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How to Stay Warm Camping in the Australian Winter

June 03, 2022
How to Stay Warm Camping in the Australian Winter

Whether you are planning a snow camping trip with some friends in Thredbo or a weekend family getaway, there is no escaping the cold weather that comes with winter camping. It’s important not to be ill-prepared and get the gear you need in advance to stay warm. Here are some tips on making your winter camping adventure more warm and enjoyable.

1. Choose Your Campsite Wisely There are several key considerations before you start unpacking and building your camp for the night. Begin by scouting the area and avoiding setting up camp near a creek bed or a slope in case it rains and the site gets flooded. You want to avoid camping under any large trees. Wet branches have a much higher chance of snapping off and have the potential of landing on your campsite.

You also want to avoid the bottom of hills, where cold-air troughs form, and the top of hills, which can be exposed to wind. Instead, choose a flat site and if you’re camping in the snow, ensure to compress the snow before you pitch your tent to insulate the heat. Calculate where the sun will rise in the morning, giving your tent full sunshine first thing in the morning.


2. Get a Good Sleeping Bag and Sleeping Mat A good sleeping bag is probably the most crucial piece of sleeping equipment you need to keep you warm when winter camping. The warmth of a sleeping bag depends on the amount and quality of its insulation. High-quality winter sleeping bags use high-grade insulation, such as insulation with a good warmth to weight ratio.


These kinds of bags can provide the same warmth and can be very light and easy to pack. Everything comes back to your needs and some important factors to consider include price, weight, sleeping bag temperature settings, bag fill type, down fill powder, bag constructions, zippers, baffles and length.


Our top picks at Everything Caravan and Camping include Weisshorn and Hiberhide. In addition to a sleeping bag, a sleeping mat is almost as essential. A sleeping mat will give you the necessary insulation between your body needs from the frozen cold ground on a winter night. Our top picks include Weisshorn Single and Double Self-Inflating Mattresses.


3. Bring the Right Layers It’s a camping misconception to start rugging up with every piece of clothing and blanket as soon the weather gets cold. This might not always be the wisest choice.

The first step is to dress in multiple layers - including base layers, mid-layers, and outer layers to give you the greatest control over regulating your body temperature. A base layer is the layer closest to your skin with the purpose of keeping you dry by pulling moisture away from the skin and absorbing it through the fabric. Mid-layers are the insulating layers that retain the body’s heat to protect you from the cold, such as a fleece or thick wool layer. Outer layers keep you warm, dry and the elements out, such as a windbreaker.

Dressing in layers will easily allow you to adjust your body temperature when you’re too warm by removing a layer and adding one when you’re cold. This will keep your body temperature balanced, keeping you comfortable and letting you enjoy your adventure.


4. Build a Fire Knowing how to build a campfire in winter can be the key to unlocking a life-saving skill to harness in colder weather. It’s also the best way to spend time in nature while telling stories with family and friends. The first step to building a campfire is gathering deadwood that will easily burn. Go for dead branches, big and small to make the fire last. Secondly, you will need a fuel source to get the fire burning. Stock up on tinder and kindling. Thirdly, after you have all the materials, build your campfire. Start by piling up a handful of tinder and stacking some kindling over it. Finally, light the fire and lightly blow on it to give the fire some oxygen.

Always keep a bucket of water handy just in case something goes wrong. Keep the flames going by slowly adding wood. A pro tip is always to do your research beforehand and choose a site where you’re legally permitted to light a fire.


5. Go to Bed Warm It’s tempting to snuggle straight into your sleeping bag in your day clothes in the cold. We recommend changing out of your sweaty/hiking clothes into a dry set of clothes like thermals as soon as you get to your campsite. This is because any moisture like sweat is likely to work on cooling you down overnight.

A pro tip for staying extra warm in bed is to go to bed warm. This might be straight after the campfire, after doing a couple of jacking jacks without sweating or after having a hot chocolate . This will increase your body temperature, and the sleeping bag will keep that heat insulated.

Overall, making the decision to camp in winter is a hard choice to make. But it can totally be worth it if you’re prepared for the cold weather and know how to stay warm. Be selective with where you decide to build your campsite, get a suitable sleeping bag and pad, bring your different layers, learn to build a fire, and go to bed warm. Hopefully, these tips are helpful with the colder season fast approaching.

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