Things to Consider when Setting Up a Winter Campsite in the Snow

Winter camping can be a challenge and this is especially true when it snows before you can get your campsite set up.  What to do, what to do?  Well, the tips below will help set up a safe and functional winter campsite in the snow.

The very first thing you will need to look at when selecting a winter campsite in the snow is if it is safe.  I know safe, really seems simple but there are a few things that you may not of thought of that could cause you harm.  First, take a look up at the trees.  Are there dead branches hanging over your possible campsite?  What about the condition of the trees? While this may sound a little odd, a dead tree hanging over your campsite can give way anytime and if you are under it, well, bad things can happen.  

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The other safety issue is the snow.  Are you considering building your camp near a mountain covered in snow?  If the answer is yes then you need to think about the chance of an avalanche.  When in doubt, relocate your camp.

The next thing you need to consider is where your water source is.  Yes, you can melt snow but if it is not very deep and/or it is contaminated, this water source is not a choice.  You meet this need by selecting a reliable water source near your planned campsite. 

While this may not sound like a necessity, the need for a windbreak is very important when you are cold weather camping.  Having this protection can keep the fire burning and allow your tent to work the best it possible can to keep you warm.  But……there is a fine line between having trees around and having a situation on your hands. 

Speaking about trees, not any tree makes a great windbreak.  Look for trees that have needles.  These are called evergreens and the needles that remain on the tree year round create a wonderful windbreak. 

Another consideration is landmarks.  When things are green, it easier to find your way back to your camp but when there is snow on the ground, this task becomes harder.  When selecting a campsite, make sure that it is unique enough that you can find it again when you walk away. 

Finally, once you have picked the best site by the recommendations described above, make sure you note in what direction the sun comes into the campsite.  Solar radiation is free and a great way of warming up the campsite.  To wake up on the right side of the tent every morning, make sure that the door of your tent opens up to the sunlight in the morning.   It will put a smile on your face and make getting up in the cold warmer.

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