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#273034 - 11/25/14 07:38 PM Re: Eye-opening Cold Weather camping experience [Re: Mark_F]
desolation Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/21/10
Posts: 60
Loc: Sonoma County, CA
Lots of good advice. I'll add my $0.02 from snow camping.

A good pad is essential--closed cell foam (ensolite) is the best for insulation. If you like a more comfortable air pad, make sure it is appropriately insulated or put a closed cell on top of it.

Dry wool, fleece or acrylic socks but make sure they are loose fitting otherwise they will restrict circulation and make your feet colder.

Always sleep with a beanie. Always.

If your jacket is heavy and you put it on top of your sleeping bag, it may actually compress the insulation and make you colder. Think light, fluffy thoughts!

I always toss a hot water bottle down in there. Make sure the lid is on tight and it's covered, as mentioned.

Do eat a hearty snack before bed. Don't eat/drink things with caffeine--it makes you need to pee, keeps you awake and is a vasoconstrictor (less blood to extremities=colder).

If you're really chilly, 20-40 push ups in your bag will often cure it! (and can be done quietly enough to not wake your tent mates)

Gross points: If it's really cold out, use a pee bottle, preferably one with a wide mouth, tight sealing lid and unmistakably differentiated from the tequila bottle that was passed around the fire earlier. Once used, keep it in your sleeping bag. No point putting that warm liquid out in the cold! Gatorade bottles get my nod for this.

Best things about camping in the snow are no crowds, no bugs and no dirt!

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#273038 - 11/25/14 08:56 PM Re: Eye-opening Cold Weather camping experience [Re: nursemike]
Mark_F Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 714
Loc: Kentucky
Nursemike, that would be awesome, but it IS way out of both the troop's budget and my personal budget.

I do like all the great tips on the insulation, esp from underneath with the various pads, I think that is one vital piece of our puzzle we lack, we have some of the blue foam pads from wal-mart, but not sure that is exactly what everyone has been talking about with the closed cell foam pads. Any links to some good closed cell foam pads? Or are the ones I have from Wal-Mart sufficient?

hikermor, the site sure wasn't ideal for a night of cold camping, but it was perfect for saturday's activities, which consisted of the boys shooting .22s, .50 cal black powder rifles, and 20 gauge shotguns (skeet shooting). There were stations where the boys could work on various merit badge requirements (our troop leaders were in charge of emergency preparedness). There was also a "live action" bow and arrow range, where the boys had to shoot at a large skeet-style target, and there was also a tomahawk-throwing station. The venture crews got to shoot the higher caliber modern rifles. Plenty of room to spread out, and set up the shooting sports so no one was hurt by any stray bullets, arrows, tomahawks, etc. All in all it was a very good day for everyone.

Phaedrus, I'll give the wiggys products a look.

Desolation, more good advice, and as far as the heavy jacket goes, I'm thinking more of putting that underneath than on top (although I did admittedly have to put one on top of me when DS decided we needed to try the 2 people in one mummy-type bag, and the bag wouldn't zip up all the way, leaving me fairly exposed to the cold). Thankfully, I had no tent mates to worry about waking up.
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#273040 - 11/25/14 10:46 PM Re: Eye-opening Cold Weather camping experience [Re: Mark_F]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5998
Loc: southern Cal
Closed cell foam is pretty much closed cell foam. There are varieties,(Z-rest comes to mind) out there that have some advantages, but the basic blue ones will do the job. With a little duct tape, they can also be fashioned into decent cervical collars and splints.
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#273042 - 11/26/14 08:54 AM Re: Eye-opening Cold Weather camping experience [Re: hikermor]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1697
Originally Posted By: hikermor
Closed cell foam is pretty much closed cell foam. There are varieties,(Z-rest comes to mind) out there that have some advantages, but the basic blue ones will do the job. With a little duct tape, they can also be fashioned into decent cervical collars and splints.


Closed cell foam does come is lots of quality levels. The cheap ones generally gets flat by use fairly quickly. The expedition grade EVA pads lasts a lot longer.
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#277134 - 10/19/15 03:38 PM Re: Eye-opening Cold Weather camping experience [Re: Mark_F]
Mark_F Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 714
Loc: Kentucky
Sorry for resurrecting this thread, but just wanted to let everyone know how this year's Kentucky Coal Association Camporee in Knott County, Ky went this past weekend.

