Winter Camping Is Both Challenging And Rewarding.
If camping in summer presents a swarm of challenges, camping in winter brings with it a blizzard of new obstacles.
Despite the extra work it takes to camp in winter, the rewards far outweigh the added effort required to camp safely. The peaceful beauty of a winter landscape is an experience in itself, but safety should be the first concern when camping during the frigid months.
One of the most important needs to be met is hydration. You actually need more water camping in the winter than you do in summer.
Oren Barris owns "Paths Peaks And Paddles", an outdoor store in Tonawanda, NY, and has done a lot of frigid camping.
"When you're snowshoeing or hiking, you should be taking a drink every ten to fifteen minutes, just a couple of swallows, and you should be able to do at least a minimum of two liters of water a day."
And exertion during the day is not the only way to become dehydrated.
"Just in respiration alone, you're going to lose over a liter of water during the night while you're sleeping," said Barris
Another important consideration is a bit more obvious, and that's staying warm. While a good sleeping bag is a must, it's what you put under the bag that really counts. An insulated space blanket spread over the tent floor is a great base, a versatile ally in the quest to stay warm.
"Have the orange side facing up, and it reflects all you body heat right down into the ground so you can sleep cooler during the summertime," says Barris. "During the wintertime, you want to be able to have the aluminum side up so that you can reflect all of your body heat right back up at you."
Layered over the blanket goes another insulator, an inflatable pad.
"You always want to be able to have a pad to be able to sleep on, whether it be springtime, summertime, it doesn't matter," said Barris. "It's going to insulate you from the ground, from the snow."
These are just a few of the basics needed to begin as a winter camper. Everything from storing gear to proper diet needs to be covered as well, and an experienced camper can be a great guide to all the ins and outs involved.
One other thing to pack, however, is a positive attitude. After all, winter camping is much more than just a "walk in the woods".
"If you go out saying I'm going to be cold, or I'm going to be this, or I'm going to be that, you are going to be! If you turn around and have the right clothes and gear, and have a proper mental attitude, you're just going to be loving life!"
Oren Barris offers classes in winter camping and many other outdoor adventures throughout the year at his outdoor store, "Paths Peaks And Paddles" in Tonawanda.
For more information, visit their website at www.pathspeakspaddles.com