How to Survive Winter Backpacking

Winter is such a great season for backpacking aficionados. It seems that snow has a different appeal for backpackers, enjoying the beauty and peacefulness outside in the winter paradise. If you also love playing in the snow that much, then it’s time to plan out a perfect winter backpacking getaway.

backpackign

However, you also have to think about your own safety and survival. Staying outside during winter and savoring the cold outside sounds like fun, but it can also risky if you don’t know how and what to do to keep safe. In order to help you survive the winter backpacking, here are some of the things that you need to think about.

Planning and Preparation

You have to remember that winter backpacking have different challenges than going during summer. That’s the main reason why you need to plan and prepare right. You even need to put extra preparation and develop some additional skills to make things even easier for you.

There are many before trip planning and learning that you have to do, especially if it’s your first time to stay away from home during the winter season. You have to know the winter backpacking essentials and you should never neglect to carry one with you such as sleeping bags, communication devices, tactical lighting and more.

When planning and preparing to go outside on a winter day, make sure that you create a list. Jot down the necessary things that you need. You also have to take some time to study the maps and get yourself well informed about the area. Know the location so that you’d have a good idea about where to seek help during emergencies.

How to Survive

Backpacking during winter requires you to develop a good survival instinct. Winter is also the favorite season by hunters, where they can go out, pick up the best air rifle and shoot some deer. If these hunters are able to protect themselves with the rifles they’re using, you as a backpacker, how can you make sure that you’re safe and protected.

The main key to survive outside is to stay dry and warm. Hypothermia is one of the top reasons why some winter backpackers die. Too much body temperature drop is deadly. So in case you get wet or snow soaked into your clothes, make sure to find a way to dry it out, especially before going to bed at night.

Food is also essential when backpacking on a very cold weather.  Your body needs to get some calories to produce energy and heat. Eating oily foods and chips will give you some great warming effects. As a good source of heat, some backpackers carry stove or some matches or lighter to be able to create a fire. Keep in mind, that fire is can be your life saver.

air rifle

More Tips

There are so many things that you need to know if you want to have a fulfilling and a safe winter backpacking. The entire article may not be enough to discuss everything. In order to make things easier for you, just focus on these three main things, be informed, prepare and stay calm!

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Basic Info About Ice Climbing and Winter Backpacking

Ice Climbing

If you are interested in one of these two extreme sports you should have knowledge about basics about these things. I will try to share some info about both of these disciplines. For further info try contacting people that are already experienced ice climbers or winter backpacking enthusiasts.

Heavily inclined frozen surfaces like icefalls and rock covered with frozen water are polygons for ice climbers. That means that ice climbing is pretty self-explanatory discipline. So ice climbing is an activity in which people try to ascend and overcome places that fit into description above.

If you are interested you should also know that there are two sub-disciplines of ice climbing, alpine ice climbing (where alpine ice climbing is usually just one and possibly last stage high mountain take ) and water ice climbing (while water ice climbing is independent take, and places that are chosen are usually chosen because of their technical difficulty. )

While we are at difficulty topic, you should also get familiar with grades of waterfall ice climbing. There are 8 waterfall ice climbing difficulty grades ( 9 if you include mythical WI7 grade, a climb every ice climber dreams, but those are still only dreams because there are no confirmed WI7 grade ice waterfalls ).

Grades range from easiest WI2 grade waterfall climb which is a 60 degrees ice waterfall without near-vertical stages of any size, up to WI6 and WI6+ where WI6 represents a constant vertical climb without resting that goes up to 60 meters in one take. WI6+ is an extreme version of WI6 grade climb and includes overhanging stages of a no rest climb.

Winter backpacking

Backpacking in general is an outdoor hiking activity that can last few days and includes backpacks that are carried by hikers and those backpacks contain all supplies that are needed for that hiking expedition. These supplies can vary, but few basic things for backpacking are: food, clothing, bedding, stove, water and cooking pit and tents. There are some a bit more extreme backpackers that from this basic list exclude things like water ( they search natural wells ), cooking pits ( they use alternative ways of cooking ) and sometimes they exclude tents and they build overnight shelters with things they find in nature ( this is a bit more extreme and is not advised for amateurs ).

Backpacking can include tents in which case rudimentary camps are built for staying overnight. In some parts of the world there are camp sites with already built accommodation for hikers.

Winter backpacking is a recreation only advised for experienced people because it requires skill to set camps and not to freeze to death. Weight of the backpacks is also increased because of winter clothing and few addition things required for winter backpacking. Some of these things include extra layers of bedding to avoid frostbite, extra clothing (wet clothing is no-no on winter backpacking, and you need a lot of clothes because you will sweat like crazy ), skis, snowshoes etc. As I said, this is not an activity for weak and inexperienced people. It can be even regarded as extreme sport, and if you are not extreme and if you feel cold in winter even under your blanket, then this is not for you.

