Winter Camping thread, share stories, advice...

AA1PR

Disabled Explorer
#1
Thought it would be neat if we had a thread to share experiences


Anyone else love to go camping in the winter?

done it in the past in snow caves, tents & thougth I wanted to try my hammock


wish I could honestly tell you this is enough insualtion, but I cant, still bring your layers & your -30bag

around 3pm just before it really starting dropping in temps

nothing like a good fire to keep you warm, small enough to conserve fuel


here is my son at 12yrs old trying out his snowcave in the backyard on cold winter night, before I let him venture off in the wild to do it on his own


this is why I dont use canister stoves for winter camping,even if you support the canister off the snow/ground it is prone to freezing

something along these lines is better

nothing like warm food at -20. also do not forget that hydration is just as imporant now as in 80 degree weather
 
#3
Some of my winter camping gear:

Best winter camping tent is a floorless, lightweight pyramid design. Easy to set up, takes up very little pack space, and you don't need to worry about getting snow inside your tent. Spacious, comfortable, and weather worthy.

http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/mountain/shelters/mega-light-tent

Best winter camping stove is a MSR Reactor. Boils water faster than any other stove I've ever used. (including various white gas models.) Melts snow really fast. Simpler and more efficient than white gas or kerosene. In really cold conditions, I warm a half cup of water first, pour it in a titanium bowl (1.8 ounces) and set the gas canister in the bowl. The bowl of water keeps the gas warm, increasing the stove's efficiency, and insulates it from the ground. Careful of carbon monoxide.

http://www.rei.com/product/736977/msr-reactor-stove-system

http://www.rei.com/product/720286/snow-peak-titanium-bowl


Best cold weather sleeping pad is the neoair XTherm. Light, warm, compact.

http://www.rei.com/product/829850/therm-a-rest-neoair-xtherm-sleeping-pad


Get a sleeping bag that is cut large enough to wear extra clothing inside. Even in temperatures well below 0, the warmest bag I typically use is a 0 degree rated bag. It's cut wide and large enough that I can wear my puffy jacket and other winter clothing inside the bag. This saves space and weight and allows me to stay warm well below the bag's recommended rating. Many sleeping bags are very slim cut. If you can't wear all your clothing inside the bag without getting squished, it's too small.
 

AA1PR

Disabled Explorer
#4
Some of my winter camping gear:

Best winter camping tent is a floorless, lightweight pyramid design. Easy to set up, takes up very little pack space, and you don't need to worry about getting snow inside your tent. Spacious, comfortable, and weather worthy.

http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/mountain/shelters/mega-light-tent

Best winter camping stove is a MSR Reactor. Boils water faster than any other stove I've ever used. (including various white gas models.) Melts snow really fast. Simpler and more efficient than white gas or kerosene. In really cold conditions, I warm a half cup of water first, pour it in a titanium bowl (1.8 ounces) and set the gas canister in the bowl. The bowl of water keeps the gas warm, increasing the stove's efficiency, and insulates it from the ground. Careful of carbon monoxide.

http://www.rei.com/product/736977/msr-reactor-stove-system

http://www.rei.com/product/720286/snow-peak-titanium-bowl


Best cold weather sleeping pad is the neoair XTherm. Light, warm, compact.

http://www.rei.com/product/829850/therm-a-rest-neoair-xtherm-sleeping-pad


Get a sleeping bag that is cut large enough to wear extra clothing inside. Even in temperatures well below 0, the warmest bag I typically use is a 0 degree rated bag. It's cut wide and large enough that I can wear my puffy jacket and other winter clothing inside the bag. This saves space and weight and allows me to stay warm well below the bag's recommended rating. Many sleeping bags are very slim cut. If you can't wear all your clothing inside the bag without getting squished, it's too small.
nice gear you have

However I have seen the isofuel canisters freeze solid here in VT, if you do not keep it in a warm location prior to use

I have a thermarest ridgerest & their self inflating model too

If I wasnt disabled I would opt for a teepee & a wood stove like the goat ti

I have titanium cookware too but feel you have to be very diligent with its use, whereas SS is more foregiving

yeah like anyone else I have the polypro expedition weight thermals & even bring along EMS ones to boost the layers when need be (mostly at night)
 

Seeker

Adventurer
#5
That's a whole 'nother level of Winter than this Glamper is used to. Desert chill and high winds, but never any deep snow... YET! :)
 

thedjjack

Dream it build it
#6
silva 123 camper best winter stove...no pump = no pump breaking off with mitts and cold

vehicle that starts at -40C at the end without having to push the engine over a fire is nice....
 
#7
Just want to add a quick tip before heading to bed.

Keep warm water in a thermos, or an insulated nalgene bottle. Its a lot easier, and uses less fuel to use that fresh snow when putting it into warm water already.

Batteries should be stored close to the body to stay warm...not against the skin, but inside the outer shell.

I cant say that I would EVER use a hammock in cold weather. (no matter its rating) Allowing the cold and wind to surround you is just bad. A proper snow cave can be heated with a candle...

I use the US military 3 peice bag system, and in cold weather I use all 3 (one goes inside the other, with a goretex bivy cover), and strip down to my base layer of either silk weights or poly (long undies and a thin long sleeve shirt helps keep the skin oils out of the bag) If you go to bed with all your clothes on, your going to be cold when you take a layer of sleeping bag off. Put your clothes flat between your pad and your bag...it will keep them warm enough for morning wear.

