Just because Jack Frost is camping out on your front lawn doesn't mean you can't head out into the wild yourself. Winter camping can be a great way to get outside and an even better excuse for extreme cuddling.
This is the winter of our discount tent
In preparation for your winter camping trip, you'll be happy to discover that many of your favorite camping brands are on sale. As the weather cools, it's the best time to stock up on gear you have had your eye on all summer.
Consider investing in a second stove. You don't want to be caught in the snow without the means of making a hot meal.
Metal camping gear can be really uncomfortable in the winter, so stock up on wooden or plastic utensils, as well as plastic fuel and water bottles.
Get an insulated sleeve for your water bottle to prevent freezing.
Hunkering down and snuggling up
Before you leave the warmth of your campfire, heat some water for your water bottle. Put it in your sleeping bag to make it extra toasty.
"Two layers on the bottom are worth one on the top" doesn't mean Bear Grylls likes big butts, it means he believes that insulating yourself from the snow or cold ground is essential to winter camping comfort. Take the right sleeping pad or you won't feel warm and comfortable at all.
Have a camping friend? Zip your sleeping bags together and snuggle up!
Caught at night with cold feet? Empty your backpack and pull it over your feet for extra warmth.
Mornings are the hardest
It's true: getting out of your tent in the morning can be the coldest part of your day. You can mitigate the morning freeze by cramming tomorrow's outfit into your sleeping bag with you. Get dressed under the covers so you are warm when you leave the sleeping bag and all that wiggling about will get the blood flowing.
Use your noggin
Leave your water filter at home and take extra camping fuel so you can melt snow. If you have a metal fuel bottle, create a grip with duct tape so your fingers don't stick to the metal when it's cold.
Switch out your batteries for lithium ones as they perform better in the cold temperatures than alkaline or NiMh batteries -- they're lighter and they last three times longer, too.
It doesn't have to be below zero for you to get hypothermia, so be vigilant and make sure that you check in with your fellow campers regularly to ensure that they are keeping warm. One of the easiest ways to get hypothermia is to get wet. That means you need to start peeling off those layers if you start to sweat and regularly dry out your sleeping bag around the campfire.
If you don't have waterproof socks, wear some plastic bags over your socks to keep them dry.
When you start to get hypothermia, you get disorientated and confused, and your decision-making faculties err on the side of dubious. That means you make decisions that compromise your safety and may lead to your death. Symptoms include slurred speech, lethargy and shivering.
When you get beyond shivering, you're really in danger as the body has started to shut down. Some people even have a burning sensation on their skin or a feeling of being too hot which makes them take off their clothing.
Eat like a king when you're playing in the dirt
Seriously, the best thing about every camping trip should be the food. Don't boil noodles, you're better than that! Focus on hearty foods that will warm the cockles of your heart. Bake breads, make stews with dumplings on top and pack in the hot chocolate. Take the time to plan your meals and extra fuel so you can cook really hearty meals that will make you feel warm and happy.
If you are only going for a couple of days, consider taking ready-made meals which you can just warm up at the end of the day. Find really great recipes here.
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