How to Survive Winter Camping

With the recent ‘Beast from the East’ bringing some of the harshest and coldest winter weather for years, with temperatures plummeting to rival those of Norway and Iceland in some parts of the UK and a predicted cold, wet spring, we invited leading American website Active Weekender to share some thoughts on how we lose heat while camping and what you can do to prevent it.

Our guest blogger Jennifer Dawson grew up in an outdoors family in the US. A lover of camping and hiking, she today oversees the popular American blog site

Brits love camping, with 77% citing affordability as a main benefit. This is especially the case if you have kids, who may only be available for getaways during the school holidays, when the cost of flights and accommodation can be significantly higher. However, during your winter break camping, you might need to consider a few things like, how to cope with the cold in a tent? With Christmas already costing a fortune, camping could be your best option for a trip away with the family. So here’s how to stay safe and warm on a winter camping holiday.

Dangers of Camping in the Cold
We lose heat in many ways when camping, all of which are fortunately preventable. Winter camping is already common in the USA, where children are taught from a young age how to stay warm. However, with winter camping up 50% in the UK, are you fully aware of the importance of staying warm?
Hypothermia caused by spending too long in the cold can cause heart failure, so watch for heavy shivering. In extreme cold, there is also a risk of frostbite, which can cause severe pain. Read on to find out how best to avoid these two conditions. 

Moisture Prevention
The first thing you should teach your kids is the importance of staying dry. If they are playing outside and get wet, they should remove all their clothes before entering their sleeping bag. Consider other sources of moisture as well. They should not cover their face with the sleeping bag, since condensation from the breath will freeze.
Sweat may also be a problem if you are too hot at night, so be sure not to choose a sleeping bag which is too warm. In the UK, wet weather camping is common, so be sure that your tent is entirely waterproof before heading out into the wild.

Staying Insulated
Insulation is key to warmth, so learn about how heat escapes. It will escape through the ground you touch the most quickly, so be sure to layer underneath. A smaller tent will lock in heat more tightly than a larger tent and wearing less clothes to sleep will allow your body heat to remain trapped in the sleeping bag.
Winter camping can be a fun and affordable activity for the whole family. However, it is important that you recognise the dangers of hypothermia and frostbite. By keeping your tent and belongings as dry as possible and understanding how to stay insulated, you will be protected from the cold and enjoy a comfortable stay in the great outdoors.

Club Sites are open to members and non-members. For a list of our sites open or opening during March, and links to book a pitch, visit the Club's website.
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Guest Blog This is a guest blog entry. All views are that of the author and not necessarily shared by the Club. Mention of any product or service on the blog does not constitute endorsement by the Club. All blog posts are moderated before going live. Read other posts by this author