Winter Camping Safety Tips from FYC
If you enjoy winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and climbing, then a winter camping trip may be needed to reach your favorite destinations. Other campers may just enjoy the challenge of thriving in the cold. No matter what your favorite winter experience is, there are safety concerns specific to winter.
The winter sun is limited both in hours and in angle than compared to summer. To use sunlight to warm your tent or RV, find wind blocks such as trees, buildings or hills to reduce your exposure to dangerous wind chill temperatures. It's important to remember that wind is hard on exposed skin. Pack fleece scarves, protective hats, and lined gloves to keep warm air trapped close to your skin. It's also a good idea to wrap your fleece in a layer of wind-protective material. Down can also help to keep you warm when temperatures drop.
Whether you're planning an outdoor fire in a fire ring or have a heater inside your tent, be aware of fire risk. In addition to following basic fire safety protocols, there are some extra things you need to pay attention to. Any item that burns propane or butane can create toxic fumes inside your RV or tent. Denatured alcohol heaters can be dangerous to fill. Transporting any flammable fuel is hazardous if you're not diligent about storage and security. Finally, make sure to follow any rules about clearance in front of your heat source to avoid ignition while you are sleeping or not paying attention.
Sliding down your favorite ski trail is when slippery snow is fun. Slipping and landing on your backside as you leave your tent is not. A bad fall can cause you to wrench your back, sprain a joint, or even break a bone, and packing up your winter camp to go home early with only one hand will not make for a fun camping memory. If you can find pine trees with debris underneath them, rake up some of the debris and create a mat outside your tent entrance to improve traction. Even better, bring a tarp and a rug to put outside your tent to help with traction and to avoid tracking slippery snow inside your tent. Also, remember that snow has pros, such as blocking the wind or keeping your beer cold.
Winter camping is a great way to get away from the stresses of your daily life, see some beautiful country at a gorgeous time of the year and enjoy plenty of sunlight as it reflects off of the snow. Do what you need to do to protect yourself against the cold, falls, and fires and you’ll be able to have a much better experience.
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