Winter camping never crossed my mind. Not even a little bit. Sure, I had heard of it but I prefer cuddling under a heavy comforter at night, not freezing in a tent. So when I was I was invited to something called Camp Cold in northern Ontario, I was skeptical at first. But after doing some research, I decided it was something I actually wanted to try. Led by polar adventurer and mountaineer, Eric Larsen, who has completed more North and South Pole expeditions than any other American, it was no wonder my mind was changed so quickly. Plus, I was told as I chatted with the folks at Camp Cold before the trip, the way to ensure you have a good time is to put a little effort into the pre-planning. In that vein, I present my tips for (and reasons to get excited about) winter camping. Read on for 5 Tips to Ensure a Fun Winter Camping Trip!
5 Tips to Ensure a Fun Winter Camping Trip
1. The Right Clothing to keep you warm is out there.
My top tip for winter camping is to make sure you are dressed correctly before heading out. I layered up head to toe in Baffin apparel, a Canadian company that knows how to make products that will keep you from feeling any chill, and yes I mean any even when the temps dip into the negatives.
For baselayers, I wore a baselayer top and baselayer bottom that were comfortable, breathable and anti-microbial. I also wore the softshell hooded jacket which is waterproof and has a fleece lined interior, adjustable hood, vented pockets to better regulate body temperature. For warm winter boots, I will be a subscriber to Snogoose for life. The temperature rating: is -40ºF and has a removable liner and a fastening toggle to ensure no snow will get inside your boot.
There are different polar proven gloves and mittens to choose from but I decided to go with the Guide Glove (made with wind and waterproof nylon) because they have a removable liner so I could take the main glove off for dexterity and put back on easily. I paired these with the Polar Expedition Socks and I have never experienced such warm feet in my life.
2. Reason to Go: No Bugs!
This was especially appealing to me because in the summer time I am constantly battling mosquito bites. And dousing myself in bug spry. I came home with zero bites.
3. Peace and Quiet
Winter camping is so peaceful. While campgrounds get crowded in summer, winter is much more empty. The snow blankets the forest around me and I just feel a sense of tranquility. At one point I read a Washington Post article about how science actually backs up this theory — snow actually makes it quieter outside because snowflakes absorb sound waves, which I’d never pondered until I went winter camping. Try it to test the theory.
4. It’s Actually Comfortable
I thought I would be freezing, but I was actually comfortable! I went to bed warm geared up in Baffin but I closed my eyes wondering if I would wake up freezing in the middle of the night. I absolutely didn’t and know the Remote™ 2 Two-Person Mountaineering Tent from MSR Gear played a role. It’s a hour season tent that withstands heavy snow and severe conditions. We slept in the Polar Ranger™-20F/-30C Sleeping Bag which Eric Larsen helped design. IT features an 800-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down™ and a snorkel hood that prevents condensation from your breath. Side zippers allow excess body heat in warmer temps and also double as armholes so you even use this sleeping bag as an extra layer. Other products from Therm-a-rest we used are the lightweight RidgeRest® SOLite™ and the NeoAir® XTherm™ Sleeping Pad, both of which redirect heat back your body and offered extra comfort. I woke up refreshed and rested. Which meant a day ahead of plenty of winter activities like cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
5. Good for Social Media Posts
Everyone is Instagramming their lives these days and winter camping just looks cool on social media. When you post about it, it catches people’s attention because I don’t know many people that have camped in the winter. Of course, people don’t sign up just to be able to talk about it but who doesn’t love a good story to tell.