Winter camping consists of camping outdoors during the winter season. It can be a lot of fun, but is also a lot more dangerous than summer camping. A lot of planning and adequate precautions have to be taken before setting out on a winter camping trip.
The effort put into planning and the precautions taken can be the difference between life and death, in certain circumstances.
Winter camping also requires a certain level of experience and specialized equipment. Being aware of the hazards reduces the risk levels considerably.
Before setting out, it is advisable to spend a good deal of time conducting some research on the area and the conditions to find out how, when and where the trip will work. Here is a checklist for some of things to research.
The route (a trail, off-trail, or both), level of snow (shallow or deep), quality of snow (variable, breakable, powder, or packed), mode of travel (walking, snowshoeing, or skiing), changes in elevation along the trail (whether you'll spend more time going up or down), size, strength, and experience of the group.
One important thing to remember is that everything takes almost twice as long during the winter. Researching emergency plans and other methods to bail out in case of trouble are critical.
The importance of proper clothing equipment can not be stressed enough. Wool makes for great clothing equipment. It is quite inexpensive and keeps the wearer warm. It can be woven tightly to make it wind resistant. The disadvantage of wool is that it can tend to get quite heavy when wet.
Fleece or Pile fabrics are synthetic materials made out of plastic and contain the same insulating properties of wool. Their design allows them to be worn in many layers. The disadvantage here is that their wind resistance properties are very poor.
All other essential equipment such as tents, sleeping bags, food, water, stoves, and other things should be kept keeping in mind the cold weather conditions.
Proper protection of the body and the supplies is absolutely critical and all safety precautions must be followed in order to experience a safe trip.