Make More of Your Winter Camping Experience
There’s something special about camping in winter. Waking up to see the land covered in snow and frost can transport you to another world. If you are well equipped and know what you’re doing it can be even more rewarding than camping in the summer. The key to staying safe and comfortable is to know your limits and camp within your skillset. The most important thing is to be prepared!
Below we have some of our top tips for camping in cold weather for the best experience possible.
Location, location, location
When choosing your location, make sure you know your limits. Choose somewhere that you are confident of trekking or climbing to or stay on a campsite you feel comfortable in. Conditions can rapidly change in winter so being out of your comfort zone can make a small change in weather turn into a potentially dangerous situation.
Dependant on your ability, there are lots of options all over the UK with varying facilities. Our personal wild camping favourites are Shelter Stone in the Cairngorms, Scotland and Melynllyn, Carneddau in Wales. These remote locations are only accessible on foot so make sure you have the skills to camp in such remote areas. They are simply stunning! Away from the cities and light pollution, you might even glimpse the Milky Way of an evening!
Just like any other adventure, you need to stay energized and have plenty of food to fuel your adventure. When it’s cold, it’s best to have options which are quick to heat, easy to open (even with gloves on) and cause minimal mess. We all love comfort food in the winter so something filling and delicious is normally on our menu. You will also need a good stove capable of heating water quickly. Depending on how many people are in your party, the Folding Gas Stove or Compact Stove are great choices. They both boil a litre of water in under 5 minutes and are stable on the uneven ground due to their wide base.
Freeze-dried foods are light to carry but can sometimes lack flavour. Our choice, especially in winter, would be a Wayfayrer meal. They are quick and easy to heat, you can eat them straight out of the packet (so no washing up!) and they make a cracking Chicken Tikka curry which is ideal on a cold winters day! They also have no colourings or preservatives and are nutritionally balanced to fuel your body with a hearty meal.
Wrap up and pack extra layers, lots of layers! Layers trap warm air between them which is what makes them so insulative; they also make it easy to control your climate when you are active Vs stationary. Layers mean you can add or shed them quickly and easily.
Make sure you have a good waterproof jacket and boots. These are imperative to keep you warm when snow/rain starts falling. You will then need lots of socks (at least one spare pair per day + ones for bed), plus fleeces, gloves, buff and thermals. Our top tip, always pack one or two extra layers than you think you will need in your bag, just in the case the weather turns, or you start feeling the cold a little more.
Make sure you have at least one hat with you! Most of our heat is lost through the head so keeping it covered is a very simple way to maximise the warmth your body generates and keep the rest of you warm and cosy.
Freestanding tents are great for winter camping as they don't need to be pegged out to stand up so it makes life a little easier when the ground is frozen and you have trouble getting your pegs in. You should also lookout for an all-in-one pitch where the inner and flysheet pitch together making it super-fast in bad weather and keeps your inner tent dry while you erect it. Check out our Mirage Pro tent which ticks all of these boxes. It's a semi-geodesic so it's very strong and stable in bad weather while having a great weight to strength ratio.
If you are going into extreme conditions you may find you require an expedition tent such as the F10 Series XPD which has snow skirts on and is highly visible which can be a lifesaver if things take a turn for the worst. It's also a fully geodesic design which is the strongest structure in tent design and has a Vari-pitch option so the flysheet can be opened front or back and to either side depending on where the weather is coming from. If your needs aren't quite so extreme, the F10 MTN has the same expedition doors and Vari-pitch options as the XPD in a classic geodesic construction. It also has an Axial Hub pole system which makes this inner first tent extremely quick and easy to pitch on the hill.
Being properly prepared for your adventures will allow you to enjoy them even more and embrace your Spirit of Adventure...so what are you waiting for?
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