How to survive cold weather camping

Bracing winds and sub-zero temperatures can cause all kinds of problems when you’re camping. In the city center or local village, you can simply duck into a café to take shelter from torrential rain and chilly breezes, but out in the sticks, you don’t have that luxury. It’s up to you to find a way to keep yourself warm and safe from troublesome weather conditions.

While camping in wintery weather may sound a little daunting, there are actually all kinds of ways to keep safe and snug when pitching up in colder climates. The beauty of places such as Alaska, Reykjavik, and Kiruna needs to be seen to be believed, and as long as you’re prepared beforehand, there’s no need to be deterred from visiting an amazing corner of the world just because of testing weather conditions.

We’ve put together the very best tips for surviving cold weather camping, allowing you to revel in magnificent new experiences in complete comfort.

Pitch up in the right place

Positioning your tent in the best possible place can go a long way to keeping temperatures inside as warm as possible. On your first full day of camping, be sure to wake yourself up early and note when and where the sun rises. This way, you’ll be able to maneuver your tent accordingly and allow the walls to soak up some of the precious morning rays.

It’s also a good idea to avoid pitching up on hills and banks in wintery climates, and it’s worth padding down the snow before you prop up the tent so that you can rest easy at night.

Hot drinks, hydration, and nutrition

Cold weather can provoke all kinds of physical responses, but thirst isn’t usually one of them. Nonetheless, staying well hydrated can go a long way to staying toasty when you’re camping in the chillier parts of the planet. That’s why you ought to consider flasks and bottles as necessities – not luxuries. Drinking water regularly is important, of course, but the odd piping-hot cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate can also make your insides feel warm and fuzzy and combat the effect of freezing temperatures. Camping in the cold also gives you an excuse to feast on high-calorie foods! Cheese, chocolate, and fatty meals will help to keep your body warm.

Double up on sleeping stuff

Two sleeping bags are always better than one in cold conditions – so double up wherever you can. Stuff one sleeping bag inside the other (add a liner to both) and snuggle your way inside to remain as cosy as possible.

Another handy trick is to slip some mats beneath your blow-up mattress. Being higher up is likely to help you feel more comfortable, but, more importantly, it will prevent the cold, wet ground absorbing all your precious body heat.

Clothing and equipment

Camping in the cold offers a bit of a predicament. Naturally, you’ll want to take along as many coats (such as a jacket from a store specializing in warm outerwear for women and men), scarves, hats, and winter clothes as you possibly can, but transporting too much puts you at risk of injury and slows your progress when you’re walking through snow, rain, and sleet. That’s why it’s worth identifying the essential items of clothing before you head out on your trip. These include:

  • Tops with insulating synthetics.
  • Sweaters.
  • Coats.
  • Several pairs of socks and one particularly warm, woolly pair for sleeping in (keep these dry!).
  • Neck warmers.
  • Woolly hats (that’s plural – there’s always the chance that one could go missing).
  • Pairs of mittens and gloves (again, plural).
  • Goggles (for walking against strong winds and snow).
  • Boots (a couple of pairs, one set to sleep in).

In case of an emergency, you’ll also need to make sure that you have various types of communication equipment available to get in touch with others. Two-way radios with multiple packs of batteries are recommended alongside your mobile phone. It’s also worth bringing along a spare phone with a full charge that you only ever switch on when absolutely necessary.

While this might sound like a lot of shopping, there are places online where you can pick up multiple items in one place for affordable prices. New Easy, for example, has all kinds of products that are tailor-made for troublesome weather conditions, from torches, lights, and hurricane lanterns, to warm slippers and woolly hats.

You’ll need a campervan to take all your supplies with you and ensure you’ll have a self-sufficient and warm place to stay when it’s impossible to pitch a tent outside. The likes of Cozy Campers have campervans for rent in Iceland that are equipped for winter travel. You really can’t forego safety when camping during winter when the weather tends to be less favorable and more unpredictable.

Camping in colder climates can sound like a challenge, but as long as you’re prepared from the very beginning, you won’t need to worry. There are some extraordinary wonders in the chiller parts of the world just ready and waiting to be explored. Treat your traveling bug by getting togged up properly and see these beautiful areas for yourself.