Guest blogger Jackie Edwards shares some tips for staying safe and keeping warm while winter camping!
Winter Camping Survival Tips
For nature lovers, you should be able to experience the beauty of the great outdoors in every season. However, for many people, camping in winter can be daunting. In Alberta, temperatures regularly drop as low as -15°C. Surviving in these conditions requires preparation, but with smart thinking and the right equipment, you can keep warm and comfortable and your kids will enjoy playing outdoors too. Here are some tips for surviving during a winter camping trip.
Use Snow to Your Advantage
Rather than fearing snow, view it as another camping tool. Firstly, it's an unlimited source of fresh drinking water. Since it has fallen from the sky, you know it won’t be salty and therefore okay to drink. In the cold, water filters can break or take too long, so leave them at home and boil some fresh snow instead. Boiling will sterilize it so that it’s safe for drinking.
Always remember to pack down the snow as much as possible. You can then create a hard, flat surface, perfect for pitching a tent. You can also build a snow shelter. This can be a warm place for your kids to sit or a shelter to keep tools or protect the fire. Snow shelters are an ancient technique for trapping warmth, so learning to build one properly could make camping more enjoyable.
Invest in a Sleeping Pad and a Lantern
You may think that all you need to keep warm is a high quality sleeping bag and plenty of blankets. However, most heat lost when camping comes from conduction. This happens when your body is touching something colder than itself, i.e. the ground. The heat evaporating from the top of your body is tiny in comparison.
Therefore, invest in a solid sleeping pad. You need to put a thick layer of insulation between you and the floor to ensure warmth. Above you, rather than adding more blankets, consider a candle lantern. Of course, the campsites can be a fire hazard, so be sensible and use a safe lantern away from flammable materials. A good lantern will bring warmth and prevent condensation building up overnight.
Camping in winter can be a magical experience. Being among nature in the snow is a winter wonderland that you and your kids will never forget. Remember, snow can provide fresh water and warmth if used correctly. Deck out your tent with a decent sleeping pad and a lantern to lock in warmth as you sleep, so you can wake up and really appreciate a crisp winter morning.