At Snow Peak, we as employees are all users, and we try to share this mindset not only with our customers, but with anyone who interacts with the brand. We want to shift the narrative from ‘this is what Snow Peak do’ to ‘this is what I’ve done’ or ‘this is how I’ve camped’, and one way that we do this is by taking partners from other businesses camping with us. When we host and camp with partners and customers alike, it is all about strengthening our connections with them and the community, and allowing people to feel empowered and comfortable in nature in a way that works for them.
Last week, we took the Head Office team from Naturkompaniet camping in Sweden. When we were looking for a campsite, we made sure to find one with good bathroom facilities and the ability to have open fires, as Takibi time is central to Snow Peak, and essential for winter camping.
The day we landed in Stockholm it was -15°C but the day we camped, the temperatures went up to 0°C. The relief amongst our team was palpable as there had been apprehension amongst some of us who had never camped in the minus degrees. Wrapped in our FR Down Jackets, we set up the Takibi Octa Tarp and the Rigel Pro. Stove Plus before it started to get dark, at 2:50pm. We used the Solid Stakes (the longer the better but we used #30) as their robustness allowed us to hammer them firmly into the icy hard ground and to ensure the tents would be secured down against the wind. As the Scandinavian darkness set in, the Naturkompaniet team started to arrive. It was around -2°C, but much to our relief and pleasant surprise we were comfortably warm in our many layers and gloves were even peeled off as we got cosy by the fire. We gathered around the Takibi firepits and started to prepare dinner: chicken and vegetable yakitori skewers and Japanese curry. Although we are seasoned campers here at Snow Peak, we joke that every camping trip we forget to bring something. This time we had a momentary scare that we had forgotten our stainless-steel dinner set and were getting ready to eat curry out of titanium mugs. After much searching in our densely packed van, Matthew eventually found the plates and the disaster was averted. However, we embrace making mistakes and know that this is part of the experience and the unpredictable fun of camping and being in the outdoors.
Gathering around the fire and speaking with people into the night is a heartwarming way of connecting with people, but it is also a primitive and instinctive way of doing so and really fosters a sense of community. As we tucked into a Japanese curry, a Snow Peak favourite, we shared our favourite Japanese camping recipes with the Naturkompaniet team, and they shared some of their favourite Swedish ones. We shared our own camping experiences and learnt about the popular styles of camping and outdoor activities in Sweden, as well as a lesson in Swedish geography! We’re excited about going Nordic ice skating or skiing the next time we go.
The night drew in, metaphorically as it had already been dark for many hours, and we roasted marshmallows on the Takibi bonfire, before moving into the Rigel Pro. Stove Plus that was released this year – our first ever heated stove tent. The stove is lifted off the floor and held in place by the chimney which ensures a safe and stable setup to warm you to the core, even on freezing nights.
Several beers and laughs later we headed to bed, with three in the Rigel (although it could have slept many more), two in an Amenity Dome Medium, and Emily and I in a Pro. Air Fal 3. When camping in colder temperatures, an insulated layer beneath you is just as important as a warm sleeping bag layer over you, so some of us doubled up on sleeping mats or slept on top of a mat and a sleeping bag as an extra layer. Hot water bottles are also a great way of keeping toasty inside your tent, and getting into a cosy sleeping bag that you’ve prewarmed by leaving a hot water bottle inside as you’re getting ready for bed gives an unbeatable pleasure.
The next morning, we arose in the dark to a snowy, peaceful landscape and rekindled the Takibi fires and boiled the kettle for our first pour over coffee to start the day. We cooked a hearty breakfast of sausages, bacon, eggs, beans and toast, which the Swedish team enjoyed; they told us it was a welcome change from their usual sweet breakfast choices.
We shared our last goodbyes with the Naturkompaniet team before they headed off to work for the day, and then commenced the pack down. The snowfall slowed us down as we wanted to pack everything into the van completely dry, which is always recommended to prevent condensation or mould damaging the tents. Waterproof gloves are also indispensable when camping in the snow as bare hands will get even colder when wet. The final stage of drying the tents was a challenge but we managed to hang the outer shells inside the campsite’s communal facilities, but if this isn’t possible then it is always recommended to hang your tent indoors at home to make sure it is completely dry before packing it away.
If you’re inspired to go winter camping, head into store to talk to one of the team who can advise you on how to create an enjoyable winter camping environment.