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“It is when you leave everything that is familiar, and venture into the unfamiliar. This is when you find your truth”. -Melissa Jennewein
When you are planning to do winter hiking or high-altitude climbs, having the right gear is a prerequisite. Everything out there is your enemy. And while you think that you can conquer the extreme elements, it just still easier said than done. This is why having a winter backpacking checklist is essential in order to better guarantee your survival.
Years ago, I made my own winter backpacking checklist. I did it so that I can help fellow hikers and climbing enthusiasts to find the right gear for this kind of outdoor adventure. It seems that many are still oblivious when it comes to the proper tools to survive a winter climb. Up to now, I am still wondering why. But regardless of that, It is still my utmost concern to help.
To be honest, winter camping will require you to bring more gear and tools than the conventional summer camps. After all, you will be up against harsh conditions and unfriendly weather. In exchange, this matter should not surprise you anymore.
On a “normal” circumstance, the temperature of a “winter environment” ranges from 20 degrees Fahrenheit to -30 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s below freezing point already. And it could give a fatal blow to your body if you don’t equip yourself properly.
My comprehensive winter backpacking checklist will indicate the things you need prepare to survive the cold. Just make sure that you won’t forget any of these!
It is easy to get lost under the winter spell. If you encounter a snowstorm out there, losing your way will likely happen. That’s why you need the following tools for you to stay on the right track.
Even though it is a winter climb, you just can’t rid the presence of the sun. Importantly, you should know that the sun rays during winter are more harmful than on regular days. This is because the ones that can penetrate the thick clouds are rich with UV rays. Therefore, they are really good when it comes to burning your skin.
You will never survive a winter adventure if you don’t have the proper clothing that can provide optimal insulation to your body. After all, you are against the cold. Your senses should tell you that an ordinary jacket can never do the job.
A shelter on a winter camp is optional. It depends on how long you plan to stay outside. But there are times where you really need to bring your portable shelter. Such of these are emergency situations where the nice weather suddenly turns bad. Moreover, I will advise anyone of you to always carry the following gear:
We know how dark it can get when you are stuck in the middle of a blizzard. And even if the weather is calm, the alpines and mountains can still shroud the night. This is the reason why you need the following illumination tools.
Photo Credit Via www.kcedventures.com
In any camping, I always require myself to carry at least my basic first aid kit. We just don’t know what we will encounter while we are outdoors. After all, nature is a very volatile factor that we should not play around with. Also, I will advise you to learn basic survival skills so that you can familiarize the use of the first aid kit.
Photo Credit Via www.georgeandwilly.com
Aside from illumination, you may need to warm yourself up in a winter camp. The cold is merciless, after all. Hence, creating a heat source is a logical thing to do!
Winter camping is pretty exhilarating. The thrill it gives is something that you want to experience over and over again. But you can’t have fun with this type of outdoor adventure if you are not prepared or well-equipped!
Louise is the founder of TheAdventureLand, where she and her associates blog about Outdoor experiences, tips & tricks that will help you have an exciting adventure. She is also a tour guide of travel company where she learned many things about wilderness. “Let’s pack our bags and explore the world!“
Travel will change you. It will change you in subtle ways, and it will change you in dramatic ways. Sometimes it will change you in ways that you don’t fully recognize or even comprehend in the moment, but after some time on the road, you will start to notice these things that seem to magically appear into your reality. After reflecting on over three years of backpacking solo through over 33 countries, I realized that travel has indeed changed my life in so many ways, and for this article, I have compiled a list of the Top 10 ways in which travel has challenged and therefore changed my life.
1- Losing my consumer “must have” things attitude. Before I started backpacking around the world, I owned many things. I had a lovely flat in Los Angeles California that was filled with art, furniture, clothes, electronics, and many useless knick knacks. After donating all of these “things”, and living a life with just the bare minimum needed to survive, my perspective on consumerism changed and I began to see what really mattered in life, and no surprise here- it was never those “things”.
2- Learned to communicate in new ways. I have always enjoyed language as it is through this that we, as humans, are able to communicate and share with each other. When I left for my travels, I only spoke English fluently and un poco Espanol. After spending some time in Europe I can now speak conversationally in 3 other languages and have learned the art of playing charades (which I always loved) and sign language which can be quite useful when you meet someone that does not share the same language. This has been a fun and often humorous way to meet more of our fellow humans on this planet and I have learned to enjoy every moment of it.
