When you’re out far from home, spending time in the real wilderness, you should never underestimate the dangers that the weather can bring. It doesn’t need to be particularly dramatic weather for it to be dangerous, you just need to be unprepared for it. When you’re heading out into the cold, here are a few ways to ensure you don’t put yourself at risk.
A decent place to sleep
First of all, you need to make sure that you find a space that is relatively flat to camp. Since the rain often comes with the cold, make sure you don’t camp at the bottom of a hill if you want to avoid waking up in a flood. Otherwise, you should flatten your sleeping surface as best as possible with a foam bottom for the tent, and a closed-cell sleeping pad to keep you nice and insulated.
Plenty of layers
While a good fleece jacket, a soft and warm shirt, a pair of insulating pants and the like might all be good individually, there’s no single garment that’s going to keep you safe in the cold. Rather, it’s all about putting together an effective layering system. This is based around an outer layer that keeps the wind and rain off you, a middle layer that preserves body heat, and a wicking base to keep you dry.
Mind those extremities
When you have all those layers, the heat isn’t going to radiate off your body easily, but it can still escape through your extremities if you allow it. For that reason, there are a few extra things you need to add: a good pair of warm hunting boots that keep you warm as well as dry, gloves that have a fingerless option so you can still be as dextrous as possible, and a decently warm hat (preferably with a bill to keep the sun out of your eyes.)
Bring some back-up with you
You shouldn’t be relying on heat packs all the time, as these disposable packs do lose effectiveness with time, but saving a few for when you’re at your coldest can help a lot. A portable heater can be a huge help, but you have to use them with extreme caution. Don’t use them while you’re sleeping or away from the tent.
Enjoy a cozy sip
There are few better ways to warm up your body than to eat and drink, and it’s especially true when you’re drinking something warm. Liquids maintain heat for a lot longer than solids, after all, so a decent thermos of a hot drink can sustain you for hours. A portable coffee maker that can charge from a portable battery could save you a lot of headaches.
You should prepare for cold weather to some degree no matter what season you’re heading out, as you never know what weather changes could have in store for you. You might not need all of the items mentioned above, but you shouldn’t leave entirely unprepared.