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Learning to Love Camping in Cold Weather
There are three important things you need to get while camping in the cold- a foam-padded sleeping bag, 3-season or 4-season tents, and layers of good quality woollen clothes. Also, consuming hot fluids and jogging frequently will help you brave the cold.
You are a travel enthusiast who is in love with the majestic mountains and the snow-capped valleys. You love to experience nature and so you leave no opportunity to grab your backpack and go for an expedition. There is nothing better than to feast your eyes with the beautiful locales situated in cold regions within the warmth of your camp.
As much as you might enjoy this endeavour if you do not prepare yourself for the cold weather while camping, it can turn out to be a nightmare. The first thing you should do is to check the weather condition of your campsite. You should waste no time in gearing yourself with foam-based sleeping bags, layers of woollen clothes and nutrition bars. This article aims to guide all the wanderlust travellers about what to do while camping in the cold weather.
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Why Do You Feel Cold in the Lower Temperatures?
Before delving into the possible precautions required while camping in the cold, you must first understand what makes your body susceptible to the cold weather. The heat transfer takes place through four methods:
Each of these methods results in a loss of heat as heat travels from higher temperatures to lower temperatures to achieve equilibrium. If your body is feeling the chills while sleeping on the cold floor of the camp, it is because the process of conduction is responsible for taking away the body heat from you. Conduction results in the transfer of heat from warmer regions, like your body, to a relatively colder region, in this case, the floor.
In such a scenario, you need to insulate yourself well so the warmth is not able to escape from your body and dissipates into your surroundings. This process can take place at a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius to 21 degrees Celsius. So you need to ensure that you are padded with the right materials to avoid the conduction of heat while you are camping in the cold weather.
Precautions While Camping In The Cold
You would not like to face the frigid cold weather unprepared as this lack of preparation might cost you your sleep at night. While going on backpacking, tent camping, or winter camping trips, you should be armed with sufficient knowledge to protect yourself from the cold.
You should be aware of how to prepare your tents at an appropriate location, what gears you need to wear, and the type of food consumption required to keep you from feeling cold. This segment will answer these queries in all possible manners.
Things You Need To Keep In Mind While Pitching Your Tent
If you are a part of the survival camping expedition amidst the glorious mountains then you need to consider a few things while pitching your tent. Firstly, make sure that you do not place your tent under a mountainous slope.
There are high risks of avalanches taking place in the mountain regions so it is advisable to stay off the slopes. Try to pitch your tents in locations where there is a cluster of trees as that will give excellent protection from the cold winds and make your camping experience comfortable. More than the low temperatures, it is the wind that will wreak havoc to your experience and give you sleepless nights.
Also, try to pitch your tents in those locations where there are some landmarks. It will be easier for you to locate your tents with the help of the landmarks after sunset. It is also advisable to place heavy objects or bags of snow on the tent stakes so that it mitigates the risk of your tents being blown away in case of a snowstorm.
To sleep comfortably at night without feeling the chills, ensure that you flatten the snow-floor either by running your skis over it or by stomping your feet on the snow. The uneven snow particles tend to melt easily and hence can make your tent floor damp and cold.
Gear and Types Of Clothing Required While Camping In The Cold Weather
The type of gears and clothing materials you need will depend on the weather conditions of the camping site. You need a separate type of clothing for a place that experiences snowstorms and a different set of gears for places which are cold but do not fall below extreme freezing temperatures.
You have to be clothed in layers of woolen or polyester materials. The layering technique helps in trapping a thin layer of air between two clothing materials. Air provides excellent insulation against the cold and helps in trapping the body heat.
You should have a set of inner wears that are equipped with perspiration resistant technology and can wick away your sweat without making you feel uncomfortable. The exterior layer of your clothing should be waterproof or windcheater material to protect you from melting snow and harsh winds.
Always ensure that your hands are covered with warm woolen or leather gloves. The most common type of problem in which campers fall prey in the cold region is frostbite. Good gloves, thick socks, and snow boots will ensure that your hands and legs are protected from frostbites.
Tent Types Matter
When it comes to tents, the type of fabric you need to use will depend on the weather of the camping location. If your camping site is in a windy and slightly cold location, then a 3-season tent will suffice. The material is light, waterproof, and provides ample ventilation.
This is ideal for canoe camping and rooftop camping. In case your camping location is having cold and freezing temperatures, you need to go for 4-season tents which come with a much thicker fabric. A 4-season tent can provide ample insulation as well as protection from cold winds and snowfall.
While going for your backpacking journey in colder regions, it is advisable to carry a backpack having at least 80 liters of carrying capacity. You might need it to fit in your warm clothes, sleeping bags, food items to name a few.
Know Your Sleeping Bag
Some of the gears like sleeping bags and sleeping pads are an absolute must that will give you a goodnight’s sleep while camping in the cold. These gears come according to various ratings and the criteria for choosing them will depend on the weather and temperature of the camping site.
If you are heading for winter camping then you should ensure that your sleeping bag is rated at least -12 degree Celsius below the normal temperature of the location. You never know how the temperatures might fluctuate at night.
In the case of sleeping pads, it is preferable to get the ones having an R-value of 5.0 or above to brave the cold. If you have these gears sorted, then you are in for a comfortable camping experience during cold weather.
Additional Measures To Stay Warm
- Try to consume light food after every interval of time instead of going for long and proper breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you indulge in heavy food and sit on the snow for a long time to consume your meals, then cold can set into your body. Hence it is preferable to consume light meals and healthy nutritious food from time to time while trekking or camping. The digestive activities taking place in the body will constantly generate heat due to time to time consumption of food. Large meals will slow you down and make you feel lethargic, whereas light meals will make you feel warm and active.
- Please carry a good quality thermos flask to store hot fluids. In colder climates, you do not feel the need to drink water. This is all the more reason to keep yourself hydrated by drinking water after regular intervals. You need to get out there and take the responsibility of preparing tea, coffee, hot chocolate so that you feel warm after consumption.
- It is advisable to keep extra sleeping pads in case you start feeling very cold at night. You never know how the weather changes in colder regions. The good quality sleeping bags provide excellent insulation from the cold so preferably try to restrict yourself within your sleeping bag even while sitting and chatting with your tent mates.
- One of the ways to keep yourself warm is to pump more blood into your system. This can be done by exercising from time to time, especially before you call it a night. A light jog or continuous jumps will keep the cold at bay and also help you sleep well at night.
So, what are you waiting for? Pack your backpacks and set off to your next escapade of adventure camping. The sole aim of all the advice and guidelines mentioned in this article is to keep you fit and healthy so that you do not fall prey to frostbites and hypothermia.
Now that you have a better understanding of how to stay comfortable while camping in the cold, you will have a thrilling experience without worrying much about the harsh weather.