Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Winter Camping Tips for Scotland

December 29, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 163

Far too early in the year, usually from October, I look forward to winter camping in Scotland. Folk often find this strange because I'm not talking about the deep, cold snowy winters of, say Alaska, but the bone chilling, 'just-above-freezing and the sleet's blowing sideways' maritime climate that Scottish hillwalkers rejoice in.

Winter camping in Scotland in the snow can be fun. But it can also be cold and wet. Scots don't live in a big country but it's possible to get far away from the road and relative safety (some roads in winter have no traffic) and with the snow, wind and often freezing rain it would be easy to get hypothermia. It's important to have the right skills, quality equipment and to be prepared.

Here's a sample Scottish winter camping gear list (with some kit thoughts and camping tips from 10 years experience thrown in) -


Underwear - try merino wool, it doesn't stink as much after a few days out. Trousers - I've tried lots and prefer Powerstretch leggings (thick, stretchy tights - not for the fashion conscious) Socks - thick woollen socks (carry a spare pair). If you wear leather boots, waterproof/breathable socks are very good (look for ones with merino wool inside). Boots - Scarpa Mantas win Trail magazine's 'Best in Test' award most, if not every year. T-shirt - merino wool (mixed reviews - I like it) or Patagonia's capilene.


Fleece top - lightweight fleece, 100weight. Windshirt - invaluable. Wear it over the t-shirt or the t-shirt and fleece and it can keep you warm on the move in most weather. (I have a Patagonia one from years back but I'd like a new one as it's an RAF blue colour - read baby blue - and I have, somewhat regrettably, been mistaken for a female from a distance...) Fleece jacket - I like a good old-fashioned thick fleece jacket. e.g. Berghaus Spectrum. Other hill walkers go for a lighter option e.g. a thin Primaloft top (Rab, Haglofs, Patagonia) but I've found these compress too much in a winter hoolie and I've gotten cold. Duvet jacket - I've spent a ton of money looking for a good, thick hooded 'belay jacket'. Current one is Mountain Equipment's Citadel and it's super toasty. (I've tried down insulation and don't like it in Scotland in winter for camping trips, even with a water-resistant shell. It gets wet too easily so you can't wear it through the day. I do though have a Rab Neutrino Endurance down jacket - I'm the warmest dog walker in the park). Hat - thin wool hat (thicker ones I find get too hot for walking in). Balaclava - powerstretch or merino wool. Windproof hat - spare in case of very bad weather. Windproof neck gaiter - ditto - I get a cold, sore face when the wind is strong and it is around/below freezing. Fleece gloves - windproof ones are good. They will get wet but should dry (relatively) quickly. Ski gloves - great for poor weather but if you wear them all day you sweat in them and they usually stay wet for the duration. Pile mitts - lightweight pertex/pile mitts, usually taken instead of the ski gloves. Waterproof pile mitts - big, sleep-overnight mitts for emergencies.


Waterproof jacket - I like two layers of fabric for the front zip (or the wind/sleet/rain comes through it) and a hood you can disappear into (with strong bungee cord for cinching down - some jacket hoods un-cinch in strong winds). Waterproof trousers - If you're wearing thick trousers, you could get away with a lighter pair of shell trousers. (Caution lightness against robustness though. I've trashed a pair of Paclite trousers in 2-3 trips (heel rubbing, crampons rips, etc.). Gaiters - I use an old pair of Mountain Hardwear waterproof/breathable ones. Make sure the loop at the bottom is sturdy or it'll break easily. (If you tuck your waterproof trousers inside them them you can negate the last point about robustness but you will end up looking like a German soldier).


Map - in Ortlieb waterproof case (essential). Compass and GPS - essential (compass first, GPS as backup). Mobile phone - in dry bag. Ice axe - I prefer a long walking axe, 80cm (65cm though seems very popular). Crampons - Grivel G12s (10-point ones would suffice for winter walking). Ski poles - carbon fibre poles (e.g. Alpkit) are the lightest weight. I prefer stronger Black Diamond ones (flick-lock because I've had two Leki screw-tighten poles fail on me). Headtorch - Petzl Myo XP (I also take a Petzl E-lite as a spare - handy for in the tent) Bothy bag - great for lunch stops. (A 2-man one fits you and the dog. A 3-man is better for 2 adults). Blizzard bag - never used it but if the marketing's honest it'll be as warm as a 2-season sleeping bag...


