Let’s face it. When the temperatures drop and the world turns into a Winter Wonderland, it’s much easier to curl up on the couch with a cup of cocoa than it is to gear up and head into the backcountry, but this time of year offers up its own magical experiences and scenery, and should definitely not be overlooked no matter what the challenges. Of course, having the right gear, like solid insulated apparel, 4 season tents, and 0F degree sleeping bags form the foundation for preparedness, but in extreme conditions, it’s the little things that matter the most for both safety and enjoyment. Fortunately for you, we’ve asked around Sierra Designs HQ and gathered up 5 of the best tips and tricks to make sure your next cold weather expedition keeps everyone smiling, toasty, and ready for more adventures.

1) “Add a bit of whiskey in your hydration pack bladder! Having your water freeze can be problematic and really difficult to thaw depending on temps. Putting a tiny bit of whiskey in there will help change the freezing temperature of your water. This is especially nice when you are using a bladder and the tube is exposed out of your pack. Just don’t put in too much, no matter how tempted you might be, as it can be difficult to get the flavor out once the temps are back up to normal.” -Michael Gilbert, Sales Manager

2) “Invest in a good vacuum insulated stainless steel water bottle, make a pot of coffee the night before, fill it up, and be prepared to enjoy a steaming mug of liquid joy before you even have to start a campfire in the morning. Typically, this type of water bottle is not something you would carry around with you because of the weight penalty, but in the wintertime, it’s a fantastic way to make your mornings a little bit easier – and sometimes in really cold weather, it’s the little things that count the most.” -Ryan Bertrand, Sales and Marketing Coordinator

3) “Put your phone, watch, and anything else with a battery in your sleeping bag for the night. The cold will kill any batteries and leave you potentially stranded when you might need help the most. If you don’t have 4 season fuel, go ahead and throw that in as well. Most people know to put the next day’s clothes in the there, too – it’ll be cozy with all of the gear you’ll share your bag with, but well worth it!” -David Kauffman, Associate Product Manager

4) “Before you and your companions pack up the stove for the night, boil one last pot of water to fill your Nalgene bottles with.  A Nalgene can handle the heat, and the extra warmth will put you to sleep quick in your sleeping bag…or will allow you to stay up and drink more whiskey if tucked under your puffy jacket.” – Brad McCall, Sales and Dealer Services Representative

5) “Bring. Extra. Socks. And gloves. And invest in fantastic base layers. All of these sound like no brainers, but as a woman, my hands and feet are the first things to go, and they typically go FAST when out in the cold due to my core temperature also plummeting fast. Extra layers where I need them most ensure that I can enjoy the weather rather than worry about it – and if one pair of socks get wet from the snow, I know that I have plenty of back ups!” -Sophie Ballo, Social Media Manager

These are just a quick hit list of the kinds of things that can make your winter camping experience more Type One and less Type Two fun, and if you’ve got a tip of your own to share, be sure throw us a line and let us know – we love learning new ways to Think Outside.