Time for Winter…and Camping?


The UK has some of the most beautiful campsites in Europe – something Britons make the most of in summer. Recently a new countryside trend has emerged that could add an adventurous element to you Winter holiday plans: winter camping.

Winter in the UK generally lasts from December to February, with temperatures ranging from as little as −10°C at night to around 15°C during the day. The season is characterised by wet, windy weather with the occasional dollop of snow in the higher altitudes.

Interestingly, it’s also in this weather that more and more campers are choosing to venture out  and brave the cold. According to camping site Pitchup.com, there are around 970 campsites scattered over the UK, Ireland and France that are open all year round.


Winter Camping, Why Do It?


Most proponents of the idea rave about the solitude offered by winter camping.  In comparison to the bustling campsites that are full of people and noise during the summer months, winter campers are often be the only ones enjoying the space over the colder months.

Another big advantage of winter camping is the opportunity to experience a different side to nature, which encompasses frosty mornings, toasting marshmallows around a fire, and even making snow men outside your tent.


What to Wear When Winter Camping

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes”  is the motto of the winter camper, so be sure to stock up on the right gear when venturing out in the cool outdoors.

Layering is critical when preparing for the hot and cold exchange between your tent and the frosty campsite. We recommend a pair of good thermals, like the Dickies Baselayer Thermal Vest and Long Johns, worn with a decent pair of thermal socks.

This layer is then followed up by a pair of quality trousers, a warm shirt, a hoodie and a waterproof jacket. Round the outfit off with a hat, some gloves and a hardy pair of hiking boots and you’ll be all set.


Tips from the Experts

The number one rule when camping in winter is to be prepared: getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with the wrong clothing, equipment and inadequate heat sources won’t just ruin a holiday, they could prove deadly.

  • Make sure that your tent can cope with the weather conditions you expect to encounter
  • Take a proper sleeping bag, designed for colder temperatures. Use a liner to increase heat retention inside the bag (if needed) – it should ideally be made from fleece or cotton.
  • Horizons Unlimited also recommends taking a good sleeping pad with which to separate your sleeping bag from the icy ground.
  • Rei.com lists the following as the 10 must have essentials:
    • Navigation
    • Sun protection
    • Insulation (extra clothing)
    • Illumination
    • First-aid supplies
    • Fire
    • Repair kit and tools
    • Nutrition (extra food)
    • Hydration (extra water)
    • Emergency shelter

Free Camping UK also has a number of great videos on YouTube covering everything from cooking to camping on campsites across the UK – well worth the watch!

So why not take the family on a different bonding experience this Winter – in the great outdoors?


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