Much like camping in fair conditions there are principles that should be followed when winter camping site selection. First plan ahead. Know where you are going and try to get there with enough daylight to relax and set up camp. Remember that it will get dark much earlier, so set your pace from the start of planning to arrive early.
When using your existing gear site selection is key. Using your standard 3 season tent will require you to think about where you put it and how it is anchored.
Stay out of the wind. Trees, outcroppings, and a large pine all provide protection from wind. Watch for loaded branches of snow, and place the tent so that you are not directly under them. Take a look up and look for widow makers and other potential hazards.
While planning take a look at the terrain on the map of your proposed location. Avoid camping on any slope or at the bottom of any slope that would have the remote possibility to avalanche. It is always important to learn the telltale signs of avalanche conditions.
Consider your nearest water source. Are you going to melt snow? If so, plan to use a lot more fuel. Is there a nearby stream, pond or lake? Make sure you know how to use your filter and protect your filter from the conditions. Some filters do not work in the cold or will freeze once the water passes through it. You need water. That is important. But plan ahead for your water sources. Carrying in water is heavy unless you are pulling a pulk sled.
Cold air settles in low ground. Avoid the bottoms of hills, camping in a valley. Stay out of low meadows. Finding a nice platform above a valley will be warmer and give you fantastic views to wake up to.
Be prepared to work. You will more than likely have to prepare a tent platform, dig a cold sump, and gather fire wood. Don’t overheat while setting up your camp. Consider the amount of work that will go into setting camp and prioritize that work.
Leave no trace. Yep, just because you can’t see the ground does not mean that you are not leaving an impact. Use the leave no trace principles when selecting and staying in your winter camp.
Have fun out there. Winter camping is great.
I’d love to hear some of your winter camping tips. Drop in the comments section.
Have a Great Scouting Day!