Other Outdoorsy Stuff

How to Beat the Winter Blues

February 14, 2018

As much as you might like skiing, winter is a downer if you like to camp. Snow’s on the ground, the weather’s nasty, and the days are short. Here are 10 ways you can beat the winter blues.

Winter Camp
The first option is to simply toughen up and go camping in the winter. Make a big fire, dig a snow cave, make and igloo, and experience the winter in a new way. Yes, it will be cold, but you’ll have the campground to yourself and winter has a beauty all its own.

Go Rustic
Rent a yurt or a cabin. You’ll have a place to snuggle up by the wood stove and read while the snow piles up or the rain beats on the windows. It’s not quite camping, but who cares?

Become a Nature Nerd
Learn your wildlife. Get a tracking app and follow animal tracks in the snow. Learn your winter birds and how to identify trees when they don’t have leaves. Not all nature migrates south.Master The Fine Arts
Learn those knots you’ve always meant to. Hone your map-and-compass skills. Practice your elaborate camp cooking or fire building in the backyard. Learn wilderness first aid. Winter is the perfect time to build the skills you’ve always meant to practice.

Dehydrate
Prep future camp meals. When you’ve got leftovers, throw them in the dehydrator, vacuum-seal them, and store them in the freezer. When spring rolls around, all you’ll need to do it grab meals and ingredients out of the freezer and you’ll be ready for the backcountry.

Plan
Start thinking about next year. Dream of the next year’s trips. Lay plans. Rally friends. Apply for those hard-to-get permits. Set aside dates on the calendar. Some trips may not happen, but others will. Remember that thing about the early bird and the worm.

Repair
Splint that tent pole and find those pinhole leaks in your tarp that have been driving you crazy. Find the slow leak in the air mattress or the raft. Backflush the water filter. Fixing your stuff will also save you money next season.

Organize
While we’re talking about gear, get it organized. Build those shelves or organize those boxes of gear so next season, you can make packing an easy grab-and-go affair.Fly
Hop in a plane and go where’s it’s not winter to begin with. Find a sunny warm spot with a campground and a hiking trail, a beach, or a string of mountains somewhere in the low latitudes or the other hemisphere. Winter is only winter if you stay where you are.

Ski
Embrace winter for what it is. Slap some boards on your feet and slide around on the snow. It will help build the same muscles you’ll use to hike in the spring, and it’s darn fun anyway.

By Neil Schulman

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