Backpacking Guide

Your Complete Winter Backpacking Guide

Are you a hiker and planning to go on a winter backpacking? Don’t worry. Here, you will get your complete winter backpacking guide. Hmm, we have made it for you after working hard for hours! Usually, many hikers cannot finish their hikes successfully because of some personal flaws. To get out of that, you have to advance systematically. Otherwise, it’s tough to get success. And if you are a beginner, the problem is more acute for you.

Therefore, you need to make a perfect plan and move forward according to it. In this blog post, you will get a modern winter backpacking guide that you never had before. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced hiker, it doesn’t matter. The following guide is mandatory for you, or you may miss a lot. Let’s look at them at a glance:

1. Select a perfect spot

A perfect trail can make your winter backpacking successful. That is why you need to take it seriously. If you are going for the first time, you should choose a spot near to your house. Always select a sunny campsite. It will help you get the morning sun.

Similarly, a place near open water can be convenient. You need not worry about drinking, bathing, and cooking water. Also, you can enjoy a gentle breeze coming through the freshwater.

It’s also convenient if the place contains plenty of woods because you need to arrange a campfire to avoid the excessive cold at night. Try to skip the places with swamps, stream crossings, or areas affected by floods. And don’t walk onto a frozen lake because something serious can happen if you fall through the ice.

2. Know about Avalanche

You need to know about the avalanche if you want to camp during the winter season. It’s your duty to keep yourself safe from the situation. In this regard, you can attain an avalanche awareness class and know about the dangers regarding this. And you should also learn how to get rid of the problems during the session.

3. Make a map of the route and think about the permission if needed.

It’s good to get the perfect map of your destination. In this regard, you have to make a proper plan about your route, daily mileage, the sites you want to visit. Here, you can determine how many calories you need to spend at that time. You will have some spots that require special permission to take from the local ranger station. If you plan to visit those places, be prepared for that.

4. What’s about an emergency exit plan?

Nobody can tell you about uncertain happenings, and for that, you should take preparation before the moment arrives. To do this –

  • You have to make a quick exit plan so that you can quickly get out of the wilderness and reach the nearest highway.
  • Besides, you can collect some emergency response numbers of the area to get quick help from them.
  • If you select a forest for the hike, please don’t forget to contact the forest ranger station and collect the emergency numbers they generally use. Then keep the list in the first aid box.
  • Moreover, you can tell a friend or a family member about the hike’s details, such as campsites, your destinations, plan, etc. And of course, don’t forget to give him/her the ranger station’s contact number.
5. Hire a Shuttle

Naturally, you cannot go on a hike with your own car because you need to walk from one place to another. What will happen if you leave your car behind? What will you do while reaching the other end? That is why it’s better to hire a shuttle, and the driver will pick you up at a particular schedule made by you after reaching your destination. This option will be the most convenient one.

Read More About 10 Ways to Choose a Backpacking Tent.

6. Setting up a snow camp

Setting up a camp in the snow is not that easy and needs additional steps to follow. Try to reach the site before the sunset because you need to finish it just after the sun rises. Then what you need is to choose a perfect place. Then start setting up your tent. To do it, you can follow the following steps –

  • Firstly, you should change the damp clothes and put on warm ones. Don’t forget to put on dry socks, dry hand gloves, and a warm hat.
  • Now point out the area larger than your tent and dig out if necessary.
  • Make a temporary fence so that you can stay safe from the harsh cold wind.
  • Before going to the camp, you have to buy a tent designed for snow. Now set up the tent following the guideline written in the user manual.
  • Don’t forget to ensure safety against the wild animal. In this regard, you can keep hiking spies, ice axes, and crampons with you. They will help you in case of an emergency.
  • You have to keep your essentials in the right location. Otherwise, you may lose something under the snow.
7. Things needed in your winter camping

Usually, winter gear is somewhat different from summer ones. It’s heavier because you need to take some additional things to fight against cold weather. The items you should include with your winter camping gear are –