I guess everyone was tired of the cold, especially after last year, so they had the camp out a month earlier than in previous years. Just our luck, though, we had the first cold snap of the year. Although it wasn't as bad as last year, we had lows friday night and saturday night in the 30's. There was light frost on everything saturday morning, and a heavier frost on everything sunday morning, so I suspect saturday night may have dropped below 30 (the forecast i looked at predicted low friday of 38 and low saturday of 30). We used a lot of the recommendations in this thread to make changes so we would stay warm this year.

We added more insulation under us, including a closed cell foam pad and a space blanket. Since last year I have worked on increasing my water intake to be better hydrated. I added fleece pants to sleep in. I used the same sleeping bag system, but added a garbage bag over the feet. I also made better use of the mummy feature and cinched it closed better than last year. I wore a neck gaiter and hat to cut down the heat loss at my neck and head area. I also added an extra warmer in the feet area. My son had a fleece liner, tucked in his 40 degree mummy bag, tucked inside his cold weather mummy bag. We had a nice hot snack of high calorie, high fat ramen noodles (380 calories, 140 from fat).

It's hard to compare to last year's campout, as we did not have the (relative) extreme cold like we did last year, but it sure seemed like we slept warmer. In fact I know I slept warmer than at a similar campout we did around december of last year at similar temps to what we experienced this past weekend. My feet stayed nice and warm both nights and my son slept warm as well with no cold feet.

The only problem I noticed this year, was condensation INSIDE the garbage bag which ended up on the outside of the sleeping bag at the foot area. I didn't notice any dampness inside the sleeping bag, and it was not a problem for this short term camp, however it is something I need to give further consideration in the future.

Just wanted to thank everyone for all the great tips which we incorporated into this year's camp out.
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#277137 - 10/19/15 04:58 PM Re: Eye-opening Cold Weather camping experience [Re: Mark_F]
Montanero Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1130
Loc: North Carolina
Yeah, I had my scouts out this weekend as well. Unusually cold for this time of year, but the boys did well with closed cell foam pads and military surplus sleeping bags. No complaints of being cold, except when they got out of their bags!

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#277154 - 10/20/15 09:25 PM Re: Eye-opening Cold Weather camping experience [Re: Mark_F]
Alex Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 1034
Loc: -
The CCF pad is cheap and lightweight, however, when I've got my 2" self inflating Thermarest pad and slept in my hammock on one and then on another (3 nights campout in Sierra at around 50F), - I new for sure that CCF is nothing even close at keeping your back warm. Even though many hammockers believe that deep ridges of the CCF pad's surface do less down compacting compared to flat inflatables.

For the condensation - most likely it's a good sign that your SB is doing good job wicking your body perspiration out. I've ditched a overly nice bevy once due to the bad breathability, after just a single six pack I woke up in a fresh puddle thinking it was raining all night smile

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#277177 - 10/21/15 04:38 PM Re: Eye-opening Cold Weather camping experience [Re: Alex]
Mark_F Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 714
Loc: Kentucky
One of those thin inflating pads is on my short list of stuff I'd like to have but the family budget is paper thin right now so we're simply making do with what we have, the closed cell pads seem to be doing the job just fine for now.
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#277187 - 10/21/15 07:52 PM Re: Eye-opening Cold Weather camping experience [Re: Mark_F]
Alex Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 1034
Loc: -
That's true, I've been postponing that upgrade for a while too. But trust me, it worth it. No regrets for the past 6 years. The only caveat - if you're rolling a lot in your sleep - opt for the wider King model, my wife cannot sleep on the regular one because of that.

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#277190 - 10/21/15 08:20 PM Re: Eye-opening Cold Weather camping experience [Re: Mark_F]
Tom_L Offline
Addict

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
I've camped in cold and snow now and then, a closed-cell foam pad is plenty fine enough in my experience (even a cheap one). But it's a good idea to prepare the ground beforehand - a pile of leaves provides good insulation. Personally, I prefer spruce boughs whenever available. Really comfortable and will keep you warm if you know how to make a halfway decent bough bed.

One time I had to spend the night in a swamp, which was pretty bad more so as it was raining all night long. I had no foam pad whatsoever. A spruce bough bed and a large garbage bag on top did the trick, plus a simple poncho lean-to to keep away the rain. I woke up the next morning, got out of my sleeping bag and realized I was literally sleeping on several inches of water. Luckily, the bough bed was just thick enough to keep me dry. I actually slept like a baby that night, I had a pretty good sleeping bag and I suppose the waterbed au naturel was an added bonus.

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