Winter Camping: Preparing the Camp and Getting Through the Night
By: Ron Watters
The article starts out with the author reminiscing about one of his memorable winter camping trip. His group were skiing, and after misreading their map, they went down the wrong side of the mountain, resulting in them having to camp on a ridge, half a mile away from their objective. The author than goes on to key features needed for winter camping, even if the camping was an unexpected one. He starts out with features one should look for when setting up camp, such as wind protection: does the campsite have trees and large pines to from a barrier from the wind. Other features includes water availability, avalanche hazard, altitude; high altitude as warmer temperature, and terrain; find or make flat terrain in order to set the camp. He then gives tips for setting up the tent. Things like having your entrance downhill reduces cold air rushing in, stamp snow to make a level platform, and placing the entrance at a ninety degree angle from the wind. He then mentions the use of a kitchen, digging a hole a few feet long. This makes it so that the stove is out of wind, and the food is given a makeshift shelf to lie on. He then gives tips to those who are changing, mostly skiers and changing out of their boots and equipment. When it comes to cooking, the water should have melted while you were completing other tasks. He suggests using simple freeze, dry food as they are quick to prepare, needing only a few minutes to soak. If you plan on bringing a meal using multiple ingredients, mix them at home so they can be put into the pot instantly. The author also suggests that once the water is heated, to drink hot beverages first, as it replaces lost fluids as well as warming your body. As an additional tip, he suggests drinking water whenever possible, as well as keeping conscience of your water supply. After this, he mentions the etiquette of not leaving any trace, importance of stove safety, and having your body warm before entering your sleeping bag.
This article has been helpful as it gave me beneficial advice for when going winter camping, from small things like being warm before entering the sleeping bags to things like avalanche hazards and altitude. The article has also reminded me on the importance of understanding your map, shown in his story; they had to camp an extra day due to misinterpreting the map and going down the wrong hill. I didn’t focus much on the tips and advice that focused on skiers, as I don’t see myself both skiing and winter camping at the same time in the future.