Tips For Winter Camping
Winter camping can be a great activity for those who are well-prepared, and even a novice can find pleasure and comfort if a few basic tips are followed closely. Harsh winter weather conditions dictate that camping in the winter is a more serious and physically stressful endeavor than in summer months, as an individual that is proficient in warm-weather camping may find their skills of little use in winter. The most important aspects of winter camping should be addressed before a camper ever leaves home, as proper planning can often spell the difference between an enjoyable excursion and an all-out fight for basic survival.
A smart winter camper will make a comprehensive plan of their route, using topographical maps and inquiries to avoid potential problems such as avalanche dangers and water hazards. A travel schedule will be formulated with safety at the forefront, and a realistic approach to the distances that can be traveled on foot in a given time frame. Prior to departing, an outline of the route and scheduled completion will always be given to a family member or close friend so help can be sent in the worst case scenario should trouble occur on the trail.
Clothing and equipment should be the next area to receive attention, and should be approached with a survival mentality. Winter clothes for camping should be light-weight and water resistant, and always worn in layers to create pockets of air that when trapped provide excellent insulation. Winter camping equipment should always be tested at home prior to an outing, and sleeping bags should be rated to match possible extreme temperatures.
Food taken on winter camping trips rarely receives the consideration it deserves in terms of the importance to provide adequate energy. An individual winter camping and backpacking can use 4,000 to 5,000 calories per day, and they need to be replaced with the consumption of nutritionally sound foods. A good diet for a winter camper is to ingest 50% complex carbohydrates such as rice, pasta and fruit, 30% fats like cheese, nuts and processed meats, and 20% proteins such as meats, fish and grains. It is also important for a winter camper to drink at least 1 to 1 1/2 gallons of water daily in order to remain properly hydrated. Snow can be used for this purpose, but should never be eaten. Melt snow into a liquid and drink it, as it is safe to drink in this manner without purification measures.
In addition to the aforementioned tips for winter camping it is wise to keep in mind that every action taken in extreme cold takes twice as long as usual to perform. Plan for this additional time and move deliberately to avoid unnecessary camping accidents.