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When I go camping, I generally prefer to go when it’s cool or cold outside, as opposed to when it’s hot. It’s probably because I live in the South, and when it gets hot here, it gets really hot! But going camping when it’s cold produces a unique set of challenges. What sort of things do you need to know before you go camping in the cold?
Well, the first thing you need to know is exactly how cold it’s going to be when you’re out camping. If the forecast calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the 40s, then you’ll need to bring some extra clothing, but nothing too major. If, on the other hand, the forecast says a high of 10 degrees and constant snow, then you’ll need to be more prepared.
The first thing you need to do when you’re going cold weather camping is make sure that you have the proper gear. A good sleeping bag (rated to at least 15 to 20 degrees), a sleeping bag liner or a space blanket, and a tent are all necessary for your trip. Make sure that they’re all in good condition and won’t break, collapse or wear out while you’re using them.
It’s also important to make sure you have the necessary items to make a campfire. Matches or a lighter, obviously, are essential. It’s also a good idea to take along a fire starter of some sort that will burn for a long enough time to allow the kindling to catch fire. You can buy fire starters in stores or you can make your own from cardboard and wax. I’ve also used little tealight candles to get fires going with decent results.
Before you leave, you should also take some time to educate yourself on the signs of hypothermia and frostbite. The first stage of hypothermia is noted by uncontrollable shivering and a loss of dexterity in your fingers. If you find yourself getting too cold and can no longer perform normal tasks with your hands, it’s time to put on some more clothes and get some warm food or drink in you.
If any of your extremities go numb, then you may be headed toward frostbite and you need to warm that extremity soon. The little pocket heat packs come in very handy in these situations. Small, portable, and extremely light, you can put 5 or 10 of them in your pack and never notice they’re there until you need them.
write by Derek