Outdoor lover and adventure seeker? Winter camping could be for you! Here are a few tips to make your experience as comfortable and safe as possible.
Different types of winter camping
There are three winter camping options to choose from:
- Cold camping, the most accessible type, means there is no heating in your tent. Having the right equipment is all the more important!
- Hot tenting requires a specially designed tent and involves the use of a wood stove. That type offers the highest level of comfort, plus you have all you need to keep your clothing warm and dry. However, hot tenting is a lot more expensive.
- Finally, if you feel you’re competent enough to do it, you can choose to build a snow shelter (quinzhee). This takes more time to set up and you must be comfortable in enclosed spaces.
As winter camping is a bit more difficult than summer camping, going with at least one experienced person the first times is a great idea. The best place to start is your own backyard or balcony. This way, you can try out your equipment and get back inside if needed.
The right equipment
To ensure your comfort and, more importantly, your safety, always bring:
- An all-season tent
- A sleeping bag designed for winter weather
- A camping mattress (your protection from the ground)
- A portable stove
- A first aid kit
- A waterproof backpack (large enough for clothing, food, etc.)
- Flashlight with batteries
- Pocket knife, matches and candles
To keep warm, you need to stay dry. The key is to dress in layers, as explained in this article. Opt for wool, and especially merino wool, which is softer and will keep you warm without absorbing odours. In all cases, avoid cotton, which becomes damp and dries too slowly. Finally, you’ll need an outer layer that’s waterproof and that will also act as a windbreaker to protect you properly from the elements.
Always keep in mind that you will burn a lot of energy while snowshoeing, skiing or hiking. Therefore, bring foods that are substantial and rich in proteins and which can be eaten easily and quickly. Of course, remember to always stay well hydrated too.
Plan your excursion
Check the weather forecast before making a reservation. Avoid rainy conditions and temperatures above 0 °C.