Camping in the snow can be one of the best or worst experiences of your life, depending on how well you plan for it.
Planning is the keyword when it comes to camping in the snow. Whether you are just camping to enjoy nature or you are on a winter hunting trip and camping to keep near your game, you need to plan, plan, plan for everything.
Some of the main things you will need to make sure you cover in your plan are:
As you know, it is best to dress in layers for any cold weather situation. Snow camping is no different. You need to make sure that you can adjust your layers for different temperatures and situations you will experience in any given day.
Give yourself the opportunity to check weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
Usually you will need a larger pack in the winter. Colder weather means more equipment, and that means a bigger pack to carry it with.
Internal frame packs tend to work better for snow camping. The internal frame allows the load to be packed for a better center of gravity.
Your shelter is quite possibly the most important aspect of your snow camping trip. The shelter, no matter what type, needs to be specifically designed for winter use.
A normal tent when used in the snow is very prone to collapse. Getting a winter specific or “4 season” tent will give you thicker poles and a roof that is specifically designed to shed snow and prevent buildup.
Plain and simple, make sure you have enough. Even if you are hunting, don’t plan your meals based on what you think you will harvest.
Make sure you have enough food for every meal, and then a little extra. Food is not as ample during the winter as during other times of the year, don’t be left hungry and cold in the woods.
5. Food Preparation Equipment
Just like food is hard to find, firewood is also hard to find, even if most of the year you build a small fire for camp cooking. Don’t plan for this to work out in the snow.
The majority of the downed wood you will find will be wet and hard to light. Carry a stove, because it will ensure you can cook all of your meals.
Finding water in the snow seems like a ridiculous thought. But it should be high on your list. You must make sure that the snow is clean if you choose to melt it and turn it into water.
And remember not to eat the snow. It can quickly lower your body temperature and lead to hypothermia.
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7. Route Planning
This can be difficult if you are hunting but make sure you plan a general route before you go and let someone else know your plan. This can be the difference in life and death if something goes wrong.
8. Trip Duration
The cold weather associated with winter and snow camping can take a relatively routine situation and turn it deadly quickly. If others know when to expect you back, they also know when to start looking for you when you aren’t adhering to your plan.
With the technology available today, there are few places where you can go and not have some way to communicate with the outside world. Even if it takes up a little extra weight in your pack, carry something with you. If things go bad, you will be grateful.
Keep these things in mind, plan your trip, and go enjoy the outdoors, even in the dead of winter.