Now that we have gone trough how to get a decent sleep outside in the winter, its about how to have a nice time during the day. First and foremost when camping during winter is to try to stay dry, if you get wet, you’ll freeze much faster. And the most important place to keep dry is your feet. If your feet get wet and then cold, the rest of the body will most likely turn cold to. I will go through what I recommend to wear in winter. I will start closest to the body with a thin wool underwear, I personally do not care what kind of wool it is made of, but Merino wool is non-itchy, so many people prefer that. As a second layer its good to use a medium thick fleece that helps to transport moist away from the body. This layer is most important to have on your upper body as an adult, but on the kids i use on both lower and upper body. What we have gone trough now, is good when you are on the move or do tasks in the camp when its not to cold. If there is low activity like making food or ice fishing, I would add another layer. This would be a thick wool sweater a thick fleece sweater, but i recommend wool. And last the outer layer. Here you need something wind and waterproof. The lighter and thinner it is is best, but those jackets and pants are really expensive, so I have never had one, my outer layer might be a bit heavy and bulky, but it have served me well for years. For the kids i prefer putting them in a snowsuit, these are usually well insulated and somewhat waterproof and as far as I know windproof. If its colder then -5 C the kids won’t get wet, since they are so well insulated that the snowsuit will be as cold or colder than the snow, so it won’t melt on the suit. This was the body, the next part will be more detailed about what to wear on the feet, hands and head
And we are ready! Our backpacks are filled up with the essentials, like teddy bears and candy. Can`t go on a trip without that. The weather forecast looks good for us, there will come some snow, and the temperature won’t be so bad, maybe down to -10 C. Quite perfect I would say. We hope to do some ice fishing this weekend. There is perch, breed and pike in the small lake we are thinking of camping by. Hopefully we can catch some perch and grill them over the campfire, it tastes delicious. The boys have tried some fishing before, but we have to train to not give up after 2 minutes without catching a fish. But, all in good time, we are not in a hurry. It shall be fun, not a chore, so we will see.
When sleeping outdoors in the winter it might be almost completely silent, maybe only the soft sound of falling snowflakes on your tent or sleeping bag. But sometimes the forest are filled with music. When you hear it for the first time, it might be a little scary, but you soon learn to like and love the sound. The sound I’m writing about is the music from the ice one the lakes and the crackling of the trees. If you are so lucky to experience this you don’t want to sleep. Its hard to describe, but I will try. The sound of the ice can be a long rumbling bass sound or a long crackle, even a long zing. The trees join this choir with its creaking and cracking sound. . Together, this make a wonderful symphony. This music are made from the growing ice and the trees that are drying up. We had a little bit of this on our last trip, but it is at its strongest when its below -25 C. I see that this can be hard to imaging just by reading, so I hope we will be lucky to record it sometime, so you can hear it, and want to go out and experience it for your self.
There’s so much to do and so little time. Camping I the forest is time consuming, especially for the camp boss. But as soon as the shelter or camp is ready, you can go play with the kids or go fishing. As long there is daylight we can go exploring around the camp site. We always find something around camp, it can be an awesome ice crystal from a frozen stream or a tree that a woodpecker has made a giant hole in to get to the delicious beetles or worms deep inside it. In the winter, when you have your skies, it’s easy to make a track and have a race, or make as ski jump and see who can jump the longest.Other snow related things to do is to make a maze on an open area like a lake and try to catch each other without stepping outside of the track. Both fun and warming. There is so much fun things to do, so it’s impossible to get bored. And to let the kids explore and go on adventures and letting them be the leader is something they really grow on. You just tag along asking questions, and maybe give an advice from time to time.
When dinner was consumed, the two boys asked if we were sleeping outside tonight. I had to tell them that we couldn’t do that tonight, and I saw disappointment in their eyes. But fortunately they lit up when I told them we could do it in the weekend. They tried to persuade me that it was Friday tomorrow, but I didn’t fall for that. I asked them were they wanted to go, and they said they would like to go to the same place we stayed this weekend, to my relief. We didn’t go far, maybe 2 kilometres from our house. Which is far enough when I have to carry most of our equipment. It makes me so happy to see the kids longing for our camping trips. This is like sowing a seed in their hearts that hopefully will grow forever.
Being in nature is great! For us its great recreation and a place to learn. Even though I have been using nature and especially the forest since I was a kid my self, i still learn something new. I might spot a flower or some marks on a tree made by some animal that I have not seen before. There is always something new and exiting. For the kids, everything is new, I try to answer their questions as good as I can, but there are always to many to answer, so we have to take more trips to fill the answers. That is what i would call a good circle. After a trip, the kids are so full of achievement. They love telling everybody they meet about what they have done and what they have seen.
Wintercamping is very rewarding. You get to see nature as its sleeping, in wait for the festivities of spring, and you get a great feeling of achivement as wintercamping is something not all people do. So, what do you need to sleep reasonably comfortable? First of all you’ll need a good sleeping pad. I use sleeping pads that are 2 cm thick and made of a dense foam material, these are lightweight and can be used directly on snow or frozen ground. Second is a good sleeping bag. Our winter sleeping bags are either pure winter bags, that are great to keep you warm, but they are heavy and bulky. We also use 3 season bags, they work fine, but you’ll need a extra layer on the outside to keep warm when the temperature drop. We use a bag called Jerven bag, which I think is an invaluble piece in our equipment. The winter bags should have a comfortable temperature at -10 C. Then its possible to use to at lower temperatures to, but it probably won’t be comfortable without some extra insulation like the Jerven bag or something similar. As it can be cold in the winter, wintercamping is not without risk. There is a chance for frostbite and hypothermia. So if you are new to wintercamping I recommend to start with bringing your sleep pad and bag out in the backyard so you can get used to the feeling of sleeping out in the cold and to get inside if you get to cold. We still do backyard camping, it’s a great way to test out new equipment or just hone our skills.
We had a great, but quite cold night out this weekend. We decided to not bring the lavuu, but sleep under the stars instead. After a couple of kilometers we found a nice place to camp, with plenty firewood nearby, a small lake to fetch water from and reasonably flat, so we could find a comfortable place to sleep. The temperature sank during the night, and at its lowest it was -16C. That in its self was not a problem as our sleeping bags are made for winter usage. And in addition we used a”jerven duk” as a blanket over our bags. I will show our winter equipment in a later post.
Hello! And welcome to our first blog post! On this blog you can follow us on our trips into the Norwegian forest. We will be doing day trips and also longer trips, mostly over the weekends, but longer when we have holidays. You can follow us here through the changing seasons, and just as us, learn how to enjoy staying outside in every weather conditions, from chilling winter weather to warm and lazy summer days. Since its the middle of january now, we will start with the chill. This weekend, we will be doing a “near trip”, which we will be doing the most, since we live just a few meters from the forest. When i look at the weather forecast for this weekend, we will have to dress properly to keep the cold outside, since there is a chance to drop to -15 C. So it will be exiting to see if the kids want to sleep under the stars or if they choose to sleep in our lavoo with an oven in it. My guess, they choose the latter. We will try to update the blog when we are out on our trips, if there is cellular coverage. Hope you will join us on our adventures.