Cold Weather Camping: Essential Gear and Tips for Staying Dry and Warm
Most of the things that you need to take with you on any adventure in nature, not only the camping essential gear, but the majority of the stuff you carry or wear on the trip have one most important purpose and objective – to keep you safe in the wilderness. And essentially, it all comes down to staying warm and dry, hydrated and prepared for any potential health-related issue, from a simple headache or a small injury to something more serious. This is also why so many things you can get for camping play more roles, like a multi-tool.
While staying warm is very important for feeling comfortable, and being able to enjoy your trip, much more importantly, in colder months it may be crucial. If you are constantly cold, you can become ill and weak, but more importantly in some more extreme cases, the cold can be life-threatening. So, it’s no wonder why so many of the camping essentials are dedicated exactly to staying warm and dry, including the tent, the sleeping bag, the fire starter, your socks, your boots, your clothes, and so on. Staying dry also plays a huge part in staying warm. Thankfully, many things can help you stay dry.
Even though colder months are the toughest to prepare for, clothes and other products made from materials that can protect you against the elements are an important part of the camping gear, regardless of the time of year you are going hiking, camping, hunting, or any other kind of outdoor recreation. Sitting in wet clothes or sleeping in a wet sleeping bag, is not only uncomfortable, but it can even be a serious hazard. And one of the surest ways to protect yourself is to buy rain gear and carry the appropriate clothes on any nature adventure.
Get Quality Rainwear
Even the best waterproof tent, a properly set up tarp over or under your tent, even, a caravan awning or any other precautions to keep water away from the inside of your shelter, aren’t always enough to stay dry when it’s raining or snowing. This is why rainwear is one of the essential camping rain gear items. Like any other type of clothes, camping rainwear is quite diverse.
While any type of jacket can protect you to some degree from the weather, some offer much more protection against certain elements than others. When it comes to staying dry, naturally you need materials that won’t allow the water to touch your skin. However, not all rainwear offers the same level of protection. It all depends on how resistant to water the material is, and that can go from water-resistant all the way to completely waterproof.
Water-resistant clothes are breathable, and they can perform great when it’s raining briefly and when the rain is light. Many jackets, such as windbreakers or puffer jackets, are somewhat water-resistant. However, if it’s raining for a longer period or there are heavy rains, these jackets won’t be able to keep you dry.
The best performance for safe, comfortable, warm and dry camping comes with jackets and rain pants that are both waterproof and breathable. This means that they won’t allow water to get through, but also, they will allow the sweat to evaporate and get away from the skin, instead of keeping it damp. These waterproof jackets, called hardshells will essentially help you stay warm, by providing extra insurance for staying dry.
Rainstorms always lower the temperature, and they are often accompanied by winds. Thankfully, all waterproof jackets are windproof, which also helps you stay warm. And while their purpose is the same, there are many different types on the market, some of which will perform better at lower temperatures. Wearing waterproof and breathable jackets and pants is the best way to stay dry even in colder months.
You can also find waterproof rainwear that isn’t breathable. While it isn’t the best option, this type of rain gear can be a good choice to protect yourself from the rain while sitting or standing in the rain. The biggest advantage of waterproof and nonbreathable gear is that it’s quite inexpensive, but it won’t perform well if you need to move around.
Add Appropriate Layers
Aside from having good quality waterproof jackets and trousers, to stay dry and warm you need to choose clothing layers wisely. Even if the jacket is breathable, if the clothes you are wearing under it aren’t, your skin can be constantly damp, which will keep you cold and uncomfortable. This is why you should always choose clothes made of breathable materials. Moreover, choose the middle layer according to the season. Nevertheless, when you are in nature, always make sure to be prepared for temperatures that are at least a little bit lower than what is expected during the season, or according to the weather forecast.
Don’t Forget About Your Feet
Wet and cold feet can be very uncomfortable, making it hard to walk, concentrate on anything or sleep. This is why appropriate camping footwear is essential. Hiking boots made of breathable and waterproof materials are always the best choice, and while the better they are the more expensive they will get, you should always invest in the best quality possible.
Furthermore, always choose socks made of moisture-wicking materials. This way the sweat won’t stay on your skin keeping it cold and wet, and the breathable hiking boots will take care of the rest. Also, never forget to pack several pairs of socks, because a dry pair of socks can make a huge difference when your feet are cold.