• Winter 101: Facing The Elements

    0 comments / Posted on by Krystel Freese

    winter blog national parks depot facing elements

    With winter dragging on and the chills still creeping in, we thought it was about time we shared some knowledge of how to stay warm when the temperatures drop. There’s really nothing worse than being unprepared for an outdoor excursion, let alone one with extreme weather conditions. From snowy day trips to camping under the stars, we’ve got you covered. (Literally.) 

    One of the most important things you need to remember is that in extremely low temperatures, your body requires extra fuel. By munching on slow-burning fatty snacks, especially ones containing protein, your body will retain more heat than it would if you were to consume caffeine and foods high in refined sugars. This can be particularly helpful if you are too cold to fall asleep at night ― ditch the s’mores and reach for an energy bar before you bundle up in your sleeping bag and you’ll be glad you did. Remember, if you get into your sleeping bag while you’re cold, you’re likely to stay cold!

    Another crucial factor to keep in mind is that whether or not you notice it happening, dehydration is a common cold weather hazard. It’s easy for perspiration to go unnoticed when you’re buried beneath layers of protective clothing and if you’re in a particularly frigid region, your sweat may actually freeze solid, which is obviously not a desirable situation to be in. Drinking plenty of water and investing in waterproof clothing may be two of the smartest things you can do for yourself, and even if you can’t afford to go all out, you can improvise by picking up a pair of waterproof leg gaiters. Just don’t forget to peel your layers off accordingly if you begin to feel overheated. It may feel like a lot of work to constantly shed your clothes just to layer back up again, but your body will thank you for it. Trust us.

    Lastly, you’ll want to understand some scientific basics. (Don’t worry. Just some simple stuff.) You know the condensation that appears on your car window on freezing cold mornings?  Or that puff of air you see when you breathe out into cold air? That’s the stuff you don’t want in your sleeping bag. Moisture that gets trapped inside of your bag during the night can make both your sleeping bag and your clothing damp by morning. By keeping your nose and mouth out of your bag, no matter how tempting it may be to fully submerge yourself into that warm and toasty goodness, you will actually keep yourself dry and comfortable throughout the night. If you’re really committed to comfort, consider wearing a thermal fleece mask to maintain maximum warmth. Now all you’ll need is an insulating pad to place between you and the ground, and you’ll feel like you’re back at home in your bed… but in nature. So basically, it’s the best of both worlds.

    We hope these tips help you out as you brave the cold on your next outdoor adventure! If you could leave someone with just one piece of advice for winter survival, what would it be?


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