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Guest Post by Jenni Moreau
Much like 37 million other households in America, my family and I have always enjoyed camping and spending time in nature. But one of the things that put me off camping for a while when I was a teenager was the cold. Even with the right clothing to help me stay warm during cold seasons, it just wasn’t enough and I was so envious of people who had RVs. My parents learned some cold, hard truths during that camping trip which resulted in us shivering in our tents. There are loads of valuable camping tips and supplies that keep the cold at bay if you do your research. Knowing about them can make camping in winter an entirely different experience.
You might think camping in the fall and winter just doesn’t sound like fun, but research published in Current Biology has found that it can be really good for you. When five volunteers went camping for a week in winter, they had fewer hours of daylight but were exposed to 13 times more natural light during the day than if they’d been stuck indoors. Their levels of melatonin, known as “the sleep hormone”, made them sleep longer and hit the sack earlier.
Going camping in winter can be fantastic – it’s all about having the right items to keep you warm. Here’s a rundown of some winter camping essentials.
Get The Right Sleeping Bag
It’s all about the temperature. Always make sure you choose a sleeping bag that comes with a temperature rating that’s six degrees colder than the temperature of your campsite.
Bring Your Water Bottle
It’s easy to forget to drink water during winter, but make sure you pack a big water bottle and keep it next to you during the night. You need to prevent dehydration so that your body can use the liquids you consume to regulate your body temperature. This is just as important as eating calories throughout the day to boost your body temp.
Don’t Let Your Sleeping Bag Touch Anything Cold
If your sleeping bag is cozy, but it’s touching the cold tent or ground, it’s just going to start cooling down. You should always ensure that your sleeping bag isn’t touching anything cold. A sleeping pad can help to give your tent greater insulation.
Get A Tarp
You should place a tarp underneath your tent so that you prevent moisture from getting into it. This will keep your tent nice and warm during the cold. When setting the tarp underneath the tent, make sure that its edges don’t extend further than the sides of the tent, as this could collect water if it rains. Waking up in the middle of the night because you’re soaked is a nightmare.
Don’t just wear layers of clothing before going to bed in your sleeping bag, but layer your bag too. Drape a spare blanket over your sleeping back so that you’ll trap in the heat and block out any cold that’s seeping into the tent.
Pitch In The Right Place
Camping’s all about location! Don’t just set up camp anywhere on the campsite. Make sure that you’re far away from areas where there’s no water supply, where branches or trees could fall on you in a storm, and where there are valleys that can trap the cold wind. The best place to pitch a tent is where the ground is flat, your tent will receive lots of sun, you’re close to a water supply, and you’re not in a windy spot.
Camping in winter, or even early spring, can be a nightmare if you’re not equipped for the weather, like my family and I weren’t. But by ensuring you pack some winter essentials, you’ll prevent the weather from getting in the way of a fun camping trip.