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» Winter Camping – Food and Shelter

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Your tent site in a winter camping foray is going to be of the uppermost importance in making sure that you and your team are comfortable and warm.

If you are in a large open area, particularly in winter, the snow and wind are not blocked and your tent will catch the rain or ice as well.

Try to choose a site for your tent that is sheltered by trees if possible, or, hanging tarps can help to block out a great deal of wind from your tent.

Avoid thick vegetation and do your setup on snow if you can so that your campsite will virtually disappear when spring thaw hits.

When you begin your tent setup, pack the snow down hard beneath the tent. We found this out the hard way. If you don’t the body heat will melt the snow, harden it into ice and sleeping will be very uncomfortable because you won’t be able to even roll over for a lump in the snow.

When the days or nights are windy, and your tent is exposed, dig a 1 or 2 foot deep hold in the snow to set up your tent in. That will help the wind to be diverted away from your tent and make it easier to get in and out of your tent.

When staking the tent, attach about a foot of cord to each one of the points on the tent that you are going to stake.
and you can use logs or tree branches for tent anchors on the chance that the ground is too solid for a tent stake.
Another thing to preplan for is that normal tent stakes, particularly the plastic variety, aren’t going to work well for you in snow or hard ground.

Instead you will want to take snow flukes or skewers with you to help hold your tent when its winter time.

Eating and Drinking

During the day, instead of stopping for longer meals, that will require more body heat and energy to digest, snake on food all day at short intervals, keeping your carbohydrate levels higher.

Carry hot water or soup with you, so that you have something to warm you if the need arises.

You are absolutely going to need a water bottle on your belt, and carrying a few smaller snacks there is a good idea too.
A very good idea will be a heated or insulated coffee cup to keep your hot drinks hotter for far longer. Try to steer clear of coffee during the evening and late night hours, but do bring along plenty of hot drinks. Don’t however drink a lot of alcohol as this will in fact prevent your body from keeping itself warm by virtue of its actions on the venous flow.

Take a few snacks to bed with you and snack on them prior to sleeping so that your body will have the energy it needs to produce the heat you will need during the night. Also before you go to bed, make sure to put on a stocking cap or a hat of some type and close up your mummy bag so that only the face is exposed, to help your body hold heat.

Make sure that you have a lot of carbs in your diet while winter camping so that the body is well fueled. You will find that one kettle dinners are the easiest to deal with and they tend to be hearty mixtures.

Water is a necessity on trips such as this, and even though you won’t always feel thirsty, drink a lot. Dry air will dehydrate the body fairly rapidly.

To prevent the bottles from freezing put them in a sock or hat or by taping foam around them. if you mix it with something such as lemonade or juice it will also take longer to freeze. Your water filters are probably not going to work well in the low temps so use chemical water treatments instead and bear in mind they will take longer to work the colder the water and air are, so give them ample time to work prior to using the water.

Water filters are not suited to below freezing weather. Water left in the filter matrix can freeze and split the internal seals, destroying the effectiveness of the filter.

If you need to melt snow, use coffee filters to strain it, so that you need not drink those bits of leaves and so on. When the temperature dips below freezing, store your water bottles in your tent upside down. This way if they do freeze, the ice will form at the bottom and not in the top opening, preventing the water from coming through.

If your water bottle doesn’t come with cap loops, tie strings or cord around the mouth of the bottle, below the cap to make them easier to carry and keep close.


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