Cold Weather Camping: How to Stay Warm

cold weather campingCold Weather Camping: Waking up to a sparkly frost-covered landscape transforms summer camping into a magical experience during the winter and nothing can beat snuggling up to an outdoor fire during cold weather. While many families plan camping trips for the summer, they often overlook winter due to concerns about the cold. Yet, the holidays offer tons of time to get outside and enjoy nature. Use these tips to stay warm during cold weather camping, and enjoy the opportunity to teach your kids to see the world from a different perspective.

Start with Your Shelter For Cold Weather Camping

Lightweight tents are preferred during summer when you plan to hike to your camping spot. However, you may need a four-season tent that is designed for snow or freezing conditions if you live in a cold climate. In addition to checking the rating, make sure your tent has a fly that covers the biggest part of the tent and can be secured with stakes in the ground. This will give an extra layer of protection from the wind.

Choose Cold Weather Sleeping Bags

In addition to your tent, you may need to upgrade your sleeping bags. Down is a preferred material for providing good insulation, but you will need to go with synthetic fillings if you will be staying in a moist climate. Your sleeping bags should also be rated for temperatures at least 10 degrees below what you expect for the overnight lows in your camping area.

Dress in Layers

Choose wool or synthetic fabrics for your clothing when you can for cold weather camping. Because cotton tends to retain moisture. It is also important to begin with a base layer such as long johns or leggings beneath your clothing, and add additional layers to stay warm. When sleeping, stick with a base layer, but go ahead and leave off your bulky outerwear since this can interfere with your sleeping bag’s insulating properties. Instead, wear a hat, socks and mittens if necessary to keep your extremities warm.

Staying active will keep you warm during the day, but you will need to carefully prepare your camping equipment to keep you warm during the night. Since most heaters are not safe to use in tents, it is best to focus on putting natural barriers in place between your family and the cold air. While it does take a little extra planning, the effort is worth it when your family enjoys amazing opportunities to explore the beautiful winter landscape.

Pros and Cons of Arming Yourself When Camping

camping safetyWhen it comes to camping, one of the biggest debates among people who love the outdoors is camping safety. Whether or not it is best to be armed before entering the wilderness. Those who decide to arm themselves are usually concerned about wildlife such as bears and mountain lions which can be a valid issue in certain parts of the country. While there is no easy answer to this safety dilemma, it is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision before you plan your camping trip.

Pro: Camping Safety

People who prefer being armed while camping say that it helps them to sleep better at night knowing they could protect themselves if they were threatened. Although most types of wildlife prefer to leave humans alone, there is still a small risk for your camping safety if you venture too close to certain animals in the woods.

Con: The Danger Factor

While carrying guns and other weapons may make you feel safe, it is also important to recognize the risks. For example, misfiring a gun or missing a target may place the lives around you in jeopardy. Camping with children also poses challenges for being armed since many of the best safety practices, such as keeping guns locked up, may not be possible when you are spending the night in a tent. For this reason, many camps for kids choose to use other safety strategies instead of weapons while camping.

Pro: There Are Many Options

When people consider arming themselves for camping, they often think of guns. However, there are several other options that are just as portable and potentially less risky. For instance, bear spray has been used by some people to deter attacks. However, it is important to make sure to avoid spraying it into the wind where it may spray back into your face. Knives and even large sticks are other forms of weapons, but these do require you being at close range to use them effectively.

Con: Weapons Are Not Always Effective

Although being armed may make you feel safe, it is sometimes a false sense of security. Gunshots do not always affect large bears and it is possible to completely miss your target when you are under stress. Often, the best way to stay safe in the wilderness is to follow basic outdoor safety guidelines. Stay aware of your surroundings, keep a clean campsite, travel in a noisy group and know how to identify when wild animals may be in your area.

The decision to be armed in the wilderness is one that takes careful thought and consideration of your circumstances. In some places, carrying a firearm may even be illegal so research carefully if you do decide that’s what is best for your family. Regardless of your choice, make sure to utilize your wilderness survival skills since preventing wildlife problems is your first best defense when camping outdoors.