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Winter Camping

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My troop and I are going to a hunting camp next weekend and I don't know what to bring or what clothes to wear. Any ideas

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I know guys on this forum could give some very good suggestions to any real specific questions you might have. It looks like your seeking just some good general information to start with. I found this list which seems pretty informative.




Your needs will vary depending on the extremes of the cold. There is a huge difference between 30 degrees and 10 degrees. And you do need to consider the "wet" factor...rain or snow will add to your preparation needs.

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Depends on where you are and what you'll be doing. Are you in snow? Are they camping outside? How old? How many?

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layers (wool, polar fleece, polypro, synsilk, down)


Head gear such as a tuque or watch cap. Forget the iconic ball cap


neck gaiter


Fingerless wool gloves tucked inside mittens


polypro liner socks covered with wool socks


Pac boots with spare liners


An outershell as a windbreak, and to keep wetness out


Polorized Sun glasses


high energy foods to stoke the metabolic fire to make it all work

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Northern Tier - OKPIK, consider protection for each part of the body.

Sleeping bag. If you have a cold weather camping sleeping bag, bring

it. Otherwise a summer weight or 3-season bag is adequate as we will

provide a supplemental bag to use with yours to make an extreme cold

weather sleeping system.

______ 2 Winter stocking caps, - one spare, facemask type is best

______ 2 - 3 pairs of mittens with outer shell (mittens are warmer than gloves)

______ 2 - 3 Sweaters and/or shirts, preferably wool or polar fleece. No Cotton

______ 1 Winter jacket, preferably hooded

______ 2 pair of long underwear tops (synthetic such as capilene or polypropylene)

(no cotton long underwear) 3-4 pair for a Holiday stay.

______ 2 pair of long underwear bottoms (synthetic such as capilene or polypropylene)

(no cotton long underwear) 3-4 pair for a Holiday stay.

______ 2 pair of pants, 1 pair preferably wool or an insulated snowpant. Do not

bring blue jeans.

______ 2 or more pairs of light liner socks (preferably synthetic, i.e. polypropylene -

not cotton)

______ 2 or more pairs of heavy insulating socks (preferably wool or synthetic, - not


______ Toiletry articles (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, towel, comb, etc.)

______ 10 feet 1/8 inch nylon cord

______ Cup, bowl and spoon preferably all plastic or lexan (remember plastic can

become brittle at extreme low temperatures)

______ Towel and Swimsuit for use in the Shower and Sauna after your trek


These items are optional, depending on personal preference and what you have


______ Insulated vest

______ Extra socks

______ Scarf or neck gaiter

______ Warm boots such as Sorels, moon boots, shoe pacs (preferably with

removable liners)

______ Closed cell foam pad

______ Pocket knife, matches, bandana, and other items you normally carry while


______ Sunscreen, Chapstick, foot powder

______ Sunglasses

______ Pocket flashlight, headlamp, or glow sticks

______ Skis or snowshoes

______ Camera and film

______ Small package baby wipes for personal cleanliness (keep in pocket near the

body to keep thawed)

______ Pee bottle - Large mouth plastic 1 quart bottle w/ a leak proof cap to be

used at night when nature calls

OKPIK PROVIDED PERSONAL ITEMS: If you own any of these items & would like to use

them, you are encouraged to bring them.

______ Sleeping bag for extreme cold temperatures (will be used with your summer

______ or three season bag)

______ Closed cell foam pads

______ Supplemental outer clothing & wind clothing

______ Mukluks and foot wraps

______ Cross country skis and poles

______ Snow shoes

______ Water bottle and water bottle bag w/strap


Philmont - Kanik

Philmont provides the following equipment as crew gear:


■Eight 1-quart pots with lids

■Coffee pots with lids

■Peak 1 stoves

■Fuel bottles

■Fire paste

■Match cases with matches

■Hot pot tongs

■Cooking pads

■Three 1-gallon water jugs

■Biodegradable soap

■Condiment kit (salt, pepper, etc.)

■Polar Pure water purification crystals

■Trash bags

■Tents with stakes and flukes

■Sleds for pulling gear

■Saucer sleds

■Cross-country skis and poles


■Maps and compasses

Other Available Equipment

In addition to the equipment listed above, supplemental clothing and equipment are available to loan:


■Backpacks and frames

■Zero-degree sleeping bags

■Closed-cell foam pads

■Fleece sleeping bag liners

■Water flasks with covers


■Fleece nose warmers

■Wool mittens

■Windproof overmitts

■Wool shirts

■Polarplus shirts

■Military-issue jacket liners

■Windproof anoraks

■Wind pants

■Wool pants

■Military-issue pant liners

■Waterproof overshoes

■Foot wraps and liners

Supplies are limited. Call in advance to make sure the equipment you expect to borrow from Philmont is available for your scheduled visit.


