What do you have to keep in mind when building a tent in the snow?
First, you need to check which direction the wind is coming from. You set up the tent in such a way that it offers as little attack surface as possible to the wind. The tent entrance is at best on the leeward side. Kick the snow flat at the chosen spot. It is worth to take off the snowshoes and keep the luggage on your back. So you are heavier and can squeeze the snow better.
In strong winds, you can also clear the surface a bit, so that the tent is deeper in the snow and thus better protected from the wind. In addition, you prevent thereby, that snow drifts form between the outer tent and inner tent.
For anchoring the tent you are using so-called snow anchor in place of traditional pegs. These have a larger surface and find good grip even in loose snow. If you have no snow anchors at hand, you can also bury normal herring athwart the snow. At the most important points, you should take your trekking poles/ snowshoes/skis by anchoring them in the snow as well.
If there is enough snow, you can clear the apse. So you have more space to sit or for your luggage. The shovel is not only useful for this! You can also dig your way out of the tent after a heavy snowfall.
The shovel is definitely one of the basic equipment for winter camping!
Sleeping pad/ air mattress
Here the theory applies: the thicker, the better … but of course the inner values count as well! That means the filling of the mat and its corresponding insulating effectiveness. There are different materials with different insulation results. The insulation result is indicated by the R-value, which is stated by most manufacturers. So it’s possible to compare different mats in terms of their insulation. Depending on how cold the area is, in which you want to sleep, you should buy a mat with the matching values.
Alternatively, you can simply combine two mats. You can tell whether this makes sense or not by putting the R-value in relation to the weight of the pad or mattress.
The sleeping bag
Also with sleeping bags, there are recommended temperature ranges, where you can orient yourself. It is important that the information corresponds to a standard (ISO standard or EN standard) so that the products of different manufacturers remain comparable.
To add some extra warmth to your sleeping bag, you can add an inlay or a summer sleeping bag.
5 tips for a good night’s sleep
- Never go cold in the sleeping bag!
The sleeping bag has no heating or something like that. It heats up only by your body heat. You are virtually the heating! But if you crawl into the sleeping bag with clattering teeth and blue lips, it will become very slow or not warm not at all. Therefore: Dance around the tent, do squats or jumping jacks so that you are already nice and warm when you disappear into the sleeping bag.
- Feet in the hood!
Many people (including me) get cold feet very fast. To prevent this, put your open winter jacket with the head part down over the sleeping bag on your legs. So you can push your feet into the hood and double insulated at the sensitive lower part.
- Everything in the sleeping bag!
Everything that can freeze – but at best should not – goes inside the sleeping bag, for example, toothpaste. Even batteries or rechargeable batteries feel better in the sleeping bag because they lose their power in cold temperatures.
- Scarf up!
Wearing a scarf at night is a good idea in two ways. On the one hand, the neck stays nice and warm, on the other hand, you can pull it over your nose and mouth. So the lower half of your face stays warm and (the most important point!) Your breath does not go into the sleeping bag. Consequently, only your scarf will get wet and not the sleeping bag with the delicate filling.
- Windows open!
Good air circulation is quite important when winter camping. The air circulation in the tent is so important because your breath will condense at night on the tent wall. This means that your breathing air forms small drops on the tent wall, which freeze and finally falls down on you again as snow. To prevent this, you should pay attention to the best possible air circulation – which of course means leaving the windows open at night. But also snow should not be blown into the tent from the outside!
So open the windows the leeward side. The windows on the windy side, however, you should only open a small gap.