COLD WEATHER GEAR
Cold weather camping
- not for the faint-hearted! The key to cold weather camping is staying dry,
warm and hydrated. If you need to make a fire to keep warm, then you are not
dressed correctly. If you are beginning to feel thirsty, then you are not
drinking enough water. Follow these tips to have a safe and fun cold weather
is one of the keys to staying warm and dry. You need to layer your clothes,
and be sure they are not too tight. Loose clothing is more insulating and
can keep you warmer. Begin with long, thermal polypropylene underwear. If
you do not have this, wool is your next best choice. Never wear cotton
clothing when camping in the cold. It is not a good insulator, and if wet,
will chill you quickly. Wool, gore-tex and polypropylene clothing will wick
the moisture away from your body. Begin to layer your clothing, preferably
with the types above. Do not use jeans, which are cotton and will become
easily wet and cold. Old wool military uniforms can be found at thrift
stores, and are good for this type of camping. Again, layer with loose
fitting clothing. In an emergency, paper can be placed under clothing as an
choice of coat is
important. Be sure it is meant for extreme cold, and is large enough to wear
around your layers without being tight. A coat that has a hood will help to
keep your body warm, and will keep rain and snow off of your neck.
your feet, start with thinner
wicking socks, and finish with wool socks over them. Any boots or shoes you
wear should be waterproof. Do not wear tennis shoes, and do not wear tight
leather boots either. Your feet need to be able to move - especially your
toes. Big rubber over boots are good to place over shoes, with the socks
underneath. Tuck your pants into your boots, and use duck tape to keep them
in and snow out. If you are camping in snow, be sure to whisk off your boots
before entering your tent.
before you go to sleep, change your clothing. Never wear clothes to bed that
you have walked around in at camp. They have moisture in them and will chill
you in your sleeping bag. Always go to sleep with dry, fresh and loose
your tent on higher ground, away from the colder air. Place a moisture-proof
tarp or footprint under the tent. Do not let the tarp go past the tent,
because if it rains, this will serve as a funnel for water to go under your
tent. Place your tent where the sun will shine on it in the morning.
drink drink water! Plan on at least 2 gallons per day, if not more. If you
even begin to think about being thirsty, then you are on your way to
becoming dehydrated, which can lead quickly to hypothermia! Never eat snow,
which can cool down your body temperature.
can be built on metal trash can lids to avoid having the fire sink into the
snow or wet ground. Again, if you are relying on your fire for heat, you are
not dressed properly. Bring dry wood and tinder from home if possible.
sleeping bag should be synthetic and rated for cold weather camping. A mummy
bag intended for 0 degree weather is good. You can find mummy sleeping bags
that are malleable and easy to carry in a stuff sack. When you are back
home, store your sleeping bag outside of the stuff sack so you won't
compress the stuffing.
sleep on a cot in cold weather camping. This allows the cold air to touch
every side of you. Purchase an insulated mat that will keep you off of the
ground and keep you warm. If your sleeping bag does not have head
protection, wear your hat at night. Never breath inside of the bag, which
will create moisture and chill you during the night. You may line your bag
with a wool blanket for further protection from the cold. Never use a space
blanket when sleeping in cold weather - it is a cold conductor and will
lower your body temperature.
you go to bed, place a hand warmer in the bottom of your sleeping bag. You
can also place a container of warm water or drink inside your bag. You may
also wish to place an empty bottle with a very tight seal in the bag with
you, just in case nature calls during the night.