Re: Cold Weather Camping Part 2 - Other gear
Marc Godbout (mgodbout@REG.SERESC.K12.NH.US)
Fri, 8 Nov 1996 15:17:10 -0500
Winter Camping Part 2
No skimping here. Down works great, but if it gets wet it will lose
insulation value. For experienced, responsible, older, scouts (and=20
scouters) this shouldn=92t be a problem - just keep it dry. Plus, down i=
most compressible material around. But boys will be boys, so I usually=20
recommend some man-made fiber, such as LiteLoft, which is almost as=20
compressible as down. A good bag will be expensive, but many gear=20
stores will rent them. Construction is probably more important than=20
filling. Things to check for are: a full length draft tube, if quilted
sure he inside seams are offset from outside seams, a full coverage
mummy construction. Another thing that helps out is to get a longer bag=20
than necessary. That way you could stuff things that you=92d like to keep=
warm during the night.
I personally use a layered technique, mostly because I don=92t have the=20
space and money for three different bags. My inside layer is my poly
and bottom with generously thick socks (I get cold feet at night), then
get in a vapor barrier made by wrapping a space blanket around myself. =20
Then I slip into an acrylic blanket bag my wife sewed up. I wear a wool=20
hat and my bag is a +20F-rated down bag. The major problem with this=20
is the time it takes to finally get in position. Without exaggeration,
believe that I squirm around for 10 - 15 minutes. Then again, all that=20
activity generates heat, so maybe this is a good thing. This season I=20
might try one of those emergency mylar bags instead of the space=20
blanket. I could buy a vapor barrier liner, but they cost too much.
Another problem was that my system didn=92t work so well at -5F. I was=20
cold during the night. Not enough to keep me awake all night, but it
very uncomfortable. I think a thicker acrylic or wool blanket might do=20
This is almost as important as the bag. The self-inflating or
foam type work pretty well. Stay away from any of those inflatable type,=20
more suitable as floats in the pool. These allow air to move around=20
under you and could actually help cool you off.
I recommend two pads when sleeping on the snow. More is warmer.
Don=92t know much here because I haven=92t used one in the winter, yet. =20
I=92ve been told that the fiberglass poles have a tendency to crack, so
might want to stick to aluminum.
We=92ve used quinzees (a type of snow-dome), dugloos (dig a hole and=20
sleep under the stars), snow-kitchens, and scout-camp lean-tos. Out of=20
all of these, I think the lean-tos are the coldest. We strung tarps
the bunks to cut down on drafts and the amount of air needing to be=20
heated. Whatever you try, bring as many tarps as you can. Those blue,=20
PVC, things work pretty well in extreme cold.
I use a plastic cereal bowl from the local Name-Your-Favorite-Mart. Get=20
something thick, as extreme cold could cause it to crack. I don=92t like
metal mess kits because they seem to allow the food to cool too
Also, keep it light colored. Chances are, you=92ll be eating at least on=
meal, probably supper, in the dark, and a dark plate/bowl makes food=20
An insulated coffee mug, with lid, works great. Avoid those metal
They transfer too much heat from the hot chocolate directly to the lips.
Propane and butane have problems in the cold. They start losing=20
pressure below freezing and it=92s pretty much gone by the time you get t=
0F. We stick with the white gas stoves during winter time.
Lanterns should also be white gas. I=92ve seen batteries die out at
cold, too. Candles always work. Flashlights should be kept on your=20
person even during the day, because of the battery problem.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City