BUFFALO, N.Y. — Camping any time of the year can be a challenge, but doing so in the winter is a whole different animal. It's not for everyone, but it can be very rewarding.
Mike Radomski is Chief Adventure Officer of Outside Chronicles and has done a lot of winter camping. He lists some advantages.
"I always tell people that there's no mud, no bugs, no bears, and no rocks. And there's usually a lot fewer people."
Careful preparation is the key to having a great experience. The first thing to consider is shelter. Lean-to's are one possibility but a tent also works very well and expands your choice of location.
Radomski explains that as opposed to the more common three-season tents, the four-season tent is made with winter camping in mind.
"The four-season tent is definitely more robust, it can handle if you have heavy snow, it's a lot stronger, the poles are a lot stronger, the body's a lot stronger, it can handle a heavy load of snow, and also wind."
Staying warm is, of course, paramount to this endeavor and for that, you'll need to choose the right sleeping gear. "Really, the essentials are your sleeping bag and having that rated for winter temperatures, and also having a sleeping pad that's rated for winter," Radomski explains. "A lot of people skimp on the sleeping pad and that's like fifty percent of your warmth."
Of course food and water are a big consideration. If you plan well you can camp near a running stream and get water that way but you'll still need to boil the water to make sure it's safe. A good stove will come in handy not only to cook your food but to also melt ice or snow for water.
"Canister stoves, the traditional Jet Boil or the screw on top MSR Pocket Rocket, that canister is only good down to about 20 degrees, so anything below, into the twenties and below, I switch to a liquid gas."
There is no lack of great places to camp throughout New York, and Radomski says the extra effort required is well worth it as you enjoy the beauty of winter.
"It's rewarding because you've accomplished something that a lot of people won't go and do, you know, you did your research, you planned properly, you got the right gear. Getting outside is great for your soul, there's a lot of physical benefits to being out in the cold, and it's one of my favorite times to be out there."
To learn more about all things outdoors, visit the "Outside Chronicles" website here.