In part 1 we discussed the kit you’ll need for a winter hike day trip, but if you plan to camp overnight (or you’re brave enough to go for a couple of nights in the snow) you’ll need decent camping kit that won’t fail you in extreme conditions.
Weight is an important factor as you’ll need to carry all your kit on your back.
Winter camping – A home from home
A tent is vital for winter camping. In the summer you might be fine with a hammock or bivvy bag, but you need better protection from the cold during the winter, as well as some shelter should the weather deteriorate.
This Geertop 4 season 2-man tent is perfect for the job, as it has double skin insulation and a sturdy cross-pole design that makes it strong enough to withstand snowstorms heavy winds and rain. The living room porch area is great for cooking in and sheltering while the roomy sleeping area can take two people plus kit comfortably.
Mummy style sleeping bags are great for winter camping as they keep you snug and warm without using as much fabric as conventional bags. Ones with a hood help keep your head warmer than ones without, and for extra cosiness a silk liner traps in warmth while still being breathable.
An insulated mat is also vital for keeping you away from the frozen ground, and oneswhich are inflatable are the best as that layer of air between you and the ground will keep you toasty.
All mod cons
A headlamp is also a must for winter camping, and even for day trips. Headlamps leave both your hands free for putting up a tent, or for lighting a stove, and they can even be hung from the straps on the roof of your tent for a lantern. This one has a red flashing mode, which will show up in a white-out landscape in case you need rescuing.
You’ll need a camping stove and lightweight cooking and eating kit as well as meals that can be heated up without any preparation, and enough to last at least one extra day to cover any emergencies.
Weight is an important factor as you’ll need to carry all your kit on your back (unless you have your own husky team!) but don’t be tempted to leave anything out as you’ll most likely need it when you’re in the most remote part of your trek.
Jetboil make an amazing range of portable camp stoves, and the Minimo even has an inbuilt ignition button so you don’t need to worry about wet matches. With a 1 litre capacity this is great for the solo adventurer or couples, but larger groups might need a bigger capacity. This kit will work in temperatures down to -6° but if you’re dealing with temperatures lower than that a solid fuel system would be a better option.
A few final tips
Make sure you’re hiking with someone you get on with really well – being cold and hungry can turn even the most laid back person into a raging nightmare, and you don’t want to be stuck in a tent in the wilderness having an argument.
Take a first aid kit with you, a compact camera, some cards or another form of entertainment to keep you occupied during the long dark nights, and something warming and strong to drink after a long day of trekking – a little drop of spirit to raise your own!