In a land where winter reigns for half the year, it would be a real shame to skip out on camping for that time just because the ground has frozen over. True, winter camping does pose interesting challenges, but it also holds some unique rewards.
Rewards of winter camping:
- Because the world is frozen, rivers and lakes often become easy and fast trails. What is a forminable watery barrier in the summer transforms into an icy super highway in the winter.
- Another blessing of snowy trails is the ability to pull a sled. Pulk sleds are amazing little things and so easy to haul lots of weight that you’ll wonder why you ever carried gear on your back. So go ahead and bring the pack ‘n play and the bouncy chair!
- The night sky in winter is not to be missed. This may not such a big deal for folks in more southerly latitudes, but up here in the far north, we don’t get to see stars at all except for winter. This makes them extra bright and wondrous. And nothing is more awe inspiring than being surrounded by the Northern Lights.
- Food always tastes better camping, but in the winter it is extra delicious. It could be because of butter we add to everything for added warmth, but who knows.
- Winter offer tons of things for kids of any age to do. There are snow forts to be built, lakes to skate on, hills to ski and sled, and snow balls to be tossed. Youngers can bring out sand toys to play with. You can spot animal tracks easily in the snow and you can appreciate the softer sounds of winter.
Tips to make you want to go and do it again:
- With children in tow, either rent a public use cabin or bring a stove compatible tent. If you are freezing the whole time, you will be miserable. Bring extra firewood, an axe, and fuel just in case. Don’t count on a fuel source being readily available.
- Brings lots and lots of food. Pack high calorie, high energy foods to keep everyone’s internal stove cranking. Take advantage of the outdoor fridge and consider bringing some perishables that you don’t usually get to take out in the summer. Last weekend, we brought out yogurt for breakfast. I’ve brought out stew before too and just re-heated it on my backpacking stove.
- Being well hydrated will keep everyone warmer and happier. Soups and hot cocoa tend to be easy to get into kids. Bringing a large thermos to keep filled with hot water will make this easier.
- Layer up and bring extras. Always carry extra socks and mittens at a minimun. They will get wet and you will need replacements. Leave the cotton at home.
- Bring along some card games or packable activities for inside time. While we head out to be outside, in the winter, we still need to come in to warm up.
- Embrace winter and all the wondrous things it has to offer!