Some of the best times to get out into nature are during the middle of winter. During this time of year many people can finally relax and having a few days in the woods is perfect for this. The problem is that getting equipped for a winter camping trip is often times tricky and problematic. For this reason a winter camping trip is often times neglected, when it should be a priority. There are a few tricks that can make a camping trip a blast no matter the weather or the temperature.
When starting out on a winter camping trip a good sturdy tent is necessary. This tent needs to be able to handle all types of weather from rain to sleet and snow, while still being warm and comfortable at night. For a family a good tent would be the Bass Pro Shops 6-Person Dome Tent with Screen Porch, this tent is great because it not only sleeps a family easily but the screened porch keeps any snow or rain off of boots in the porch. This allows anyone in the morning to put on boots without having to sit in the snow or getting mud in the tent. While having a good tent can help when it rains, snow is a different matter. A good way to keep tent poles from getting stressed by excess weight is to brush off snow in the morning and evening before bed. It is also a good idea to brush off snow before big activities that will take time, this keeps snow accumulation as low as possible and the tent from being stressed. Another good idea concerning the tent is to make sure that ice does not build up on the rain fly. To keep ice from accumulating to greatly simply shake the rainfly after snow is brushed off in order to crack any ice and allow it to fall from the rain fly.
The next thing that is needed during a winter campout is to build a fire. During the winter this step is usually the hardest, many times because the ground is hard and building a fire pit and ring is a pain. Instead bringing a ready-made fire pit is a much better idea. These might take up a little extra space and be a little heavy but for a winter campout these fire pits are a life saver. A great design for a winter campout is the Landmann USA Northwoods Outdoor Fireplace, this metal fire pit is perfect for cooking over or for hanging wet clothes close to in order to dry. While having a good metal fire pit is great there is usually one big problem and that is snow. During the night snow often times accumulates in any fire pit making them useless. The best way to keep this from happening is to simply stay up all night and keep the fire stoked and burning hot. A far more practical application of this is to get a very dense wood burning low on coals before heading to bed. By adding a three or four logs of a hickory or other hard, dense wood a camper ensures that if the fire is lit when they go to bed the coals will still be hot and ready for a new day in the morning.
Another great idea when out with the family and cooking in the morning and evening needs to be quick is to bring a large camp stove. These camp stoves use propane burners to quickly heat up cast iron or other materials for cooking. A very good camp stove for the price is the Camp Chef Ranger III 3-Burner Stove, this is great because breakfast can be cooking on the first two burners while a pot of coffee is percolating on the last burner. Another handy thing about having a camp stove close by is that boiling water for hot drinks is always a snap, whereas trying to boil water on an open fire is a pain. The only drawback for camp stoves is that they must be kept under cover during winter precipitation. This is because the camp stove unlike the fire pit cannot be left with a small fire burning all night, so wintery precipitation has a tendency to freeze inside the burners making them harder to start.
A couple of tips for getting dry in the winter while camping can go a long way. The first thing a camper needs is a couple of warm changes of clothes, in case a set or two gets wet. This allows a person to dry out clothes that are wet beside the fire while still remaining warm and comfortable. Clothes drying around a fire should be kept about 5 feet from the fire, while the fire is kept at a steady heat (note a large fire will dry clothes faster but will also damage fibers in many synthetics or burn many natural fibers). A low but hot fire is best for drying out clothes. This is easily done by adding an extra log of cedar, pine or other highly resinous wood. Once the wet clothes are dry, letting the clothes stay hung close to the fire for a minute or two more will allow the clothes to heat up. These fire warmed clothes are great for changing into on a damp evening camping! Now that the family is prepared it is time to pack up and head out on a winter campout! As always happy hunting and good luck!