It’s winter in North America again. With snow-capped mountains and picturesque views, going outdoors offers an experience unlike any other. Even with temperatures reaching below freezing, many outdoor enthusiasts are still choosing to go backpacking and camping in the snow. Honestly, who can blame them?

Some might argue that going outdoors in freezing temperatures isn’t exactly the best idea. People might even think you’re insane but what do they know right? With proper planning and due diligence, you can discover your own winter wonderland especially if your backyard is similar to what we have here in the Pacific Northwest. Dense hiking trails, lush greenery and an abundance of nature all transform into this vast snow-covered and mostly unexplored challenge. So why do we take a trip outside in the freezing winter? It’s simple really… We are outdoors.

 

As far as outdoor experts go, here are some tips from STOÏK’D founder, John Stokd:

 

Check the weather forecast!

You’d be surprised at how often this is overlooked. Most campers are OK with temperatures up to 23 F (-5 C). Use common sense and only go if you think you can handle it. We would advise against going if there’s a storm coming of course. But if you’re like us and want to brave the forces of nature, always keep our emergency blankets handy. They’re small enough to keep anywhere.

Check road and trail conditions.

Exercise extreme caution. Snow-covered trails are not to be taken lightly. You wouldn’t want to pack all your gear and just end up heading back home because the car can’t get through.

Research the surrounding area.

Ideally, you would want to set up camp in a location that is surrounded by trees and not too windy, if all possible. Find out where there is reception and how long emergency services will take in case of a dire situation. It never hurts to be overly prepared.

Bring proper gear.

It’s going to be very cold. Duh? You need to really take the time and pack properly and appropriately. Here is a checklist that we found really helpful.

Be prepared for emergencies.

Pack the STOÏK’D emergency blanket in your backpack, car, and even your pockets. Yes, they’re that small. It can be very useful if an emergency happens when hiking in the snow – offering protection from hypothermia and increasing your visibility for search-and-rescue teams. We hope you never have to use them but like always, we want you to be prepared for anything.

And with that, we say to you go forth and enjoy the outdoors and be one with nature. Don’t let the cold bother you. Do your research. Prepare properly. Be smart and exercise caution and mostly, have fun.