Winter camping isn’t for the faint of heart, but the chance to set your eyes on such a brilliant, snow-covered backdrop doesn’t come along every day. It’s worth the challenge and the effort for the serenity and solitude the adventure brings.
Depending on the type of adventure you’re looking for, there are different options for where to camp in BC. Many campgrounds and parks offer winter camping opportunities, and staying along the southern coast, rather than venturing inland, might be the ticket for a more comfortable experience. It likely won’t get as cold along the coast, and that’s a good thing if you don’t have much experience with winter camping yet. The BC government offers information for where to camp or play in BC in the winter: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/recreation/winter-activities/
When deciding to go winter camping, you’ll need to first decide how you’re going to get out to your campsite. Good options include snowshoeing and skiing.
When it comes to staying warm during your winter camping trip, layers of clothing are going to be key. Fires, while great during summer camping sessions, aren’t as easy to start and maintain in the winter, and they tend to burn out quickly or lose heat. Stay well hydrated and well fed while on your trip, because this will keep your internal fire going.
Investing in a winter tent is a great option, as they’re made for sub-zero temperatures and work to keep you warmer. You could also try your hand at building a snow pit or cave. A sleeping bag with an additional liner will help you sleep better, or find one made for the type of temperatures you’ll be experiencing.
Safety is a paramount consideration when going winter camping. Frostbite and hypothermia are real threats, so make sure you know the signs of each. Bring a sat phone and GPS with you, and it’ll be worth the money to take an avalanche safety training course before venturing out. Join one of the many mountain clubs in BC and find other experienced mountain goers who might be willing to let you pick their brain for more information. You can find a list of mountain clubs here: http://mountainclubs.org/about-us/member-clubs/