A camping aficionado will vouch that there really is no off-season for accessing nature. If your goal is to take a break from the traffic of people in a bustling city as well as crowded campsites, winter is your go-to time of the year to go camping.
The centerpiece of every camping trip is the tent. Before you can get into the what, how, and which of shielding yourself against the cold, you should be able to pick out the right shelter for your adventure – and there is a right one.
A wall tent goes beyond being a versatile choice. Without seasonal limitations, this canvas tent is spacious, sturdy, and allows for the installation of a tent stove inside. Canvas tents are timeless in their ability to offer solutions and features for all kinds of expeditions.
Here is everything you need to know about picking the correct winter camping essentials, stretching the utility of your summer gear all year round, making your camping trip a memorable experience, and staying warm in the great outdoors.
Table of Contents
Before You Leave
Pre-planning is essential in winter camping. During summers you may be on the lookout for a rainy forecast; in winters you want to pay attention to low temperatures during the night, and the potential of any storms. This gives you the chance to add the extra tools you need to manage your trip. For example, in the case of heavy winds, throw in some extra guylines that will secure your canvas tent.
Picking Out the Right Clothes
Apart from making a checklist of the right gear, you must understand what base layers make a difference in the freezing outdoors. Remember, these are clothes you will be sleeping in and footwear that is supposed to tread on damp, slippery, or icy ground.
If you are camping in winters for the first time, the key features to look out for when buying new clothes are “temperature regulating”, and “quick drying”. Even if there is no forecast of rain, you should definitely pack a raincoat and boots.
There is a strategy to clothing oneself for a hike or a winter camping trip. You can put as many layers as possible but the two areas that you need to prioritize are your core, your head and your feet. Wool socks are the ideal choice, and a quality wind breaker will do the job of keeping your core warm. You can opt for either a beanie to wear throughout the day and a balaclava while you sleep.
Choosing The Campsite
There goes a lot more into picking a campsite than checking for stable ground. In cold weather you want a spot where you get as much sunlight as possible during the day. If the area you are winter camping in suffers from massive gusts of winds, you want to camp in front of large trees. If you are camping in snow, you want to be away from large structures so that they do not transfer, shed, or slide the snow onto the top of your wall tent during the night.
Protection From The Ground
In winters, your biggest barrier after you have shelter is protecting yourself from the cold, damp ground. A lot of body heat is lost from sleeping on cold ground. A good idea would be to place a layer inside of your wall tent that insulates it. Some campers simply place a foam pad on top of which they will be putting their sleeping bag. These pads often come with R values from 1 to 8, with 8 being the highest. Your pad should atleast have a “R” rating of 4.
The Extra Tarp
A barrier that you control and position yourself is an excellent way to spend your winter camping trip stress- free. This has to be an extra tarp, your primary tarp goes on the ground as protection from the damp floor. You can position it as an overhead layer on top of your wall tent. You may be tempted to position it as a wall, but that may just turn it into a parachute that collects wind and sweeps into your campsite.
The Tent Stove
Stoves deserve a glorified niche of their own when it comes to winter camping. The most common choice for campers is often canister stoves. However, they are notorious for failing you in colder temperatures. This is because the pressure lowers in the canisters just as the temperature does. So if you must bring a canister, you will have to be crafty, and heat the stove by placing it in your sleeping bag ahead of time.
The best course of action would be to save yourself from the stress of a failing stove and opt for an optimum performance tent stove.
A great option is the liquid fuel variant. It is perfect for regulating the fuel bottle temperature even in freezing weather because it is you the camper who will be controlling the pressure with an external pump. And that is not their only winning feature; fuel stoves take up less space and are much more stable than other types. This means they are excellent for placing on uneven surfaces or even damp ground.
The only downside to these is the weight. While they aren’t difficult to carry, they are comparatively heavier than other types of stoves.
Taking Care of Your Annoying Bladder
While a wall tent serves wonderfully as a winter tent with a stove, it does not have a portable loo attached. But the great thing about canvas tents is all that space. This means you can allocate an area for answering the call of nature at night. It is already hard to get out of your warm sleeping bag, you are likely going to want to hold it in than go outside in the cold temperature. A good idea would be to use a jar that you can reseal or a bucket that you can dispose of later.
Extra Pair of Clothes
It can be a hassle to haul the extra weight to your campsite, especially when you decide to take on the camping trip with minimal items. In the cold weather if any of your clothes get wet, the wind will sting.
Remember it won‘t be just from exposure to the weather or a body of water; sweat can dampen your clothes and make you feel colder than it is as well. Most campers just pack an extra pair of sleeping clothes so that their wet clothes can dry overnight.
A Winter Sleeping Bag
There are tons of sleeping bags in the market right now, with varying levels of temperature ratings. An easy way to determine which one you should get is to check it against the air temperature of your planned winter camping area. You want a bag that has a lower rating than that temperature.
You do not have to buy another sleeping bag with maximum insulation that puts a dent in your wallet. You can use your summer sleeping bag and customize it to serve you in the cold weather. Sleeping bag liners are godsend. You can increase the temperature rating of your sleeping bag, and they are super easy to pack and very light to carry.
Make your sleeping bag cozy. A few minutes before you are ready to hit the hay; get a hot toddy or a steel hot water bottle and place it inside your sleeping bag.
Another thing you have to be careful about when it comes to sleeping bags, is the size. The perfect sleeping bags for winters are the snug ones. This way heat is trapped and you can have a restful sleep. If you find that your current sleeping bag is spacious, you can always stuff it with clothes. Another neat idea is to use sleeping bags for partners where you get to sleep in the same bag as your partner. This is a surefire way to stay warm because of the body heat all night long.
What You Consume
When planning what food items you will be packing for the trip, stick to foods that have a high protein and fat content. The idea is that this food retains heat and does not accelerate your digestion.
Do not make the mistake of skipping water just because you are not sweating as much. In colder weather, especially outdoors, you may run the risk of getting dehydrated if you are not drinking enough water. From there it is a domino effect where your body is unable to regulate temperature.
When camping you will find yourself using portable devices that run on disposable batteries. Batteries can run out of power faster in the cold. Fret not, all you have to do is keep them tucked inside your sleeping bag when not in use, or rub them in your hands before using them.
And there you have it; the brief guide on how to embark on your winter camping adventure. If you haven’t ticked everything that should make your gear checklist – browse our BEST SELLER bestsellers for exquisite wall tents and camping essentials today.