as your tent get a nice dose of sunlight and warmth to counter the cold night.
Breathing Means Condensation and Condensation Means Cold and Wet
The great thing about canvas wall tents is that it is designed for optimum ventilation. To take full advantage of your tent’s features you have to make sure that the tent is pitched taught. All of the tent’s opening flaps have an additional layer that catches any condensation and dampness. This keeps it from running down the inner walls and onto your sleeping bags.
The Sleeping Bag
Just opting for a sleeping bag over a glamp bed or sleeping pad is not enough. There are dozens of variants when it comes to this particular camping product, and there are multiple ways you can modify your current sleeping bag to serve you in winter.
Most sleeping bags come with their certified rating, which tells you how warm they can keep you while camping in cold conditions. The best thing about these ratings is that instead of an advertising tool they are derived from independent testing, making them a reliable metric when purchasing camping accessories.
These ratings will come for two features. The comfort rating is the one you should be looking at for determining what temperature you would like to sleep in.
Depending on the exact weather conditions you will be camping in, you can pick out a sleeping bag with added designs such as a hooded flap. This can be used by campers to cover their faces as a barrier from cold winds. Bags also have a special draft tube which is an extra layer of insulation. That being said, if you are someone who feels uncomfortable sleeping on a synthetic layer, you can always opt for an overbag. This is simply a sleeve that goes on the outside of your sleeping bag.
Furthermore, when you have narrowed down your choice, make sure you purchase the right size. Now, this part is different for everyone. The sleeping bag has to be snug to your body size. If you have a sleeping bag that gives room, cold air will be trapped in it before you get in, making the whole concept of an insulated bag void. If you have already got the perfect sleeping bag but it is a bit bigger, all you have to do is fill in the extra space with clothes till you fill that air pocket.
The Sleeping Pad
A sleeping pad is an excellent way to not only cushion but also protect yourself from the cold hard ground. A canvas winter tent will traditionally make you want to add an air mattress or prop a bed frame in case you want to glam it up. However, a sleeping pad can make your life easier by leaps and bounds.
For one, you can save yourself a lot of money by investing in a sleeping pad instead of multiple tools that will keep you warm in your tent. Camping grade pads are insulated, comfortable, and weatherproof. This means the cold from the ground won’t leach off your body heat, and it functions as a barrier in case the ground is damp, or you are afraid it may dampen overnight.
The best thing about buying a sleeping pad is that they are now available in a myriad of materials. There was a time when you could only buy foam ones. Your options now include down foil and synthetic fiber.
Just as it is with sleeping bags. Sleeping pads come with a rating that displays how comfortable and well-insulated they can keep you from the external temperature. This is the R-value. The higher the R rating, the better it serves you during cold weather. Vice versa, when the R rating is below 2 you can use that pad for summers.
Food Can Regulate Temperature Too
Being strategic about what goes in your body can make your winter camping experience super convenient. Make sure to pack foods that are high in calories and have ample fat content. Protein and fat absorb more energy from your body, churning the wheels to ramp up your body heat. Avoid bread and gluten food products as these can slow down your metabolism and mess with regularity.
It is very common to not feel thirsty in cold weather. To keep yourself hydrated remember to drink water at regular intervals during the day even if you don’t feel thirsty.
A popular misconception all around the world is that alcohol will do the trick in keeping you warm. The only reason you feel flushed is because alcohol redirects all your blood to the skin. Now that blood gets exposed to the cold weather it makes your body colder as it wears off.
Add A Tarp Barrier
When staking your winter tent, you will benefit from staking a tarp on top of that tent as well. How this works is that it will catch the snow and keep it from melting on the roof of your tent come morning. It is important to stake it and not plop it on the roof because you do not want the rain or snow to slide off it and into the window and door flap.
So You Can Hold It, But Why Should You
Nobody wants to wake up in the middle of the night and exit their nice and toasty tent to answer nature’s call. The alternative is to hold it in till morning. Don’t do that! The advantage of having a spacious wall tent is that you can self-allocate a space for this purpose. A jar that you can seal or a bucket that you can place a lid on will work fine till day time.
Get Your Heart Rate Up
Remember, all insulated layers work by trapping your body heat. So if you are cold it will be difficult to get as warm as you like, unless you have a winter tent with a stove to keep the interior cozy. The fact of the matter is, you will not be using the tent stove all night. Therefore, just before you get into your sleeping bag or blanket, jog in place for a couple of minutes or do jumping jacks so that your body produces extra heat. Remember, the key is to get warm enough just before you start perspiring.
The most important thing to do when you are trying not to freeze while camping is to ensure that you put on your layers before you leave your vehicle and have your body alert you to wear a jacket.
Always Get a Wall Tent with a Stove Jack
The most convenient thing you can do is incorporate a tent stove in your camping plans. A tent with a stove jack will allow you to install your stove inside so not only will you be able to cook meals, but also stay warm. You will find tons of options in this category.
The one rule is to buy a fuel canister so that the weather does not affect its pressure when used.