February 25, 2016

Backpacking in Winter Weather

When you are considering a backpacking adventure during the winter, you should be excited because of all the possible challenges that may happen. The cold weather adds a higher level of difficulty to your journey that would motivate any hardcore traveler. However, survival guide is heavily needed for backpacking in winter weather. One must know the necessary things to prepare and look out for in such a dangerous feat.

Check Out the Weather

As the weather always affects your choices of gear, the first thing you need to do before backpacking is check the weather. You would want to know the amount of clouds covering the sky because more clouds mean a warmer temperature. You may also want to check below freezing temperatures and possible storms before starting off the trip. You should always bring the best tactical flashlight to survive in caves or forests and double boots if you’re going mountaineering.

Keep Warm and Dry

A handful of backpackers have suffered and died of hypothermia. Bring layered clothing to insulate the body by maintaining heat. Do not allow snow to soak in clothes and make contact with your skin or dry soaked clothes immediately. Always have on your hat and gloves because they cover the most important body parts that need warmth.

Maintain Your Health

For a winter backpacking trip, bring a lot of bottled water. Melted snow will not be enough to keep you going. Eat a lot of food to maintain your energy and good body warmth. You can bring butter chunks, like in the army, to keep warm or add olive oil to a nice plate of pasta. It is important to take time off your winter backpack explorations and eat up to travel farther.

pb_j_dinnerPhoto source: https://aroetter.wordpress.com

Build a Winter Shelter

When it isn’t snowing or raining, you can build a winter shelter with sticks and cover it with grass and other plants that will protect you from the cold. Tougher conditions would require the use of snow blocks. Surrounding your tent or winter shelter with snow blocks will keep the heat inside. You also should never forget to keep the best tactical flashlight and first aid kit handy, just in case.

Use an Avalanche Beacon

An avalanche beacon would be necessary for every winter backpacking. If someone goes missing, this will help you spot them. You should have all your backpacking buddies switch transmit to receive on their personal beacons. Then go to the place where the person was last seen and begin the search. You will just be searching for your missing buddy’s signal. Your search would be effective if you stay within 10 meters of your slide back. The distance between slide backs should be noted and at least 20 meters apart.

2Beacon625x378Photo source: http://snowbrains.com

Other Clever Trips

  1. Search for the best low-risk snow shoe routes when considering a winter backpacking trip.
  2. Check the avalanche and road trip conditions when planning your winter backpacking trip online.
  3. To keep water supply, put the bottles upside down. It will keep your water free from ice longer.
  4. Bring a waterproof sack or trash bag to replace your sleeping bag if it gets wet.
  5. Build a snow trench to avoid wind mishaps. This will also be very useful if a fellow backpacker is injured.
  6. Create fire with wax dipped egg squares. You can benefit from small fires which a good supply of wood will keep.
  7. In case you get lost, fire up green wood or leaves so that rescue can come your way.
  8. If your winter backpacker buddy got hurt, get him on an insulating sleeping pad.
  9. Bring extra batteries or invest on the best tactical flashlight for extra comfort.
  10. Make sure you have a portable shovel. This is essential in getting through snow caves.

You would be sure to have a fulfilling winter backpacking trip by keeping these pointers and sharing them with all your backpacking buddies.

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