In the heart of winter people tend to coop-up indoors, often missing out on the icy mysticism of winter, but now is one of the best times to get out and about as this is when many places look their best. Outdoors travel requires a pretty standard camping kit; portable stove, GPS, warm sleeping bag, walking boots, etc., but here are 5 travel items essential for winter travelling.
Winter is more often than not a soggy season so setting up a campfire can be a pretty arduous task and made even harder in the event of damp matches or dud lighter. This is where a firesteel comes in.
Consisting of two parts, a ferrocerium rod and a rigid steel striker, when struck together produce a spark without fail. The nature of ferrocerium results in sparks around 3000 degrees Celsius, turning fire building into quick work.
If there’s space in your backpack it’s also wise to pack some dry tinder and kindling in an airtight bag to ensure you can get the beginnings of a fire going.
A tent may seem logical; put a roof over your head, get out of the wind, but you in fact lose most of your body heat through the ground, so it’s best to get up between the trees.
Before you picture a typical hammock-between-two-palm-trees there are plenty of night-time, durable hammocks out there. The longer and wider a hammock is the better it is for sleeping, and some come with extra tarp to fight wind-chill, sleeping pads for extra stability, and even provide enough space to sleep two or for you and your gear.
3. Water powered phone charger
A usual outdoors travel essential is a portable renewable energy charger to charge up your USB devices. These are typically solar as they're the most convenient, charge pretty quickly and allow the use of the device while charging. However wilderness in the winter provides comparatively less direct sunlight than any other time, and some places even have more hours of darkness than daylight.
The Estream uses a hydropower turbine to generate electricity which is stored in its built in 6,400mAh battery. Estream does carry the impracticality of not being able to charge your devices whilst it generates power, but if left in flowing water overnight you’ll have a fully charged power bank by morning, and a quick-charge function means your phone and camera would be juiced up by the time you’ve had breakfast and dismantled your camp.
Estream can charge up to three cameras or smartphones at one time, and if some of the charge is leftover, also functions as a lantern and SOS light. This hasn’t been released yet, but you can pre-order one via there kickstarter and receive it as soon as 2017.
4. Waterproof camera and camera case
There are plenty of waterproof cameras out there ranging in size price and capability, with some including features tailored for the outdoors built in such as GPS or a torch. Also when it comes to cameras waterproofing usually goes hand in hand with shock proofing, perfect for rugged outdoor travel.
A durable camera is a great investment for all of your future travels, however cameras are expensive, so if you already own one perhaps shop around for a waterproof case for it instead.
Generally cold weather affects battery chemistry, making them discharge quicker and diminishing their capability. Packing spare batteries and making sure they are fully charged as often as possible will ensure you won’t fail to capture any travel experiences or wildlife shots along the way.
5. Travel Flask
No matter where you are along your travels, whether it’s sightseeing in cities or parks, or taking in the areas natural beauty a hot thermos of tea or soup never goes amiss. This essential item means you can enjoy all that a country has to offer without having to feel the cold.
This item is especially relevant for winter in the great outdoors as it will keep your core temperature up and keep you going to your next campsite or tourist destination.
By Thomas Phillips - Online Journalism Intern