If you’re familiar with Game of Thrones, the famous epic series by George R. R. Martin that took the world by storm, you might know the phrase ‘Winter Is Coming’. Well, this is something many people remember when winter is around the corner. It calls for proper preparation to avoid the various risks, inconveniences, and dangers it comes with. To some people, life in the outdoors becomes an impossibility when winter finally arrives. To the adrenaline junkies, however, the cold season could be an opportunity to have the best time of your life, but hold that thought for now.
Outdoor Winter Activities
There are loads of adventurous activities you can enjoy in winter. It all depends on what jogs up your adrenaline the most. While some prefer traveling and exploring, others are more inclined to where the action is. Some common activities you can take up in winter include:
- Ice skating
- Ice fishing
- Dog sledding
- Winter camping (cautiously)
The list is literally too long to exhaust. This is because, as you can see, we have not even mentioned extreme adventures such as mountain climbing, dogsled camping, or ice diving.
In this post, let’s stick with the latter category… those who know that winter doesn’t have to be boring. It doesn’t have to confine you in between the walls with your HVAC unit on 24/7. You can still plan a perfect getaway in cold weather and have the time of your life creating memorable experiences. But is it that simple?
Well, the correct answer is NO, and this takes us right back to where we started. To have a great outdoor winter adventure, you have to be armed with proper gear and essentials, along with some survival tools and skills. These will help you navigate the various odds, including cold, heavy snowfall, rains, and gusty winds, just to name a few. Of course, this depends on how harsh the winter season is in your destination, but you can never be too careful.
So, what do you need to have a spectacular experience out there in the cold blowing your adrenaline meter? To cast your fears and doubts away, here is your ultimate checklist for an unforgettable winter adventure.
1. Moisturizer & Lip Balm
If you thought cold is the only challenge in winter, think again. The air is so dry in the cold season, that it literally sucks water out of your skin! Just a few days down the line in your adventure, your lips start cracking and your skin starts to parch. These are often accompanied by thirst, which we will handle in a bit under a different point. While you want to make your winter adventure unforgettable, you don’t want such problems to be your reminders.
This is why, when packing, it is essential to start with these two things that you are highly likely to forget. Bring a quality moisturizer and apply it on your face before bedtime, with something for your hands, elbows, and your feet too. Don’t forget a quality lip balm, or you can forget about kisses for the next few weeks following your trip.
2. Fire Essentials
As we all know, fire is one of the most important necessities when heading outdoors, even in the warmer months. Keeping warm will also help keep the diseases associated with cold at bay so you can enjoy your activities without stressing out. Moreover, you may also need it when preparing meals out there. The last thing you want is getting stuck in a camp all cold without a way to light up a fire. And let’s face it; a fire can save your life in freezing-cold conditions.
Even with some survival skills, it can be harder if not impossible to make a fire the traditional way when it’s all cold and wet. This is why before heading out for your winter adventure; you may want to get kiln-dried wood logs, which are made through a process that removes absolute moisture from the logs. This allows them to burn hotter, longer, and without producing much smoke.
But all this depends on where you source the logs from. The folks over at https://www.buyfirewooddirect.co.uk/ reckon that to produce quality kiln-dried logs, the process has to follow quality control procedures to the letter. These logs are available online nowadays, and they can be delivered to you in a flash depending on your desired destination. You can even talk to the vendors and agree for them to deliver the product at your preferred time and place.
Also, the fire won’t light itself. Don’t forget to bring a lighter, several waterproof matches, or a fire starter. Many experienced survivalists have used cheaper DIY fire starters such as cotton balls dipped in wax or tissue paper rolls stuffed with dryer lint.
3. Hydration Essentials
Remember where we mentioned that cold weather makes you thirsty? Well, you will need to keep fueling your body occasionally with shots of your favorite beverage to maintain optimal hydration levels. When on a winter adventure, don’t forget to pack a thermal flask to keep your hot drinks warm. Without this handy device, cold drinks could easily freeze in the below 0-degrees temperatures.
Also, pack a few bottles of water, but in case it runs out, you can always melt snow or ice for some water, which is another reason to carry fire essentials. The amount you carry will depend on how many days you’ll be spending in the cold.
4. Carry-On Bag
When heading out for a cold-season adventure, the last thing you want to deal with is dragging a giant suitcase. You need to pack light and pack smart. This makes it essential to get a roomy, comfortable carry-on bag. They come in a wide range of sizes and styles that you can pick from depending on your adventure and travel needs and preferences.
Most of them are also theft-deterrent in case you’re going to a foreign place and will need to navigate through various busy streets or public points. Some even come with additional high-tech features like portable chargers, waterproof exterior, and a compressor for dirty laundry. Talk about modern innovation.
