No one enjoys a miserable camping trip because it can be a deal breaker whether you ever go again. But with a few simple precautions and going prepared you’ll realise that winter camping isn’t and shouldn’t be hard. Tell somebody your plan - even if it is just for a few days, tell somebody and let them know when you return. There are plenty of apps out there that can be used so loved ones can track you and if something goes wrong the authorities can narrow down a search area. The old keep it simple trick. When we started our camping trips we had to have everything but have learnt valuable lessons from this. Keep it fun and the whole family will love you
- GO PREPARED
When we head off for a winter trip, we will watch the weather to see if the temperature drops way to low. A week before we head off, all gear will get checked whether it be tears, mould or maybe if we have taken something out and not replaced it - this is the time to make it right. We have found that if you buy cheap you will buy twice. Buy designated camping gear and it will last you a lifetime and make camping more enjoyable.
- STAY WARM
We have travelled intensively and one thing that sticks in our mind is how sudden the temperature can drop as soon as that sun goes away. The days might be a comfy temperature but if you haven’t got the right clothing it can go pear shaped. The best way we have found to combat this is to wear layers as its easier to take a jacket off when the days warm up. In bitter conditions, we go to bed with tracksuit pants, beanies and socks to stay cosy and comfortable. Another tip is to get warm around the campfire then head off as your body will retain the heat as you snuggle down.
During the winter months dew can be a real pain and that’s why we like to camp in the full sun for several reasons. Our tent warms up quicker and the dew runs straight off the sides. If we take the swag, we like to pull out the awning from the 4wd so that the cool night air doesn’t settle on the swag making it too wet. We like to use a canvas tent for winter camping as it tends to stay a little bit warmer during those early hours when the temperature drops right down. If you use a lightweight tent, always remember to use the fly or even better still, put a tarp over the tent to keep the dew at bay.
There is nothing worse than waking up with a crook back from being cold during the night. We find that even a good simple tarp will stop that cold coming up. Better still grab a stretcher bed to be right off the ground. Our choice of sleeping bags are the +5 bags even for winter camper, so if you get too cold you can put an internal liner in them to stay cosier. A liner works its way like another blanket in the sleeping bag and can be a great commodity. Some people like them and some people don’t but a good old air bed works too, but my choice is a self-inflating mattress. Made with high-density foam, rolls up easily and there’s no need for a pump.
Winter is definitely my favorite time of the year to go camping. It could be there is less people, the air smells better and feels cleaner or it could be the food we make. Winter is the perfect time to practice making hot meals around the fire. We love to crank the fire up make to jaffles filled with ham and cheese, or left overs from the night before. We love getting the camp oven out to make a roast (well at least try!). But saying this, don’t make it an effort to cook complex. Keep it simple. We always carry a hot plate as this can make an array of meals. Bacon and eggs, simple snag sandwiches or sometimes fish wrapped up in foil. For a hearty yet simple meal, wrap some spuds up in foil, throw them in the fire and after 10 mins carefully unwrap and fill will bacon and cheese, then another 5 min in the fire - yum. Hydration is something we keep on top of too - the winter sun can still dry your skin out.
This article was written by Kevin Smith from Woolgoolgaoffroad.
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