Dealing With Cold
Many people hate the cold. They shiver when the temperature in the house drops below 20 degrees and don’t venture outside at all when temperatures reach freezing. How we perceive temperature is a complex physical and also mental process, which is often highly personal. When winter camping it helps to realise that comfort and air temperature are not as closely related as we often think. As long as our body stays at a normal 37 degrees, we can live comfortably in much lower temperatures than we think. But where are our limits?
Your Winter Camping Expedition Materials Gear Guide
Unlike camping in summer, in winter the success and comfort of your expedition very much depend on the quality of the equipment you bring. During cold winter nights not just your comfort, but also your life depends on your clothing, your sleeping bag, your mattress and of course your tent. With the right equipment, you will be very comfortable though. In fact, I dare to say, you’ll have the best nights of sleep you’ll have ever experienced!
Preparing Your Winter Camping Expedition
A good preparation is essential for your winter camping trip. Make sure you read up on the area to visit and buy some booklets and detailed hiking maps. Pay attention to the (most extreme) weather conditions during the planned tour period, transport options and the accessibility of rescue services. In hilly/mountainous areas, also pay attention to avalanche danger and how to get avalanche warnings.
Everything you need to know about winter camping expeditions!
For most people, trekking and camping in the snow is something seen on television, in images of expeditions to polar regions or high mountain peaks. These are generally hardened and well-trained people in brightly coloured polar clothing setting up their tents in harsh conditions in snow and ice.
For most people this seems a beautiful, but strange and hostile world, watched preferably on television from the comfort of a warm living room. Certainly not something to try out for fun!
The North Cape is one of those places that is on most traveller’s bucket lists. Known as the northernmost point of Europe, situated at 71°10´21˝N, some even claim it is closer to the North Pole than it is to Oslo. It may certainly feel that way and it is good tourism marketing, but it is not true. First of all, it is not the northernmost of Europe. The northernmost point of Europe is Cape Fligely, on Russian Rudolf Island (81°48′24″N), or if you don’t consider that Europe, it is the island of Rossøya on Svalbard, both over 1,000 kilometers north of the North Cape. Those places are definitely closer to the North Pole than to any sizeable city like Oslo. Those places are also virtually impossible to visit, so no travelers ever make it there. Unfortunately for the North Cape it is also not the northermost point of continental Europe, as it lies on a small island. That title goes to nearby Cape Nordkinn (71°08′02″N), a difficult place to visit, but a few hikers make it there every year. Continue reading
Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz explored the seas around the Northern tip of Norway three times, looking for the infamous northern passage to Asia. On his third journey, in 1596, he stranded in heavy sea ice on the barren island of Nova Zembla, where he ultimately perished after spending the winter in the famous ‘Behouden Huys’, made of the wreckage of his ship in 1597. In an urge to relive some of the crew’s endurance, a small Dutch expedition ventured out to Kirkenes in Northern Norway, to see the part of the Arctic Ocean named after our national 16th century hero, in the middle of the Arctic winter. Continue reading
Intense Arctic Expedition III
This was the third Intense Arctic Expedition that we organized since 2011. The ‘intense’ concept means that participants have a very short, but intense arctic experience. Three nights of hiking and camping in the snow of a challenging wilderness is enough to have a lifelong impact. It is also intense because it brings you from inside your comfort zone to ‘outside your comfort zone’ – there where the magic happens – in just a few hours. Our favorite location is the rugged Skarvan and Roltdalen National Park in Central Norway. It is close to the Trondheim-Vaernes Airport, which offers several daily direct flights from Amsterdam, by KLM. It is also the northernmost destination you can fly directly from Amsterdam. Perfect for this short experience!
The annual Arctic winterhike took us to the Pyhä-Luosto National Park in Lapland, an area that we started exploring back in 2009. This park is one of the southernmost Arctic tundra plains. Southernmost is relative, it is still located 100 kilometers North of the Arctic Circle. To reach it we fly from Amsterdam via Helsinki to Rovaniemi. There we take the skibus to the Luosto ski resort, on the foot of the ‘Tunturi’, the treeless hills that form the National Park. We spend the first night in a very comfortable and typical Lappish cabin, which is part of the the Luostotunturi Hotel.