Camping in cold weather can either be one of the most beautiful experiences you will come to know in your life of outdoor adventure, or it can get miserable in a hurry. The biggest factor that will make or break the trip will be the ability to keep the camp warm during the night when temperatures drop to unbearable levels.
Following these simple tips and tricks can help you make the trip enjoyable and your stay in camp warm and dry –even while on moose hunting excursions in a Canadian winter.
1. Bring the Right Kind of Gear — or Double Up on Everything
Special gear and equipment is available for surviving sub zero temperatures in the wild –if you can get your hands on thermal sleeping bags and cold weather tents you will fare very well in your outdoor adventure.
But if not, there is no need to miss out on the fun or feel the biting cold of winter’s chilly breath –double up on sleeping bags, coats, long johns and woolly socks and you will increase your ability to store heat. Roll out a foam mat under your inflatable mattress for insulation from the frozen earth.
2. Know your Thermal Limitations
Some people are more susceptible to the cold than others –the factors that affect the body’s resistance to the cold include age, percentage of body fat, gender, fitness level, and even metabolism. Two people using the exact same amount of winter gear can be experiencing the cold to different degrees.
If you have never done any winter camping and are unsure of your limitations –it would be a better idea to triple up on the winter clothes just to be sure, better to have it and not need it…
3. Plan to Sleep Warmly
Body temperature drops during sleep, so it is essentially important that you bed down with your body’s core temperature as toasty as you can get it. Have your meal as close to bedtime as possible — 30 to 45 minutes before bedding down would be optimal.
Make the meal a fatty one as well –cheeses, oils and such are ideal. Fats metabolize much more slowly than carbs and will keep you warmer longer.
Running a couple laps around the campsite is also a good way to bring the body to comfortable warmth right before bed. If you are feeling cold later in the night do a couple of sit ups or press ups inside your bag.
4. Keep you Sleeping Gear Dry
Keeping your sleeping bag dry will keep it functioning at optimal levels and this means keeping you much warmer. Avoid breathing into the sleeping bag even while you are sleeping –yes, it is a lot warmer and cozier to feel your warm breath but the moisture from your body also hampers the function of your bag.
When you get out of the sleeping bag in the morning, expel all the air from it before the moisture from your body has a chance to cool down begin collecting. By being fastidious about the dryness of your sleeping bag you will prolong its function and keep yourself warm on the harshest winter camping trips.