SMASH THE WINTER BLUES: HOW TO BEST ENJOY A WINTER CAMPING ADVENTURE
Brits are increasingly realising the value of getting outdoors and the abundance of benefits that being in nature can have on both your physical and mental health, however in the colder Winter months it can be tempting to eschew the outdoors, waiting instead for the Spring sunshine. With many campsites open all year round and plenty of wild camping opportunities to be found, there’s no reason to limit outdoor camping experiences to the warmer months. Hit the road an enjoy a winter camping adventure.
Ed Bassett, Head of Wanderlust at Camptoo, says: “Camping during the colder months can really help combat those winter blues, getting you out into nature and enabling you to make the most of the great outdoors, and enjoy a new winter camping adventure with loved ones. So it’s a little chilly but the air is fresh, the great outdoors are at her finest and adventure beckons!
“At Camptoo, we’ve seen an increase year on year in the popularity for out of Summer camping trips, with a 25% increase in bookings for the colder months. We suspect that, despite the chillier temperatures, this is down to adventurers wanting to make the most of being able to get back out into nature and enjoy the freedom of the outdoors after two years of lockdowns and restrictions on travel. Back in 2019 we interviewed photographer Chris Konig around how he travels and some excellent tips for Winter vanlife HERE
There are a whole host of benefits to camping during the winter months, but it is important to make sure you are prepared. Read on for Ed’s tips on how to maximise your winter camping experience…
Consider your vehicle
Whilst there’s nothing wrong with roughing it in a tent, for ultimate comfort your best option is to travel in a well-insulated, heated campervan or motorhome when camping in winter. Many RVs are conveniently kitted out with decent beds, a hob, and even showers to ensure that you can wash conveniently without having to brave the morning chill in order to access communal facilities. Chose a vehicle with bike racks if you need one and ensure the vehicle has snow chains if you are considering going really off the beaten track up country lanes and take a shovel. The owners make sure breakdown or rescue cover is included on all our vehicles but plan your route carefully and of course book your sites in advance.
When packing for a winter camping trip, ensure you’re fully prepared for colder climes, particularly at night-time when temperatures drop even further. Think thermal layers, woollen jumpers, cosy fleeces and warm coats.
Waterproof layers and walking boots for wet and muddy rambles are also essential, as are spare socks and trainers. There is nothing worse than damp or cold feet, so ensure that you’re extra prepared with multiple pairs – the thicker the better. Hand and feet warmers are also a great option to make sure that you stay extra toasty. Packing extra bedding, blankets, sleeping bags and a hot water bottle can also make your camping experience all the more enjoyable during the chillier winter months. Camptoo has partnered with leading equipment supplier Use Outdoor Camping Direct for 10% off to stock up on your electric blankets and coffee flask.
Let there be light
Shorter days and longer nights are one of the cornerstones of the winter months, and with few hours of sunlight make sure to bring adequate lighting, whether that’s head torches for navigating your way to communal facilities, reading lights for indulging in some night-time reading or fairy lights to make your camping experience extra cosy and atmospheric.
Don’t forget to pack batteries for all of your torches and remember that cold temperatures can reduce their lifespan, so ensure you store them in an insulated area
Feast on high energy food
Spending more time outdoors combined with the naturally colder temperatures at this time of year, means you will likely expend much more energy than normal. To combat this, you may need to put more thought into exactly what you’re eating.
For breakfast opt for a classic bowl of oats – a hearty breakfast that provides slow-releasing energy that will keep you fuelled until lunch time. Throughout the day make sure to snack on lots of high-energy foods such as dark chocolate, nuts, oat bars and dried fruit for those moments when you notice your energy levels starting to dip. Dried food sachets to which you just add boiling water are also a great option for active campers.
You’ll likely find yourself cosying up in a local pub come dinner time, but if you are planning on preparing food yourself, you’ll likely want something low fuss but nutritious. To make life easier for yourself, pre-prepare some hearty meals like pasta bake or casserole before you travel, so that you can simply heat them up as and when needed. And don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids – it’s easier to become dehydrated in the winter months, due to the lack of humidity in the air. If you struggle to drink enough water, try carrying a thermos filled with hot tea or warming soup to enjoy on the go.
Indulge in some winter activities
Some things are simply better enjoyed in winter. Wild swimming, for example, is a fantastic winter activity as the cold water helps to boost your immune system and release endorphins, your body’s happy hormone. Just ensure that you’ve got lots of blankets and perhaps a hot water bottle back in your campervan to warm yourself up once you’ve had a dip and don’t swim alone, we advise you wear a wetsuit as a minimum when starting off (and maybe a buoyancy aid in deep or tidal water) and take care where you are swimming of course. Cold water can be a shock so PLEASE take it slow and steady. Here are some tops tips on where to go HERE
Skiing and Snowboarding in Scotland
While many people will be hitting the European slopes this winter, if you want to have some fun in the snow it’s also worth looking closer to home. Head to Scotland for an alpine experience that’s not too far from that in Switzerland and has some fairly well-known resorts, but in the right conditions even Cumbria can provide some great runs. Check out the best places to ski and head HERE
And if you want to do the now popular NC500 Scotland and beat the traffic why not take in this epic roadtrip whilst doing some skiing? Read more about this must do trip HERE and if you are looking for more of Scotland’s finest place to stay we have compiled our TOP TEN Scottish destinations HERE
Alternatively, if wild swimming doesn’t sound like your thing, star gazing is another great activity for when the days are longer and darker.
Check out our blog on best places to see the stars! Click The most romantic locations in the UK to stargaze
And whatever you do this Winter please make sure you leave nothing but footprints! Clear up after you stopped and be considerate to the local wildlife and people. ENJOY!