Tips to keep the winter chill away from Anita and Mike Pavey.
If you’ve been enviously watching your friends’ further north suffering through their “winter” while you hold down the fort at home, then chances are you’ve been willing those winter blues away. We’re still a few months away from those warm rays of sunshine and freedom on the road, so here’s a few strategies to help keep you cosy.
Find a friend
Keeping company always manages to stave off the chill. Whether it’s just stimulating conversation, sharing a cuppa or just keeping active, it all works to distract your mind from the weather. There’s also romantic connections, holding hands, hugs and more. Sharing body warmth is a great way to harvest some heat.
If hugs are a little thin on the ground, why not hug a pet. Yep, those lap-sized furry critters are like portable hot water bottles in the cooler months and can really earn their keep.
Thermal clothing can also keep you isolated from the winter chill without wrapping you up like the Michelin-man. Thermal clothing is generally close-fitting garments available as base, mid and top layers. MicroMerino® is one such product, made from superfine 18.5 microns Australian Merino Wool. Amazingly, it’s soft and comfortable and not itchy like you would expect from a wool product. Being a natural product, the MicroMerino® offers natural temperature regulation, and being breathable, generates less body odour.
Some long-sleeved tops feature thumb loops to keep your hands warm and stop the chill from sneaking up your sleeves.
Mike’s favourite garment is the hoody, as it stops the draft from sneaking down your neck. Everything counts when there’s little insulation (hair) up top! A thin beanie or skull cap works well for sleeping without imposing any discomfort.
Where allowed, the campfire or bush TV is a great warmth generator. The only overheads are purchasing or gathering and carrying wood. One way of minimising wood use is to use an enclosed fire pit such as the Ozpig or building the fire in a shallow hole which reduces the draft and the burn rate. However, it also reduces the heat generated!
At least when we're allowed to go camping with a group, everyone can bring a bag of wood!
12V electric blanket
A recent acquisition that has added a new element of comfort for our cooler climate camping is the electric blanket. It’s powered from a standard 12V cigarette socket and covers the important chest-to-knee area, so you still need bed socks. It burns around 6 amp per hour, so it’s not super-efficient, but it’s an overhead we’re more than happy to carry.
A diesel or gas heater adds another element of luxury to your camping experience. This works well in areas such as national parks where campfires may not be permitted. It also suits campers who prefer to spend their time inside.
A heater can be fitted to your camper as an integrated solution. Heat is pumped inside while the toxic fumes are vented to the exterior. Portable devices are also available that are operated from outside and funnel hot air inside through a zip in the tent or other access port.