British Columbia

Camping season isn't over! How to sleep under the stars in winter

Don't put the tent away just yet. Winter camping season is in full swing. Bruce Kirby, an adventure ambassador with Mountain Equipment Co-op, says although it can be a tough time of year to camp, the beauty and solitude of nature are rewarding.

MEC adventure ambassador Bruce Kirkby says a drinking water bottle filled with boiling water is a heat source

Many trails around the Pacific Northwest that are a draw for B.C. weekend hikers, like Mt Shuksan, are already a winter wonderland. (Clare Hennig/CBC)

Don't put the tent away just yet. Winter camping season is in full swing.

Bruce Kirby, an adventure ambassador with Mountain Equipment Co-op, says although it can be a tough time of year to camp, the beauty and solitude of nature are rewarding.

"There's just a sense of quietness in the woods and in the mountains at that time," Kirkby said in an interview with Daybreak Kamloops.

But how do you stay safe and warm?

Kirkby suggests heating up your drinking water bottle.

With the lid screwed tight, Kirkby says it can be brought into the sleeping bag and will make a difference when settling in for the night.

Staying warm at night

Kirkby says having a mat or several layers of foam between you and the ground can help keep you warm while you sleep. If it gets below zero, he suggests either a down or synthetic sleeping bag that can clinch up over the head.

A down jacket is also recommended if you're travelling into the woods or off trail.

If you plan to travel into the woods and go off trail, a down jacket will help keep you warm, says Mountain Equipment Co-op adventure ambassador Bruce Kirkby. (The Happy Camper/Facebook)

Where do I go?

Although most campgrounds close in the winter, Kirkby says there are all types of backcountry camping, including spots at the top of the Coquihalla or in Manning Park, close to Hope, B.C., as long as you follow the rules.

He even suggests first timers try it their own backyard — although, he says, the downside of that is, "you may just decide to go inside at nine o'clock." 

When is it too cold?

Kikrby says he's gone camping in extremely cold temperatures, as low as –40 C with howling winds but acknowledges it's very tough to camp in those conditions.

He says for those giving it a try for the first time, aim for a night where the low is somewhere between –5 C and –10 C.

Click the link below to listen to the full interview:

Camping season isn't over! It's just changed. Daybreak spoke with adventurer Bruce Kirkby about how to prepare for camping in the cold. 6:32

 

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