Camping this winter? Heck yeah! No bugs, fewer bears and deer rummaging through your camp, and the parks aren’t as crowded. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy the comforts of hiking in a slight chill. But keep in mind that not everything we know about winter camping is true.
Stay safe by planning well and staying ahead of these insanely common winter camping myths.
Winter Camping Myths
Waterproof Clothes Are Ideal For Winter Camping
Moisture that is trapped too close to the body can draw heat away through evaporation. To keep warm, invest in clothes that allows moisture to escape and be sure to layer breathable clothing. Wear insulated, non-cotton underwear and take advantage of Wool, Gor-Tex and polypropylene garments since they work great in chilly weather!
Leather Hiking Boots Will Keep Your Feet Warm
While fashionable and comfortable, this type of camping gear can limit circulation with its snug fit, especially when warm socks are added. The cloth stitching in the boots can also draw moisture into the shoe which can be disastrous in cold weather. For the most comfortable cold camping experience, use winter boots and thin, non-cotton socks. You can also throw in toe warmers for good measure.
Drinking Alcohol Will Warm You Up
The idea of drinking brandy or whiskey to warm up a chilly chest has circulated for generations. Unfortunately, alcohol dehydrates the body and flushes the skin causing rapid heat loss. Plus, if alcohol is abused in an attempt to get warm, it can leave the person more vulnerable to hypothermia by slowing motor skills and increasing the risk of confusion and impulse behavior. If possible, avoid alcohol altogether and prepare to heat up teas and soups to keep your body temperature just right.
Longjohns Are Key
Indeed, Longjohns are super vital for a wintertime escape into the wild, but be sure to get the authentic ones. Invest a little more for the wool or synthetic fiber pieces and avoid cotton longjohns at all costs. Even when you don’t sweat, cotton clothing soaks up your body’s natural moisture and cools you down. Upgrade to non-cotton longjohns to make sure you stay dry, warm and happy while camping in chilly weather.
Shivering Is The First Sign Of Hypothermia
The first warning sign of hypothermia is slowed muscles not quick shivers, so watch for sluggish limbs. A quick test is to touch your thumb to each fingertip on the same hand to check for normal dexterity; if your thumb can’t touch your ring and pinky fingers, seek help and warmer conditions immediately.
The biggest cold-weather camping myth? That enjoying the outdoors during low temperatures is easy. Be sure to pack quality gear, have multiple means of getting warm quickly and keep communication with others clear and open. But most of all, plan for an amazing trip out there in the cool air and under those gorgeous nighttime skies.