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Winter camping in Strathcona Park, near Mount Washington, Vancouver Island. (Darryl Leniuk)
Winter camping in Strathcona Park, near Mount Washington, Vancouver Island. (Darryl Leniuk)

Try this: winter camping Add to ...

What's the Deal?

As the snow piles higher, pack your tent and spend a night outside.

Where's it at?

Anywhere you camp in the summer will probably work. But for the best experience, head up a mountain. You'll need a four-season tent, constructed to withstand snow loading. To stay warm, use layers and a down jacket, a Thermarest sleeping pad and a down sleeping bag rated 10 C colder than you expect it will get.

Begin by making a flat platform; skis or snowshoes work great. Dig a shallow trench in the tent vestibule for getting boots on and off and stack excess snow around the perimeter for wind protection. In the alpine, night temperatures of -20 C are common, so chuck anything with moisture in your sleeping bag: water bottles, sweaty boot liners, contact lenses. And here's a tip: Boil water before you go to bed and take that warm bottle with you in your sleeping bag. Super-cozy. For those still leery of the idea, take a winter-camping course from Canada West Mountain School or through Ontario Parks.

Who's it for?

Backcountry skiers, snowshoers and other adventurous, well-equipped types who like the outdoors without bugs, bears or people.

Canada West Mountain School; www.themountainschool.com

Frontenac Provincial Park will offer a winter camping course beginning in January; www.ontarioparks.com/english/fron.html; 613-376-3489

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