Camping in the wintertime can be very enjoyable but you will need to take some extra precautions to help keep you and your family safe.
When most people think of winter camping they have visions of being cold, shivering at night and Yeti sneaking in on their campsite at night and eating the hood off of the car.
Camping in the wintertime does not have to be a complicated or dangerous adventure. As long as you take a few precautions you can enjoy the beauty of the camp site in all its glory with the snow covered evergreens dripped in ice icicles.
For the first time winter camper there are a few suggestions to make your winter camping trip fun, safe and enjoyable.
Use a campground that is not remote. If your first time winter camping is in your back yard that is OK. If you get into danger then your back porch is only a few feet away. If you go camping in the mountains make sure you check the weather report. Many times an unexpected snowfall can leave a winter camper in a dangerous situation that they are unable to get out of without the help of a rescue team.
Carry a cell phone and camp in a place that is inhabited by homes near by. If worse comes to worse you can always seek help at one of the homes.
Keep it simple. You need a tent, a sleeping bad, food, a lot of water, lighters and waterproof matches, a pan to melt snow in case you run out of water, clothing you can use in layers, and most importantly you need common sense. Take an experienced winter camper with you the first few times you go. The amount of advice and help they can give the new winter camper is invaluable.
Leave the alcohol at home. Many people think shot of whiskey will warm their body up. It actually only dehydrates you. If you get drunk in the middle of no where during the winter time you could easily wind up dead. If you get drunk and pass out then a snowstorm comes then you will either die or lose a limb to frostbite.
If you are stranded in the winter time and our hands are stinging then this is a good sign. When your hands stop stinging from the cold and go numb is when you have a problem.
Snow can actually work as an insulator and keep your tent warmer. Take an experienced snow camper with you so they can show you the ropes. Never ever ever have an open fame inside your tents sleeping area. You will fall asleep and the open flame stove will get kicked over and cause your tent to burn down and possibly even trap you inside as you are burned alive.
Winter camping is a lot of fun even if you just go to your local KOA campground for a night. Always put safety and common sense first when winter camping.
Image Credit: (Flickr/papalars)