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I'd like to open a topic on winter /cold weather camping. I'm going to be doing my first winter campout in mid February and I've started experimenting outside on my back deck. I've posted some updates over at the Campfire but as I start to dig a bit deeper into this subject, I think it merits a topic. 

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I decided to camp outside on my beack deck on the dates of January 4th and 5th (more to come). Temperatures running mid 30's - high teens. Since I've never camped outside in those temperatures I wanted to find out how comfortable I would be and not be dead. My reason for staying on the back deck was simple: If I was miserable I had the option of going inside to get warm. 

 

Basic materials 3 mil plastic tarp as protection against wind and the elements. There was a light breeze and clear sky.

 

Insulation was a foam matress, a Mountainsmith mummy bag rated for -10, fleece banket, Sea to summit bag liner. Clothing was long johns, sweater gloves and a knit cap.

 

The second night I added a few garbage bags full of leaves.

 

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Both nights I was comfortable temperature wise (somewhere in the mid 70's) . My biggest problem was the hard deck underneath and the cramped quarters. Since my kayak was lying on it's side on the deck, I was using that as part ot the shelter. I was wedged between that and the igloo cooler right where my right arm should be.

 

I also had a little fun when I woke up with condensation dripping on my from the tarp. Some of it was dripping. Some of it was freezing into ice crystals on my bag.

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The plan at the moment is to use my Eagles Nest nylon hammock which I prefer over sleeping down on the ground. My back made this decision.

 

I'm planning on purchasing a Gore-tex bivvy sack to use with the mummy sack and bag liner. For insulation between the bivvy sack and the hammock material will be one of two things either a few trash bags full of of leaves or I'll use my extra clothes. For shelter I'm using 3 mil clear plastic tarp.

 

Thoughts and suggestions please

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3 mil poly may get stiff when very cold and ice may cut/tear it.    I would suggest taking spares and maybe a woven undersupport.

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Check out warmer.com, space blanket. I've used it down to the low 40's upper 30's and was sweating, I was lightly clothed, nothing heavy on.

 

Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk. A man can be hard to find in the mountains, but your welcome at my fire anytime.

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Check out warmer.com, space blanket. I've used it down to the low 40's upper 30's and was sweating, I was lightly clothed, nothing heavy on.

 

Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk. A man can be hard to find in the mountains, but your welcome at my fire anytime.

 

~ That's a Famous Quote from Man From Snowy River!  :thumbup:

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~ That's a Famous Quote from Man From Snowy River!  :thumbup:

Yep, one of my favorite western movies, just not an American western movie. Have you seen part 2? I think its just as good as the first one. I watch both every time I can.

Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk.

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The man from snowy river is in my top ten. The part where he calls the beef their eating "hair a ford"  :nono:  her ferd snowy river guy her ferd. jeese

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The man from snowy river is in my top ten. The part where he calls the beef their eating "hair a ford"  :nono:  her ferd snowy river guy her ferd. jeese

 

Lol, I think the fight scene is one of my favorites, those two deserved a good ass wipping. Lol. I need to watch them again now that were talking about them.

Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk.

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The man from snowy river is in my top ten. The part where he calls the beef their eating "hair a ford"  :nono:  her ferd snowy river guy her ferd. jeese

 

~ Swede, in the movie, the Twin Brother (gold miner "Spur") was making fun of the fact that he was eating his Rich Rancher Brother's stray cattle... His brother's name was Harrison. So...  he called them "Harri-ford"  as a joke. A play on words. That's why they laugh after he says that. He Also says the "H" brand stood for "homeless".  :whistle:

 

~ Muddy Pete, I'm Sorry Swede and I took your topic so "Off topic".  :whistle:

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Ok muddy, back on topic. soo to start with a little lesson on loft. loft is what keeps you warm in your sleeping bag. you can have a 600 dollar down northface -45 sleeping bag. it fluffs up(loft) and traps air. well when you lay in it you crush the loft under you. the ground will suck all the life giving heat from your body quite fast. you need an insulating layer under you to make up for it. even a cheap blue sleeping pad from walmart will do the job. even better is a thermarest style self inflating pad. do not breath into your bag, you will deposite moister in it that robs you of heat. also where a socking cap, you loose a lot of heat from your head. you already know the warm water bottle trick so i wont repeat it. ill post some more stuff later.

