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Virginia Winter Camping

If you’re visiting an area where winters are relatively warm, camping at this time of year won’t be much different from that of other seasons. In large areas of the country, however, winter camping means tenting in the snow and/or cold. In some regions extremely low temperatures are possible.

Don’t try snow-camping or spending a night out in the cold until you’re a thoroughly experienced camper. You should feel at home in the wilderness, and confident that you can deal with any situation which arises. There’s not much of a margin for error in the winter. An emergency like getting lost, injured, or falling into icy water could easily be fatal without immediate help, i It’s important to be familiar with layering (see Chapter 6), and know how to regulate your body’s temperature. You’ll need plenty of extra clothing, including insulated boots and probably also an extra-warm (subzero) sleeping bag. Getting chilled is especially dangerous in severe cold. Don’t take chances with anything you do. Play it especially safe at this time of year.

If more than a few inches of snow are on the ground, you may need snowshoes in order to get around on foot. Crampons might be necessary if it’s icy (these attach to your boots and have spikes for gripping ice). Bring both of the above items when in doubt.

Putting up your tent properly in deep snow requires some special techniques. You’ll need a dependable winter stove, since starting a campfire and finding firewood can be quite a difficult challenge when there’s plenty of snow and ice on the ground. Water sources might be completely frozen, so obtaining water for drinking and cooking can require the time-consuming process of melting snow in a pot on your stove. Water bottles may have to be taken into your sleeping bag at night to ikeep them from freezing.

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