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March 2019

How to Stay Dry While Winter Camping

Lots is written about the minutia of "how / where / what" while Winter Camping. The bottom line that drives successful Winter Camping boils down to one simple thing: "Stay Dry!"

Here's how to stay dry while Winter Camping

  • No cotton t-shirts, no cotton socks or underwear, no cotton anything.
  • Wear merino base layer, it dries out quickly after exertion, and you can sleep in it too! Its always dry.
  • Your tent needs (at least one) large vestibule so you can boil water / cook food without snow getting inside thru the open door of the tent.
  • Dig a 2 foot deep hole in front of your tent exit, so you can sit in the tent vestibule like you are in a chair. This is the best and most comfortable way to take off, and put on your boots, and you can roll backwards into the tent without any snow coming with you.
  • For fun, dig a round flat-bottom hole in the snow about 6' in diameter, with a sitting shelf to create a snow picnic table in the snow for chilling, meals and your evening dram - .
  • For extended winter trips, consider taking two tents, one to sleep in, one to cook and commune in. This is the most effective way to keep your sleeping tent and gear completely dry.
  • Take a pee bottle to avoid waking everyone else up in the middle of the night, thereby eliminating the risk of snow entering the tent.
  • Make sure your gloves are waterproof. Leather gloves are often not. Wet gloves can ruin your trip.
  • In the morning, if there is no precipitation, lay your sleeping bag on top of your tent to allow your nigh time moisture to quickly evaporate, thereby keeping your sleeping bag warmth rating from diminishing.
  • Wear a lightweight beanie when sleeping - your body will sleep deeper, you'll burn a lot less fuel, and your body will sweat less into your bag.
  • Boiling snow down to water is an important seemingly endless job during winter camping - learning to do this without snow and water ending up inside your tent is paramount. Bring extra fuel.

We hope this helps. Winter Camping is the purest and most pristine way to spend time in the bush. The snow absorbs the sounds, the nighttime skies are awe inspiring, and the more you do it, the more all the little nuances will reveal themselves to you. And if you stay dry, you'll stay warm!

Alpenglow while winter camping in BC

Alpenglow of the winter mountains; Photo: Francis Lariviere

Best gear recommendations for staying dry while winter camping.

Curated by the Staff at Valhalla Pure Outfitters: Tents: Nemo Equipment Moki 3P, 4 Season Tent or MSR Access 3P, 4 Season Tent Shovel: G3 Avitech Shovel Winter Sleeping Bag: Rab Accent 900 -18 Sleeping Bag Camp stove: Jetboil Minimo Underwear: Icebreaker Anatomica Long Boxers Winter Base Layer Top: Ortovox 185 Rock'n'Wool LS Mid Layer: Rab Flux Pull-On Top Insulating 'Puff' Layer: Norrona Falkentind Primaloft60 Jacket Gore-Tex Shell Jacket: Norrona Falkentind GTX Jacket Gore-Tex Shell Pants: Norrona Lofoten GTX Pro Pants

Winter camping equipment store canada

#vikingtested by the staff at VPO Vancouver!

One last thing: avoid tents with flat roofs and weak poles. If it snows, the tent will collapse, and you could wake up with the tent on your face.