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Ice Climbing and Winter Backpacking

For most of enjoying in the season of winter months comes down to watching the snowflakes while fluttering and drinking some

ice climbing

hot bevarage in the warm room or skiing, at best. But this is unthinkable for people who enjoy ice climbing and winter backpaking. The thrill of danger and the excitement of unknown, yet unexplored regions and sceneries is how they see the fun in winter. These types of activities are not for everyone, someone would rather stay in the comfort of their homes next to the warm fireplace, but for adventures these activities are worth every effort.

Although demanding and sometimes dangerous, both ice climbing and winter backpacking can be enjoyable experience if you are well prepared. And dangerous is also part of the fun, I suppose.

Ice climbing is difficult sport that takes a good condition, strength and endurance. With right training, you can be in good shape and ready for your first climb. The right exercises include pull-ups, step-ups, squats, overhead press, etc.When ice climbing, you can use a lot of different tecqniques and equipment. The equipment should be chosen according to the courses and ice texture.

For steeper and higher slopes crampons are necessary for a safe climbing. Crampons are fixtures that are attached to footwear in order to improve mobility on ice. These fixtures also prevent damage to climbers’ feet.

For less steeper slopes, climbers can use an ice axe to chop steps.The length of best axe for any climber should be based on his size and type of activity. When you want to choose the correct axe, just stand upright and hold it. The spike should barely touch the ground.

Ice screws are used as protection in order to create rope anchors while climbing.

There are three main rope systems used in climbing: single, double and twin rope. Climbers use these rope systems for safety. Yet, single ropes are the most popular among climbers.

Winter backpacking can be very comfortable even though a lot of people who have never had such experience are skeptical on this point.

When preparing for winter backpacking, one should be aware of different challenges of this activity such as severe weather and shorter daylight hours. Thus, specially designed gear and additional skills are mandatory in order to have pleasurable experience.

Check the maps and research the area. Be sure that emergency services are always close. Check if the weather forecast is favorable. Always go with friend and have extra food and water in cases that something goes wrong.

Choose the right clothes that will enable you to stay warm and dry. Don’t forget navigation, first-aid supplies and fire.

Sleeping bags, tents and ground clothes are also necessary. During the winter backpacking consume a lot of the energy foods such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The energy foods will provide energy and help your body recover.

Finally, expect the unexpected whether you are preparing for ice climbing or winter backpacking and enjoy in your extraordinary experience.

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Preventing Injuries on Your Winter Trek

Any sort of injury can occur when you’re out in the wilderness, but when you combine low temperatures and hazardous terrain into the mix, the risk of injury naturally increases. One question we hear a lot is “how can I prevent injuries when ice climbing or when I’m on a winter hike?”. The answer certainly depends on the injury in question, and in general, usually includes multiple factors. Therefore, we would like to cover some simple tips and ideas that you can consider before heading out on your next trek, hopefully allowing you to return feeling tired, but healthy!

Understand the Conditions

The key word here is “understand”. Knowing what sort of terrain and weather conditions to expect sounds simple, but often times this will take a lot of experience in a certain environment to have a good handle on what to expect. If you’re heading out to a new a location, plan for any potential extremes and ALWAYS play it safe! It’s easy to become familiar with one particular local, only to realize the prevailing winds in another location create completely different weather systems! Being cautious and not pushing the limits are especially important considerations in cold weather, as you don’t want to be stuck in one place for too long! Thus, if you are traveling to a new location, study the area comprehensively, including mapping trails ahead of time, planning escape routes, looking at the typical and extreme weather conditions that may occur, and incorporating safety items like a satellite phone, GPS, and first aid kit.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to Gear Up

While your knowledge, experience, and critical thinking are the most important factors for safety, having the appropriate gear can also go a long way in reducing the risk of injury. For example, many climbers and hikers have experienced injuries in one form or another in their history, whether it be from an accident or another sport. Guarding yourself against re-injury can be as simple as sliding on a protective mechanism ahead of time. The most effective of these devices are braces, which help lend additional support to the joints in your body. Particularly important for climbers and hikers are functional ankle braces. These allow you to move around like normal, but will provide extra support in the case of a slip, fall, or quick roll of the ankle. Even those without a history of ankle sprains often find them beneficial, as they don’t cost very much unless you get the most high end models. Check out Brace Access for more information about braces and injuries.

Assess Your Physical and Mental Condition

This may offend some people if you tell them this directly, but it’s always a good idea to check yourself before heading out on a big hike or climb. If you’re returning from injury, always make sure you’re more than good to go. If this is your first trek back, don’t make it a big, but instead, ease your way into it. It may sound frustrating and over-protective, but all it takes is one little tweak of your knee, back, or ankle, to keep you sidelined for another few months.

What’s with the “mental” part? This is a lot tougher to describe and will always depend on the individual. For myself, I know that climbing and hiking is the most effective way for me to reduce stress. Nothing better than an outdoor environment that provides me with a lot of exercise and keeps my mind off the perils of civilization! That said, I once had a close call that spooked me, and it was all because of a silly mistake from a mental lapse. I had been trying to get on this climb for ages, as I was cooped up in the office for an unusually long period of time. However, I was unaware of how over tired I was, so when the day finally came to get outdoors, I wasn’t as sharp as I should have been. A simple fix for this would be to give myself one day to catch up on sleep and proper eating, that’s all. Again, this is something that may seem weird, but as long as you consider this before heading out, you should be on the right track.

