Can I go camping in winter?
How could I go camping in winter? I asked myself 10 years ago. Who would I go with and what kind of gear one needs to camp in the winter? It never crossed my mind to ask if winter camping would be fun or not – I just assume it would be.
To begin with, there are winters and then there are winters. What you call a winter, might be a cold summer to me. When I talk about winter camping, I talk about putting your tent up in snow. Not a little bit of snow, but anything from 30 cm to a metre and half deep snow and temperatures as low as -20 Celsius (that’s -4F).
Since that day when I first got the idea, I have slept many frozen nights in my tent. I have been nice and warm (until the moment I need to crawl out of the sleeping bag, needles to say) I have taken courses, taken part on a group tour and made our own trips, we are even guiding others for winter camping and ski expeditions. (a cool example behind this link) My first solo winter camping experience is still to come. And I think it is time for it soon. The itch is there already.
But why would anyone want to go camping in winter you might ask. I love multi-day ski trips. In quieter times, it’s ok to stay at the wilderness huts along the route, but at high season, I rather find my own paths away from the crowds (and services, on the downside, one could say).
Do you know that feeling, when you are lying down in your sleeping bag, tugged away like a little maggot? Listening to the air moving the tent’s silky walls and no other sound. Add the knowledge of the cold air outside, snow softening the silence. I can’t really explain it, but I can try to show it to you in my photos.
Winter camping has got its frustrating moments; when you’re trying to light the cooker with frozen fingers or you wake up in the middle of the night to “nature calling” and you know that you need to crawl out of your warmth and face the cold darkness. Frozen ski boots aren’t the greatest feeling in the morning nor is trying to pack everything away in a snow blizzard. But the good moments override the frustrations, and somehow, those difficulties become the best part of our experiences, don’t they?