Winter is coming; and for avid outdoor lovers, this means snow camping. For many people, regular camping might sound rugged enough. But for extreme campers who love to push the limits, snow camping is a great way to enjoy the icy beauty of winter.
Aside from Antarctica, some of the most gorgeous spots to snow camp include:
- Yosemite National Park, California
- Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon
- Susquehannock Trail System in the Allegheny Mountains, Pennsylvania
- Appalachian Trail
- White River National Forest, Colorado
If you are a seasoned winter camper or an intrepid first timer preparing to take on the snow, here are some essentials to purchase and pack in preparation for your spectacular trip…
BYOS (Bring Your Own Shelter)
If you’re not building an igloo, and you don’t plan on sleeping in the snow like a sled dog, then you probably want to pack a good tent. With a ground cloth spread out below, a tent can help you stay dry and warm throughout the night. Before pitching the tent, you will want to use your boots, skis or snowshoes to pack and flatten an area that is roughly twice as big as your tent’s bottom. Then make sure you stake deep into the snow, at least 12 inches.
Hammocks are an fantastic alternative to the traditional tent. They can be a great addition to your snow camping trip because they keep you elevated out of the cold wet ground. Special extreme conditions hammocks will help keep you toasty with thick layers that wrap campers up in a warm cocoon.
And if you’ve decided to sleep between two sturdy trees instead on in a ground tent, you will definitely want to stretch out a waterproof tarp to keep your top dry and help block nighttime winds.
There are lots of fun sports and recreation activities to keep you entertained and your blood pumping during the day. A favorite among snow campers is snow shoeing, Alpine touring and Alpine skiing. These methods of snow travel allow campers to glide over the snow and explore new places that are difficult to find when going by foot through deep snow drifts. Many adventurers even snowshoe into the location where they plan to set up camp.
If you want to take a day to rest, there are other fun snow hobbies like bird watching. Although many other creatures are hibernating, burrowed deep beneath the snowfall, a wide array of birds may still be out and about. If you plan on birding, then you will probably want to pack a pair of binoculars so that you can see more of the beautiful species who are out enjoying the crisp air.
And Of Course, the Necessities
When snow camping, the basic necessities are even more important than they are during regular outdoor adventuring. Hydration is a critical factor, so make sure you have enough water bottles. Fortunately, there will be plenty of frozen water all around that can be melted to drink. Adequate nutrition is another essential concern. Eating helps your body stay warm, so bring sufficient calories to produce energy.
Make sure you also prepare with plenty of thick clothing layers. Synthetic materials will wick moisture to dry fast and keep you insulated. Investing in a quality pair of waterproof boots is another must. Gloves, mittens and hats are also important to keep all your extremities protected.
Some other equipment to consider packing are practical items like a head lamp, snow shovel, fire starting kit, sun protection and navigation devices.
With this gear in tow, your snow camping experience will hopefully be an incredible winter adventure!
by Ted Levin