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Winter Camping Tips

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  • #16
    Piss bottle, piss bottle, piss bottle..........................
    Well, for me, the action is the juice.....I'm in.


    • #17
      change your socks & wear a stocking cap/toque/watch cap or balaclava to sleep...

      Probably been covered before, but you'll really notice a difference if you change into clean, dry socks (wool or fleece) right before you bed down. Your socks will retain some moisture from your feet during the day and, if you change out, your feet will stay warmer through the night and not cool down due to the evaporating moisture.

      Covering your head while sleeping, not pulling it into your bag, avoids moisture into your bag as previously mentioned, and conserves a lot of heat normally lost. If really frigid, a balaclava can be pulled over your nose, keeping your entire head and face much warmer...

      As always, ymmv.... vthunter

      +1 on the 'pee' bottle - I keep a well-labeled wide-neck soda bottle (Mtn Dew - green plastic, offends less folks :rolleyes:) and dispose of the contents appropriately the next morning.

      +1 for some calories before turning in - a spoonful of peanut-butter or Nutella (hazelnut spread) gives the internal furnace a bit of extra fuel for a chilly night.
      Last edited by vthunter; 04-11-2010, 09:27 PM. Reason: fixed typo


      • #18
        Rocks from river bottom areas should always be avoided. They will explode!

        Sunglasses are a must. If you forget them and have access to birch bark an improvised pair can be made with 550 cord and a piece of bark with slits cut in foryour eyes. Snow goggles which offer UV protection are even better.

        Pack snow up around the bottom of your tent.

        Set up camp in areas which offer protection from the wind...Heavy conifers, cedar swamps etc...

        Avoid setting your camp in too high of terrain or too low of terrain. Find a happy medium in between. For ex. Not on the top of a ridge and not at the bottom of a ridge. Your warmest air currents/thermals will lie in between the top and bottom.

        DO NOT EAT SNOW...It is hard for your body to process and can cause hypothermia to set in much quicker.

        Clean clothes insulate better because clean fibers have more loft to them.

        If you are on the move put snow in a plastic bag/container and place it on the inside of your jacket to allow it to melt for drinking water.

        Pine boughs make an excellent insulator under your sleeping bag.

        Pulling a sled makes hauling gear much easier. I will pull a sled with my pack in it in case the pack is needed. It's very easy to modify a sled into a pulk sled for pulling gear.

        Keeping dry is the biggest key of all. Don't get sweated up or go into that sleeping bag damp. Change cloths.

        A handmuff worn around your waist with handwarmers is perfect for keeping those hands warm and holding small gear. If it's in the way just spin it away to your backside.

        Allow for ventilation in your tents to help prevent moisture build different then a sleeping bag.

        It's amazing how quick sawing wood or doing push-ups can warm you up.

        If your ice fishing you can keep the hole from freezing solid by filling it with pine boughs.

        Cotton/duck tents work the best for winter camping, but are heavier. Small wood stoves can be used inside with a pipe exiting the tent through a stove jack. I will be ordering a Snow Trekker tent in a few weeks which are made in my state of Wisconsin. Pricey? Yes, but they will out live you.

        Avoid cotton! I'm all about wool and synthetic mixtures.

        Throwing a few handwarmers or a bottle of hot water into your sleeping bag ahead of time works great.

        Dehydration will actually get you easier in the winter then during summer months believe it or not.

        A small shovel and believe it or not a small whisk broom are VERY handy to have!

        Processing wood is so important so having an axe and 24" bow saw are priceless.

        Relective pipe insulation with bubble wrap in between it's to foil sides makes an excellent material for placing in the bottom of your sleeping bag and using for bottle wraps to help prevent freezing. This stuff is cheap and has endless uses, not to mention is very lightweight.

        If traveling around lakes/rivers an ice chisel is very important.

        A windproof jacket and pants shell is a must.

        Dress in layers and wear loose fitting clothing. Tight cloths will not insulate as well.

        Snowshoes make an excellent shovel if you need to improvise.

        High calorie in take is so important.

        I will be doing some major winter camping this year and will keep you do some posting for you guys. I used to winter camp on a regular basis and have decided to get back into it. The silence of winter, the stars in a clear night sky and the nothern lights are my idea of heaven. NO BUGS EITHER!!!

        I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book for anyone who wants to winter camp. It's called the "SNOW WALKER'S COMPANION" by Garret and Alexandra Conover You will not be disappointed!
        Last edited by Snow Walker; 05-05-2011, 09:08 AM.