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Razor - I've never winter camped and have not really camped out in quite q while.

 

I know you want to get up off the cold frozen ground. In the outdoor wintere survival course, we build kind of a ladder on the ground - some larger, long branches along the sides, then smaller sticks going across.  (We first moved the snow out from under where we were building.) Next we piled on leaves to cover the ladder.  On to of that, we put the sleeping bag.

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Razor - I've never winter camped and have not really camped out in quite q while.

 

I know you want to get up off the cold frozen ground. In the outdoor wintere survival course, we build kind of a ladder on the ground - some larger, long branches along the sides, then smaller sticks going across.  (We first moved the snow out from under where we were building.) Next we piled on leaves to cover the ladder.  On to of that, we put the sleeping bag.

anything that creates an insulated air space below you is what your after. its more important than whats on top of you. ive slept on pine bows in -30 degree weather and was warm as toast from it. i did find after trial and error that if you lay small branchess crosways and then lay more bows lengthwise that it is a lot more comfortable than laying bows crosswise.

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A few winter camping tips:

 

Practice this stuff in your back yard (or a convenient area to walk or drive out of) in temperatures below what you expect to encounter.

 

Plastic and other materials will become brittle to greater and lesser extent in extreme cold, TEST your stuff (see above).

 

Damp stuff can be allowed to freeze, beaten, and then held by the fire to dry out.

 

Black stuff can be hung in a bright sunny area to dry as well...white or light, not so much.

 

If you have shelter, when it is around freezing, stick around camp and avoid getting wet, slipping and falling, or getting chilled in that weather that "doesn't feel that cold".  We've always found it much nicer to camp at 20*F to 0*F than any other temperature, as long as the wind isn't blowing too hard.

 

Take more clothes than you think you'll need, but not to excess.  If you need 3 pairs of socks for the length of stay and temperature, take 4 pairs, but not 6.

 

If there's gonna be deep snow, or the chance for deep snow, take snowshoes and learn how to walk in them with pack before you go.  If it's deep snow and you don't have them, my advice is to stay put and stomp out an area to move around in and hope for rescue.  Learning to make or improvise snowshoes might not be a bad idea. Moving in deep snow is unbelievably difficult.  Tess and I considered cross country skis vs. snow shoes for our winter camping and decided on snowshoes, however, they might be a better idea if you already are an experienced skier?

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One other thing that we've always taken and have never had to use.  Get a cheap light plastic sled that you can lash to the back of your pack...if someone becomes compromised in some way, you can drag stuff easier than packing it.

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great info nurker. also if your going to have a fire dont make it to big or to close to your shelter.i learned the hard way that fire makesn water and water freezes after the fire cools.it will freeze your tent, leantoo, sleeping bag to the ground if your not carefull. basically dres in  layers, regulate your temperature so you dont sweat, were dry cloths to bed. (eat some good food before bed to boost your mtabalism) and bring a pee bottle. the worst thing about winter camping is having to crawl out of a warm sleeping bag to piss. holding it uses body heat and will chill you by morning. i use a wide mnouth nalgene bottle(cause i have to :hugegrin: i screw the lid back on super tight and i have a new heat sourse to put by my feet. yes it might seam gross but it does make for a nice warm  adition at 3:00 in the morning.

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I used to use hot rocks to warm the bag back in the day before nylon.  Probably could still get away with it if you took something like a small cotton flour sack to put the hot rock in, and wool might be even better.

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If you can spare the energy, it's a good idea to get the snow as far back from your fire pit as you can, and if it is continuing to snow, continue to scrape back.  You can use the snow to create ridges far enough back to act as a snow fence, but odds are that you won't want your camp in an area prone to drifting anyway.  You might not get a choice in some terrains, however.

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Good points, razor.  Make sure you take calorie dense foods for winter camping.  Also, plenty of water and dense high fiber foods as well, beans, Fiber One cereal, etc.  I'd leave behind the veggies and bring dehydrated hi fiber fruits.  A good multi-vitamin is a good idea as well.  Why the hi fiber?  Calorie dense foods like fatty meats, fried starches, chocolate, peanuts...tend to bind me up and you want to keep things moving through your system while winter camping.  Eating heavy is guilt free while winter camping, trust me, you'll burn it off.

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