5. Think about Shelter
Well, not all winter adventures are the same. In most cases, what to pack and how much of it to bring will depend on where you’re going and how long you’re planning to stay. But hey, is one day really enough for an unforgettable adventure? Well, it depends on you but if your planned destination is a bit far from home, you will need to think about where you will stay.
You can pick a nice hotel nearby or you can go all in and rent a winter cabin if there are any around. Whichever you choose, things can get tough out there, so do not forget to bring an insulating pad and at least a space blanket. You may also need to brace yourself with a few skills on how to build an emergency winter shelter for your survival in case things go south. If you can bring a tiny shovel that you can pack easily, setting up your emergency shelter will be easier.
6. Pack Warm Clothing
Well, should we have started with this one? When taking upon an adventure in winter, you definitely have to arm yourself with clothing and accessories that will help keep you warm. Freeze and shine is not a phrase on this side of the planet. If you’re a lady, here’s a brief outlook of what you should pack when heading out.
For the bottoms, women can choose wool base layer leggings for a cozy, comfortable feel underneath. This comes over some woolen panties and can be paired with a pair of travel jeans or water-resistant pants above. A woolen undershirt will also do great with a flannel shirt on top of it. Don’t forget to pick a travel-friendly bra. You can add a heavy winter-grade sweater or complete the look with a warm coat or a packable down jacket. Some of these coats and jackets are actually thermo-insulated, so they use your body’s own heat to keep you warm. How many you carry will depend on your specific needs, but always focus on packing light!
7. Protect Your Feet
Along with your water-resistant pants and warm leggings, you will need to bring some winter boots that resonate with your adventure. The best thing about today’s best weatherproof boots is that they are comfortable and come in a wide range of styles to pick from. Other than comfort, some features to look for in winter boots include:
- Water resistance – to stand the wetness
- Lightweight – to make carrying and walking on snow easy
- Thermal protection – to keep your feet warm
- Stylish – to avoid a boring look
Once you get your favorite winter boots, pack a few pairs of waterproof woolen socks. Warm socks are a must-have if you want to keep your feet warm and comfortable during your cold-weather adventure. Stay away from low-quality acrylic socks because these barely provide the heat-regulation you need on your feet out there in the cold. The phrase ‘developing cold feet’ means the lack of confidence or cowering down for a reason.
8. Pack Some Cold Weather Accessories:
Your winter adrenaline rush can’t start pumping just yet because you’re not all geared up. The look is not complete without a few must-have accessories. Some of these include:
- Scarves: A scarf helps protect your body from losing heat through the neck area. They are a perfect accessory that should always be included in the checklist when packing for an adventurous vacation or activity in winter. They come in a wide variety of materials, styles, colors, patterns, that both men and women can choose from to match their needs.
- Warm Hat: To keep your head and ears warm, you will need a warm hat such as a beanie. Beanies are favorites to many cold-weather adventure travelers because they are available in a wide range of styles, colors, and sizes.
- Gloves: Gloves are also a must-have when heading outdoors in winter. If you are having trouble using your phone with gloves on, you can try leather gloves with a woolen-base lining. Remember to remove those fingerprint passwords from the screen lock settings though, because you would have to keep on removing one glove when you need to unlock your phone.
9. Pack Some Food/Snacks
You might not exactly be planning on camping during your adventure, and even then, you would have to bring some cooking ingredients. Every time you go out for an adventure in the cold, remember to include a few healthy energy bars for everyone to snack on. Avoid e foods and snacks that will solidify easily in the cold. Think about what you are going to eat for the one or a few days you’ll be out there.
Anything can happen out there when exploring nature in winter. If you mind your safety, a flashlight is a crucial survival tool that should not lack in your backpack when out there. It can prevent you from getting lost in case the adventure took longer than expected and you are not back to the camp/home by dark. Your phone might help, but you know how these devices can let someone down at times when the battery drains. Alternatively, you can get a small headlamp that you can even use as your portable source of light at the cabin or camp if you’re camping in winter.
11. Navigation Tools
Did we mention getting lost somewhere? Well, these tools come in handy when it comes to finding your way around. Carry a map and bring a compass too just in case Google Maps decides to play a disappearing act on you where there’s no network or your phone battery dies. A guidebook is also a smart alternative.
12. Other Important Necessities
Needless to emphasize, it is important to pack light when heading to an adventure in the snow. Depending on the kind of adventure you’re going for, where, and how long you will be, you may also want to pack one or more of the following essentials:
- Travel insurance – (especially when traveling abroad)
- Traveling camera – to preserve amazing moments in photos and video recordings
- Sunscreen – radiation can be alarmingly high in the colder months too
Finally, always bring a small first aid kit with essential supplies in case injuries happen. After all, you’re going for an adventure, and this may involve some strenuous activity. Make sure it contains basic medicines such as pain relievers and antihistamines, bandages, and wound-dressing supplies. The main point is to stay safe, comfortable, and healthy while out there having fun as you bump up your adrenaline in the cold.