Winter camping is best. Read on and see why.
This is the time of year most people are winterizing their RVs getting them ready for storage. Tent campers are stowing their gear in the attic or basement.
Campers have gone inside. They are waiting until the buds are on the trees again signaling warmer weather and a return to camping.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
If you are properly prepared. If you can bear the cold. You can discover what thousands of campers have already learned. There is great camping in the winter.
There are rich rewards and much enjoyment to be had in Nature during the season of renewal. The leaves are off the trees. There is a bite in the air. There may even be snow.
Here are a few reasons why Winter camping is best.
It’s Peaceful. Winter Camping is Quiet.
There is nothing like the cold quiet of Winter. The colder weather means fewer people are out camping. You can have a time of true quiet and solitude.
In Winter sounds will carry better. The leaves are off the trees. If the ground and trees are covered with ice it will reflect sound. You will hear that animal call in the distance. You will hear the rustling of the wind. The calming effect of nature’s music can bring a sublime sense of peace.
It’s Less Crowded
The crowds have gone home for the Winter. They are glued to their TVs or Computers. You can enjoy the pristine solitude with your family or a few friends.
You won’t be able to go swimming and you probably won’t want to kayak, but there are still many things you can do. You can hike the trails. Because the leaves are off the trees, you will get a much better view of the landscape.
If you are staying in an RV park, there will probably be a few other diehards there with you. Winter camping is a great opportunity to meet people.
Campfires are Better When It’s Cold
If you are going to camp in the Winter, make sure you know how to gather wood and start a fire. There is something magical about huddling around a campfire on a cold winter evening. It’s the perfect time to make hot cocoa and maybe some s’mores.
In some places, open burning is restricted in the warm weather. The danger of wildfires makes it too risky to allow fires. In the Winter, fires are often allowed. Always check with the local rangers, or your camp hosts. Make sure it’s safe before you start a fire. Properly extinguish your fire when you are done.
On Clear Nights, You Will Really See the Stars
You have gotten away from the lights of the city. Now prepare to be dazzled by one of the best free shows on this planet. There are a gazillion stars. On the right night they hang over you like a giant speckled curtain. You feel as if you can touch them.
There is nothing else like this light show. There are books and even cell phone apps that will help you learn about the constellations. It is awesome.
There are apps that can help you identify stars and satellites. You can read about them here.
In the Winter, there are Practically No Bugs
Really, there are no bugs. No flies, no mosquitoes, no bees. No ants. I am aware insects play a very important role in our ecosystem. When I am camping, I am on their turf. They are supposed to be there. However, camping with few or no bugs is just wonderful.
This is another reason why Winter camping is best.
You Can See More Wildlife
If there is fresh snow on the ground, you can see their tracks. It’s fun to learn to identify the various wildlife by their tracks.
The leaves are off the trees and visibility is greatly increased. There is no telling what you may see.
A few years ago, I saw some elk. It was a thrill because I had never seen one before. One time, a deer came so close to me I could have touched it. I didn’t, but I could have.
I went on an early morning hike with a friend. We were walking through a clearing. He said to me, “Turn around slowly.” About 400 feet from us was a black bear. What a thrill. I’ve seen turkeys, skunks, raccoons, foxes and many other animals.
There are life-long memories waiting for you this Winter.
Your Food Will Stay Cold Longer
No problem keeping food cold in the winter. If there is snow on the ground, you won’t even have to buy ice. If you use snow to cool your food, keep your food in sealed bags, or put the snow in a container.
It’s not likely melting snow will contaminate your food, but why take the chance, You may need to bring insulated bags to keep heated food warm, but that’s a fair trade-off.
It is Less Expensive – Another Reason Winter Camping is Best
Many campgrounds have special rates for off-season camping. Take advantage of the slack season and camp for less. Who doesn’t like to save money? Camping for less is one more reason why Winter camping is best.
A Word of Caution
Winter camping is best, but it has its share of dangers. You have to be prepared. Pack the proper clothing. Bring extra clothing. One of the secrets to staying warm is staying dry. You will probably sweat in your clothes so change to dry clothes before bed. Dress in layers.
Have a plan to get to shelter, just in case.
Pay attention to the weather. Unless you are practicing your survival skills, don’t go camping in a blizzard. Further, towing a trailer on snowy roads is an adventure you may not want to take. If you’re driving a motorhome or fifth wheel, practice extreme caution when driving in ice or snow. Be sensible.
There are a number of books and websites dedicated to the joys of winter camping. If you think you would like to try winter camping, don’t go until you are familiar with the gear you may need and how to best enjoy the cold.
If it gets too cold, if you are not having fun, go home.
Have you done any winter camping? What was your experience? Do you have any questions? Leave me a comment below and I’ll be happy to discuss Winter camping with you.