3- ‘Scary’ places no longer scare me. Coming from a military family where my father fought in many foreign wars, and with all of the news about terrorists, during my travels I decided to visit some of these places to form my own opinion. What I discovered is that yes, many cultures and traditions are much different than my own, but they are in no way like what I have been conditioned to believe they were. My experience was quite the opposite actually. I lived with several culturally diverse families and even though many of their traditions did not mesh with my own, I learned to appreciate the differences and gain a new perspective of the culture and these places and the people no longer frighten me.
4- Learning to sail a boat. I have always wanted to experience the freedom of sailing and letting the wind take you in the direction that it pleases, and during my travels I had the opportunity to do just that. On a 52 foot catamaran, I learned how to tack and jibe, tie various knots, read GPS and wind charts, and to be comfortable being in silence for extended periods of time. Sailing taught me patience, it taught me calmness, and it taught me to quite literally “go with the flow” which are lessons that automatically bring peace to my soul and I am grateful for.
5- The Vegetarian Diet. Before I started traveling I would eat just about anything which for me was a good thing because when you are venturing into new territory, you are also venturing into new foods. However, it was during my travels through North Africa where I witnessed the mis-treatment of animals used for food first hand. It was this direct experience that led me to change my mind, and my diet. I started a vegetarian diet and am enjoying all the lovely fruits and vegetables without the guilt of supporting the mis treatment of animals that can surly be found in most flesh factories and on some farms.
6- Growing my own food. When I was in Bavaria (southern Germany), I volunteered on a farm for some time with an amazing family who taught me all about permaculture. It was hard work, but when it came time to enjoy the fruits of my labor, I really enjoyed the food much more and have found a deeper appreciation for it and the earth which sustained it. Not only that, but I have found a sense of freedom in knowing that I can provide nutrients for myself and know for sure that they are organic, and chemical/genetic modification free.
7- Building alternative living and sustainable shelters. Learning how to build yurts in Germany, tree houses in France and earth ships in Guatemala have been incredible experiences for me. Building shelters that are in harmony with the planet and creating them from the ground up has opened up my imagination to so many possibilities for the future of how we might one day live with the earth, instead of destroying it every chance we get. Using natural, found materials as well as recycling old tires, bottles and cans, plastic containers and more, I learned how to create amazing structures that made me feel more connected with the earth and shelters that I actually enjoyed being in for extended periods of time. These new structures gave me the sense of living with the environment instead of being separately contained from it and packaged neatly in a box.
8- Free from media influence. I imagine that anyone who has traveled extensively knows this one all too well. Being free from the influence of television and creating your own experience of life daily is absolutely the best way to live in my opinion. I am no longer controlled by advertising and agenda driven news that is created to keep me separate from myself, but rather I am in tune with what moves my heart and soul, and to me, this is true freedom. Being present in the moment and free to decide what experience I would like to have next is more exciting to me than what the latest fashion is, what Miley Cyrus is up to, or what America thinks about whose voice is the best (or the worst).
9- Learned to appreciate all people. Before traveling I had many opinions about what people were like in the world – mostly from stories I had heard, or from programs on television. Sadly, I must admit that not all of my opinions were even close to correct. I have learned that there all kinds of people from all kinds of places, and that there are people with good and bad intentions everywhere. I have learned to appreciate all people in the world based on their actions, and not on a stereotype that usually is not true to begin with.
10- Met a spiritual guru who showed me the matrix. This is quite possibly the one thing that changed my life more than all of the others during my travels thus far. I met a guru who I ended up spending roughly a year with traveling between Europe and the North Africa Sahara; a man who showed me a path to see the matrix that we live in. I saw how experiences can either paralyze or propel people. I learned how to break through my own unique limitations and integrate past experiences into my system to create limitless possibilities. I began to see patterns and behaviors in myself and others that were both destructive and creative, and learned how to elevate myself to a higher state of consciousness and thought which in itself is priceless.
It is through travel that I was able to have a better understanding of myself, this planet, and other people and beings. I was able to create my own reality and see what moved me, what inspired me, and what kept me going. Traveling is the best education that you can invest in, and I hope that this list has inspired you to go out and find what it is that you love. I’ll leave you with this disclaimer though- it may not at all be what you thought it might have been before. So go out and enjoy this ride we call life!