First step in understanding my winter camping subject was to observe and experience it for myself. I was not able to participate in this, but did the next best thing: took to the internet! Essentially, winter camping is camping in cold weather conditions typically in snow-ridden areas. There is a higher level of intensity and skill that goes into winter camping. So much so that there are numerous resources to ensure a winter camper is educated enough to take to the great outdoors in this type of weather.
I gathered a few different items I thought to be of some value. Where I felt like I found the best information for my "observations" was on REI's website.
REI's website has a Winter Camping Checklist as well as tips for the challenges that will be faced:
Both my informants and REI discussed the importance of not going alone and being extra prepared because you never know what might happen during the trip. They make note of the layering and issues that might arise from working hard detailing "if you take a break, put on a layer so you don't cool off too much. Your body will have to work harder to warm up again." Each list leads into a more specifics on a particular item that should be on your winter camping checklist.
For the interview process I decided to contact people a friend of mine knows. Her husband has been involved in winter camping for many years now through something offered through scouting called Snow Base. Snow Base takes groups of Boy Scouts out on winter camping weekends where they learn how to master this skill and have fun while doing so. This connection brought me to a few other resources. One with a 28 year old male who has had a handful of years participating in winter camping activities. One, age 16, with a staff member who has been winter camping for seven years outside of working at Snow Base, but involved because of winter camping with his troop over the years. He explained that the fun is in the challenge of juggling the elements of keeping warm, keeping dry and cooking. I made a mini mind map of some of the highlights I gathered from these interviews. I didn't include every detail, but I did this to illustrate what became the focus of my interview topics.
Through these interviews I was able to conclude some of the major categories related to winter camping are the challenges, food, equipment and shelter. There is a lot of cross over between categories, but these seemed the most notable after talking to my interviewees. I found that there are numerous supplies that must be brought along to ensure a safe and fun trip. The challenges that are inevitable as well as the unexpected which winter campers must be prepared for. There is a great need for knowledge in order to participate in winter camping activities because without this knowledge could be the dividing factor between life and death. Each subcategory has many layers all based around the juxtaposing themes of warmth and coldness. These are obviously very important ideas to understand when discussing winter camping because it is in the cold, but people need to be warm for survival!
Quotes that stuck out the most:
"Change your clothes as needed use a layering system: wicking, warmth, water, and wind layers."
Winter campers need a way to cook food faster and keep food warmer for a longer period of time because there are not many options due to the cold weather conditions.
Winter campers need a way to regulate body temperature because adding or subtracting layers is not the most articulate means of temperature modification.