Conclusion

These aren’t the only tips to reduce the risk of injury on your winter trek, but for myself, they represent some of the most effective solutions. If you practice these tips, please don’t become over-confident, as accidents can occur at anytime in the great outdoors. Please exercise caution by thinking of emergency situations and ensuring you are properly prepared to get yourself out of a jam. Happy hiking!

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Winter Hunting Essentials

Winter is here so what is the best thing for hunters to do? For starters, you can read some best bow reviews and invest in the best recurve bow. What is more, you need to invest in some winter hunting essentials to ensure that your winter adventures will be complete. Having the right gear while winter hunting makes the difference between a successful hunt and one that just flops.

Some of the Things to Prepare for Winter Hunt

Having the essentials for hunting will ensure that you are protected from the elements and would stay warm in a cold hunting season. These little bits of comfort will ensure that success of your hunt and if you don’t have these, you better stay cuddled in your room.

  1. A decent tent—This would serve as your home away from home. Don’t just choose those that are designed for simple outdoor activities, choose those that are really for winter hunting. It should have thick insulation but allows air to pass through freely.

  2. A decent sleeping bag—Aside from the tent, you also need a good and well insulated sleeping back to protect you from the cold. If you’re outdoor during winter, expect the cold to really penetrate your skin. That’s why you need something thick to keep you warm.

  3. A decent sleeping pad—The sleeping pad will ensure that you’re not in contact with the ground. The ground freezes during winter and it too is cold. A decent sleeping pad ensures that you’re not sleeping on something frozen.

  4. A tent heater—The above things will sure keep you warm, but it’s not enough. A tent heater will ensure that you have a warm ambiance inside your tent whether the hunt was successful or not. Even when the outside is cold, the heater will ensure that you have a warm tent to get home to after the hunt.

  5. A decent recurve bow—This is the most important thing to have. In fact, this is the only thing that makes the hunt possible. This is your weapon of choice and you have to choose it well before you proceed with your winter hunt. There are many out there to choose from and you can be sure that it’s a daunting task to settle on one that you will take on a hunt. But if you read a lot of reviews, you can be sure that you will finally make an informed decision.

If you’re one of those who loves hunting in extreme winter conditions, these are some of the things that you need to prepare. These things will ensure that your hunt will be successful and stress-free. Without these, you can forget about hunting at all because there will a lot of discomforts that you will experience outdoors. Not having these things means that you have been unprepared for the hunt and that is a good recipe for disaster. So go ahead, prepare these things before you hunt.

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Your Guide to Ice Fishing

If you want to pull fish from the lake like an expert ice fisherman, learn from Flannel Fishermen. We will give you ideas regarding different types of fishing reels and lures, making it easy for you to catch fish.

If you’re looking for a fun and inexpensive way to socialize with friends and family during the winter months, you can’t go wrong with ice fishing. Feeling the vibration on the rod when the fish bites your lure is just plain amazing. While this is a pretty inexpensive activity, you do need to prepare a few things. Here is everything you need to know about ice fishing

  1. Invest in the right gear—If you’re just getting into the sport for the first time, the good thing about ice fishing is that, there really isn’t much needed to get started. You can just find everything you need in a local bait shop.

  2. Choose your baits wisely—Tailor your bait with what you want to catch. Your local bait shop has all the listing of what a certain type of fish is eating. Although there’s no such thing as “the lure that rules them all”, your chances of catching fish is higher with live bait.

  3. Wear proper ice fishing clothing—Ice fishing is a freezing business. You have to wear clothing appropriate for the job and by that, I mean, covered enough to be warm. It’s a winter activity and wearing winter clothes is a must.

  4. Take a shelter—Although a shelter is not a requisite for ice fishing, your experience will greatly improve if you have one. This is particularly true if there is a frequent breeze, you would definitely need a shelter to be protected from the cold.

  5. Test the ice before fishing—Please and by that, I really beg you, don’t get on the ice unless it’s at least four inches thick. Do you really have to check it yourself? With a little common sense, you really don’t have to. When you see people already on the ice, that means it’s safe.

  6. Drill an ice fishing hole

    After you’ve tested the ice, now’s time to dig your hole. Be careful with the auger blade because they are really sharp. Make sure to put enough pressure to the auger when you place them on the ice to crank it. You will hear a grinding noise and the auger will start sinking into the ice if you’re it right.

After drilling your holes and all your lines are set up with the right lures, allow it to descend down to the bottom. In order to put your lure where the fishes are, reel them up for a couple of feet. This will ensure that you can take home a catch for dinner.

But whether you got a catch or not, the most important thing to remember about fishing is that it’s not all about catching fish. It’s about enjoying the fellowship with friends and family in the great outdoor even when it’s freezing cold.

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