  • Backpack: Remember that you have to take a larger backpack to carry additional winter camp things. In that case, a 65-liter ultralight backpack will be suitable for the tour. Be careful that the backpack has some lash points for ice axes, snowshoes, etc. Also, you can use a dry bag so that the things inside can stay dry. Get backpack on Amazon
  • Tent: You will get 3 or 4-season tents on the market, but remember, you must buy a 4-season tent if you want to camp during winter. And a dome-shaped and freestanding tent will be convenient and at the same time, make your work easier. Get tents on Amazon
  • Sleeping Bag: A sound sleep can keep you fit throughout the whole day. That is why you have to manage a perfect sleeping bag. Buy a well-rated one that copes with any low temperatures. Get sleeping bags on Amazon
  • Sleeping Pads: You must take sleeping pads during a winter camp, and the pads must have R-values of 5 or 6. Remember, a pad with a higher R-value can keep you warmer than those who don’t have. Of course, a closed-cell foam, insulated, and inflatable pad can be more helpful. Get sleeping pads on Amazon
  • Navigation: A proper and well-designed paper map is so useful. But don’t depend on your smartphone only because if the charge runs out, what will you do then? So a perfect compass can be helpful, but you need to know its use. Another convenient thing you can use is a personal tracking device. It will help others to find you with ease.
  • Cooking System: For comfortable cooking, you must take a suitable stove to cope with any cold temperature. A good-quality stove is a must because if you want to keep your body warm, you have to take warm foods, and the stove will allow you to do so. To stay safe, you can take a backup stove and additional fuel. You should also take a lighter, mug, pot, spoon with a long handle, spork, paper towels, small sponge, bag for trash, soap, etc. Get cooking accessories on Amazon.
  • Water Purifier: Always try to drink pure water, and for that, you can carry a water purifier system. But if the water freezes, it will be useless. That is why you can take water purifier tablets. Though the uses can change the taste, you don’t have any other option without tablets if the temperature goes down. Get water purifier on Amazon
  • Toiletries: You can use the same things that you use in other seasons. Adding a pee bottle with the other items will be so convenient. Hmm, this one will help you pee inside the tent. Other things you should include are – toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, pre-moistened wipes, dental floss, trowel, prescription medications, and if you want to add more based on your demand. Get toiletries accessories on Amazon
8. Clothes and wearings you need to take

To get rid of excess cold, you have to take the necessary clothes with you. To make a winter backpacking successful, you don’t have any alternative option without it. You can take help from our following list:

  • Base Layer: A mid weight base layer can be a perfect choice for winter hikes. It stays next to the skin. Polyester or wool made layers are generally great for camping because it keeps you warm and dries quickly.
  • Middle Layer: Here, you can wear long and heavy-weight underwear bottoms, fleece pants to keep your legs warm. A puffy jacket is extraordinarily convenient because it’s lightweight but can fight against cold entirely.
  • Outer Layer: Your outer layer should be wind and waterproof but breathable. You can wear pants having leg zippers so that you can put them off without putting off your shoes.
  • Shoes: A pair of waterproof winter shoes can make your days great. It keeps your feet dry and provides you with a heavenly feeling. Please check whether the shoes have a well-ventilation system or not.
  • Socks: You have to take extra socks more than you need. Always try to keep them dry and the process you make your winter backpacking successful.
  • Gloves: Gloves are mandatory because they can keep you warmer than others. In this regard, insulated gloves will help you a lot. Please check whether they are breathable and waterproof before buying.
  • Hat: If you go on a hike in a forest, a hat can make your day splendid. We always recommend synthetic or warm wool hats in this regard. Try to take an extra hat with you because the present one may get damp within a day.
9. Food items

As producing heat in your body depends on your eating, you have to emphasize on the food list, too. You must pay attention to keep your body hydrated. It will also provide energy for your body and help in digestion. You can take bread with you because it can stay fine for a couple of days. Butter can be a great choice, and you can add it to your hot coffee or chocolate.

You can eat snacks hourly and avoid hot lunch like many other hikers. Nuts, cheese, nutrition bars, and the like are so good for winter backpacking. They can make a balance in your body and help you produce warmth.

10. Other essentials

As you will be busy taking preparation for the coming hike, naturally, you may forget to take some essentials. That is why we have made a list and hope that it will help you ease your pressure a bit. Let’s check:

Headlamp Additional headlamp batteries Air mattress patches Power bank with charging cord Trekking poles and snow baskets Avalanche Beacon and probe
Shovel Snowshoes Cash Tall gaiters Sunscreen Lip balm
Camera Duct tape Lighter Sunglasses Ice axe Credit card holder
Needle Shoes Gloves Hat Tent Backpack

And finally, if you want to add more.

The Conclusion

Winter is the most challenging season for hiking; believe me. Without taking additional preparation and training, it’s hard to get success. But if you follow the complete winter backpacking guide stated above, I guarantee nothing can stop you.

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