Most people bunk up for the winter months after enjoying a summer of camping. But with the right equipment, there are still many beautiful places to camp even in the cooler seasons. There can even be benefits to choosing a wintertime campsite because most of the mosquitoes and other critters will be hiding for the winter.
Selecting a Campsite
If you decide to camp in the snow or in a similarly frigid area, you will want to be prepared. According to author Ron Watters, you will want to keep several things in mind when choosing where to pitch your tent. Things to look out for are:
- Wind protection
- Avalanche hazard
- Water availability
Depending on the weather and conditions, you may want a higher site that overlooks beautiful scenery. Or you may choose a covered area to block the wind and chill.
There are few things quite as miserable as freezing temperatures, so you will want to come prepared for the possible drop in the thermometer. Wearing layers of specialized clothing such as Columbia winter jackets is a key to being ready to withstand bursts of wind or chilly nights. Bring plenty of socks to ensure dry warmth for your feet. And invest in waterproof footwear. Hats are also important to keep the head cozy.
Backpacking.net advises against any cotton clothes because cotton “loses its insulating qualities when it gets wet, whether from rain or sweat.” Instead, try any wool or synthetic materials that will be able to wick better.
Alternative Winter Sites
If you are not quite so big on the idea of crunching snow beneath your boots, then there are still some beautiful locations to take advantage of during the colder months. Many desert campgrounds become much more enjoyable without the summer heat. The National Parks Traveler suggests southwestern locations such as Joshua Tree in California, Organ Pip Cactus National Monument in Arizona, Death Valley and Lake Mead. Another spot to consider is the Everglades National Park. From December to April are the dry months which permit a more enjoyable camping experience. Finally, Grand Canyon National Park offer gorgeous vistas in any season. But it is much cooler in the winter and you might even run into a quick shower of snowflakes.
Another benefit of camping in the cold is that you will have access to a host of new activities during the day. Snowshoeing is a great way to travel over the frozen ground and see beautiful scenery. You might also try your hand at snowmobiling to cover more ground.
With the right survival plan and the perfect site, you can enjoy camping all year round—even in the cold. Simple steps towards preparation can set you up for a beautiful and fun trip whether you are adventuring in the snow, on a frozen lake or in a chilly desert.
Image from sectionhiker.com