7 Tips On How To Go Snow Camping
Snow camping brings in more fun and adventure to a traditional camping. The colder the weather at winter the more gear you need for survival. Thicker sleeping bags, snow shoes, crampons, telemark skis, skins, more layers and other things needs to go with you. Once again, it is time for snow camping! Here are some snow camping tips that will be of great help to first timers trying to get a whole new experience in camping.
- Get Set For The Worse
Unlike summer camping where you have recognizable marks and signs and even people standing as guides to lead you safely to camp, it is quite different at winter. With signs and marks buried some feet under snow and no body standing on ground to give guidelines, you can be sure that making your way to camp solely depends on you and it is your responsibility to identify trials. Even before leaving the house, you should ensure that you’ve gotten yourself a terrain feature on the camp area and a map to help you get there, because certain features can be easily covered in snow, and a place you think you are familiar with can become a strange place and easily throw you off-balance. Very thick clouds can appear and make your GPS useless; getting a paper map and a compass on standby can be a life saver. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid; wait and squat in the snow as there are tales of people who have survived for days building a snow cave.
- Going Camping; Snow shoes or Skis?
Anytime you make up your mind to walk through snowstorm, be sure of a way to make this journey. I know the very thing on your mind is a snow mobile but that far from it-you cannot automobile your way to camp on a machine. Telemark skis, cross-country skis or touring sk`is is the quickest way you can get to camp through very rough terrains. The back heel of these skis disengages from the bindings giving you room to slide through as you ascend a mountain. The skins that are fixed to the skis makes is easy for you to walk once you’ve learnt how it’s used. You can click the heel into a binding to enable you slide downhill. These skis can also help you hold down old tent or assemble a new one. Though a ski can be very efficient, they are difficult to use for a first timer and can very heavy to carry. If the ski or its binding breaks, it is almost impossible to fix, compared to a strap on a snow shoe. Ski boots can be very horrible in camp; there might be need for you to bring along oack in boots so your feet won’t freeze. Snowshoes are very slow to move in snow, but they are the most suitable boots for snow camping as they can be worn by any one, have crampons, can be clipped into a boot and they are lighter than skis. Personally, I would go snow camping with skis and a heavy pack, but for a first timer i recommend going with snow shoes.
- Pitching a Perfect Camping Tent
While in camp, you just don’t bring out the summer camping tents and throw it on the ground like you do in summer camp; you have to remember that you’re standing in feet of snow. You have to dig out the snow. It creates a good and hard foundation that helps stand against tough winds. A shovel, ski or snow shoe can be used to pack the snow to a level where there is a feel of solid ground or better still find a less snowy place to pitch the tent , like the base of a huge tree and dig out the snow. Don’t sleep directly on snow, always use a ground pad; at night the snow underneath you will melt and you could sink in. But if you decide to just throw down your tent and dive in, be sure that your tent will soon rip out from its foundation. This is most likely to happen at about 2am. By now trust me, all your camping kits would have being buried in snow and you will be freezing out. So ensure that your foundation is perfect for a tent or bivy and be sure to get set for the weather. Gather up woods and other fire materials even in fire- restricted areas just in case. Use rods for your tent or bury the tent lines in snow. It feels horrible and dangerous to wake up and find yourself buried in snow. This is a mistake i made once and from my experience, a tent can be very comfortable and pleasurable to be in tough weather, but i recommend a bivy. It reduces the weight of my bag, and make my camp site better.
- Protect your gear and you can be sure it will protect you.
Tackling a problem before it starts is one of the safest ways to survive in camp. In summer, wet gears can be used when it’s soaked by rain but in water a wet gear can kill. Try as much as you can to ensure that your gears are safe. A strong bristle brush can be used to clean off snow from the boot, tent, and upper layers of your clothes. Snow will continuously pile on you like dirt and if you don’t clean them, they will make your gears wet. Vapor barriers should also be used for sleeping bags and boot. These vapor barriers socks will stop the feet from sweating into the boots and prevent it from freezing before dawn. A vapor barrier bag for your sleeping bag will stop it from condensing. Though i have never seen this, it can turn your sleeping bag into a rock. At every given opportunity, turn your sleeping bag inside out and sun dry on a rock or a tree branch. I recommend that you go for a black sleeping bag; it easily absorbs heat. Sweaty gears should be changed every night; especially, beanie socks and gloves. You can also do well in camp if you keep your gears clean and moisture free as often as you can.
- Sun and Wind shielding
Though it is 10 degrees below, you still have to protect yourself from the sun more than in summer camp. You don’t want to be hit by sun rays reflecting in the snow from every direction, do you? Always wear goggles or sun shades or you could go literally blind. It can be very painful if the skin under your nose becomes cracked and dry due to the sun and wind. Therefore you may want to apply sunscreen in such a place so as to avoid sun burns. Lotions should be applied to the hands, feet and face daily to prevent them from drying and cracking. Lip gloss and palms should be applied in large quantity and wind protective gears can also come in handy. Vaseline can be used as wind berries or heat trappers.
- Keep out the snow
As you trample upon the snow all day, you can be sure that snow look for a way into your neck area, boots and gloves. Doing your best to keep the snow out will prevent unnecessary thermals, liners, damp socks or gloves. Pants with elastic bottom and cord should be worn. Placing snow gaiters over the top will prevent them from getting into your boots. Be sure that the upper layer glove is with a draw string to keep out the snow when you are working in camp. Using a hood and neck gaiter would keep out the snow from your neck area. Ensure that you always stay warm and dry.
- Take a pee before bed and get a pee bag.
As unserious as this seems, it can be annoying getting out of your sleeping bag in the middle of the night just to go and take a pee. You will not only have to put on your boots again but you will lose the heat your body has built up in the sleeping bag. You can tip toe outside during summer camping to pee but in winter camping it is snowing steady and you have to put on your gloves, snow shoe, boots and other gears just to go for a leak. Keeping a bottle in your sleeping bag just for ppeing can be of help. For the ladies, you might still need to go outside unless you are very good at aiming.
Snow camping is a fun and challenging adventure and with these tips you are sure to get a remarkable time away from home this winter. Got some snow camping tricks you think we can also learn from/? Feel free to share.