Boredom on winter trips


Jun 16, 2012
I wanted to see what others do to stave off boredom when backpacking in the winter. I don't mind the cold or the snow nearly as much as I don't enjoy the 14+ hours of darkness. I usually snowshoe out to cabins or just dayhike and stay in hotels in the winter because I get bored from the long nights in a tent. Does anyone else get bored? How do you deal with it?

Maybe I need to learn to sleep more.
A good book. I like to read inside my semi-rectangular bag.
Gather wood, feed the fire, take a nap, gather wood, feed the fire, take a nap...

It can be a bit long on solo trips for certain. If solo I scale back to 1 night trips.
One of the hardest nights I've ever spent in the backcountry was during December in the Needles. It was dark by 6 p.m. and dipped to 17 degrees F. By 4 a.m. I was wide awake but too cold to get out of the bag. Since then, the idea of winter backpacking has lost a lot of luster. I try to car camp instead.
You can always try to plan your winter trips to be on clear nights and hike by moonlight (and headlamp) under the stars. I've been out at night before where on heavy snowpack with easy footing, the moon and stars provide enough light where you don't even need your headlamp.
Thanks for the ideas. I love hiking at night, but my wife is not a fan of it. I need to do more of it, though. I usually read a lot, but I just get awfully restless trapped in my sleeping bag for too long. Campfires would help...I need to build those more in the winter.
Couple of things I do.

I download movies to my IPod. I watch one each night in my tent, so that shortens the night by 2 hours. Usually the only way I watch movies.

I keep a detailed journal of my daily accounts. I've started drawing illustrations of my hikes, my campsites, and interesting stuff along the way. I figure this may help bring back memories years from now when I re read all of my journals. Plus its fun and eats up tent time.

I also take melatonin pills to help me sleep. If your unfamiliar with melatonin, its a natural hormone that your body produces to cause you to sleep. Its something you can buy at any grocery store, and not something you need a doctor or prescription for. And it really works. Of course you should always consult your doctor before taking pills, especially when you read about it on the internet. But it works great for me, and I usually sleep for 10 plus hours when I take them backpacking. Its not mind altering, it just relaxes you in a non drug way. And I'm fully rested for the next day of hiking.
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