If you’re planning on doing any exploring or adventuring during the winter months, it’s extremely important you are fully prepared and know what to expect. You should never under-estimate the difference between the harshest winter weather and conditions during the rest of the year. Many people find themselves in difficulties every winter simply because they didn’t understand how much colder, harsher weather would affect them.
Having said that, if you are fully prepared and take adequate precautions, winter can be a wonderful time of the year to be outdoors. You’ll find you come across far fewer people during the warmer months, and the presence of snow and frost makes for some unforgettable vistas. Plan your supplies carefully, and use a suitably strong bag, such as a Vanquest 3.0, to ensure they’re comfortable to carry.
Here are some basic tips to help keep you safe during winter wilderness trips.
Keep Warm and Dry
If you find yourself lost or end up stranded due to changing weather conditions, the most important thing is to remain as warm and dry as possible. Choose a naturally sheltered position, such as a copse or woodland where the trees will protect you from most of the snow, if any is falling. Trees will also provide shelter from much of the wind. If conditions are wet, you will need to raise your shelter off the ground – branches or stones are a good way to do this. UK Climbing’s website has some great advice for building a snow shelter, including the importance of taking frequent breaks when building your shelter in order to avoid over-exerting yourself.
Covering Your Shelter
You’ll also need a cover for your shelter – perhaps a conveniently located tree has a large branch that is preventing snow from gathering underneath. If you have a sizeable bag with you, such as the http://www.angloforro.co.uk/product/vanquest-envoy-3-0-messenger-bag/, perhaps you can make room for a lightweight yet durable piece of sheeting that could be pressed into service as a shelter cover when needed or as a dry base for your shelter.
Once your shelter is built, start a fire and make yourself a hot drink. You need to stay hydrated, but keeping warm is just as important. Melted snow or ice can provide you with drinking water if needed.