Extreme Winter Camping: Equipment, Essentials, and Tips

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Nothing is more beautiful and exhilarating in this world than camping in winter. Breathing the fresh and crunchy air, gazing upon miles and miles of snow-covered fields and hills, and the feeling of complete inner peace.

That being said, extreme winter camping requires the utmost in advance planning and preparation. You have to be prepared to face anything in the harsh weather and nature conditions.  Your gear and stamina must be top-notch. When it comes to outdoor gear, we recommend you check the professional collections at Hyke & Byke because you will need high-quality, durable items that you can rely on to stay safe and sheltered. From down-filled sleeping bags – essential for keeping your blood circulating during the coldest of nights – to backpacking tents that will keep you safe from the icy winds, you must make an optimal choice for a smooth experience.

With that in mind, we compiled a list of everything that you should keep in mind when preparing to venture into the wild nature in winter.

Camping Gear

As mentioned above, the right camping gear is incredibly important for extreme winter camping. Because of this, here is a short checklist to help you out in your preparations.

  • A good, high-quality four season tent is vital. These are designed to withstand high winds and keep the temperature regulated inside.
  • A sleeping pad. Closed-cell foam pads work miracles in the cold, but you can do your research and see what is best for you.
  • A down-filled sleeping bag is a must. You won’t find a better insulator than down. If you are thinking of making a heftier investment in your gear, you should definitely spend the extra on a good sleeping bag. The nights are harsh in extreme winter conditions and you don’t want to regret buying the cheapest one you could find.
  • A sleeping bag liner. This will prevent moisture or water from getting into your sleeping bag and damaging the filling. If moisture gets into your down-filled sleeping bag, it will prevent it from insulating correctly. The bag will be ruined and you will be very, very cold.
  • A camping pillow. This will keep you more comfortable at night and help your head to stay warm.
  • Lithium batteries. These are the only type of batteries that can withstand low temperatures and they last for longer than other batteries.

Clothes

In addition to your camping gear, you also need to think about clothing. Although you should definitely wear multiple layers, with a waterproof coat over everything, make sure you don’t overdo it. If your body gets warm enough, it will start to sweat, which is ideally something you’ll want to minimize as it can be a potential risk factor or additional factor for developing hypothermia. Other clothing items that we strongly recommend are waterproof boots, eye protection, and of course a warm hat.

Cooking Items

Whether or not you have experience with camping in extremely cold conditions, you always have to remember that the human body burns extra calories in cold conditions as it tries its best to stay as warm as possible.  This means you’ll need to take more food than you usually perhaps would. We also recommend packing two stoves, in case something happens to the first one.

Cooking in the snow is unlike cooking anywhere else. The upside is that you shouldn’t need to worry about water. It will be all around you. All you have to do is boil the snow down in a pod and you’ll have drinking water. A pro tip to keeping your water from freezing is to keep it inside your sleeping bag or against your body.  The warmth will prevent it from turning to ice.

Other Tips

Once you get into camping in the extreme winter weather, you will personally pick up more tips and tricks along the way that will benefit you the next time you do it. Nonetheless, here are some additional tips that we recommend you implement on your next camping venture.

  • Wear and carry sunscreen with you. Although only a small portion of your skin will be exposed, it’s important to protect it.
  • Apply Vaseline on top of the sunscreen. This will give you extra protection from the cold.
  • Consider the material of your clothes. Make sure that all your clothes are made from materials suitable for the conditions of your camping experience.
  • Always vent your tent. This might sound funny or stupid, but it is important that you keep a couple of your tent’s vents open.
  • Keep all your devices warm. Protect your devices from freezing by keeping them warm. You can put them in your sleeping bag or in a blanket to do this.