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Thread: Winter camping "Tip of the Day"

  1. #21
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    I hijacked this from another website and it has some good info regarding winter camping.

    Winter hiking with an overnight or two?

    1ST: KNOW THE LOCAL UPCOMING WEATHER BETTER THAN THE LOCAL WEATHER FORECASTER DOES and plan on it being ten degrees colder than anyone is predicting. Winter camping is very gear intensive - you might be able to get away with a 3 season tent if you are 100% sure there will not be falling snow BUT you'd still want at least a -20 degree bag. You'll need a closed cell pad AND a inflatable foam pad, the first to insulate you from the frozen ground and the other to provide additional insulation and comfort. (One needs to protect themselves more from the frozen ground than from the air in winter) Spend more time packing down the snow for your tent than a reasonable person probably would and you'll sleep much warmer. Pack but DO NOT clear away the snow as it is a great insulator. Must haves: silk underwear, very good boots (Well insulated with a plastic shell much preferred) PLENTY of layers, two VERY good pairs of mittens/gloves with full synthetic liners, two hats, wool socks, ear warmers, a balaclava, a waterproof/near waterproof soft shell, etc etc. NO COTTON ANYTHING!!

    Cooking: make SURE you get a four-season mix if you're hiking in with a propane/butane stove and relying on it for drinking water and cooking. Easy prep, high calorie, high carb food should be the only items on the menu.

    Liquids: Gatorade freezes at a lower temp than water does (high sodium content) so use it exclusively if need be; it's readily available in powder form and easy to carry. You need to HAVE TO stay hydrated in winter... even more so in the summer. Humidity levels can fall to near zero when it's below freezing and you will lose a good part of your fluids by just exhaling when you breathe. To boot, you need plenty of fliuds just to maintain and generate body heat. Make sure you wrap your water bottle and bring plenty of fuel if you do not know if you will have access to liquid water; melting snow for fluids will quickly drain your fuel stock. Want to live? Keep the BOOZE at home as it deregulates your perceived body temp, causing you to feel warmer than you really are. A few drinks?? A casually bad idea can potentially turn deadly very quickly.

    Good firewood can also be hard to come by in the winter so do not rely on it as a heating or a cooking source. It's enough to warm your hands and face and maintain your spirits but not much beyond that.

    Remember: early March might sound like the beginning of spring down here but up there, it's still very much winter. Leave your dog at home on this one! Most dogs are now just as domesticated as we are and cannot reasonably handle a winter overnight without proper shelter and good bedding.

    With this event? Unless you're feeling particularly robust and already well stocked with winter gear OR looking at unseasonably warm temps for the outing, you might just want to make a day of it, hang out for the campfire and trek back to the car before the night really settles in.
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  2. #22
    dí76 Guest

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    My winter tip is dont eat yellow snow

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haffy View Post
    Pack but DO NOT clear away the snow as it is a great insulator.
    I've heard just the opposite! If the ground did not get a hard freeze before the snow fell, it is warmer than the snow. So, clearing the snow away actually makes it warmer. I don't know who is right or if it really matters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haffy View Post
    Good firewood can also be hard to come by in the winter so do not rely on it as a heating or a cooking source.
    VicBiker is getting us plenty of wood!! Thanks Vic!!

  4. #24
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    I think I was the one who told you about sleeping on the ground in the winter.I watch a program last winter on survival in Alaska.They showed thermal imaging pictures taken from a helicopter.The people sleeping on the snow the only heat that showed up was from there body shapes.The people on the ground showed a warm glow from the earth around there body shapes.This study said the ground as long as it wasn't frozen would be 38 degrees.I haven't tried it yet but hopeto this winter.

  5. #25
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    Default Todays tip:Staying dry

    This I think is the most important subject on winter camping.If you are wet you are cold!!With any winter activities staying dry is the hardest thing to do.You have two choice's.The first one is to bring plenty of changes of clothes.The second way is to stay dry.This is the hard one to learn how to do.With todays clothes it's easier then ever,but still very hard.The secret is to stay just to the cool side of comfortable.Once you start feeling warm and comfortable its usually to late,you're already sweaty.Pay close attention to how warm you feel,as you warm up start by taking off gloves,then your hat and finally layers of clothing on your upper body.If you can keep from sweating you'll always be warm when you stop for a break. Now if I could just learn to do what I preach!!!

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by vicbiker View Post
    I think I was the one who told you about sleeping on the ground in the winter.I watch a program last winter on survival in Alaska.They showed thermal imaging pictures taken from a helicopter.The people sleeping on the snow the only heat that showed up was from there body shapes.The people on the ground showed a warm glow from the earth around there body shapes.This study said the ground as long as it wasn't frozen would be 38 degrees.I haven't tried it yet but hopeto this winter.
    I did hear this from you Vic, but I've heard it elsewhere too. I'm not sure I really understand it exactly. We won't be in a "survival" situtation. We (at least I will ) have a lot more padding than the minimum needed so it won't matter if the ground is a few degrees colder.

    The part I do not understand is: where do you find ground that is not frozen? If you sleep on the ground, it may warm up to 38, but wouldn't that tend to make it wet? In Maine, the frost goes down 4 to 6 feet!

    I like your last comment! The best way to find anything out is to make a reasonable plan and try it out in safe conditions. There are probably a lot of trade offs with either way.

  7. #27
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    The part I do not understand is: where do you find ground that is not frozen? If you sleep on the ground, it may warm up to 38, but wouldn't that tend to make it wet? In Maine, the frost goes down 4 to 6 feet!
    When the snow comes early like its suppose to it insulate the ground so it doesn't freeze.You are absolutely right about digging down to frozen ground,all you would accomplish is mud.

  8. #28
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    "Attach 4' - 6' of cord to each of your tent stake-out points so you can use rocks or logs for anchors if the ground is too frozen to drive in stakes or the snow is too soft to hold a stake."

  9. #29
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    Three-season tents may not be sturdy enough to handle the high winds and snow buildup that sometimes accompany winter storms. They may also be too ventilated to provide much shelter from a blowing storm.

    On the other hand, with "mild" winter weather, three-season tents can work fine for winter camping.

    I used a summer tent and it worked ok, but it was a bit cramped. Maybe I had a bit too much padding.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by tat View Post
    I used a summer tent and it worked ok, but it was a bit cramped. Maybe I had a bit too much padding.
    Did your summer tent have any uncloseable screens or vents? I have two 3 season tents, but im not sure if i want to use them because they both have screens that arent closeable and I dont think a tarp over them would provide adequate wind protection if it's blowin breezy that night.
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