Why winter camping sucks (in a good way) Winter camping isn’t for everyone. In fact, it’s for very few… it tends to suck. Now, I’m not talking about these flown-in Alaska glacier basecamps that are all the rage these days—the enormous nylon domes with propane heaters, steaks, microbrews and electric generators. That is not camping. It’s a motel with a view.
I’m talking about camping in winter: mildewed mountaineering tents, white gas stoves, wet sleeping bags that smell like ten-day underwear and sweaty boot liners. Waking up with hoar frost on your face. One-pot dinners steaming in weak headlamp beams. Kicking your partner in the face when you roll over in the middle of the night. Finding almost inconceivable joy in dry socks or a rationed sip of whiskey. By definition—by necessity—winter camping sucks. The fun’s in the sucking. Here are some of the reasons I love sleeping outside in winter.
10.) Value Shift After a few days of sleeping in the snow, money means nothing. “Hey, I’ll give you ten squares of toilet paper for half of that Snickers…”
9.) Toilet Paper Or not. There’s nothing more refreshing than a snowball bidet in the morning.
8.) Freaking Out Living in 24-hour proximity under difficult conditions almost always eventually results in a blowout between tentmates. If you don’t kill each other, you’re closer friends for it.
7.) Reflection When it’s cold, dark and you’re tucked into your sleeping bag by 8pm, there’s a lot of time to think about what’s important—or second guess every life decision you’ve ever made.
6.) Simplicity Wake at dawn and sleep at dark—no distractions. Also, no sex, which sucks.
5.) Deliberateness Every move demands some thought and care—a rare concept in our Twitter-feed world. An accidentally soaked sleeping bag or broken stove isn’t inconvenient or funny, it’s dangerous.
4.) Coffee Oh, coffee. My muse, my mistress, my strength.
3.) Skiing Winter camping isn’t something I do for fun; it’s something I do to access remote ski lines. I don’t do the former without the latter, but it’s always worth it.
2.) Perspective Fresh and powerful appreciation for what wusses we are today. Seriously. Try exploring the Arctic in a freaking button-up wool suit and eating your dog for dinner.
1.) Perspective Fresh and powerful appreciation for my wife, bed and shower. They’re all awesome. In fact, I’m never going winter camping again.
Words and Images by Drew Pogge. Drew has slept in the snow from South America to Alaska for weeks at a stretch, and it’s sucked gloriously every time. He’s looking forward to the next trip… sort of.