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#291174 - 11/20/18 06:49 PM Getting through a cold night
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7050
Loc: southern Cal
It's going to be really cold. What can you do to make things a bit warmer and make a comfortable night possible?

Choose your camp site with care. Stay out of the bottom of drainages - cold air sinks - a level spot out of the bottom is best - ridge crests are likely to be windy. Take advantage of any natural shelter. A dry rock shelter can be ideal, especially if faces the rising sun...

A good sleeping bag is priceless when facing a cold night, but the rating of any bag can be exceeded. Be sure and insulate from the ground below by anything handy - a foam pad, dry leaves, whatever... Roll out your bag and give it time to puff out to get full advantage.

I like to wear a full layer of dry clothing to bed - synthetic tights, long sleeve tops, and something on the head, especially to cover the neck. This protects the bag as well as warming you.

A companion in the bivy sack or tent makes you both warmer. You might be cramped, but you will be cramped and warm.

Food, especially something with protein, and a bit o exercise helps you generate heat, but don't overdo it.

Anything you can add which will increase the thickness of your insulation surrounding you will make you warmer - just don't compress the insulation in your bag.

Years ago, we measured the temperature differential inside and outside the poncho we had stretched over our our sleeping bags. There was a 5 degree difference, so just about any barrier between you and the open sky is worthwhile.

A fire will keep you warm, but some kind of a reflector is really essential. No reflector means one side will be hot, while the other side is extremely cold. You can't imagine how I know this...

I have experienced some really cold, miserable nights, but on every occasion, i did get some rest, and was more capable in the morning. The sun will rise - just be patient.

I am sure others will have tricks and tips to add to this heated topic....Fire away!
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#291175 - 11/20/18 07:02 PM Re: Getting through a cold night [Re: hikermor]
gonewiththewind Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
What is under you is important! We again get to the science of how you lose heat. Stay dry, block the wind, insulate below and above you. Every degree makes a difference.

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#291176 - 11/20/18 10:12 PM Re: Getting through a cold night [Re: hikermor]
gonewiththewind Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
As Hikermor says, a good reflector will utilize your fire much more efficiently, necessitating less fuel. I have spent more than a couple of nights in a debris hut of mostly pine straw (the thicker the better) with a good bed of pine straw under me, a good fire and a reflecting wall on the other side of the fire. It works very well.

Ron Hood (RIP) explained well the science behind heat loss. He also discussed how to find the best shelter at different times of the year. His videos were good. I believe his wife is still marketing them. It is a lot to put in a thread, but if needed I will try.

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#291177 - 11/21/18 05:21 AM Re: Getting through a cold night [Re: gonewiththewind]
Herman30 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 299
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: Montanero
Ron Hood (RIP)

Who was he? Can I read about him somewhere on-line?


Edited by Herman30 (11/21/18 05:21 AM)

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#291178 - 11/21/18 06:42 AM Re: Getting through a cold night [Re: hikermor]
CANOEDOGS Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1841
Loc: MINNESOTA
on a really cold night in canoe country I heated up a good size rock and rolled it into the vestibule of my tent to warm it up.
it took the edge off the cold but the rock,a big one,seemed to cool off fairly fast.
a army poncho liner was another bit of gear I take along and it
does act as a extra blanket but slips off after a bit.
a Gaz lamp really heats up a tent as I found out when I was reading half way out of the bag in a tee shirt.
when it's lights out and cold I put on everything plus a watch cap.
camping next to lakes makes for a damp camp and that's sometimes
as bad as cold.

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#291183 - 11/21/18 01:16 PM Re: Getting through a cold night [Re: Herman30]
gonewiththewind Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
Originally Posted By: Herman30
Originally Posted By: Montanero
Ron Hood (RIP)

Who was he? Can I read about him somewhere on-line?


Hoods Woods

There is a path to get there through the Equipped To Survive homepage, on the left of the page click on survival links.

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#291191 - 11/22/18 04:27 PM Re: Getting through a cold night [Re: hikermor]
Pete Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1372
Cold nights are no fun. its the kind of thing that you never forget.

You are guaranteed to have misery for company if you *forget* your sleeping bag. Been there, done that. If things get super cold, there may be no choice except to get on your feet and walk around.

i have tried making hot rocks in a campfire and burying them in the soil under the place where you sleep. its one of those textbook ideas that sounds good, but practically is quite difficult. It seems to happen that the rocks are too shallow, in which case they burn your clothes, or they are too deep and they only give a little warmth.

It is possible, as others have suggested, that if you pile the rocks near the entrance to your tent, then use a reflective blanket to focus heat to your bed, maybe that would be better. Try it out!!


Edited by Pete (11/22/18 04:31 PM)

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#291193 - 11/23/18 02:15 AM Re: Getting through a cold night [Re: hikermor]
gonewiththewind Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
If you find yourself on a very cold night and your sleeping bag is not up to the challenge, there are things you can do rather than freeze.

Put a waterproof bag around the foot of the bag and stuff it with leaves, pine straw or extra clothes.

Increase the insulation under you with leaves and/or pine straw.

A windproof/waterproof layer, such as a bivy bag, trash bag, poncho or tarp around the outside will slow heat loss.

If you have a blanket or poncho liner in addition to your bag, you can use it inside the bag or pin it in a bag around your bag to increase insulation.

Wear warm clothing inside the bag, especially extra socks. Clean clothes are more insulating than dirty ones.

Camp site selection can help. Camp on the south side of hills that have been in the sun most of the day. The ground and rocks will radiate heat for a time. Camp out of the wind. Do not camp in low ground and close to water, cold air sinks and the water will cool things a bit. Camp part way up the sides of hills above the cold air layer in the valley.

Letting your sleeping bag air out during the day in the sun will aid in keeping it dry and maintain the loft in the insulation. Being stuffed tightly in a bag after much use is not good for it.

Have some pajamas, like Hikermor said. A good base layer used only for sleeping, kept dry and clean, with warm socks and a hat will help a lot.

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#291195 - 11/23/18 08:06 PM Re: Getting through a cold night [Re: hikermor]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1121
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Boil hot water, pour in water bottle, slip bottle into sock, tuck into the cold spots (lower back, feet, neck, or hands etc. Either in your sleeping bag or if up and around inside your tucked in over shirt or coat pockets. We used to carry small Nalgene bottles that fit in our double boots to thaw them in the morning.

Quart lasts about 6 hours in a sleeping bag for me. I keep my stove handy just outside my shelter to re boil if I get cold again. Works especially well if your clothes or bag is damp. Will dry everything out by morning.

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#291196 - 11/23/18 08:08 PM Re: Getting through a cold night [Re: gonewiththewind]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1121
Loc: Channeled Scablands
[quote=Montanero]

"Camp site selection can help. Camp on the south side of hills that have been in the sun most of the day. The ground and rocks will radiate heat for a time. Camp out of the wind. Do not camp in low ground and close to water, cold air sinks and the water will cool things a bit. Camp part way up the sides of hills above the cold air layer in the valley."

Sleep where the deer sleep. You will notice their beds in the places Montanero suggests.


Edited by clearwater (11/23/18 08:11 PM)

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