Baby, it’s cold outside! Lake Rudolph is closed for the winter and we re-open in April, but we realize that there are many parks and campgrounds that are open throughout the winter months. In light of that, we thought we’d share a few winter camping tips. 🙂
Enjoy and be safe this winter camping season!
1. Dress in layers.
During the winter it’s important to dress in layers so you can adjust your clothing as needed. Remember … you can always remove a layer, but you can’t put a layer on if you didn’t pack it. Adjust layers as needed to prevent sweating and excess heat. Also remember that mittens are warmer than gloves.
2. Pay attention to those feet!
Your boots should have a waterproof outer shell. Something like oiled leather or plastic. Also, contrary to what people believe more layers of socks isn’t necessarily good. Too many pairs of socks can serve to restrict blood flow to your feet making them colder. Do, however, make sure that you carry lots of extra, dry socks.
3. Don’t be a hot head.
Meaning, don’t lose heat through your head. Always wear a hat. Over half of your body heat can be lost through your head. A balaclava is ideal because it protects not only your head, but also your face and neck. Or use a hat and a neck gaiter.
4. Plan your trip.
This is even more important in the winter months. Have your route in place if you’re hiking and make sure to monitor weather conditions such as temps and snowfall, etc. Remember that many things are more difficult and take twice as long in the winter. Have an emergency plan in place and know your options. It’s also a very good idea to talk with area rangers and park employees.
5. Warm your clothes.
Put the next day’s clothes in the sleeping with you during the night. This will not only ensure that you have warm clothes to slip on in the morning, but also help insulate your sleeping bag. Or even wear a hat to bed to keep from losing heat. Put on the next day’s shirt and undies. By doing this you won’t have to put a cool layer of clothes right onto your skin … you’ll start with a warm layer. At night wear lose fitting clothes so it doesn’t restrict your circulation which will make you cold.
6. Bring extra water.
Even though it’s cold, it is surprisingly easy to get dehydrated in the winter. During the winter the air is dry and you lose water through just breathing. Make sure to hydrate often! Keep water bottles from freezing in your pack by putting them in wool socks or using an insulated bottle cover. Drink plenty of water, even if you aren’t thirsty.
7. Lunch time
Instead of stopping for lunch and cooling down, eat snacks throughout the day during short breaks. This will keep you from having to adjust your layers too much as you cool down and heat back up.
8. Dinner and snacks
Eat a dinner that’s high in calories. Calories are basically heat. Take a snack to bed with you in case you wake up cold. Eat the snack and get your energy up, thus making some body heat!
9. Dry out before bed.
Make sure that your clothes are completely dry before bed. Better yet … change into dry clothes before bed. Make sure your socks aren’t wet.
10. Stay organized.
If you know where your gear is it you can quickly located it and keep you from unpacking to find items. Arrange items in your pack for easy location. The items that you know you’ll need most … water bottles, flashlight, snacks, extra gloves … should be stored in the top of your pack for easier access.