Thursday, November 3, 2011
Winter Outdoors Benefits – camping and other outdoor activities provide solitude, subdued sounds, the crunch of ice and snow.
This incredible experience does have its hazards but good preparation and the right equipment can help you enjoy winter in the outdoors.
No matter if you are planning an afternoon hike, a cross country ski expedition, or primitive camping the most important thing to consider is your clothing. Most of us are aware of the idea of layering clothing for changing weather. This is especially important in the winter as multiple layers create air pockets which keep the body warm while preventing heavy clothing from weighing you down.
For your 1st layer, you should wear insulated garments designed to be worn next to the skin. The next layers might be made of wool, fleece, or flannel; then finally a water resistant outer layer.
Gaiters or ski pants will help keep snow out of boots.
Mittens are warmer than gloves. You should attach mittens to coat to prevent loss. Wear gloves underneath for when additional dexterity is needed to perform tasks.
Hats are essential in the winter, as you can lose up to 70% of your body heat through the head. Face masks should be worn in windy conditions to prevent frostbite.
You should wear several layers of socks starting with a thin wicking sock next to the skin, followed by one or two wool or wool blend socks.
For your feet Army Surplus insulated boots, mountaineering boots, or mukluks are available through a number of outdoor outfitters.
After braving the outdoors on a number of day trips you decide that you are ready for a winter camping experience make sure your tent and sleeping bag are designed for winter use. A Four Season Tent is made stronger than other tents in order to hold stronger loads created by freshly fallen snow and higher winds and they are designed to shed snow. You should have extra room inside for the additional gear you will carry in the winter. A frost liner hung inside the tent will prevent ice crystals created by condensation from forming on you and your gear.
You should also carry a whisk broom to brush snow off your clothes and out of the tent.
Sleeping Bags are rated for temperature and you should buy the rating below what you expect to experience, so if you expect to be in zero degree weather, then purchase a bag rated at minus 15 degrees. Buy the size that will fit your body snugly, too large and it will not keep you warm. It should be a mummy style bag with a hood and draft tube around the neck and on the zipper.
These are just a few of the things you need to consider when preparing to enjoy the outdoors in the winter. Search the internet for more information, or check the local library or bookstore for more complete advice for enjoying winter activities safely.