Why? Why not?
This question just needs to stop being asked.
You can either be miserable and just try to "survive" winter, or you can have fun and embrace it. Be miserable or be cozy and content.
I read this great article last week, on this very topic, looking into why our Scandinavian friends are so happy and thriving during the winter months. The Danish have a word for it. Hygge (pronounced hooga).
"There’s no direct English translation for hygge, but the word evokes both coziness and togetherness. “It’s not just cozy with a blanket and a glass of wine. It’s also interpersonally cozy—so having a few people with you talking about issues and things you care deeply about. Having some candles lit, maybe a nice warm drink in your hand. Feeling safe and content.”
I've definitely been spending more time hanging out with friends, catching up with old friends. It just feels like this is the perfect time for it. Especially with our lack of snow here in Toronto, I haven't been able to get out and build snow forts or make any snow angels, so what else is a girl supposed to do? Well I'm also getting a lot of work done ;)
But we were talking about camping.
After our disastrous camping trip last May (in case you need a refresher you can read that story here) we decided that we needed to really tackle this winter camping thing. We were originally trying to get a trip going back in November, but we couldn't get a date to work. And really, last November was so mild it technically wouldn't have counted. So the first weekend of March has officially been penned into both our calendars. The tail end of winter really, but we figure there will still be some snow so we can snowshoe and some of the parks have even had skating rinks through the forest. AWESOME! We have also done our research. I thought I'd share a couple of things we've learned and then we can all meet back here in March and see how it all turned out.
Keep your clothes for the next day in the bottom of your sleeping bag so they aren't frozen solid when you go to get dressed in the morning!
Invest in those awesome hand/foot warmers, you can get the big pack of disposable ones (like these) or you can go the planet friendlier route with the reusable ones (like these) you just need to drop them in some boiling water to reset them - easy enough in the am when you are making tea!
Use a yoga mat or any mat really, under your sleeping back to have a layer between you and the cold ground. Or you can be like Amy and bring an old Futon mattress (I did warn you that we are older and wiser now, these are the tricks you learn after many camping trips!)
Keep your matches in a metal tin instead of a plastic one. For many reason, plastic being bad, plastic will also crack when frozen while metal will not. And looks ways cooler! Also to note: matches are more planet friendly than a lighter.
This next one is definitely for me. Don't sleep with your face buried in your sleeping bag. I, like most people, do not like having a cold nose and when sleeping in the outdoors, even in the summer, this is a regular thing. But the moisture from your heavy breathing will cancel out the insulating properties of your sleeping bag. And it gets icky gross. Trust me, your nose will adapt to the temperature.
Don't be shy. Everyone in the tent should huddle their sleeping bags together (or if you're a couple just zip them together ;) This stops any cold air from coming up from the ground between you. All that body heat will only help keep you warm. Amy and I have been friends for so long that this is not a problem!
If you're crafty, or have crafty friends, make your own flannel sleeping bag liner. I've even found a tutorial for you (here) I am most definitely making one. I will be sure to share pics of it on instagram!
Don't hold your pee. I know, no one wants to get up and leave the tent in the middle of the night. But some good news - it's winter, there are no bears lurking in the woods. So you're pretty safe on that front. But seriously, your body is using up much needed energy to keep that pee warm, so just go for it. And if you really don't want to leave the tent, and everyone is on good terms in the tent, just pee in a bottle. No judgements.
Now we're all ready for a weekend of snow fun!