[Weekender] The charms of wintertime camping

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jan 23, 2015 - 22:23
  • Updated : Jan 23, 2015 - 22:41
Winter is a time to curl up at home, safely away from the freezing cold, with a nice thick comforter and a hot mug of coffee.

Or is it?

For those increasing numbers who fancy wintertime camping, winter is, on the contrary, just the right time to venture into the wilderness.

What, then, is the appeal? Why choose the cold open over the warm, fully furnished indoors?

“The snow,” said Kim Han-soo, a longtime camping enthusiast. “Snow is what sets winter camping apart from summer excursions.”

Above all the charms of this frosty season, beautiful, snow-covered landscapes are what captivate the hearts of lovers of the outdoors, he said.

Just imagine a tent pitched in the middle of a pristine white landscape; it could offer a sense of tranquility that many urban dwellers long for.

“These days, more and more people ― family, friends, bloggers ― flock to campsites to capture shots of the winter view,” added Kim, who is one of the managers at popular online camping community Camping First.

Wintertime activities also provide a fun means to fight off the cold.

Deogyusan National Park in Muju, North Jeolla Province, is popular among more energetic campers. Famed for its diverse landscape of valleys, waterfalls, pine forests and interesting rock formations, the park offers a scenic hiking trail alongside a number of picturesque campsites.

Other grounds, like those in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province, come complete with a sledding slope, arboretum, ski resort and frozen streams for ice fishing nearby.

Cooking outdoors is another indispensable delight of the tent life. Food prepared outdoors always seems to taste better, somehow, perhaps due to the freshness of the surrounding woodland air. You can never go wrong with a good old-fashioned barbecue or a steaming bowl of ramen noodles; nothing beats a hot pot in subzero temperatures.

But for those who lack flashy camping gear or wish to indulge in the true man-in-the-wild experience, a handmade smoker can be built by placing some firewood inside any old metal bucket ― a trick a la Jamie Oliver. According to instructions found on the celebrity cook’s YouTube channel, skewers of salmon, shrimp or sausages placed across the bucket will roast nicely, absorbing the woody scent of the coals lying at the bottom.

The single most important thing to remember, however, is safety.

“Winter camping entails a number of additional electronic devices one would not need in warmer seasons, such as electric blankets and furnaces,” Kim said. “They greatly increase the risk of accidents, so one should be extra cautious.”

Proper education on safety hazards is crucial, therefore, before a trip. One should be fully informed not only about the usage of complex devices, but also about avalanche areas, weather conditions and nearby mountain shelters.

Once the right precautions are in place, all that’s left is to shed the clamor of our modern lives and go bask in the serenity of the winter outdoors.

By Rumy Doo (