There’s nothing quite so likely to draw a crowd (socially distanced, of course) as the rip of tape being pulled from a newly arrived parcel in the office. New products are like magnets to our team of adventure-seekers and equipment geeks.
When our brand-new rechargeable hand warmers arrived, things were no different. And when it was revealed that the warmers serve a dual purpose as power banks, the excitement was… electric.
You don’t have to be an extreme adventurer to need one of these cosy pebbles in your life. Parents of rugby obsessed children will know quite how cold it can be standing on the touchline for what feels like an eternity on a chilly, wet Sunday. Dog walkers and ramblers will appreciate the comforting feeling that comes with clutching this in your pocket as you dodge the puddles and shelter from the winds. Heck, even the queue outside your favourite coffee shop right now can be improved with this secret warming tool.
But for our more hardcore readership, we felt it only right to share our tips on how to wild camp in winter, and how our thermal protection gear will make your trip memorable for all the right reasons.
Wild camping is pretty much your only option in winter months as campsites close their gates to less hardy types. We also happen to think it's among the best kind of camping there is.
How to wild camp
All you need to do for a successful camping trip in winter is prepare, prepare, prepare! Nights are long and days are short and you’ll want to plan your trek out to take advantage of all the daylight hours there are, remembering that from October onwards, daylight hours drastically reduce.
How to pitch up on a cold night
Choose a sheltered spot to put up your tent - away from winds or pooling water. A ground tarp will help insulate your home for the night and we highly recommend a thermal sleeping mat to raise you off the chilly earth. It makes a massive difference.
Shine a light on it
Take the lightest, brightest head torch you can get your hands on and make sure it is fully charged. Our super lightweight Intensity 155 LED head torch takes a single battery and its adjustable beam angle means you won’t dazzle fellow campers. It’s well loved by our adventure racing community.
Cook up a storm
The evenings are long out there, and lonely if you’re on your own, so it’s a good idea to cook something complicated. This might not be what you expected to hear, but you’re going to want something to do, and providing a delicious, filling meal really should be top of your priority list.
We love Jetboil stoves for their super fast boiling speed and mini wind shelter. They are lightweight and efficient with gas. Yes, chef! Plan to boil up outside your tent, to avoid the condensation nightmare that cooking up inside will wreak. Obvious tip alert: if you’re going for two nights, eat the heavier ingredients first.
Keep warm, stay safe
Our rechargeable hand warmer is a gem - not only will it keep you toasty warm for six hours on chilly hilltops, it can also be used as a power bank to recharge your devices. It warms both sides rapidly and has four heat settings. The power bank function can help keep you connected (when you want to be). Always wise to have a back-up plan to keep your devices fully loaded.
Our original reusable hand warmers deliver some serious heat for 90 minutes. By some wizardry they heat instantly when you click the metal button inside and give the gel pack a rub. To reuse, simply simmer in boiling water for eight minutes until the liquid turns clear again.
It’s a good idea to pack a thermal mug too so you can enjoy a lovely hot brew. You never can have too much warmth when it’s blowing a hoolie outside your tent!
Chilly toes and a snotty nose
Prepare for a cold night with dry socks that you’ve saved for the occasion and by wrapping your feet in a plastic bag. A woollen beanie will keep your body heat in and help you sleep. But if you’re feeling really cold in the night, take notice of your body trying to tell you. Light the stove and boil up another hot drink. Hypothermia is no joke.
It’s essential to accept that camping in winter is no walk in the park. But being the last to see the stars in a truly dark sky before bed (try this amazing SkyView constellation spotting app), or blowing puffs of dragon smoke out into the misty morning is unbeatable. You may even be lucky enough to experience a cloud inversion when the clouds are below you and you feel like you’re the only human around who’s basking in the sun. What more could life be for?
Final top tip
Don’t forget the teabags!