Sure, winter has its challenges. But these camping hacks will keep you comfortable no matter what.
If you're used to only summer camping, you're going to need to make some adjustments to your gear and routine. But once you do, you can rest assured that your winter camping adventures will be some of the best you ever have.
These simple winter camping hacks don't require much effort and they are guaranteed to keep you warm and comfy.
You need to keep yourself from sweating too much when winter hiking or camping. If you get wet during the day, you'll freeze during the long night. And nobody likes hypothermia.
Wear several light layers and adjust them as physical activity dictates. Your goal is to avoid sweating in the first place.
2. Clothing Choice
Speaking of staying warm, you need to use the right clothing material or you'll freeze anyway.
One of the most important camping hacks is to not use cotton clothing; only use wool, silk, or synthetic (polyester) options, as these will keep you warm and wick sweat away from your body at the same time.
3. Correct Gear Options
Don't expect to bring your summer sleeping bag along and stay comfortable. You need a serious upgrade if you want to make it through the night.
A good zero degree mummy-style bag is almost a necessity. Synthetic fill is better than goose down in that it will still perform if it gets a little wet, but goose down has the upper hand in that it's much lighter.
4. Water Bottle
While hiking or hanging around camp, keep your water bottle upside down. It will freeze from the top down, so by flipping it on edge, the top doesn't freeze shut.
Bring along far more matches than you think you'll need. You definitely don't want to run out of fire while winter camping, as you use it to stay warm, melt water, and cook your meals. It's also a good idea to keep them in at least two places, should one of them get lost.
6. Protect Your Body
One of the most painful lessons you'll learn while winter camping is not having some form of barrier between your body and the frozen ground.
You can quite literally feel the life draining from your rear and back. Carry along a foam or blow-up thermal pad to sleep on. In a pinch (and where legal), you can even use spruce or pine boughs underneath the tent.
7. Keep Your Metabolism Hot
One of the best camping hacks I ever heard from a friend was to consume some high protein/fat foods and snacks before bed. Protein is more difficult for your body to digest and fat packs a lot of calories into small servings. Eat a piece of cheese, some jerky, and nuts before bed, and your internal fire will keep roaring all night.
8. Pound Out Some Reps
Another good one to keep you warm before you enter your sleeping bag for the night is to do a little physical exercise before bed.
Outside your tent, do 15 reps of pushups, jumping jacks, and squats, and then proceed to get into your bag. The extra effort will warm your body up quickly so you're not starting at a loss.
When melting snow, don't start with just snow in the pot as you can actually burn the pot. Add a little liquid water to the pot and then pack with some snow. As it melts, add more snow.
You'll need to melt far more snow than you think to fill your bottle! Pour the water through a coffee filter into your bottle to keep out odd bits of leaves and branches.
10. Empty Your Bladder
It should go without saying, but you need to urinate immediately before bed. Every ounce of urine your body holds inside means your body has to expend energy to keep it at body temperature. In the middle of the night, use a pee bottle or funnel so you don't have to leave the tent.
11. Warm Water Bottle
Fill your bottle with warm water before bed and keep it in your sleeping bag. It will both keep you warmer throughout the night and ensure you don't have an ice block in the morning.
12. Sleeping Bag Dryer
Keep wet socks, the next day's clothing, and even your boots in your sleeping bag at night if you have room. It seems counterintuitive, but your body heat will actually dry them and keep them warm for the next day.
Regardless of the weather, always make sure to open your tent's vents at night so any condensation from your breath doesn't freeze on the tent ceiling. Also don't hide your mouth and nose within your sleeping bag, because you'll wake up in the middle of the night with ice particles all over your sleeping bag.
Have fun using these camping hacks this winter. You'll soon enjoy it tremendously.