SNOWCAMPING IN THE BACKCOUNTRY
On this page we will provide you with the basic knowledge
you need to go snow camping. If you are new to snow camping
you should definitely read this section and afterwards go to
our links section for more info. Even if you are an
experienced snow camper we hope you will still learn a
thing or two from this page.
Whether you get to the snow covered back country on snowshoes, cross
country skis, snowmobile, or some other means is up to you.
Some of the
best things about camping in the back country in the winter time are:
No crowds, you can camp at an excellent view point that in the summertime
is full of people. In the wintertime you can have it all to yourself.
No fire regulations, there's absolutely no way you can set the forest on
fire when it's covered in snow so you can burn all you want. Contrary to
popular belief it is very easy to find fire wood in the wintertime.
No bugs, there are no insects in the winter.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND ABOUT CLOTHING:
cotton, when cotton gets wet it conducts heat away from your body.
Use synthetic materials or wool, these materials keep you warm even
if you're wet (and you will always get wet when you're snow camping)
Mitt style gloves, no fingers, just a thumb and a big collective pouch for
- Snow boots should have a removable inner
- There is very small difference between expensive tents and
cheap tents. A 300 dollar tent is about 10% better than a 30 dollar tent,
if you are planning an expedition to climb K2 the extra spending
might be worth it, but anywhere below 12,000 feet a cheap tent is just
- Sleeping bags are
rated for down to how many degrees you can sleep in it. The
difference between a cheaper bag with the same rating as a more expensive bag is
usually in the weight and the packsize, not in its warmth.
- No question about it, get
a Trailstove backpacking stove , it's the only stove any sane
winter camper would use. Gas needs to be warmed up before use in cold
weather, and besides you need to use a campstove more often in the
winter time to melt snow for drinking water, which is no problem for
the Trailstove since it runs on wood. Even if you decide to use a
gas stove due to local wood gathering restrictions or some other reason
it is very important that you do bring a wood stove such as the
Trailstove in case of an emergency. They only cost around $20 and are very light, there's no excuse not to bring
one. Getting stuck for a few extra days due to an unexpected snow storm
is a very common occurrence, it happens to all snow campers sooner
or later, you need to have an absolutely 100% reliable stove when that
- If you are going snow camping in an
area with steep slopes you need to know a few things about avalanche
safety. Beware of clear slopes with no trees, sometimes you have no choice
but to pass a danger zone. Just pass very gently and slowly and keep
your eyes on the slope, don't rush unless you notice an avalanche
starting. If you are going in a group, each member should pass the danger
zone alone so the other members can rescue you if you get buried.
- Always tell someone where you're
going and when you expect to be back.
- Get high detail topo maps of
the area before you head out even if you are familiar with the area, you
may have to take an alternate route for various reasons.