RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The wilderness is our backyard and we need to navigate it safely especially when the conditions aren't like the summer. Bill Bernhard and Duran Abourezk from Roam'n Around talk with us about what you need to look out for when choosing the right equipment.
Make sure you find the camping equipment that is right for you.
"When you go out to go camping especially in the wintertime, it's important to prepare and plan everything out for yourself and make sure you have a couple important items," said Bernhard. "One is a tent, you want to make sure you have a sleeping bag so you can cozy up nice and warm at the end of the evening, and also a sleeping pad to keep you off the ground. It provides you a little bit more warmth and most importantly it makes it a comfortable night for you to sleep."
That comfortable night sleep starts at the ground with a sleeping pad.
"You can have the best possible tent with the best possible sleeping bag, but if you bring the wrong pad to the party, you're going to be cold," said Abourezk.
The pad is important because it's what keeps you comfortable when you're laying on the ground.
"When it comes to winter camping there are some fully inflatable models that actually have a very high R-value," said Abourezk.
R-Value is a sleeping pad's ability to insulate its user from the ground. This insulation is measured on a scale from 0 to 6. The higher the R-value, the warmer you will be.
Once you find the perfect sleeping pad, it's time to look at your sleeping bag.
"And so when you're looking for a sleeping bag, there are two types to consider. One is synthetic which is more of a man-made material and then there's down. Down sleeping bags are goose or duck filled with other types of material, each sleeping bag does come in different ranges," said Bernhard. "So you can choose depending on if you are going to go camping at a fifteen-degree temperature range, maybe you'll find a bag that's more suited for those needs. If you are going to get down into the zero degree temperature range maybe you'll lean towards a down sleeping bag because they are a little bit warmer."
And just like with the pads, the more warmth, the better.
"When you're out camping, a down sleeping bag is very nice to have. Down sleeping bags are going to be the most warm, but you can also have liners that you put in them as well," said Bernhard. "We have a liner right here that will gain you twenty extra degrees in warmth. So you may already have a twenty-degree bag at home or a fifteen-degree bag at home and if you want to go out on a colder evening a liner is a great option as well."
But what if you are backpacking through wintery conditions?
"Winter backpacking, I would lean toward a down one especially if you can get it in the right temperature range because you can compress it, compacts real easy, and stuffs in your pack. In winter camp you are going to take extra layers with you, you're going to have your base layers, you're going to have extra jackets you might need. We always recommend wearing it and bringing an extra-base layer whether it's a 250 marina wool base layer tops and bottoms that you can change into and then get into your sleeping bag at night," said Bernhard. "So if you've been out hiking and moving around, the sweat and moisture that you are going to get on you from moving around all day, you don't have that dampness on you so you can actually stay warm and it keeps you dry in your bag so you have a good nights sleep and you're recharged and ready to go for more fun the next day."
And once you have looked into how you are going to sleep, now it's time to look at where you'll sleep.
"The tent is the show stopper of your camping kit," said Abourezk. "It's kind of a thing that we spend the most money and the most time and attention selecting."
And making sure you pick the right one is important, especially if you plan to sleep in the cold.
"When it comes to the wintertime, we really want to stress weather resistance and durability over lightweight and breathability. You're going to want to get something that either has little breathable mesh on the inside of the tent so that drafts can't come through or in a snowstorm snow can't actually find its way through the mesh onto the inside of the tent," said Abourezk. "If you know that you're headed somewhere above the tree line where there's going to be more wind, more snow, and more cold, you really want to aim for a single wall tent. It's exactly what it sounds like, instead of a weatherproof layer of fabric and a breathable layer of fabric it's just going to be one burly weather-resistant shell."
Winter camping can be a challenge, but if you're prepared it can be an experience that warms your heart no matter what the temperature is.