Backpacking in January? Not a problem.

24 11 2008

Spending any number of nights on a mountain, in the dead of winter might seem like a terrifying idea. But I actually love winter backpacking; let me tell you why.

Lucky for you, Florida doesn’t really have too many mountains. So high altitude backpacking is not a concern for Floridians. The Appalachian Trail ends in Georgia, leaving Florida with foothills at most. For example our highest elevation is the lowest of  the United States’ peaks.

Never the less, here are some tips that anyone will find useful as they set out into the dead of the winter:

  • Make sure you dress in layers, unexpected weather may call for more or less clothing. Try using some sort of under armor for your bottom layer. And the more you move the warmer you are.
  • Take a nice heavy duty sleeping bag. Even subzero bags can be packed down into a pouch the size of an ostrich egg. Also consider a mummy bag, its designed to fit close to your body, keeping it nice and toasty.
  • If it gets below freezing at night, tuck your water bottle in your sleeping bag so it doesn’t freeze. If your socks or shirt get wet during the day, put them in the bottom of your sleeping bag and they can dry while you sleep.
  • Bring extra pairs of wool socks, you want your feet dry and comfortable. Always keep your extremities warm. This should be your first priority, especially on longer trips. 
  • Get some warming pouches and keep them in your pockets. If you have a cold hand problem like me, this is so nice.
  • Get a sleeping pad or mat. Put it between your sleeping bag and the ground. It will keep you so much warmer. They usually roll up and attach to the bottom of your pack.
  • If you can’t sleep without a pillow, try stuffing the clothes you aren’t wearing into the sleeping bag pouch. It makes a nice little pouf.

Take these tips and enjoy a winter full of backpacking adventures.


Whered the trail go!? Photo by Hailey Petway

Where'd the trail go!? Photo by Hailey Petway




2 responses

1 05 2011

Wow, I would not have guessed you would have to consider freezing weather in Florida for a winter campout. It is very normal here in north Texas. I got my camp training by joining my then husband and the local Boy Scout troop. I always had to sleep with a pair of clean soxes on at night or my feet would get cold. I now camp with a Girl Scout troop. We don’t go out as often, but we have camped when the temp got below 32 degrees. I would think that Florida would be warm all year long. Thanks for the information. Good article.

28 11 2011

Winter is my preferred season to camp in Florida, no bugs. I want to try doing some backpacking this winter. I enjoyed your post.

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