Camping out in winter is not easy if you’re not mentally and physically prepared for the trip. One must plan well ahead for trips in extreme weather. Since this article is geared towards overlanding enthusiasts, we would advise you not to skimp on gear because there is no such thing as being over-prepared when travelling in a heavy vehicle with ample space.
This article will guide you on what to carry for a winter outing. Driving in winter is also a convenient skill to have, but we’ll save that and snow survival for another article; for now, let’s focus on the essential items to carry before you leave for the trip!
You should always have general recovery gear with you for every trip; however, winter trips require you to carry a few additional items like:
- Snow Chains
To gain extra traction where there is none. Snow chains not only help your vehicle get a grip on ice and snow, but they will also aid you in mud, which makes it a convenient piece of gear to carry.
- Ice Pick
This can only happen in extremely cold weather but imagine that you wake up and find ice around your tires or in your path. You can use the ice pick to steer clear of the predicament.
- Waterproof Matches & Fire Starters
Everything gets damp and moist in winter, so make sure you get a pack or two of waterproof matches or fire starters so that you always have a backup ready for when the stove burner stops working.
- Plenty of Food & Water Bottles
You get more hungry than thirsty in cold climates, so it is important to carry an ample supply of food with you to stay well-nourished throughout the trip. Dehydrated meals can be a great option as they are high in calories, compact, and offer a warm meal.
Gear and Clothing
Staying warm isn’t always easy. Once that chill hits you, its hard to shake it so its important that your gear and clothing keep you warm.
Insulated Sleeping Bag
Sleeping bags come with temperature ratings; some are thin and airy, meant for warm climates, and others are thick and insulated, meant for much colder climates. Woman’s winter bags are usually up to 7 degrees warmer than men’s sleeping bags. So, knowing if your bag is a man's or a woman's is essential. Synthetic over Down. Both are great options; however, both have pros and cons. Synthetic can be cheaper than down options, but it will pack down larger, making it bulkier. Down can be warm and light; however, when down gets wet, it can lose its insulating powers, which means you aren't staying warm.
Make sure to research and find the right gear to keep you safe and warm.
Insulated Ground/Roof Top Tent
Roof top tents have advantages because they are on a relatively warm, insulated surface instead of the cold moist ground. Hard-shell rooftop tents have an additional advantage because of the hard covering. If you are in a gusty winter storm you can block the wind by positioning the hard top into the wind.
Additionally, you can use an annex and stove to provide a centrally heated environment for your rooftop tent. Or, you can look at purchasing a diesel heater which will pump warm dry air into your tent.
- Warm Undergarments & Cloths
These items will be the only thing between a warm happy camper and a cold miserable camper. So pack well and be sure to avoid cotton or similar clothes that retain moisture because nobody wants to put on a wet sock on a cold morning. Warm undergarments form an extra protective layer, also be sure to wear a jacket to bed if it’s too cold out there.
Always remember to keep a first aid pack with you because you never know when you might need it. Apart from the basic items like gauze, bandages, antibiotics etc., you should keep a tourniquet with you.
So, there you have it! Go out there and enjoy nature in all four seasons. And, be sure to include an SMRT Tent in all your four-season adventures.