January 27, 2017
(While we do not offer winter camping, here’s some information for those of you interested in checking it out! Please visit http://campingontario.ca to find a campground offering winter camping in your neck of the woods)
Winter Camping in Cold Climates:
The temperatures may have dropped, but it doesn’t mean the fun has to! In this blog we’re sharing tips for spending time outdoors in the winter months and staying warm while doing it!
Where to set up:
- Avoid open areas where wind can blow down tents or low lying areas where the coldest air settles
- Look above your preferred area and make sure there are no dead branches hanging in trees
- Set up your tent facing south to ensure more direct sunlight
- Try to choose a spot near a water source (such as a stream or lake) so that you don’t have to rely on snow as a source of water
Keep the heat inside:
- Ensure you have a four-season tent, which will be strong enough to withstand both wind and snow
- Find a tent with a roofline that allows snow to fall off easily (to avoid roof collapsing under the weight) - dome tents are usually best
- Bring extra tent poles and ensure the tent is staked down well in case of strong winds
- Place a groundsheet underneath to protect tent floor from icy ground
- Use a mummy-style sleeping bag with a hood that fits snugly around your body to avoid large spaces in the bag
What to wear:
- Did you know socks are a great way to layer? First put on polyproplyne liner sock to wick moisture away, and then add 1-2 layers of wool (or wool blend) socks. Ensure that they’re not too tight - you don’t want to constrict any circulation.
- In times when you don’t need a lot of finger dexterity, mittens are always a better option as fingers stay warmer together
- In case of extra cold, get small heat packets that you can place inside your mittens for a little boost of warmth
- Ice doesn’t freeze at uniform thickness and near-shore ice is usually much thicker than ice farther out - check with a spud bar or auger regularly to ensure safety
- Clear blue ice is the strongest (white/opaque ice is weaker)
- If driving on the ice, light vehicles need 12 inches or more thickness, and snowmobiles need at least 8 inches; if the ice is opaque, double the thickness needed
And remember: don’t forget to hydrate; despite feeling less thirsty in the winter, it is still important to drink fluids regularly!