By Gail Marsh
Some are tired of the hassle of trying to find open RV sites. Others have snowmobiles they love to ride. Still other folks love to ski, while many folks simply love winter. Who are these people? They are the cold-loving, hardy outdoor souls in love with snow and cold temperatures. Instead of heading south like thousands of other RVers, they head north for winter camping during the cold months.
Why go north for winter camping?
- Fewer crowds. No kidding! Many RVers travel in the opposite direction (south) to find warmer weather. If you prefer solitude, heading north is your best bet. Northern campgrounds may be able to offer greater chances to “distance” from others.
- Less hassle. While many campgrounds close down for the winter, there are places that warmly welcome the hearty souls who enjoy a winter camping experience. It may be easier to find winter RV sites than at other times of the year.
- Conducive to an active lifestyle. Forget shuffleboard and checkers! Winter campers are more likely to seek out active outdoor experiences, like: snowmobiling, skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, sledding, cross-country skiing, and more.
- Greater adventure. Winter camping, along with its unique challenges, appeals to folks who enjoy out-of-the-norm camping experiences.
Where to go
- Lake of the Woods, Minnesota, is the hot spot for ice fishing. You can take your RV. Or rent a luxury fishing cabin right on the frozen lake! It comes with a small, heated kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. Bonus: There’s a hole in the ice floor for you to drop your fishing line!
- Hayward, Wisconsin, area. Come for the largest ski race in the Northern Hemisphere, or try out other winter sports for yourself. You’ll discover many great campgrounds for your RV, or you can also rent cabins for your stay.
- Upstate New York. There are more than 6 million acres of protected lands that are just stunning in the winter setting. Mountains, forests, and waterways abound, and all are teeming with wildlife. Backcountry camping along with RV parks and rental units are available.
- Great Smoky Mountain area, Tennessee. The Smoky Mountain National Park welcomes winter campers and offers great hiking trails and scenic winter views.
- And more. Check out other areas of interest, even those places you’ve visited during warmer weather. Who knows? Your favorite summer camping spot may turn out to be your favorite winter site, as well.
What to pack
- Warm linens. Many winter campers pack flannel sheets and down comforters. Others love their heated mattress pad.
- Clothing. Experienced winter campers dress in layers. First, next to your skin, you’ll want a snug-fitting, non-plant-based fabric that will wick moisture away from your body. Think: long johns. Next comes a warm, insulating layer made of wool, down, or synthetic insulation, like a fleece jacket. The final layer should be a wind and waterproof jacket along with fleece-lined pants.
- Wear synthetic socks topped with wool liners in boots. Depending on the temperatures, a parka and snow pants may be layered over the basic three clothing layers.
- Don’t forget to protect your fingers and head, face and ears, along with your chin and neck. Waterproof mittens or gloves are best. A hat that features earflaps will keep heat in and with your jacket’s hood, provide good protection. A ski mask or balaclava will protect your face and neck.
- Cautions. Hypothermia and frostbite are real concerns when winter camping. You can prevent a dangerous situation by wearing protective clothing and monitoring the amount of time you spend in cold temperatures.
Let’s go winter camping!
Tempting, isn’t it? Who doesn’t love seeing icicles twinkle in the morning sunshine? Or listen to the ice crack while hiking past the lake? While winter camping isn’t for everyone, it does hold an appeal for the outdoorsy folks who look forward to a wonderful wintertime adventure!
Have you ever camped in cold, winter conditions? Tell me about it in the comments below.
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