Welcome back, RVers. Let’s talk about winter camping. It definitely has its advantages. The crowds are almost nonexistent, so there’s a smaller chance of someone ruining your view of snow covered mountains with the clear sky above you. However, in order for your cold weather trip to be as fruitful and non-miserable as possible, you’ll need to do quite a bit of prep work and packing. Here are some tips from us at RVUSA.com that’ll keep you warm and cozy!
ALWAYS check the weather conditions before you choose your destination.
This is the first step in having a safe and fruitful trip! On top of knowing any extreme weather conditions you may be up against, stay posted on any updates by approaching weather systems and trends for the season and the area you’ll be in. It’s also a pretty good idea to have a plan: find someone to inform of your whereabouts and when you plan to return.
Find your campsite and flatten your sleeping space.
Once you’ve found a place that’s somewhat flat and dry, it’s time to set up camp. Sweep away any snow to expose dirt, then hop in your tent. Go ahead and smooth out any lumps and bumps where you’ll be sleeping. Do it before the snow melts and refreezes, because then it will be pretty difficult to rearrange. You can also try to make a little trough so you don’t move around when you sleep. This shape reduces any heat you may lose from rolling around. Wouldn’t want frostbite now, would we?
Reduce as much ambient space as you can.
I hope you’re camping with a buddy or partner! Think of the buddy system when it’s time for bed. The closer you are to each other, the less heat will leak out of there! You can also look into one of those sleeping bags for two. You can line your tent with all the things you’ve packed along with you to further insulate. And there’s some pretty cool blankets out there that you can tape around the inside of your tent to keep heat in. However, if you happen to get some condensation in your tent in the morning, you’ll want to pass on the blanket tip. Moisture is camping gear’s worst nightmare.
Wear the right clothes for sleeping in cold weather.
Avoid tight clothing, is it restricts blow flow to your body parts. Don’t forget to wear fuzzy socks, fingered gloves and a warm beanie or cap. Wear synthetic fabrics or wool and not cotton, because cotton traps moisture in, and again, moisture is the enemy here. Cotton sort of becomes a sponge, so fabrics like wool, polyester and polypropylene are all made to redistribute that moisture.
Always dress in layers and always pack extra clothes.
If you plan on participating in any strenuous activities like hiking, you’ll eventually begin to sweat. Start taking off layers when that happens, because the moisture will make you even colder when you stop moving. Pack your warmest clothing along with a few base layer items. And don’t forget accessories like hats, gloves, several pairs of socks in case your gets wet, and sunglasses.
Hand warmers are your best friend.
This might seem obvious to some, but you can use them pretty much anywhere you might need a bit of extra warmth. You can put them in your boots before you put them on, slide them in the pockets of your coat or maybe in your beanie. They also make sleeping bag warmers now, too. Hopefully you know where those go…
Fill a water bottle with hot water and put it at the end of your sleeping bag.
Putting it between your feet will keep you warm all night long as you sleep. This is a real cheap tip that’s pretty simple, too!
Try not to go to bed cold.
Do some jumping jacks or take a brisk walk around the campsite before hitting the sack. It’s so much easier to fall asleep when you’re warm.
Bring a few sheets of tarp with you.
Like hand warmers, these are super versatile and will come in handy in so many ways. Use tarp to extend your shelter if you need a bit more space, you can use them to keep you dry if you need to sit in the snow, and they’re great for blocking wind.
Stay hydrated and eats tons of snacks throughout the day.
Make hot, healthy, protein packed breakfasts and dinners and take several breaks to fill up on snacks. Hot meals hit the spot perfectly when winter camping, but do some research before you head out on your adventure and find some calorie dense foods that don’t require a ton of dishes. Find some one pot dishes or pre-packaged foods. It’s also important to stay hydrated, even though you may not feel like stopping to drink water when it’s cold out. At your campsite, make hot tea, hot chocolate or thin soup to warm up and stay hydrated with.