If you’re going to brave the elements for winter camping, you’ll have to plan ahead to make sure that you pack the right clothing to protect you against extreme temperatures! Here are some great tips on how to dress for cold weather camping to stay warm and safe!
Coming up with an effective layering system will make a world of a difference for when you need to venture outside while cold-weather camping! The idea is to achieve a balance of moisture wicking, breathability, and insulation to keep you warm without overheating or presenting an opportunity for hypothermia to set in. It may take some experimentation to find the perfect blend of materials and bulk for your wintertime needs, so be sure to shop around and try different fabric blends! Here are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing cold weather clothing!
A good base layer is essential for staying warm in colder weather! Although a base layer does not do much for heat retention or insulation, it plays a vital role in regulating body temperature by wicking moisture away from your skin! If moisture gathers and doesn’t dry out, hypothermia is more likely to hit quickly!
When looking for a base layer, a thin, breathable, and comfortable fabric is best! Natural fabrics are great for this, like merino wool. Synthetics are also a great option and cost substantially less! Do not choose cotton for a base layer, as it has next to no moisture-wicking capabilities, and sweat will saturate your clothing, leading to problems.
The middle layer is used to help retain heat by trapping heat close to your body. The secret to a successful middle layer is to find a material that is both breathable and heat retentive so that you stay warm but don’t overheat and sweat, leading to discomfort. Another thing to keep in mind is that it is better to have a lighter layer of an efficient fabric than skipping straight to bulkier, less effective outer layers. You’ll be more comfortable with lighter, higher-quality base and middle layers than skipping straight to a bulky outer layer! Although it is important to layer your pants, some people skip the middle layer. This is a personal preference, and again depends on the products you find and how efficient they are at moisture wicking and heat retention!
An effective outer layer provides protection from the elements, keeping out wind, rain, snow, and whatever else mother nature decides to throw your way! Again, the right outerwear for you depends on your inner layers, for a perfect combination of heat retention and insulation, while still being breathable! Be sure to choose outerwear that has good ventilation to ensure that moisture won’t become trapped, leaving you uncomfortably warm and feeling damp. Again, bulkier doesn’t always mean better!
Wearing proper footwear is extremely important, especially if you’re going to be trekking across frozen landscapes in low temperatures! A sturdy, breathable pair of boots are a cold-weather essential! Keep the height of the boot in mind, as something too low will allow snow to get in! Also consider the type and amount of insulation, as well as water resistance and traction! Don't skimp on cold-weather footwear. For this accessory, it pays to spend more!
Layering pairs of warm, moisture-wicking socks will help to keep your feet from getting too cold! Again, avoid cotton! Wool socks keep your feet from getting too moist and will provide warmth even if socks do get a bit wet! Top off your boots with a pair of gaiters, which will provide extra insulation to your lower legs and help to keep snow out of your pants and boots!
Other Important Areas
If temperatures are extremely low, winds are high, and you plan to be outside for an extended period of time, you’ll also want to consider investing in face and head gear! A face mask is great for cold, windy conditions! Be sure to get one with vents to keep condensation from accumulating! A hat also helps to keep your ears and head protected; again, be sure to find one that won’t produce unwanted overheating and moisture!
Finally, trusty gloves are one of the most important components to keeping your temperature under control and preventing frostbite from occurring! A thinner glove liner with a durable, insulated glove over them will keep your digits agile! A great tip is to choose a mid-layer shirt that has thumb holes. This will extend the shirt into your gloves so an unpleasant gap doesn’t happen!
Venturing out into cold weather for camping and other activities definitely has its appeals! Check out all the fun things to do at Crystal Mountain in northern Michigan during the winter! The mesmerizing winter landscapes are gorgeous, and hiking in cold weather can be more of a fun challenge to some hikers! With these tips on how to dress warm for cold weather while camping, you’ll be sure to stay warm without being uncomfortable! Do you have any trusty brands or particular pieces that have worked best for you? Share your comments below!