Common Sense Tips For Cold Weather Backpacking
For some reason there are people who really enjoy cold weather backpacking and they understand the dangers associated with being out in the wild during the winter months. If you are one of a few who want to go cold weather backpacking there are a few tips that can make your experience more pleasant and improve the odds of survival.
Cold weather has a tendency to bring out the worst in people and cold weather backpacking is no different. A night spent in the uncomfortable cold can make a person miserable the entire next day so before you set out for the wilderness in the dead of winter, understand you will probably get cold. Dress for it and wearing a lot of clothing is not going to keep you warm as well as wearing the right clothing.
During the winter, cotton may be the worst type of clothing you can wear. When it gets wet, it can quickly chill your body causing hypothermia and eventually death. Clothing made of polypropolyne and other quick drying materials can help keep you dry. You should always have something to sit on to avoid getting your pants wet from damp ground. Foam-backed plastic placemats are light weight and work well to form a moisture barrier during cold weather backpacking.
Staying Warm At Night Can Be Tricky
When you set up your tent, unless you are carrying a portable heater, which is never advised, your tent will be cold. While it usually is about 10 degrees warmer than it is outside, it will still feel cold. Once you slide down into your sleeping bag, if you are cold after a few minutes, you will probably be cold all night. That is what cold weather backpacking is all about. Your tent, regardless of the weather should be vented to allow for the evaporation of moisture. Your sleeping bag should not be completely sealed around you as well, for the same reason. The drier your bag and tent, the warmer you will feel.
When cold weather backpacking, never go alone unless you are very experienced. Always let someone know your exact route and stick with the plan in the even something happens you can be found quickly. Accident, injury and illness are constant possibilities when backpacking and during the winter the odds increase of accidents. Even if you do not plan on building a fire when cold weather backpacking, you should have a fire starter available in case of emergency and the need arises to build one.