You might be wondering why any sane person would want to try winter camping. The apparent negatives are myriad: It’s cold, wet, snowy, windy, and miserable. Why would you want to experience that? Well, the positives are also that it’s cold, wet, snowy, windy, and miserable. The positives are the negatives.
Everyone’s been on a vacation that was “ruined” by bad weather or crazy bad luck befalling them, only to have it become one of the most vivid, best memories of their lives because it was so intense, difficult, and out of the ordinary. It becomes a story you can tell for years after. Even though it’s “bad” in the moment, it’s a source of joy for the rest of your life.
Continuing the celebration of National Get Outdoors Month, today we’re covering some essential backpacking gear, skills, and preparations that will help ensure you return from your adventure happy, healthy, and in one piece.
Preparing for a backpacking trip can be intimidating—there’s so much to think about! What will you eat? How much water do you need? What animals might you encounter? Should you go into your local REI and grab one of everything, or can you get away with just a shower curtain for shelter and a change of clothes like the famed Appalachian Trail hiker Grandma Gatewood?
Really, all these questions boil down to: What might kill you out in nature, and how can you successfully avoid those things?
The weather turns, the clouds disperse, the sun returns, and one’s thoughts wander to camping, backpacking, and just generally tromping around in the great outdoors. It is the human imperative to conquer the wilderness and to exult in its grandeur, beauty, and danger. The true frontier is mostly gone now, but we can emulate that most fundamental and ancient human experience by going camping.
I’ve explained why camping is so important for your health and happiness:
It restores your circadian rhythm.
It encourages healthy movement outdoors.
It places fire at the center of the communal nighttime setting rather than TV or smartphones.
But you gotta eat out there.