Tent - a 4-season dome or tunnel tent (I have a Macpac Minaret which seems bombproof). Poles - there's the option to double up on poles if you're expecting very bad weather (I've never had to). Pegs - long ones plus snow stakes if camping on snow (Useful to take poly bags then too - fill them with snow and attach them to the guy lines). T-shirt, long johns, socks - it's nice to have completely dry clothes to put on. Sleeping bag - Mountain Equipment Classic 750 down bag. Sleeping bag cover - Mountain Equipment Ion is ideal (down bags are prone to get damp with condensation). Sleeping mat - Alpkit 3/4 inflatable plus a Ridgerest. Stuff sack - the stuff sack for the Rab down jacket. Stuff a fleece top in it and you have a perfect pillow. Glasses case - I've rolled over on my glasses a few times. Book - it's a long night if you're in bed just after it gets dark. Ear plugs - useful for tent partners but more for the wind. Stove, fuel, windshield - MSR Whisperlite (A Jetboil's a good alternative as you can use it inside your tent - just remember to have ventilation). Water bottle - rigid 1l Nalgene with a wide mouth. Vacuum flask - 0.5 litre seems a good combination of weight versus amount of use. Pot - 1.6 litre MSR pot (there's smaller and lighter ones but I like to boil a big pot of water and use it to make dinner, fill a flask and fill a makeshift hot water bottle, all at the same time. Saves you reboiling water). Mug - it's nice to have a drink whilst your tea's cooking and you'll appreciate your morning coffee more if it doesn't taste of Thai Chilli Supernoodles. Spoon - Lexan Lighter - Light my Fire Pen knife - Swiss army knife Water bottles - 1.5 litres worth of soft, roll-uppable water bottles, e.g. Platypus (It's nice to not have to walk back and forth for water). Hygiene - Toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, handwash. Medicine - e.g. strong painkillers, loperamide. Bandages - just enough to stop moderate bleeding. On top of this, I'll also have a DSLR camera, a single lens, spare batteries and memory cards in a Lowepro Toploader Pro camera case.

Written by UK mountain and adventure sports photographer, Colin Henderson. I specialise in adventure photography, e.g. people hill walking, backpacking, trekking and mountain biking. Find out more at my website.

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Winter Camping


Winter Camping Equipment


Camping Equipment List

Mauritius is one of the most ideal family vacation spots in the world.Mauritius is one of the most ideal family vacation spots in the world. Travel agencies have experienced a significant rise in the

By: Manya Singh l Travel & Leisure > Destination Tips l April 03, 2013 lViews: 586

India is a treasure trove of countless holiday destinations each of which is an enigma in itself. One such superb place is called Manali, a hill station in the heart of Himachal Pradesh. No one has

By: Manya Singh l Travel & Leisure > Destination Tips l April 03, 2013 lViews: 602

Vacation is an event many families look forward to biannually or annually, but some individuals take frequent vacations, depending on their work ethics. The common problem many vacationers face is

By: jhon ford l Travel & Leisure > Destination Tips l December 30, 2012 lViews: 598

Luxury family holidays are always the anticipated occasion in households. This is especially true when their destination is the one that they have longed been dreaming of visiting. Incidentally,

By: willsmith10 l Travel & Leisure > Hotels Accommodations l December 28, 2012 lViews: 647

Not all the thoughts belong to same world all the time. They are dominated by different colours, different acts and fascinations. Overworked brain start imagining things that it wanted to do even if

By: willsmith10 l Travel & Leisure > Travel Planning l December 18, 2012 lViews: 260

Christmas is fast approaching and also it is an excellent excuse to plan a holiday trip with your family to stay away from the frenetic work. If you are scouting for a great vacation destination

By: willsmith10 l Travel & Leisure > Destination Tips l December 16, 2012 lViews: 261

You should always carry tents in your bags. They are important to combat any bad weather. Even if your tents tear or rip due to any reason, the extra tents can help you to combat the bad weather or

By: Simon Lival Travel & Leisure > Campingl November 24, 2012 lViews: 189

  When it comes to sifting through the various caravans for sale, trying to find the perfect one for your family's needs, one of the decisions that you will have to make early on in the process is

By: John K. Taylorl Travel & Leisure > Campingl June 13, 2012 lViews: 190

A sleeping bag will be important to have when you are going camping. Make sure you choose the right one for you!

By: Jerry Vearrierl Travel & Leisure > Campingl June 12, 2012 lViews: 189

Have you ever had the experience when you fill your cooler with ice and a few hours later everything is wet and soggy from it melting? This is one experience that no one wants to have especially if

By: Alan Richl Travel & Leisure > Campingl June 08, 2012 lViews: 216

Bear Grylls and Gerber have been releasing a lot of products lately. Here we'll talk about the new Canteen Kit available on the market.

By: Marlin Zellerl Travel & Leisure > Campingl June 08, 2012 lViews: 243

The Coleman 6-Person Instant Tent is a one-piece tent that is designed for easy erection. In fact, it is possible to setup the instant tent within a minute due to its innovative design. The poles

By: Alex Burciagal Travel & Leisure > Campingl June 06, 2012 lViews: 333