Summer is the preferred season for camping thanks to its mild, warm weather. But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the idea of camping in another season. Spring and fall camping are lovely, and winter camping, while often scoffed at, is too.
To many, the idea of camping in winter seems unfathomable. Why would anyone want to go outside in freezing, snowy weather? But don’t let the less-than-ideal temps deter you from a winter trip; winter camping makes up for the chill with its many perks. Here are just a few reasons you should give winter camping a try.
It’s Less Busy
Most campers get their fill of the great outdoors during the balmy summer months. Few dare to venture out in the cold and snow. This is something that works in winter campers’ favor. Fewer crowds mean you’ll have an easier time securing a prime campground. You can also enjoy activities like hiking and kayaking without having to share the paths and waters with dozens of other eager adventurers.
No Pesky Insects
Are you a mosquito magnet that hates the itchy feeling of their tiny bites, or a foodie who wishes hordes of thieving ants would stop trying to pilfer your eats? In wintertime, when the air is chilly and the ground is snowy, insects overwinter, or hibernate, in trees, ponds, and beneath the ground. It’s unlikely you’ll spot any on your trip. This means there’s no need to break out the bug spray or be overprotective of your food.
Breathtaking Night Skies
In winter, when the weather is cooler, the night sky looks clearer. This is because cool air doesn’t hold as much moisture as warm air. Moisture-laden air can create a fog-like effect that clouds up the sky; in winter, this moisture vanishes, and you can see the stars better. It also helps that many winter stars are big and bold; formations like Pleiades and constellations like Orion the Hunter, Monoceros, and Gemini are large and easy to spot. So if you want to camp under a spectacular, starlit sky, consider planning your trip for winter rather than the hazy summer.
You can gather around a campfire in summer, but these summer blazes aren’t necessary. In winter, on the other hand, the warm flames are a welcome relief from the brisk air. They create warmth where there is none, warming both your body and soul.
Another benefit of winter campfires is that they’re safer than summer ones. While they can still spark bigger blazes, they’re unlikely to cause out-of-control wildfires because wildfires rely on hot and dry summer air as fuel.
Since fewer people camp in winter, you’ll be able to reserve camping grounds easier and for less money. You can also get your hands on cheap camping gear in the winter months. Many families will sell their gear secondhand because storing it is too much of a hassle. You can nab great deals on items like tents and sleeping bags.
A Change of Scenery
The scenery of winter is a stark difference from the scenery of summer. Summer is busy, lush, and vibrant with its thick greenery and babbling brooks, while winter is serene, soft, and whimsical with frost gently enveloping every surface. This drastic change of scenery can make you see Mother Nature in a new light.
How many people do you know that can say they braved winter camping? Winter camping isn’t as bad as people make it sound. So long as you have proper gear and clothes, the cold shouldn’t be much of a bother. But when most people hear “winter camping,” they envision a hardened camper sleeping in a thin tent and sleeping bag in blustery -20° F weather. And anyone who can do that is worthy of admiration and respect.
Ditch the Cooler
Camping in winter? You can leave your trusty cooler at home. You can keep cans and bottles of drinks cool by simply leaving them out in the cool air or snow. That said, you should store only drinks outside. Storing food outside isn’t recommended, even when the weather is wintry. Frozen food can thaw if exposed to the sun’s rays, and dirt, dirty snow, or animals could contaminate your provisions. So if bringing perishable food with you, be sure to keep it in a container to protect it from the sun and contaminants.
Peace and Quiet
Did you know that snow can absorb sound? In fact, just a few inches of snow is enough to absorb 60 percent of all noise. So when a fluffy, white blanket covers the ground, you can expect soothing peace and quiet. The sound of cars on the nearby highway becomes nothing but a faint whir, and the chatter of other campers—if there even are any—is turned down to a whisper. While pure silence can be unnerving at first, you’ll soon come to appreciate how tranquil it is.
See More Wildlife
You won’t see many insects during winter, but you will see more wildlife. There are a few factors that make it easier to spot wildlife during this chilly season. For one, many animals need to hunt and forage harder to sustain themselves in winter. This means they spend more time out and about. Secondly, when there’s snow on the ground, animals will leave tracks that give away their position. Thirdly, there are fewer hiding places in winter. The bushy leaves of trees and shrubs are gone, meaning creatures like birds, rabbits, and mice can no longer use them to camouflage.
Have these reasons you should try winter camping convinced you to embark on an off-season adventure? Before you go, stock up on high-quality gear. At SylvanSport, we have insulating mattresses and sleeping bags that will keep you warm even in frigid weather. We also have a convenient kayak and bike trailer in case you want to try these sports in the winter months. Don’t waste time or energy pushing or carrying your gear through heavy snow. With our trailer, you can easily transport it to and from your campsite.