Connect with Nature: Go Winter Camping

Are you looking for a new way to connect with nature this winter? Why not try winter camping! It may sound crazy, but camping at this time of year offers a unique outdoor adventure and a great opportunity to put your survival skills to the test. Winter weather can also make it easier to hike to a pristine camp site as lakes and ponds are often frozen. With that said, winter camping does require special precautions, so you’ll want to do your homework before heading out. Here are a few things to remember when planning your trip:

Choose the right location: Winter camping can be a great way to experience many popular national or provincial parks without all the summer crowds. However it can require a rigorous trek through the snow, so it’s important to camp somewhere that suits your skill level. If you’re a beginner, consider renting a yurt or spending a night in your backyard to test the elements.

Wear lots of layers: It goes without saying that you will need warm clothing, but it’s not enough to wear a heavy jacket. Wearing lots of layers is the best way to stay warm. This will make it easier to adjust your body temperature as your activity level or the outside temperature changes.

Create a winter proof shelter: Make sure you bring a tent that is able to cope with all four seasons. If you have some camping experience and are feeling more adventurous, try constructing a Quinzhee. This is a hollowed out mound of snow that can provide good shelter if constructed properly.

Take proper sleeping gear: Snow cover on the rocks and roots will make for a smoother ground, but bring a foam pad to keep you insulated from the cold. Sleeping bags should have a hood for extra insulation and be able to handle a temperature below what you are expecting.

Don’t forget tools and supplies: When facing the winter elements, it’s important not to forget the little things that could come in handy. A first aid kit, compass, flashlight, whistle and multi-tool should all be packed safely in your bag before you head out. Consider taking a camera along to take photos of your winter adventure. Why not share them with the Nature Explorers community or Nature Canada’s Flickr page when you get back?

No matter when you go camping, preparation is key, so make sure to check and re-check the weather report and register your name with park services before heading to your campsite. Have fun!

Image of winter camping

Winter camping photo by Sam Glover

Image of people on a snow fort

Quinzhee photo by Pascal Henrard