Cold Weather Gear Care
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Winter months tend to split the outdoor community into 2 “camps”. You have the people who lace up their boots for some winter adventures and those who pack up their boots for the season and start planning for the next. We’re here with some gear care tips for both the people who say “it’s play time” and “it’s stay in time”.
A little bit of gear care goes a long way during the winter months regardless if you are out adventuring or hibernating– follow these quick tips to keep your BioLite gear in top form through these cold months:
It's Play Time: Cold Weather Gear Use Tips
All batteries drain faster in cold weather. To help keep power banks running at their best, keep them in your coat or vest pocket close to your body instead of your pack. For Headlamp, they'll benefit from the contact warmth of your head, and for HL330 and HL750 you can even put a hat on over the battery pack for some extra insulation. And a heads up, this is also true for gear like laptops you might be leaving in your car -- bring them inside whenever you can. A quick note on battery health and safety, don’t charge your lithium batteries when the battery temperature is below freezing. Think about when you’ve come in from the cold your hands can hurt a bit while they warm up. The same thing goes for lithium batteries. When your battery's internal temperature drops below 32 degrees, the lithium cells are unable to accept the same amount of charging current (warmth) as they did when the temperature was warm.
Fire: CampStove 2+ | FirePit+
Identify your kindling and fuel supply before you venture out. Found fuel (fallen tree limbs and twigs) is tougher to come by in colder months due to snow cover and overall damp conditions. While camping using CampStove 2+, we recommend bringing wood pellets so you're not snapping sticks with frozen hands and have a guaranteed fuel source. With our FirePit, it's the perfect excuse to buy that dry bundle of firewood from the gas station en route to that secluded cabin.
Solar: SolarPanel 5+ | SolarPanel 10+
The winter months bring us shorter days and less direct sunlight which means less power generation. You should re-strategize and evaluate the gear you plan to bring with you that may need to be recharged. Winter months make it a good time of year to lean on your power banks in order to keep smaller electronics recharged outdoors. Be sure to charge them up at home or in the car before you head out.
Now for those who want to wrap themselves in a warm blanket during the winter months. Here are some tips to keep your gear ready to go for when Spring comes around and your back on the trails.
It's Stay in Time: Cold Weather Gear Storage Tips
2. Charge It Up. Plug in any electronics via micro USB and fully charge your gear to condition the internal battery.
3. Store It Well. Proper gear storage under the right conditions helps prevent any rot or mold that could happen while your gear isn't in use. Store your equipment in a dry place, ideally at room temperature (≈73°F).
4. Warm It Up. If your gear has been hibernating in a trunk or cold garage, warm up any lithium ion device to over 45°F to start it easily. Lithium-ion batteries will perform subpar at a temperature less than 45°F. Our SolarHome 620+ is a great product for off-grid lighting and will operate best in the colder seasons if the control box is kept indoors.
5. Dust It Off. Clean off your solar panels & power banks, and make sure all the gear ports and flaps are free of dust for optimal charging.
6. Practice Makes Perfect. Familiarize yourself and make sure you take your gear for a test drive every 3-6 months. For avid campers who are out year-round, this will come with normal use; for less frequent usage or if you're planning to use in-case-of-emergency only, make sure your gear is prepped with regular check-ins. Mike Martin from the BioLite team says "Test out your gear before using it out in the field. It's best to become very familiar with your gear before it's make or break time out in the wild. Lastly, take care of your gear and your gear takes care of you." If you have questions, if anything doesn't work the way you expect, or if anything seems counterintuitive, check out our new Help Center for some informative articles about our products.
7. Clean Your Kit. Are you guilty of returning from a camping trip and just leaving your equipment piled up in storage? Pre-wash and organize all the camping crap that you tossed in the garage after your last fall outing.
Get Ready to Spring Out of Winter Hibernation
Preparation during the winter doesn't only end with your gear. Now is a good time to plan out the details and mentally prepare yourself for the trips this upcoming year.
- Reserve Your Sites. Snag that spot NOW! Many reservations open six months in advance and can go fast for weekend bookings. Visit recreation.gov or Reserve America for that perfect campsite, and your future self with thank you.
Apply For Permits. To help protect the natural landscape from being trampled on by too much foot traffic and to ensure the safety of visitors, plenty of backcountry destinations require permits for access. Backpacking or river trips at popular national parks like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon require backcountry permits. Do your research on where you're planning to go and see if they have any permitting system. You can also use recreation.gov's Build A Trip function to browse some locations that require backcountry permits.
Sign Up For Classes. While you're waiting for camping season, you can use these winter months to brush up on your outdoor knowledge. Even when you've done all the preparation for your gear and your trip itinerary, it's helpful to expect the unexpected and understand wilderness safety. Sign up for a NOLS course or an REI Experience this winter to prepare for the adventures coming up ahead.
Gearing up for any adventures this year? Tag us on Instagram to share your upcoming trips with us.