Winter camping requires greater attention to detail than camping during other seasons. Forgetting an item of clothing, a headlamp or sleeping pad may be unnoticed during the summer, but lead to extreme discomfort during the winter. Lastly, you don’t want to be the one who pledged to bring dinner and left it in the refrigerator as you rushed out the door.
To ensure you pack all the essential gear for your winter camping trip try following these suggestions.
- Keep your gear organized. If you keep your camping gear organized it is easy to locate items and ensure the right gear is included on the trip. A dedicated area such as a closet or room for your camping gear is ideal. Try to keep items in the same place and easy to locate. I use wire storage racks to stack large boxes which hold stuff sacks, tents and sleeping bags. I use transparent plastic tubs for smaller items such as cordage, headlamps, firestarter, stoves and cookware. As your collection of gear grows it becomes more important to stay organized.
- Keep your gear prepared. Make sure your gear is clean and ready to go. Replenish items that need to be refreshed such as toilet paper, batteries, cooking fuel, hand cleaners, etc. This is most easily done as you finish a trip and have an intimate knowledge of the status of your gear.
- Use a checklist. Consult a checklist to ensure you have essential gear. If you pre-print your checklist and store it with your camping gear you are more likely to use it to pack.
- Be clear on responsibility for ‘shared’ gear such as food, stoves, tarps, and/or saws. You can ‘make do’ if you forget a personal item, but it is much worse if you were responsible for an item shared by others in your group. Check and double check on who is bringing what.
- Make a ‘last second’ list to ensure you don’t forget the last minutes items, such as food from the refrigerator, hot tea for your thermos or clothes to be left in the car for your return. Invariably you will want to include items to be grabbed as you are going out the door. When I am packing I keep a 3×5 index card to jot down last second thoughts.