LOOSE LAYERS. I cant stress that enough. Restricted blood flow = failure to heat extremities. My layers go from thinnest (against the skin) to thickest (outer layers) usually between 3 and 5 layers depending on how active I am. If you are active, strip down. Sweat = wet layers....very bad.

I love wool. It warms even when damp. Wool socks are a must. I wear a base layer between wool and the rest of my body though.

Fingers and feet. Very similar. A liner, an insert, and a shell. I wear a thin 5 finger glove liner that NEVER comes off. It goes inside of a good 5 finger Insert/insulation layer, and covered with a sturdy shell(usually a mitten as it keeps heat better) If I have a need for dexterity, I can take my hand out for a short time and still be protected. The same basic configuration for my feet. Liner = sock, most good cold weather boots have a thermal liner that can be removed at night and put in the sleeping bag to dry at night, and the protective shell portion of the boot.

Finally in really cold weather, take all metal off your body. Rings, necklace, earrings, nip....well you get the idea. Metal will put the cold directly into your body and will become frostbite quickly.
 
#8
Glad you mentioned that Charles, about taking the clothes off to go to bed, so I didn't have to.....LOL

No matter how cold it is, you will sweat in a bag, your body temp (if you're not dying) will be warm and cause mositure, your clothes will get damp and when you get up, you'll freeze your tail off. Been there done that, Ft. Drum winter training staying out for a week in caves and improvised shelters. I wouldn't get in a hammock hung in the air, dig down a couple feet, lay out a water proof bag/poncho, lay your bag on top and lay your hammock on top, mound snow around the edges to keep your roof in place, use your clothes for a pillow outside the bag and inside the liner. I like to leave the bag open a bit and losely lay my parka over my head like a smaller tent, easy to breath and keeps heat in to breath warmer air.

It was -50 up there, I got a drink of water before walking out of a building and my mustache was wet, it froze in seconds and the hair broke! I shaved it off within hours of being there.

I also recall while still on post, doing the cross country ski thing, that night I got to the NCO club, when I left that night I learned (very slowly) that you can't ski along the road on ice, I'd make it about 10 feet and get up, 10 more feet and get up. I got alot of practice getting up, not sure if the beer had anything to do with that training episode. :)
 
#9
Avoid cotton like the plague (though that is true of almost any outdoor activity wherein you may be in the elements without a way to get dry). Cotton Kills, plain and simple.

On older vehicles, having a can of ether handy is a good idea. I've seen engines barely turn over, but a shot of ether into the air cleaner (a very SMALL shot) get's them fired up and running even at -40.

Beware of thin ice or areas where a current may have thinned the ice. Don't take a vehicle out until it's been measured, preferably by yourself, very very recently. A summer map of currents can be helpful.

Careful of sipping out of metal cups if they've been sitting (think tongue on a metal pole).

Make sure you have sunglasses that offer 100% UV Protection, and WEAR THEM. Sunburn on your retinas (more commonly called Snow Blindness) is a serious issue if it's snowy and sunny, particularly in activities like snowshoeing, skiing, etc. The snow reflects the suns UV rays, and the less contrast there is the more likely you are to get it (i.e. more likely on a crossing of a large, frozen lake then in a dense forest). It hurts like hell and can take quite a few days to heal, and don't even think of driving out with that condition. If you don't have food or water for the extended stay that snow blindness gives you, you may be in a spot of trouble! So wear sunglasses or goggles.
 
#10
Some great tips, guys. +1 on base layer only in the sleeping bag.
Man I loved XC skiing and diggin' snow caves in the winter with the scouts.
Camping in a snow cave is hecka fun!
That's how I got into snowboarding and winter sports.

Stay safe,
~Ben
 
#11
I do cold in two different ways:

First is all new age fabric, 6in memory foam pad, and a little heater in the truck.
Thats for the nights in parking lots waiting for the lifts to start.

Second is old school, grandpa taught, for when Im home in North Dakota.

For below zero only.
Duck cotton outerwear, Rabbit fur Plunge mitts, Mukluks, Wool, Wool, and more Wool under it all.

I was snowshoeing in the Sheyenne glasslands, big ground blizard started up. I slept in a snowhole and was
not warm but crawled out with the sun in the morning. Was Scary.

Its been 14 years since that and I have done it every year sinc




sent from montana, usa
 
#12
Oh on purpose after the first year. I really look forward to it now, small changes over the years but not much.

sent from montana, usa
 

Joanne

Adventurer
#13
When I am cold weather camping I always have a separate set of clothes I wear only for sleeping. We perspire regardless of the temperature so you don't want to sleep in the same clothes that you wore during the day that have absorbed your perspiration. Works for me.

Joanne
 
#14
If you aren't wearing all of your clothing inside of your sleeping bag, you're carrying too heavy of a sleeping bag. (That is, if you're actually carrying it. If you're car camping, then the extra weight doesn't matter.)
 

AA1PR

Disabled Explorer
#15
If you aren't wearing all of your clothing inside of your sleeping bag, you're carrying too heavy of a sleeping bag. (That is, if you're actually carrying it. If you're car camping, then the extra weight doesn't matter.)
I disagree, with the right temperature bag you should not have to wear every piece of clothing you brought or are carrying
you are going to perspire will you are sleeping & when you get active in the morning this will only help advance hypothermia if the conditions are right
purchase the newer moisture wicking gear, it may cost more, but you will be rewarded greatly when the time comes

you also need to stay hydrated as much in the cold as in the heat
 
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