I know very few people who do not welcome spring in one way or another – and outdoorsy folks are no different. Most of us are looking forward to open water trout fishing, or turkey or bear hunting opportunities. But, of all the outdoors people who welcome spring, I think it is the new winter campers that must welcome it most – albeit very quietly.
I am not talking about the old guard winter campers – the ones who were doing it long before social media ever took hold. Those people do it quietly and love winter camping for its own sake. Strange, I know. But props to them.
No, I am talking about the newbie winter campers who got into it recently because, as influencers, they understood that the idea of winter camper would give them more interesting content. These folks are the ones who are looking for the views online, rather than the views outside of the hot tent.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that winter camping is unappealing to them. But I will say they might have got into it for the wrong reasons. They may have, for instance, after watching “Frozen,” had a romantic notion of what it is like to sleep outside in frigid conditions. And, as influencers, probably wanted to take their followers along on this exciting journey, so they too would know what it feels like to live inside a freezer.
What they likely didn’t know is that winter camping is one of those things that grows on you slowly over time – like icicles. And with that growth comes the growing pains that newcomers to the activity must endure.
The old-school winter campers have spent years experimenting and have come to realize their limitations, found the most reliable and practical gear, developed an understanding of where to set up a tent, know what the conditions require, what food to bring along, and how to keep warm in general. (The answer to the latter is to stuff as many sled dogs as possible into your sleeping bag.) They know how thick a layer of pine boughs to pile up under their sleeping area, how to keep their tent woodstoves stoked and running all night and how to keep a positive mindset that makes them think that winter camping is “fun.”
If you are new to the pastime, you will slowly learn these things the hard way, while you are smiling at the camera, and talking over the sound of chattering teeth.
Once spring arrives, however, my bet is that some of those folks are secretly thankful that they have one winter behind them – and are maybe now fans of global warming.
You see, winter camping is sort of like childbirth. If you remembered the pains associated with the last time, you might not do it again. Plus, I know very little about either.
Nevertheless, I think it is something everyone should try.
I did it once for a four-day stint, which is why I still celebrate my furnace’s birthday every year.
This is why I feel sorry for those influencers who purchased winter camping gear and then felt an obligation to endorse it and share their experiences.
It is also why I assume spring couldn’t come soon enough for them.
Oh sure, they probably won’t admit it, but I bet right now they are breathing a sigh of relief. And planning their next winter camping excursion – in Hawaii.