        • #19
          outstanding post, yes do keep us posted.. I love winter camping it's very different and rewarding if you know your stuff

          The best thing you can do to support the site is pass it on to your friends and fav sites like other forums, facebook, twitter etc. Let people know about us! :)


          • #20
            Sort of wrong time of the year but here are a few other points. Some of these might repeat others posts so sorry, but they still bare repeating.

            - Cotton kills! Only use synthetics or wool. Cotton holds moisture and can quickly suck heat out of your body leading to hypothermia.

            - Put your next days change of clothes in your bag before you crawl in. helps to insulate some more from the ground and also will give you warm fresh clothes to change into in the morning. Beats 0 degree boxers in the morning…talk about shrinkage… Brrrrr…

            -Try to cook before leaving for camp and then cook in camp via retort. Cook your meal and put it into good quality Ziploc bags. At camp, boil water, drop in the food bags and allow them to heat thru, pop the bag open and muncha. Makes clean up quick and keeps from having to get wet cleaning dishes.

            - In a snow cave, make sure to pop a small vent hole thru the roof, helps to vent moisture. Also a small candle or 2 can really help to heat up the place.

            - Ditto on the suggestion of a before bedtime snack. I love the gorp/ trail mix snack before bed but also keep a baggie in your jacket pocket or pack. During the day as you work and move around camp grab an occasional handful. Having this to munch on during the day will help keep up your energy and body heat. Remember in winter you’re burning at least double your typical calories. You’re also loosing buckets of water thru exhalation and expiration, just like in a desert, so drink drink drink. Keeping hydrated will also help keep your lips and exposed skin from chapping, drying and cracking.

            - Dress in layers and add or take off to maintain your temp. Keep from sweating!

            - In the morning hang out your sleeping bag to air out and dry out

            - Piss bottle… just don’t mix it up with your canteen at 3 in the AM…LOL

            Point your tent door downhill and away from the wind to help when the temp drops and the cold air settles down the mountain.

            Look up OKPIK and read and learn what you can. There is about a 20-30 page booklet if you can find it that is loaded with valuable winter camping and survival tips. For those not familiar, this is the Boy Scout winter camping program. I don’t know if it still is, but at one point it was a big center piece of the military cold weather training courses.
            I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you!


            • #21
              not sure if it was mentioned yet....sleeping bags work better in skivies and watch cap....don't wear a bunch of clothes in your bag....I do like a liner though....easier to clean.

              Been doing the "Klondike Derby" winter camp with the Scouts...:)
              Live like you'll die tomorrow, learn like you'll live forever.


              • #22
                I just read this whole thread. I'm new to this site and I really like it here, and have gleaned a ton of information here already.

                What I can add here: This has been mentioned, but if it's snowy, pack snow around your tent. Same concept as a candle in an igloo, really, the snow does an excellent job of insulating the tent.

                Also, it's easy to dress TOO warmly to where you start to sweat while you're doing your thing during the day. Then your clothes end up wet from the inside out, leading to the double problem of being dehydrated AND wearing wet clothing in the cold. If you start to sweat, either remove some clothing or ease up a bit on your activity level and try to keep yourself warmed up and active, but just short of starting to sweat.


                • #23
                  If you build an igloo or snow cave, make sure the roof and sides are sloped and not flat. This will capture any melting snow/water and drain it down the side. A candle inside a good snow cave can bring the temps up into the 40's pretty easily. This will begin to melt the inside walls, but if you let the temp drop, the walls will freeze up hard as ice. In a large snow cave, with a group of folks, you can have a small fire inside a #10 can. Make sure you have a vent hole in the roof to let out the smoke. We used to do this every winter during the Klondike Derby when my son was in Boy Scouts.
                  Planning to be here through it all.............


                  • #24
                    Haven't read entire post, but will! Me, Dad, brother, and good friend cold weather camp...especially at Mt Mitchell, NC. Good extereme camping...yes, in the South. Snowfall documented each month of year at one time or another. Please let me know if you are in Southeast and want to winter camp!


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Diesel View Post
                      thanks appreciate it!
                      Alkaline are the standard battery, I think you meant to say use lithium, as it's the premier battery when it comes to cold weather
                      Better yet, rechargeable and solar charger or hand crank charger. 6 rechargeables can be rotated to keep you in light all night. have the adapter for my cell phone too ( not that it always works in the bush)
                      The Marine Corps doesn't build Character, they Reveal It. F.& A.M.