Kovring Your Tracks - Tips for Winter Backpacking

Tent at night

Camping in the Winter? Believe it or not, many people consider the winter season the peak time for camping and backpacking. Of course, camping in winter does carry its own unique safety risks to take into account.

Avalanches, hypothermia, food, and access to water are all serious concerns to consider when preparing for your winter expedition. Not all tents are created equally, so unlike a tent that may suffice in the summer, so you’ll want something with the ability to block the wind a bit more for protection in winter. Many summer tents are designed to allow airflow to help the inhabitants cool while keeping out mosquitoes.

This also applies to your sleeping bag; you’ll need one with a rating appropriate for the weather you expect to encounter. You will also want a sleeping pad to keep the bag off the frozen ground in order to keep warm. Food choices may also very, as you may want food higher in fat calories since fat provides 9 calories per gram, versus protein that provides 4.

And unlike in summer when you can comfortably dress in hiking or tactical shorts, you will need a base layer or possibly insulated pants. Not to mention several layers including a coat, upper base layer, high-rise hiking boots vs. low, 2 pairs of gloves and hats in case one gets wet. Water is something else that needs consideration, since it will most likely freeze overnight, and you’ll need a way to defrost it.

And don’t forget the things that can make the difference between life and death. Water purification tablets for an emergency are highly recommended. And the ability to build a fire could not be emphasized enough. Other than that, prepare well, and check everything twice.

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