Even though February has brought us warm temperature’s and it feels like spring could be here any day now, there is still time to get some winter camping in, because it might be 60 now, but snowing tomorrow with the way New England weather is.
Whether you’re a pro at winter camping or just starting out there are certain things you should know to do and things you should totally avoid at all costs, because even the tiniest of mistakes can make or break your trip.
Before you even think about leaving the house and going into the snowy woods, make a list and check it twice, maybe even a third time. If you’ve ever bought anything from Teton Sports they always send you a list of suggested things you should bring camping with your purchase. As someone whose bought things from the company I do find this list pretty handy, if you ever get your hands on one I’d keep it if I were you. Also Another packing tip, lay everything out before you put it in your pack, that way you really know you have EVERYTHING. The last winter camping trip I went on and we were in a rush and didn’t do this, 20 minutes into the car ride we realized we forgot about 5 things.
Another thing I advise you to do is bring layers, because no one wants to be cold and miserable in the woods, believe me I’ve been there and don’t want to do that again. “When winter camping, dress in layers so you can easily adjust your clothes to regulate body moisture and temperature. Three types of layers are considered normal: a liner layer against your skin (longjohns), an insulation layer (fleece), and a water-aand wind-proof out shell,” according to backpacking.net.
It also doesn’t hurt to bring extra clothes, like shirts, pants, socks, etc. Bring the extra hat and gloves even if you think you don’t need it. I’ve known plenty of people who’ve lost hats in the woods or burnt them sitting too close to the fire (that’s happened more times than I’d like to admit). REI makes a good point on why you should bring them, as if my poor experiences aren’t enough to laugh at.
Bring a good sleeping bag, usually something that can go down to around 0-5 degrees, because the temps can drop really quick at night while camping around certain parts of New England. I have a good Teton one that goes down to 5 degrees I got off of Amazon.com for a pretty cheap price and works great. A good ground pad is equally as important, just because you’re sleeping in a tent doesn’t mean that will keep you from feeling the cold snow below you. One of my cousins once took it upon herself not sleep on hers once she rolled off of it and she did not wake up happy the next morning.
As I’ve emphasized through out most of this post it’s important to stay warm during the night with the right kind of layers and sleep gear. However it’s just as important to stay warm by the fire too and you’re probably thinking, yeah OK it’s not that hard to stay warm by the fire or keep going, guess again hot shot. As soon as you get to your site gather up a bunch of wood ASAP, because nobody wants to be going out into the cold dark woods trying to look for more wood.
Another tip for fires during the winter, don’t start a fire on top of too much snow. I know it sounds like common sense, but dig out as much snow as you can out of your fire place. I knew a guy once who thought he dug out most of the snow, next thing he knew the fire sunk into the snow, because the coals couldn’t stay warm, it was a cold long night for him.
I could go on for even longer about the rest of the things you should do, but then I might as well write a book, but another post will come soon for even more tips and tricks.
Until next time, stay warm my friends and camp on!
P.S. Here are some perfect examples of before and after photos of digging out snow in the fire place.