Winter Camping

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Winter Camping

Post by Ty on Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:09 am

This upcoming trip will be my first time taking the boys winter camping. I thought it might be a good idea to get some thoughts on keeping them and I warm!!

What are the necessities of winter camping? What are the must haves and the good idea to haves? I don't want my boys complaining all night that they are too cold!!

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Re: Winter Camping

Post by offroad_medic on Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:10 am

Good sleeping bags, wool blankets, hot water bottles you can put in the bags to keep feet warm, hot beverage for mornings, good mats to sleep on, beanies/gloves, layered clothes
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Re: Winter Camping

Post by Kevin on Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:00 am

Ty wrote:This upcoming trip will be my first time taking the boys winter camping.  I thought it might be a good idea to get some thoughts on keeping them and I warm!!  

What are the necessities of winter camping?  What are the must haves and the good idea to haves?  I don't want my boys complaining all night that they are too cold!!

Job number one is to keep them dry. This is obviously impossible because they're boys, so job number two is to pack a LOT of spare clothes. Send them to bed wet and they'll be miserable.

Brad has a good list of things to have. I'll add a good set of thermals to that list, and flannel sleeping bag liners. Before you put them to bed, hit them with a whack of carbs - instant mashed potatoes or a Cup o Noodles or something. Then tuck them in wearing good thermals and a stocking hat, with the flannel bag liner inside their regular bags, and a surplus wool blanket between them and their air pad, and they'll sleep the sleep of the righteous.

Leave the cotton at home. Polyester and wool is the inexpensive name of the game, although there's better stuff if it's in the budget, but poly won't soak down with dampness and make you freeze the way cotton will, and wool is great. Thermals, fleeces, and if the weather is bad or they're going to play in the snow they'll need a waterproof shell over the top of that. Lots and lots of socks, because that's the first thing to get wet and a boy with wet cold feet is miserable.

Do you have a good sized tent? I have a spare propane heater you're welcome to borrow, but that can be risky in a small nylon tent.

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Re: Winter Camping

Post by Andrew on Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:45 am

This is a common misconception. Davy said something a couple of years ago at NPLD that really surprised me. He said, as adults, we should be more worried about OUR comfort winter camping and not the kids'. They sleep much, much warmer than we do - we are more likely to have trouble staying warmer at night than the kids. That said, you still need good gear to keep that warmth close to their bodies. I've bought several mummy bags for my kids. Can't find a better deal than this one:

Coleman North Rim 0 Degree Sleeping Bag

As a comparison, my 0 degree North Face bag does weigh about 1 lb less, which is good for backpacking, but is only rated down to 25º. This Coleman is rated down to 15º. I paid well over $100 for mine...this one is half that!

Kevin pretty much covered the other important parts, in clothing and fleece liners. I bought 2 of these, which will add another 10-15º of warmth to our bags (that gives Kallin almost a true 0º bag).

Coleman Stratus™ Fleece Sleeping Bag

Before we go to sleep, we'll eat a hot Mountain House freeze-dried meal. Gets us nice and warm on the innards and provides good fuel to keep our metabolism up through the night.

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Re: Winter Camping

Post by Kevin on Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:22 am

Andrew wrote:This is a common misconception.  Davy said something a couple of years ago at NPLD that really surprised me.  He said, as adults, we should be more worried about OUR comfort winter camping and not the kids'.  They sleep much, much warmer than we do - we are more likely to have trouble staying warmer at night than the kids.

That surprises me. I would have thought they'd sleep colder, having such a smaller mass to surface area.

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Re: Winter Camping

Post by snivilous on Thu Oct 09, 2014 1:17 pm

Kevin wrote:
Andrew wrote:This is a common misconception.  Davy said something a couple of years ago at NPLD that really surprised me.  He said, as adults, we should be more worried about OUR comfort winter camping and not the kids'.  They sleep much, much warmer than we do - we are more likely to have trouble staying warmer at night than the kids.

That surprises me.  I would have thought they'd sleep colder, having such a smaller mass to surface area.

Yea but mass doesn't necessarily have a relation to the bodies energy density, figure how kids hearts run a way higher bpm than an adults which would probably lead (or in some way) to a higher body temperature--not that I have any idea what I'm talking about so take that with a grain of salt but what I would base it on haha

Based on my experience, two factors are a very warm bag, very warm dry clothes for in the morning, and a thick ground pad to keep your/their bodies away from the ground/vehicle or whatever you're sleeping in. I don't know what bags you have, but for my birthday this year my parents got this downey bag at REI that's rated to -25F I think and is super plush with dual zippers and breathing port and the full 9 yards. That thing probably cost quite a bit, let alone having multiple, but a good ground pad goes a long ways to insulate the body from the cold surface you'll be laying on. If you have a good tent then get a little propane heater or light to warm it up too, as well as I would bring a lot of wood and an axe so you can get a big fire at night and camp around it and still have hot embers in the morning.

All I know is after getting that giant sleeping bag I can be sweating away when it's 0 out with no ground pad or just drape it over myself since it gets so hot being in it, so if you can get a sweet bag it'll last forever and is the ultimate combatant to cold temperatures.
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Re: Winter Camping

Post by Ty on Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:09 am

So I have some heat blankets at work that are supposed to keep the heat in one area. What do you guys think if I bring a couple of those and put one down on the ground to keep the cold out the put one over top of us to keep our heat in??

I definitely agree with all the posts so far especially warm dry clothes, dry socks, and beanies!!

Right now my boys have sleeping bag that I believe are rated 0. I can't imagine it getting that cold in November. I know it is possible, but I think it is still a bit early for sub 0 temps. Farmers Almanac (take it for what its worth) is predicting low to mid 30s over night for November. I don't know how much faith I put into that, but their history is 80% accuracy Laughing.

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Re: Winter Camping

Post by offroad_medic on Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:19 am

Also remember that sleeping bag ratings aren't always exactly the most accurate. Is 0* bag may feel cold at 20*ish but a 15 * bag may be comfortably warm at 0*. Just make sure you have plenty of gear to ride out the worst case scenario no matter what......and yes this preaching comes from the idiot that hasn't had a functioning heater in his truck for the last two years.... scratch
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Re: Winter Camping

Post by Ty on Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:50 am

I agree with that. I think my bag is a 20 degree bag, but i have slept in it at 5 degrees and been plenty warm.

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Re: Winter Camping

Post by Ty on Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:51 am

Maybe my body was eating fat to keep it warm!

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Re: Winter Camping

Post by Kevin on Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:25 am

Another thing I learned from Mesha is that the ratings on less expensive bags tends to be a "survival" rating and not a "comfort" rating. I have a cheap synthetic 0 degree bag, and it's too warm for forty degrees but not warm enough at twenty degrees. At zero degrees I might survive, but I'd be a long long way from comfortable.

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