Winter Camping Safety Tips

Winter camping can mean your footprints are the only ones out there. That adds to the beauty of the experience, but also to the danger. Alone and in a cold environment, winter camping safety tips is very important. Knowing what to do in an emergency is vital for your safety. Learning a few basic winter weather survival skills can save your life. Let`s get started.

Fire Making

Imagine slipping into a stream or river and soaking everything you have with you, if you are more than a day from the nearest road or shelter and it’s below freezing out there, what would you do? Starting a fire should be the first thing on your mind, but can you?

Always carry waterproof matches, and practice starting a fire in the cold before you go winter camping. You could also carry a ferro rod with you and learn how to use it properly, (learn how to use a ferro rod). Learn about different tinder`s and which tinder works best even when wet. Birch bark, for example, will burn when wet, and so will sap from pines and spruces. You may have only minutes before your fingers get too cold to function properly, so speed is of the essence.

Survival Shelters

You will probably have a tent with you, but you may still want to learn how to build a shelter using snow, you can effectively dig a hole in the snow large enough to climb inside to get out of the wind. Sometimes you can pile up snow to make a shelter, (as shown in the image). Just play around in your back garden or yard until you get the hang of it. In an emergency, or if the weather turns extremely cold, you may want to put your tent behind a wall of snow, to stop the wind.

Take Cover

If it isn’t raining, a quick survival shelter for warmth is a pile of dry leaves, grass, or bracken ferns. One time I collected enough dry leaves on the ground in half an hour to make a pile four feet thick. I slept warmly in the middle of it with just regular clothes and a jacket, despite the, below freezing temperatures.

Build a Teepee

If you have any cord (string) with you, grab four or five long branches and tie them together at the top, to make a small tee pee. You can continue to build up around the outside with more sticks and then pack the outside with mud, grass or any other type of foliage.

Staying Dry

You can still get damp when hiking without even realizing it. If it falls below freezing, you can lose body heat very quickly, the moment you stop moving. Once you get chilled through, it is difficult to get warm again. Hypothermia (a very low body temperature) kills many people each year.

If you get soaking wet, put dry clothes on if you have them, if you have no dry clothes, think about taking an emergency foil blanket with you, (they are pennies to buy) while your clothes are drying. Use a fire to dry any wet clothes as well. During the day, you may be able to hang wet clothes on a branch or fence to dry in the sun.

Try not to sweat.

Adjust your layers, removing and adding clothing. Remove sweaters and jackets to keep you from getting too hot. Stay dry to stay warm. At the end of you days trekking, remove cotton socks and replace with woollen ones. Going to sleep with damp socks will keep you awake.

There are many other cold weather survival skills that you may want to learn. (You can generate heat by eating fatty foods) You don’t need to know hundreds of skills to save your life, but why not learn a few basics, like the ones above, before your next winter backpacking trip.


When you go camping out there when it is freezing, knowing the basic survival skills is essential. When ever you go camping in the cold weather, you potentially put yourself at risk if you do not know the basics.

You can take survival courses and learn the survival skills you may rely on one day, that could save your life. You can also read up on survival skills. My advice is to research, use the internet to your advantage. And remember its not just the cold weather that can kill you, there are also wild animals, depending on where you live. So be prepared and keep yourself safe.


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