Winter is here…But don’t chuck all of your camping gear to the back of the garage just yet! This is one of the best seasons to go camping.
After a fair few conversations around the campfire, it’s clear that “the cold” is usually what puts people off camping in winter. Well, that’s easily fixed, so toughen up princess, it’s about time you experienced a snow trip!
Here are my five top tips to get you out camping in the snow and having an absolute blast.
1- Appropriate Winter Clothing
This may sound glaringly obvious but it’s something that’s often overlooked. Look at Canada or Russia as examples, they both have winters far colder than ours (I’m taking -40 decrees Celsius in some areas), but they still get out in winter and enjoy the outdoor lifestyle.
Buy a good quality set of merino wool thermals. They make such a difference to your ability to retain body heat. Complement these with some warm hiking socks and a solid pair of boots to keep your feet warm and dry.
Invest in a quality winter coat; snowboarding gear is ideal as it’s warm and waterproof.
Layer up those clothes; wear a good beanie to keep your head warm and even a pair of gloves to keep the chill off your hands.
In short, dress appropriately for the conditions, save the singlets for summer!
2- Winter Sleeping Bag
Don’t try to get away with taking your summer sleeping bag on a snow trip; you will have a very cold and uncomfortable night.
For a good nights sleep, invest in a decent quality winter sleeping bag. Look for something rated to at least -5 degrees. If you really feel the cold, maybe a -10 degrees bag would be a good choice.
My winter bag is a -5 degrees bag lined with flanno, making it much nicer to climb into on those cold winter nights.
I’ve camped in the Victorian High Country at over 1500m with that sleeping bag, surrounded by snow and slept like a baby.
3- A Cranking Campfire (and dry kindling to get it started)
This should go without saying but you need a decent campfire. We all love a campfire as a focal point to share a few stories and crack a couple beers but when winter camping, having a fire at night is priority number one.
Getting a fire started in the snow isn’t always the easiest task. Give yourself an advantage by packing some pre-cut, dry kindling and a box of firelighters.
I always carry my chainsaw when camping so firewood is never an issue, but if you don’t own a chainsaw, buy a couple bags of wood from the servo when you fuel up before the trip.
Just remember you will burn through a lot more timber in the snow, this isn’t something to skimp on.
4- Hot Water Bottles are Your New Best Mate
One of the best things you can chuck into the 4WD when heading bush for some winter camping, is the humble hot water bottle.
It’s an incredibly effective (and cheap), way to preheat your sleeping bag before bed. Simply boil the Billy on the fire, fill the bottle up and tuck it into your sleeping bag 10 minutes before bed. Simple!
I’ve heard of people trying to run electric blankets from inverters, even elaborate diesel heater systems for their swag… but why over complicate matters? Going bush is about keeping it simple; it doesn’t get much simpler than a rubber bottle filled with hot water.
5- Camp Oven Cooking
After a day driving in the snow, it doesn’t get any better than a good old ‘winter warmer’ cooked in the camp oven. Think beautiful roast lamb and veggies or a delicious hearty beef and onion stew.
It’s so easy to cook amazing meals in a camp oven. Take a beef stew for example. Simply chuck your chosen ingredients into the camp oven, give it a couple hours on the coals and your ready to tuck into a delicious meal with hardly any effort. Mint!
Have you got any top snow camping tips of your own? I’d love to hear from you. Drop it in the comments section or shoot me an email at email@example.com
Stay warm out there this winter and don’t let the cold weather stop you from enjoying the bush.