By Jean-Luc Théberge, author of the Guide du petit campeur québécois
Winter camping is a very special and enriching experience, but you have to be well prepared to make the most of it and enjoy yourself.
Be aware of your limitations and be very careful. Everything takes longer when you’re camping in winter, and you’ll expend more energy even on little tasks, and on getting around in the cold and the snow. Normally, your first night should be near a home, ideally with a friend who has experience with this kind of camping. He or she can give you lots of often simple and efficient tips to help you have the most fun.
Rain is enemy No. 1 when it comes to winter camping. If it’s raining on the day you plan to set out, you are best to postpone your trip. A temperature of -15 or warmer is ideal.
You can go winter camping at many campgrounds in Quebec. That means that there will be a comfort station nearby where you can warm up if you have to. You won’t have to travel hundreds of kilometres! You can set up camp in the woods just a few hundred metres from your home or car and still feel completely “out in the wild.”
This kind of camping calls for the right equipment, however, and proper preparation if the experience is to be a success.
So, how do you keep from freezing? You’ll need layers and layers of warm clothing (think of an onion), and warm drinks (tea, coffee, etc.). Eat regularly and move around if it starts to get really chilly.