Compared to three-season experiences there are valid reasons why people may not want to go winter camping:
- Conditions may not be favorable to consistent comfort
- Snow may slow your travel and can make route-finding difficult
- Nights can seem long
- There is more preparation necessary
- More gear may be necessary and the margin of error is less.
However, a winter landscape offers campers solitude, inspiration, natural quiet, a place to get away. Winter camping can provide a haven from the pressures of our fast-paced, industrialized society, providing a place where one can seek relief from the noise, haste, and crowds.
Winter camping has several advantages over summer camping:
- You can reach areas that are too wet or overgrown during other seasons. In fact, these are often ideal destinations for winter camping.
- Hikes can easily cross frozen lakes and ponds to directly access locations that might require lengthy hikes during other seasons.
- The clear and open view is unparalleled. Deciduous trees shed their leaves and provide unobstructed vistas.
- Clear night skies offer a great star grazing opportunities for amateur astronomers.
- Winter camping provides solitude and a feeling of exploration; even heavily traveled trails can seem like virgin territory when covered by a fresh blanket of snow.
- One can justify eating excessive amounts of snacks and chocolate for energy.
- Night time sounds carry easily enhancing an audio landscape of coyotes, owls, trees snapping and ice cracking.
- Winter camping provides a different perspective into nature than offered during the other three seasons.
- Camping in the winter inspires a feeling of independence and gives people confidence in their survival skills.
- There is a satisfaction in learning new skills or enhancing/extending your current outdoor skills.
- There is little competition from other campers. Camping sites that are overly popular during summer months are rarely visited or usually only visited by day hikers.
- One gets to practice snow shoeing and XC skiing skills.
- The skills one gains from winter camping (e.g. dressing properly, recognizing signs of hypothermia) can make one deal more comfortably with winter conditions encountered during regular life.
- There are no mosquitoes or bears.
Winter camping is an activity that requires planning and preparation, physical stamina, the right equipment, an adventuresome spirit and a positive mental attitude. With the correct mix of these attributes we hope you enjoy winter camping.