Winter Camping Tips

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Granola bars, trail mix, etc. Keep a pot of hot water available for cocoa or Cup-a-Soup - these warm from the inside. Dutch ovens are the best - they keep the food hot longer. It doesn't need to be fancy DO cooking. Meals should be 1-pot meals to keep cleanup to a minimum.

Prep all meals at home in the warmth of the kitchen. Shelter the cooking area from wind walls of tarps, etc. It's hard to pour frozen water, but easy to thaw it if it's already in the pot. Remember C O L D: C Clean - dirty clothes loose their loft and get you cold. O Overheat - never get sweaty, strip off layers to stay warm but no too hot. L Layers - Dress in synthetic layers for easy temperature control. D Dry - wet clothes and sleeping bags also loose their insulation.

Do not bring cotton. Staying dry is the key to staying warm. Air is an excellent insulator and by wearing several layers of clothes you will keep warm. Wicking should be a polypropylene material as long underwear and also sock liner. Warmth layer s should be fleece or wool. If you're camping in the snow, wear snow pants over your regular clothing Bring extra hand covering - mittens are warmer than gloves.

Bring 2 changes of socks per day. Everyone must be dry by sundown. No wet sweaty bodies or wet inner clothing. Use plastic grocery bags or bread bags over socks. This keeps your boots dry and you can easily change those wet socks. Keep your hands and feet warm. Your body will always protect the core, so if your hands and feet are warm, your core will also likely be warm. If your hands or feet are cold, put on more layers, and put on a hat!

Dress right while sleeping. Change into clean, dry clothes before bed. Your body makes moisture and your clothes hold it in - by changing into dry clothes you will stay warmer and it will help keep the inside of your sleeping bag dry. Wearing wool socks and long underwear tops and bottoms in the sleeping bag is OK. Put on tomorrow's t- shirt and underwear at bedtime. That way you won't be starting with everything cold next to your skin in the morning.

Wear a stocking cap to bed, even if you have a mummy bag. Put tomorrow's clothes in your bag with you. This is especially important if you're small of stature. It can be pretty hard to warm up a big bag with a little body, the clothes cut down on that work. Put a couple of long-lasting hand warmers into your boots after you take them off. Your boots will dry out during the night.

Fill a couple of Nalgene water bottles with warm water and sleep with one between your legs warms the femoral artery and with one at your feet. Toss them into your sleeping bag before you get in. Eat a high-energy snack before bed, then brush your teeth. The extra fuel will help your body stay warm. Take a Snickers bar to bed and eat it if you wake up chilly in the night. Use a sleeping bag that is appropriate for the conditions. Use a bivvy sack to wrap around your sleeping bag.

You can make a cheap version of this by getting an inexpensive fleece sleeping bag. It isn't much more than a blanket with a zipper but it helps lower the rating by as much as 10 degrees.

Use a sleeping bag liner. There are silk and fleece liners that go inside the sleeping bag. They will lower your sleeping bag's rating by up to 10 degrees. Or buy an inexpensive fleece throw or blanket and wrap yourself in it inside the sleeping bag.

Most cold weather bags are designed to trap heat. The proper way to do this is to pull the drawstrings until the sleeping bag is around your face, not around your neck. If the bag also has a draft harness make sure to use it above the shoulders and it snugs up to your neck to keep cold air from coming in and warm air from going out.

Don't burrow in - keep your mouth and nose outside the bag. Moisture from your breath collecting in your bag is a quick way to get real cold. Keep the inside of the bag dry. A zipped up coat pulled over the foot of a sleeping bag makes an extra layer of insulation. Don't sleep directly on the ground. Get a closed cell foam pad to provide insulation between your sleeping bag and the ground.

A foam pad cushions and insulates. The air pockets are excellent in providing good insulation properties. Use more than one insulating layer below you - it's easy to slide off the first one. In an emergency, cardboard makes a great insulator. Old newspapers are also good insulation.

A layer of foam insulation works too. Bring a piece of cardboard to stand on when changing clothes. This will keep any snow on your clothes off your sleeping bag, and help keep your feet warmer than standing on the cold ground. A space blanket or silver lined tarp on the floor of the tent or under your sleeping bag will reflect your heat back to you.

Better to lay on 30F earth instead of F air. Sleep in quinzees or igloos. These are warmer than tents since you've got an insulating layer of snow between you and the outside air, instead of just a thin nylon layer. Drain your bladder before you go to bed. Having to go in the middle of the night when it is 5 degrees out chills your entire body.

Drink all day, but stop one hour before bed. It would be useful to point out that the proper size sleeping bag is important as well. A 12 year old, 80 lb. I found this out the hard way, having bought a bag with "growing room" and almost ending up with a "scoutcicle". I found the information here extremely useful for instructing new scouts AND parents in cold camping in Texas where really cold weather is not that common. Having just returned from Winter Camp, I learned a few things the hard way.

Even though we thought we were "prepared" as all good boyscouts are, we endured four of the coldest days our area has seen in a few years at winter camp. I will definately do more than just send an email to parents asking them to preview the boys' packing before the trip. Next year I'll require the boys to bring their packs to a troop meeting and do a shake down before the trip. While we all came back in one piece, we were definately chilly the entire time.

The suggestions made above like using a zipped coat or a trash bag over the feet would've been a huge help had I thought of it. The heated water bottles would have helped out as well. The low night temps were in the 20 degree range but my boys were acclimatized to an unseasonably warm winter with temps the week before being in the 60s.

Thanks for the good info on staying warm. More body heat given off means a warmer tent or cabin. Supplement with a sleeping bag liner if necessary. Just did a winter weekend campout with night temps in the mid 20's sleeping in a tent pitched on snow. It was much nicer than expected! Ericdress Mobile Version View. English English Français Español Deutsch. Live Chat Leave Message Email: New In Outerwear New Shoes.

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