Don’t Go Camping in the Winter Without Reading These 5 Essential Safety Tips First

Camping in the winter brings a host of challenges and dangers. But for those that brave the elements and get away from the big smoke in the freezing temperatures are rewarded with the discovery of a winter wonderland.

In the winter, cooler temperatures and unpredictable weather can make camping dangerous. It is essential that any backcountry enthusiasts who want to escape civilization for a few days take extra safety precautions. These are 5 essential safety tips every camper should read before they head off the beaten trail and escape to the backcountry for a winter adventure.

Know the Area

In the winter, knowing your way around the area, including what emergency services are available, where the nearest hospital is and where you can find phone signal becomes all the more important. If an accident occurs in the summer, you may be able to wait until someone finds you and can get help, in the winter, low temperatures mean that time will not be on your side.

Before you set off, spend some time making yourself familiar with the area and the local services. Check for any avalanche zones you may encounter and always tell someone exactly where you will be.

Pay Attention to the Extremities

Frostbite is a real danger when camping in the winter. To take steps to prevent it, ensure your extremities are kept warm. This means wearing extra layers on your feet, investing in a thick, warm hat and using heated gloves to protect your hands.

To treat frostbite, you will need to warm the area. However, do not rub the skin as this can often make it worse. Pour warm water onto the area to gently warm it and reverse the effects of frostbite.

Use a Winter Sleeping Bag

Mummy bags are sleeping bags specifically designed for cold weather. If you are camping in the winter, you shouldn’t leave home without one. They are reinforced for extra protection from the cold. In extreme weather conditions, a winter sleeping bag can save your life. They should not be overlooked.

Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol thins your blood. This means that, although you may not feel it, your body temperature is falling. Alcohol can exacerbate the effects of cold weather and cause people to fall into a state of hypothermia quicker. As a result, it is best avoided when camping in the winter.

Eat More

You shouldn’t be drinking alcohol, but that doesn’t mean you can’t partake in any vices. Gluttony is actually beneficial to you when camping in cold weather. The increased calorie intake means the more fuel available to your body to burn for energy. If you are spending a prolonged time out in the cold, it is a good idea to bring plenty of calorie-rich snacks and increase your calorie intake over a period of 24 hours before you head out. This will ensure you have plenty of energy when it comes time to brave the cold.

These are five tips to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time camping in the winter. In the icy temperatures and slippery conditions, it is essential you don’t take any unnecessary risks when out on the trails to ensure you make it back safe and sound without incident.

Comments

  1. Carole D says

    Winter camping is not for me!, but great tips!

  2. Stephanie LaPlante says

    I never knew about the alcohol thing before. All this time, I thought alcohol warmed your blood. I’m glad I know now.

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