Winter Camping: the Essential Gear for Staying Warm & Safe
We all know that summer is peak camping season, but the colder weather has its rewards too. For one, there are no pesky bugs or slithering creatures trying to make their way into your tent. There are also no noisy children crying from another tent nearby. It’s only you and the vast quietness of the Australian nature – an ideal image, right? And with the advancements in camping gear and clothing, there’s no longer any reason you should limit your outdoor expeditions solely to the warmer months. However, winter camping does require a different type of preparation as opposed to summer. If it’s your first time, here’s the most essential gear you need in order to stay warm and safe.
A 4-Season Tent
When you go exploring the various camping outdoor stores in order to pick a tent, you’ll notice there are usually two types: 3-season and 4-season tents. To protect yourself from strong winds and heavy snowfalls you need something more than just the standard 3-season tent. A 4-season tent has sturdier poles and stronger fabrics which can offer greater stability and protection in the face of rough winter conditions. It might be heavier and more expensive than 3-season tents, but it’s definitely worthwhile if you want to avoid freezing over. If you want some extra space, consider to get a tent designed for one extra person than the number of people who will be sleeping in it. For instance, a 4-person tent for three people.
If you thought it’s cold during the day, just wait till the sun goes down and the temperature starts quickly dropping below zero. For this very reason, camping in winter requires extra warm sleeping bags. It’s a good idea to get a sleeping bag with at least -10oC comfort rating as winter nights are very unpredictable. You can find such a 4-season bag in all well-stocked camping outdoor stores. If you think you’ll get too warm, you can always vent unzip and vent the bag. But if you’re not quite sure a bag can keep you cosy enough, placing a sleeping bag liner underneath it can add extra warmth and also keep your bag clean and help minimize wear.
Camping at any time of the year requires some outdoor lighting, and winter is no different. Portable lighting in the form of flashlights and headlamps is a must, but you may also need a lantern or two to light up your camping spot while pitching the tent or cooking. Considering batteries, lithium ones tend to perform best in cold weather. Alkaline ones are much cheaper, but will also drain much quicker. In both cases, it’s good to have an extra pack of batteries with you. To make sure your batteries last longer, try to keep battery-operated devices and new batteries somewhere warm, like for instance inside your sleeping bag.