Winter Camping 101: Shelter Systems
Staying warm during the day in winter is relatively easy; as long as you stay active. It’s when night arrives and you have to sleep in the snow that could be problematic. You’re not as active, it’s usually colder, and if you created a sweat all throughout the day, then you’ll get the chills. That’s why most outdoor enthusiasts choose to keep to just day activities. By doing so, however, you’re definitely missing out. Sleeping in the woods during a brisk winter night is an incredible experience.
There’s two basic shelter systems (aside from building a quinzee): a four-season tent and hot tent (a canvas prospector-style tent equipped with a wood stove). A four season tent is designed different than you’r normal three-season. It’s shape is usually A-frame to handle heavy snow loads and the pole are much stronger for the same reason. A four-season tent also has much more ventilation; areas where the air you’re breathing out can escape. If it doesn’t it will frost up inside the tent, crystallize and create a very damp environment. With a good winter sleeping bag and air-mat to sleep on it’s quite possible to get a good nights sleep.
The hot tent has a huge advantage over the four-season tent With the stove lit inside, temperatures can reach a balmy 80 degrees F. Not only does this mean you have a warm place to escape the cold night air, but it also means you have a place to dry your gear – which is a huge plus on winter trips. Problem is, a hot tent is much heavier to lug around than a four-season tent. After countless nights spent in a four season, however, I’m quite content hauling my hot tent and stove through the bush, knowing I have a heat source that will add to my comfort out there.
For great ideas on Winter Camping and other adventures in Ontario visit: www.ontariotravel.net