Having the right skill set and knowledge will not only make winter camping much more enjoyable but can also get you out of those tight spots when things go horribly wrong. Even a little bit of bush craft know-how has been proved time and time again to have prevented some terrible events.
Getting the right information is key and although being prepared with the right kit before you head out will always be a major part of off season hiking or camping you can break the bank on a full arctic setup and still easily get yourself into trouble even in mild winter weather without the right knowledge.
Some publications or books on camping safety can be a little vague especially when they are sponsored by manufactures of outdoor gear, choosing to focus more on their products than actual safety information. Nothing wrong with spreading the word of your products this way providing the require knowledge is also included which sadly isn’t usually the case.
Military Survival Guides
Manuals and books produced by army organizations or army personnel are always very comprehensive with the tendency to deal with everyday situations while also covering what to do should the worse thing imaginable happen. These books can take some getting through but I would advise anybody to try and read as much as possible of at least one good example, remember the training given to the armed forces has been practiced for hundreds of years in some appalling real life situations.
Personal Survival Books
An easier read is one of the many books written by people who have made tackling some of the worlds great outdoor challenges their life’s work. Nearly all the same information is present as with army type manuals but these books can be more entertaining. Facts and examples are intermingled with real life applications from the author making understanding the need to do things a certain way a little bit more memorable.
Many years ago I had a brilliant idea to write some sort of winter survival book for the average wild camper but was quickly stopped in my tracks when talking to a few long standing friends. This kind of information has to come from someone with experience and a safety conscious view of camping, and as my friends promptly reminded me that the experience side was covered (then some) but I was a terrible risk taker and maybe not the right person to create such a survival masterpiece.
Time (and age) has tempered my base instinct to do things the hard way and with a lot more common sense when bad weather climbing means that I never even come close to the line I would happily leap across with my backpack on fire in years gone by, so just maybe its time to put pen to paper.
You can never know enough about taking care of yourself when enjoying a healthy outdoor life and while its true that so much is picked up by actual experience its always good to get a head start.