Wet, cold, icy, damp and muddy. If these are words that come to mind when you think about winter camping then you’re in the right place! Allow us to introduce the delights of a hot drink in your cosy sleeping bag on crisp mornings, the fresh crunch of leaves underfoot and the reassurance that you know all you need about how to keep warm camping. First, take a little location inspiration…
Pull up and explore Setthorns where icicles hang off the branches of the pine filled woodland and snaking paths allow you to explore in all directions. Setthorns is ideal for caravanners and motorhomers bringing their own facilities as this is one of our rural campsites. Join the New Forest ponies and make the most of the forest in the colder months.
Winter camping in the Savernake Forest: Postern Hill winter caravan site
Immerse yourself in woodland when you pitch up on Postern Hill. Each pitch has a character of its own with either towering oak trees standing tall or shelter from the bushes. This campsite has no toilets or showers during the winter months so is best for campers in a caravan or motorhome. During the winter months you may be lucky enough to spot a deer or two meandering through the forest.
Bracelands, winter camping in the Forest of Dean
With toilets and showers available year round, Bracelands is ideal for campers with all unit types- including tents! Pitch up and you’ll be rewarded by a wonderfully spacious campsite encompassed in the forest landscape.
On the edges of Loch Morlich, surrounded by snow-kissed trees and endless adventures offered by the Cairngorms, Glenmore is ideal for a winter camping stay in the Highlands. This campsite is in a prime location for those interested in winter skiing; however there are more gentle options if that’s not your cup of tea.
A short walk from the campsite, just through the treeline gives direct access to the sandy beaches of Loch Morlich. Not far from the campsite you’ll find the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, offering trips out to spot the group, a great activity if you’ve got older kids in tow. Inverness is under an hour’s drive away and offers plenty of indoor activities if the weather takes a turn.
Take some of the hassle out of winter camping in either our Bracelands Pods or Ready Camp Tents*.
Are the stars of winter camping…
Our pre-erected safari style tents give you access to camping under canvas without having to put a single tent pole together. With all of the comforts of daily life, Ready Camp makes for a truly luxurious winter camping break away.
*Ready Camp tents on Bracelands are only open from late March until the end of October
Up first, a bit of science. There are three main ways in which the body loses heat: through convection, conduction, and radiation. Convection refers to the displacement of warm air around the body with cooler air, whilst conduction involves losing heat by coming into contact with an object that has a lower temperature. Radiation is the main source of body heat reduction, as our warmth is lost through heat waves to the air.
With that in mind, here are our top tips for camping in the winter months:
1. Get to your campsite as early as possible: it’s cold out there, so the sooner you can get pitched up the sooner you can put the kettle on or head out for your day’s activities. Remember that it’ll get dark early so pitching up after 4pm isn’t realistic.
2. Between you and the ground: if you're in a tent, consider what you’ll be sleeping on. A ground mat is fine in the summer, and possibly even the winter, but make sure it’s enough to keep your heat where it is and keep the cold of the ground away. Blow up mattresses could help here, or anything which you know will give you enough protection from the ground.
3. Blankets, think blankets: we won’t state the obvious by saying you need a good sleeping bag, but it’s also worth bringing some extra layers for sleep, when you’re sitting down for meals, games, drinks and so on. Even caravanners and motorhomers will need their layers.
4. Shoes inside, for once: you’ve done your best to keep your feet warm, don’t lose it all in the morning by putting on cold, damp shoes.
5. Ready for snow: in case you get snowed in on-site (especially on our Scottish campsites), consider taking a shovel, or some items that could be used for grip pads (such as a piece of carpet, or wood) in the event that your vehicle or towed unit becomes stuck.
6. Snow chains: if you're towing a caravan you can be much more susceptible to skidding, consider investing in snow chains. Members of The Camping and Caravanning Club get a 10% discount on AutoSock Direct.
7. Don’t constrict blood flow: ensure you gloves and boots aren’t too tight, and try not to wear too many pairs of socks – restricting blood flow to your hands and feet will make it even harder to get them warm.
8. Careful of cotton: when it gets wet, cotton loses its insulating qualities. It’s much better to opt for wool or synthetic materials.
9. Vent your tent: it might get a little cooler by ventilating your tent overnight, but this could be more favourable than the wet caused by condensation.
10. Be aware of your body: take note of the signals your body gives you, if your toes or hands are colder than you think they should be, stop and try to find out why. It could be that your boots or gloves are too tight. Fixing this as soon as possible should help to prevent any longer term damage.
11 Never go to bed cold. Whether its star jumps, a quick jog back from the facilities or a hot toddy before bedtime that warms the cockles, you’ll need to make sure you’re toasty warm when you get into your sleeping bag.
There you have it, you’re now an expert on all things winter camping. Make the most of your new found knowledge by trying it out for yourself- pack up your woolly’s and pitch up on one of our campsites. More seasonal camping inspiration and information awaits.
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