Most people are summer campers only and considering just how challenging winter conditions can be it’s easy to see why. Here at ActionHub, however, we love camping in all weather conditions.
The problem? Winter camping can be difficult and potentially dangerous. If you’re planning on setting up camp during the colder months of the year, ensure you avoid the following winter camping mistakes.
Lack of Preparation
The top mistake we see would-be campers make is going out there unprepared. Many will head out into the wild with a gung-ho attitude, confident that things are going to be just fine. Until they aren’t.
Preparation is essential when it comes to camping, particularly in cold weather. Small mistakes or oversights can quickly become life-threatening issues, so it’s important to treat nature with the respect it deserves. Do your research on the area you plan on visiting and ensure you’re meticulously prepared for what’s to come.
Picking the Wrong Sleeping Bag
Even if your tent is top of the line, you’re wearing a quality base layer, and you consider yourself that type of person that ‘doesn’t feel the cold,’ you’re going to need a decent sleeping bag. There’s no way around it, especially in winter.
What most novice campers find shocking is just how big the price difference is between entry-level sleeping bags and the good stuff. While we don’t recommend splashing the cash unless you can afford it, you won’t get away with the cheaper versions during the winter.
When you’re out sleeping in sub-zero temperatures, your health is the top priority. Consult an expert in a proper mountaineering store and carefully consider how low temperatures can drop. Good sleeping bags will have a temperature comfort rating, giving you a basis on which you can make your decision.
Not Consulting Experts
If it’s your first time winter camping, learning from others is the best way to avoid serious mistakes. They’ll have those little pearls of wisdom you won’t find in a guidebook.
Ask, and ye shall receive. Ask your camping buddies what their essential gear list is and adapt it to your requirements. Email the national park you’re planning on visiting and ask them for specific things you need to know and don’t be embarrassed to ask novice questions. We’ve all been there before!
Trusting the Weatherman
Yes, it’s a good idea to watch the news and find out what the weather is meant to look like at your chosen destination. However, ‘meant’ is the operative word here; it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what you’re going to get!
When you head out in winter weather, there’s no telling what Mother Nature is going to throw at you. Be ready for worst-case scenarios – without over packing your rucksack, of course.
Forgetting Your Good Spirits
Camping is a fun activity that’s healthy for the soul; there’s no doubt about that. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get your ‘I wish I could be home in front of my fireplace’ moments. That cold that gets through to your bones, the annoying sleet and snow that seems to make everything wet, and having to cook food in ridiculous conditions can lead some to exasperation.
When you decide to go camping in winter, be prepared for the downsides and throw in an added dosage of good spirits into your pack. Remember to focus on the good stuff and forget about the conveniences you left at home.