With the Queens Birthday weekend coming at the end of the week and winter officially hitting Australia, it's time to talk about living with the cold!
Winter camping doesn't need to be an unpleasant experience, but preparation is key to ensuring you have a great time!
It should go without much to be said, but warm clothing is important when camping during winter. But warmth isn't the only thing you should be considering. Waterproof clothing is also vital! The best warm clothing won't keep you warm if you're saturated from rain. A quality waterproof jacket such as our Cooper Jacket is designed to be tough, warm and waterproof!Layer your clothes. Layering clothes allow you to add and shed layers easily to account for variation in temperatures and activity. A set of thermals can help significantly in regulating your temperature, with t-shirts, jumpers and jackets over the top.
Keep your extremities warm. Your hand and your feet are generally the first parts to start feeling the cold. Gloves and thick woolen socks help a lot, but boosting your coverage on heat losing areas such as your head and neck will help in keeping you warm everywhere else (pack a beanie!).
Finally shoes. Shoes keep your feet dry, warm and protected. Winter often means wet, so waterproof boots make a big difference. Couple whatever shoes you wear with a pair of woolen socks so that even if your feet do get wet, they'll stay warmer than with alternative socks.
Not every site is going to be ideal. Try and stick as high as you can within a camp site. This will mitigate any flooding issues and from the lowest coldest points.
Face your tents/accommodations door downhill - cold air will flow into tents facing uphill.
Be it a swag, ground tent, roof top tent, camper trailer or hammock minimize the amount of airflow. This means putting up your flys, closing windows and doors. BUT ensure there is still enough air flow that you don't build up condensation - nothing teaches is more unpleasant than the dripping of condensation on your face in the middle of the night - a small crack is all that it takes to alleviate the problem!
The final and most essential part of staying warm an enjoying camping in winter is your sleeping arrangements!
Quality sleeping gear/bedding is essential. Whether you use a sleeping bag or a doona, make sure it's warm enough for the conditions. Consider layering again. If you don't have a single sleeping bag or doona that's warm enough, use 2-3 and stack them on one another.
Don't forget what you're sleeping on top of either! A quality mattress that insulates you from the cold makes a world of difference - inflatable air mattresses just won't cut it! Foam mattresses are best as they ensure there is little air movement beneath you, insulating you from the cold. Air mattresses have huge volumes of air that can move around freely, meaning that it's incredibly hard to insulate with. If you do plan to use an air mattress, bring a thick underlay to help provide a layer of insulation below yourself.
Don't over-dress - too much clothing in bed will make you either too hot and prone to sweating (leading to cold later), or won't allow your sleeping bag and other bedding to properly insulate the heat you're producing. A beanie and socks are must haves, and a thermal top and bottom can make a big difference.
Finally go to bed warm! If you're cold when you get into bed, it'll take longer to warm up. Before you jump in, warm up by the fire or do some small exercises to maximize your body heat.