The snow isn’t flying in Grand Marais yet, but we know a lot of you are already anticipating your winter camping excursions. While it’s not yet time for those winter treks, it is the perfect time to inspect your winter gear. Here are a few tips:
Clothing. Look for rips, holes and worn spots–sometimes a simple repair can prevent a lot of frustration in the cold weather. Has your outerwear lost its water repellency? Try a water repellent spray or wash. Or check out the new winter apparel that Annette has been stocking.
Base layers. Are you still relying on the waffled cotton long-johns you’ve been wearing for years? That’s a sure way to get chilled in the outdoors. Stop in and talk to us about your many options for technical base layers.
Boots. Try on your boots and make sure you haven’t packed them out. Inspect them for holes and cracks, which sometimes appear after months of storage. And stock up on high performance socks to ensure your feet stay warm.
Tents. If you have your own winter tent, now is the time to set it up and make sure you have the ground tarp, along with all of the poles, tie-downs and stakes that you need. Look for any holes or tears and if you find them, make repairs. Even if there aren’t any obvious holes, I like to apply seam seal and then let the tent air out really well before I pack it back up. If you don’t have your own tent, ask us about renting a Snowtrekker tent.
Sleeping pad. A good sleeping pad is critical for staying warm when you are winter camping. Make sure yours doesn’t have any leaks. Ideally, it should be stored unrolled, with both valves open. Wait to roll it up until you are packing your gear.
Sleeping bag. The sleeping bag that kept you warm all summer will not work in the winter. And if you bought your bag in the last century, you may want to make sure that the insulation is still in good shape.
Headlamp. With shorter days, your headlamp will get more use in the winter. Make sure it still works and pack extra batteries–they don’t last as long in the cold weather.
Hydration options. Is your water filter in good repair? Are your water bottles and hydration packs insulated to prevent your liquids from freezing solid?
Tools. Are all of your tools in good repair and free of rust? If necessary, apply oil to moving parts so the cold weather doesn’t lock them in place.
Fire options. If you use a lighter, make sure it has plenty of lighter fluid. And while this may seem obvious, it bears repeating: check to make sure your matches are dry.
First-aid supplies. Check and double-check to make sure your first-aid kit has everything you need. Besides the medical supplies, I like to include an emergency blanket in my kit.
Sunscreen. Believe it or not, it’s easy to get a sunburn when the bright winter sun reflects off the snow. Make sure you have plenty of sunscreen and that it hasn’t passed its expiration date.
That’s my basic inspection list. What did I miss?