‘Because It’s Cold In Wyoming’ Not A Good Excuse To Stop Camping
Technology and modern times have made it much easier to battle the cold and snow, but still enjoy camping.
This being my first fall/winter in Wyoming, I've heard the phrase...
This isn't normal, I'm usually snowshoeing and skiing already.
Obviously the weather is different almost every year, but you can guarantee that by May we'll all be excited for a few warm days.
My favorite time of the year to head out on a camping trip is fall and having lived near mountains in the past, one of the perks was that you never had to go very far to find the best camping spots. A couple different reasons behind my enjoyment of cold weather camping.
- Sleep is great. No one sleeps very well when it's hot
- Very few people
- Cool (cold) crisp air
- The warmth of the fire
- Good chance the bears are taking a nice long winter nap.
If you're going to venture out to camp when it's cold, you have to be prepared. If you monitor your weather app, you've noticed you can't plan very far in advance because the weather is always changing. That has to be your mentality when you're heading out in the cold.
The 'Boy Scout' motto is "Be Prepared" and that's exactly how you need to plan for your trip. Always make sure someone has an idea of where you'll be heading and a time you expect to return. Have your phone charged and even a backup charging block if possible. Have your map and study your route to make sure you're comfortable with your trip.
There are many videos available on YouTube to help you with ideas, I have found a couple that are in line with my planning and the procedures I use when going.
There are multiple things you need to do to make your camping trip more enjoyable
Proper dressing: Dressing in layers is a must
- Base Layer: If you're hiking to get to your campsite, you may start sweating and having a good wicking base layer will keep the moisture away from your body
- Mid Layer: This is your insulation layer and will keep you warm when you remove the outer heavier layer when you start to sweat.
- Outer Layer: Needs to be heavier like a puffy down jacket for warmth and a hard shell skiing jacket to keep protected from the elements.
Shelter: Getting Out of the Elements and Warmth
- Tent: You can get 4 season tents that have a little more
Getting good sleep: Sleeping Bag and Mattress
- Sleeping Bag: Choosing a sleeping bag that is right for your conditions is important for comfort and warmth
- Mattress/Pad: An inflatable sleeping mattress and/or pad to keep you off the ground, give you an insulation layer between your body and the ground and give you extra padding for comfort.
Keep extra clothes dry: Socks and sleeping clothes
- Socks: Having multiple pair of warm wool socks is a must. If your feet get cold, there's a good chance you'll be miserable. If you put your extra socks inside your mid layer of clothing, you can use your body to keep your extra socks warm. So when you're ready for a change of socks they're warm, dry and ready.
- Sleeping Clothes: Before you get into your sleeping bag, it's a good idea to change out of the clothes you had been wearing. If you put your clothes for the next day in your sleeping bag, they'll be warm and ready for you to put on after changing out of your sleeping clothes.
Food: Eating More and Taking In Lots Of Calories
- Amount: Winter camping eating is different than summer camping eating because you'll burn more calories in the winter. Bring more food and don't be afraid to eat.
- Types: There are many foods that are perfect for this type of adventure
- Meats - summer sausage, canned meats, jerky are all good examples
- Nuts & Nut Butter
- Chocolate, Candy or Granola are all quick burning foods that generate energy and heat.
- Prepackaged MRE (Meals Ready To Eat) - These have been used by the military and outdoor adventures for years. Easy to prepare and have great caloric values
Check out this series of videos to learn how to make more of your cold weather outdoor adventure.