Everyone knows that summer camping is a blast. With great weather, plenty of gorgeous views and basically every other outdoor enthusiast in the country vying for a camping spot –it can be glorious but also a bit crowded at times. With winter camping on the other hand, you’ll still get the great views but you’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy some solidarity on your travels. However, the one big difference between summer and winter camping is finding the perfect camp shelter to keep your group safe and warm.
When it comes to winter tent camping, you’ve got two main choices for shelter, you can go with a hot tent or a cold tent. Hot tents are typically made of canvas and designed to accommodate a wood stove. Great for keeping the heat in and letting moisture out, hot tents are meant to work as a “base camp” and stay put. Alternatively, a 3-season cold tent is much more portable and ideal for those who plan to move from place to place during their outdoor excursions. As long as you have picked a camping site that is safe from high winds, avalanche risks and winter storms – a cold tent can be made comfortable with a few great camping essentials like a good sleeping bag and a comfy sleeping pad.
A quinzee is a safe, simple and sturdy shelter that can be made by digging a cave into a mound of snow. With a bit of practice, digging out a quinzee can become a skill that will really come in handy in a pinch. Begin by stomping out a circle in the snow that is the size of the sleeping area you‘ll need. Next, pile snow in the middle of the circle until it reaches about 6 to 8 feet in height. Once you’ve built up the wall you’ll need to leave it alone to compress for about two hours. Finally, you’ll dig out an entrance hole and the interior, forming walls that slope upward. Keep the walls about a foot thick and cut out a ventilation hole. Use the excess snow to create a “bad” for sleeping and lay down a tarp to keep yourself dry.
While yurts are available for rent at many campsites across the US and Canada year-round, they come in especially handy during the winter months. These large, 8-sided framed tents typically include bunks, heaters, electric lights and a table and chairs. Yurts are a great option for those who want to get out and explore during the winter, but don’t have all the gear for creating their own shelter in the snow.
For those who are into traveling light, a bivy sack can easily replace your standard tent setup. Bivy sacks are great for the milder winter weather as they simply provide waterproofing for your sleeping bag and allow you to sleep out under the night sky. There are some models that feature a tent-like structure to cover your head, but most bivy sacks are ideal as a short-term winter camping option.
Enjoy a Safe and Comfortable Winter Camping Season
Whether you’re heading out for a weekend camping trip or you plan on hunkering down in the snow for several weeks at a time, there is a safe and comfortable shelter option out there for you. From regular tent camping to yurts, with the help of a few friends you can easily create a winter wonderland of your own out in the great wide open.
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