Winter has officially arrived with a bang and with low enough temperatures to make the hardiest folks shiver. Instead of cowering next to the heater and praying for spring (my personal plan of attack) its best to meet the season head on! One of the best ways to beat the cold is to embrace it with activities that keep your endorphins pumping. One of our favorites is winter camping. Who doesn’t love a good campfire and a chance to commune with nature? You may think that once the temperature drops so does camping season. Not so!
Winter camping is truly an art. The key to enjoying and getting the most out of the experience is preparation, the right gear and the right ratio of caution and adventure. First tip is never go it alone. Solo camping can be cathartic in warmer months but a buddy is a must on a frigid expedition. Always keep an eye on the weather. While often unpredictable, it helps to have an idea of what you are getting into. Make sure to pack an all-weather radio to keep your group in the loop. As well, be aware of avalanche danger. Weather can be fickle and despite the best laid preparations, atmospheric changes can affect weather predictions. Check out Avalanche.org for tips and education.
They key to staying warm and getting the most comfort out of your trip is layering! When dressing for extreme temperatures its good to remember the three W’s: a wicking layer or base layer which consists of thin material made to keep moisture from the skin; a warm layer to keep the heat in and a waterproof layer to keep you dry. Another important component is versatility in clothing. Nothing you put on your body should be a hindrance, only a protection. Any clothing you pack needs to allow for variations in conditions. Other key essentials are weather-appropriate sleeping bags and tents, without which the jig is up. Accessories such as hand warmers, neck gaiters, cozy socks and protective gloves should never be overlooked.