Snow camping, not as bad as it sounds. Here are the basics
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Snow camping, not as bad as it sounds. Here are the basics

Snow camping is the perfect way to treat yo self.

I’m serious. It’s the best-kept secret in the outdoor world and I’m blowing the lid off in service to you, dear reader.

Don’t believe me?

Let me explain.

During the warmer summer months, backpacking is, for many, an exercise in austerity. Outdoor brands stake their reputations and business on cutting ounces. Hikers are encouraged to buy freeze-dried “food” and pack the barest of essentials. Ultralight, hyperlight, uber light and extra extra uber ultralight are adjectives tossed around with abandon. True quality is measured, it would seem, in gossamer.

It’s an exhausting cycle that, I fear, leads to only one thing: hiking naked and alone through the woods carrying only a freeze-dried cliff bar and a 2-ounce life straw bouncing around your neck (a lighter, more functional version of an albatross) while your Vibram shoes slowly disintegrate.

Which is why winter camping is so great. Gone are the admonishments to cut weight. No! In the winter, it’s all about bulking.

Bring that extra puffy jacket. Grab that uber thick sleeping pad. Only have one pair of pants? Why not take two. Oh, and don’t forget a stick of butter and some whiskey.

Sure, you might not go all that far, but you’re winter camping. You don’t need, and aren’t expected, to cover much ground.

If you say you’re going camping in the summer, someone will invariably ask, likely in a high-pitched squeal, “How far did you go and how much did your pack weigh?” That won’t happen in the winter. Instead, they’ll look at you, shocked and impressed by your rawness.

Plus, ho-hum destinations, places you might not think twice about visiting in the summer, suddenly become snow-blanketed wilderness with all the associated mystery and adventure. It’s also a key skill for back country skiers or alpine climbers.

Like I said, it’s the best-kept secret out there. So here are some basic tips and tricks to get you camping this winter.

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