Winter Camping Tips: Dos and Don'ts for Staying Warm in the Snow

Tipps fürs Wintercamping: Dos und Don’ts, damit du auch im Schnee warm bleibst

by Tanita Steckel

Outdoor season? Doesn't exist! We believe you can always spend time outside. Regardless of the season and the weather. But we admit: sleet and freezing temperatures are not very inviting at first. To ensure that camping is successful and fun despite the freezing cold, you should pay attention to a few things.

The right clothing is key

Let's start with the basics: your clothes. The right clothing is always important for outdoor adventures - but especially in winter. After all, you shouldn't just not slip on ice surfaces and mud, but above all stay warm. Therefore: Check the weather report and then consider how many layers it might take. Regardless of this, the outer layers - jacket and pants - should definitely be waterproof. Thanks to its insulating effect, the onion look helps not to lose too much of your body heat. But be careful: if you wear too much and exert yourself very hard, you can also freeze from sweating. The layers you put on should therefore be breathable. Functional underwear is a must! Gloves, hats and scarfs go without saying. By the way, we recommend putting these on even when the temperature is not quite that low. It's best to pack everything twice so that you can change if something becomes soggy.

If your tour takes you to snowy regions, you should also think about investing in snowshoes. Otherwise normal hiking boots will do just fine. 

Don't overdo it!

Be careful not to overreach. Hiking in winter is exhausting enough as it is because of the weather. You're also going to need two or three more things than you usually would. The extra weight puts an additional strain on you. Plus, it's just not bright as long as it is in summer. Therefore, it is better to plan a shorter route.

Before you start, check all gadgets and, if applicable, your set of wheels. Everything should work and be winterproof. Better to plug the holes in the tent beforehand than then to freeze at night. 

Not just for the die-hard: a night in the HÄNG

Foto: @sebus.96

Speaking of the tent: it doesn't have to be that. If the temperatures allow it and you think you can, you can continue to sleep in your HÄNG. But if you do, you better do it with an underquilt - a kind of sleeping bag for your hammock. You hang it directly underneath the HÄNG for insulation so that the cold from below doesn't reach you. Then cuddle up in the hammock with a sleeping mat and sleeping bag or DÄCKE- done.

Pro tip: A hot water bottle at the foot end provides a toasty warm feeling, almost like in your bed at home.

 Photo: @ sebus.96

If the weather report (or your intuition) predicts precipitation, a protective tarpaulin - as a roof over the HÄNG - is essential. In theory, camping in a hammock is even possible when it's below freezing. But it depends a lot on your own feeling of warmth and how used to the cold you are. It's best to go slowly and increase from tour to tour. Or practice in the days and weeks before with one cold shower per day. ❄

Alternatively: sleep in a tent or van

If you don't think you can do it, you can also sleep in the classic way in a tent or van. If you hang up a gas lamp, it will also become really cozy and warm. Make sure that your tent is winterproof so that it can withstand a load of fresh snow should the worst happen. The entrance is best placed on the leeward side. That way you avoid it being blown over or snowed in over night. But better safe than sorry: Take a shovel with you inside the tent anyway, so that you can dig yourself free again in an emergency. If there is already enough snow when you set up, you can use it to build a windbreak. But be careful: when there is snow and the ground is frozen it can be difficult to attach the pegs. Hammer and pliers can be very useful.

In freezing weather and sleet, it is better not to spend the night in the forest. Wet snow is quite heavy, and branches can break off under the load and fall on you. And that's anything but a relaxed night's sleep. 

By the way, did you know that lose most of our body heat through our extremities (i.e. hands and feet)? Hence, regardless of which sleeping place you ultimately choose - hat, scarf and gloves (and socks!) should be left on at night. Just like the functional underwear. And before going to bed, please shake the DÄCKE again so that the (artificial) down can unfold its full potentila to keep you warm.