Winter camping 101 | Mark’s daily apple

You may be wondering why any sane person would want to try winter camping. The obvious downsides are numerous: it’s cold, wet, snowy, windy and miserable. Why do you want to experience this? Well, the positives are also that it’s cold, wet, snowy, windy and miserable. The positives are the negatives.

Everyone has had a vacation that has been “ruined” by bad weather or insane bad luck, only to have it be one of the most vivid and best memories of their life because it was so intense, difficult and extraordinary. It will be a story to be told for years to come. Even if it’s “bad” right now, it’s a source of joy for the rest of your life.

There are of course even more reasons for the winter camp:

to toughen up. Instead of waiting for them to happen, let’s prepare for difficult situations before they are forced upon you. Consensual hardships, like camping in winter, prepare you for the unforeseen. To improve your metabolic health. Exposure to cold weather is beneficial in itself, as it increases metabolically active brown fat deposits, improves your cold tolerance, and strengthens mitochondrial function. To learn how to enjoy all seasons. It’s not as easy as warm-weather camping, but winter camping is a way to appreciate and appreciate those three months of the year that most people write off. If you appreciate winter camping, that’s extra time you can spend in nature. That’s three months to live.

Winter camping is not the same as winter backpacking. There’s some overlap, but camping means access to a car, while backpacking means strict weight restrictions. This post is about winter camping – so it assumes you have a little more room to pack.

What you should consider when camping in winter

Accept that you will be cold and uncomfortable

First of all, the most important part of winter camping is preparing for the physical reality of being outside in the cold. It’s going to be cold and possibly wet, but be prepared. you can handle it It won’t break you You need to know what you are signing up for. Accept the culminating realities and you can focus on overcoming them and having fun.

stay active

You can’t just sit around in the cold and hope for a good time. You must be active. They must be hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, downhill skiing or snowboarding or sledding. They should have snowball fights and build snow forts. When you stay active, your body temperature stays high and meals become all the more satisfying.

Keep the calorie intake high

Staying as active as you should will take care of this on its own, but maintaining a higher calorie intake will help you maintain body temperature and cold tolerance.

Know how to make a fire in the snow

With a big enough fire, you can handle any amount of cold weather. If you’re lucky, your campsite will come with a ring of fire. If not, you need to make a fire right in the snow. You can’t just light the fire on the snow. It melts and puts out the fire. Instead, spend some time tamping down the snow until it’s compacted and flat, and then lay a piece of tin on top or create a “floor” of heavy logs on which to build the fire.

If you didn’t bring your own wood, you’ll have to find it in the area. To identify combustible wood in winter, consider these tips:

Smaller branches or twigs should snap cleanly and audibly when bent. Larger logs should be “light” for their size and have long vertical cracks. Standing dead trees are usually dry and flammable (that’s where the ax and saw come in).

This is a nice foldable fire pit to throw in the car and go camping. This is a decent one with a grill attached.

Choose the right location

The ground should be flat and firm, so you may need to apply snow until it’s level and compact. You should have a windbreak, either natural (big trees, rocks, etc.) or artificial (build your own out of snow) to minimize the amount of wind hitting your tent.

Avoid camping under dying or rotting trees that could snap off in high winds or drop a 20-foot branch on you. Get a seat with an expansive view of the sunrise. Nothing beats the rays of our sun to cheer you up on a cold morning.

Cover your extremities

If you can only cover one thing with warm fabric, focus on the extremities. Keeping your head, hands and feet warm and dry is the most important part of surviving winter camping. You could wear a t-shirt and shorts, and as long as your extremities are warm and dry (and you stay active), you’ll be fine.

Use plastics sparingly, but use them

Synthetic water repellent finishes are extremely helpful when layered over more natural materials. So get the plastic raincoat, but put wool underneath. You also want the most synthetic rain cover for your tent that you can find.

Winter camping essentials

Pack basic tools

You should have a few things on hand to survive and thrive during winter:

Shovel: for moving snow, digging, preparing the campsite Hacksaw: cutting wood, branches Hatchet: chopping wood, lighting Firelighters (various types: matches, lighters, magnesium)

Get the right footwear

If there is no snow or only a few centimeters, boots are a good way to get around. I would recommend sticking with minimalist waterproof boots; Look here for a discussion of the best.

When there is a lot of snow, I prefer to use snowshoes.

wear wool

Wool was developed through natural selection over millions of years to provide breathable protection from the cold. Then humans take this raw, near-perfect substrate and make it even more perfect by turning it into cloth. If you want to survive cold weather, wear wool clothing, wool socks, shirts, gloves, and sweaters. Use wool blankets. Use wool insoles.

If you really want to let off some steam, you can even get a pure wool (with some cotton) sleeping bag.

Sleep in a four-season tent

A four-season tent has sturdier poles (to withstand wind), thicker material (to keep out the cold and warmth), and better/more comprehensive water and snow resistance than three-season tents. This is a solid choice that I’ve heard great things about: the REI Co-op Basecamp tent.

To really enjoy it, treat yourself to the ‘glamping’ tent, complete with a heat-resistant jack for a wood-burning stove. Go Hemingway on Safari style.

Use two sleeping pads

Start with a foam pad directly on the floor and an inflatable boat over it. This minimizes body heat loss to the cold floor.

Foam pads should be closed cell.

Indoor propane heater

Indoor-safe propane heaters can extend your ability to camp even during bitterly cold winters. This one’s nice – it’s well priced, reliable, has great reviews, and will turn you off if knocked over.

Get the right stove

You want to be able to reliably cook on a stove in case the fire doesn’t work. The Trangia from Sweden is very popular. Glue some aluminum foil to a piece of plywood and cook on it.

The most important thing is to have fun. They come from a long line of ancestors who braved the cold and even spent their entire lives outside in the cold. You can camp in the snow for a weekend.

How do you like camping in the snow? What are your best tips and tricks?

About the author

Winter camping 101 |  Mark’s daily apple

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather of the primal food and lifestyle movement, and New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, in which he explains how he combines the keto diet with a primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is also the author of numerous other books, including The Primal Blueprint, which in 2009 is credited with accelerating the growth of the Primal/Paleo movement and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark founded Primal Kitchen, a real food company that sells Primal/ Paleo, Keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen clips.

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