Personal Equipment

When packing for Kanik, consider protection for each part of your body. Whenever possible, wear wool, polar fleece, or polypropylene. Even when wet, these fabrics retain insulative value. Check your clothing labels to determine the fabric content; do not bring cotton clothing (including jeans and Carharts) for winter camping. When wet, cotton loses almost all insulative value. Think in terms of multiple layers of comfortable clothing.




■One stocking cap*

■One facemask (balaclava)*

■Two pairs of mittens (preferably wool)*

■One pair of glove liners (polypropylene)*

■One pair of windproof glove shells*

■Two wool or polar fleece sweaters/jackets*

■Windproof jacket*, preferably hooded

■Two sets of polypropylene underwear* (tops and bottoms)

■One pair of wool or fleece pants

■Two or three pairs of wool socks*

■Two or three pairs of polypropylene liner socks*

■One pair of hiking boots

Personal Equipment


■Sunglasses* (100% UV protection)

■Insulated cup*

■Spoon* (plastic)

■Toilet articles (soap, toothbrush, towel, etc.)*

■Sunscreen* (SPF 15 or higher)

■Lip balm

■One or two 1-quart water bottles* or canteens

■Sleeping bag (zero-degree rating or lower; preferably not down-filled)

■Full-length insulated sleeping pad

Optional Items (Recommended)


■Insulated vest*


■Pocket flashlight*

■Pack boots

■Spending money (approximately $40 per person)




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This is the text from a two-page document I pass out to and then discuss with the Scouts several weeks before our winter camping trip.




Winter Camping Tips


Winter camping can be fun and invigorating! In some ways, its better than warm weather camping. Camping in the winter inspires a feeling of independence and will give you confidence. But, you absolutely must be properly prepared! It is critical to:

- Wear the right kind of clothing

- Stay dry

- Drink plenty of water

- Eat the right kinds of foods

- Watch for the signs of frostnip and frostbite (you and your buddy)


Use the C-O-L-D method to stay warm.

C - Clean

Insulation is only effective when heat is trapped by dead air spaces. Dirt, grime, and perspiration can mat down air spaces and reduce the warmth of a garment.

O - Overheating

Avoid overheating by adjusting the layers of your clothing to meet the outside temperature and the exertions of your activities.

L - Loose Layers

Several loosely fitting layers of clothing and footgear will allow maximum insulation without impeding circulation. Always have a hat and wear it.

D - Dry

Sweaty, damp clothing and skin can cause your body to cool quickly, possibly leading to frostnip, hypothermia, or worse. Keep dry by taking off layers as you heat up. Always brush away snow on your clothes before you enter a heated area. Keep clothing loose so that body heat and sweat can escape.


Food / Water

For winter camping, eat more food than usual eat as much as you want! Food: 50% should starches (cereal, bread, pasta), 20% should be proteins (meat, fish, cheese, eggs), and 30% should be fats (butter, margarine, fatty meats). Eat more fat than your mother would approve of! Beef stew, chili with beans, or macaroni and cheese with tuna or chicken or ham. Simple one pot meals that cook up fast & hot are best. Complicated meals that need lots of pots and preparation are no fun when its cold your hands get numb and everything freezes. Pre-slice or pre-assemble as much as possible at home before the camping trip. Hot chocolate with butter tastes great and will keep you warm. Warm apple cider is good too! Eat proteins like sausage or cheese just before you going to bed to keep warm all night. Jello contains protein and is very tasty its an excellent hot drink in the evening to keep you warm during the night.

Drink plenty of plain water to keep hydrated. Drink as much water as you would if it was 100 degrees out. Winter air is very dry and will dehydrate the body without you realizing it. A good rule of thumb for checking hydration is the color of your urine. Urine will be light colored or clear if you are properly hydrated.


Wear Proper Clothes

Select thermal clothing that can be loosely layered as the weather changes. Use synthetic or wool NOT COTTON! Polypropylene long underwear, wool pants, a synthetic or wool shirt, a sweater, and a shell jacket are much better than a single heavy coat. When hands and feet begin to chill, it's time to put on a hat. Hats help trap body heat by preventing it from escaping through your head. Wear waterproof insulated boots with good tread for walking on frozen ground or ice. Bring lots of wool/synthetic socks. Waterproof gloves and mittens are essential. Have extra dry clothes to change into when you get wet. Chemical heat packs can be good to warm feet and hands.

-- Stay dry to stay warm --


Leave Cotton Clothes at home

In the winter, COTTON KILLS! Cotton is Rotten!! Cotton loses its insulating qualities when it gets wet, whether from rain or sweat. Cotton holds perspiration against the skin which WILL FREEZE! COTTON IS DEADLY!


Sleep Warm

Bring a mummy sleeping bag that is rated to -10F or below. Insulate your body from the cold ground with a closed cell foam pad. A good sleeping pad may be the most crucial element to staying warm at night. Before getting in the sleeping bag, remove all the wet sweaty clothes youve been wearing all day and put on something dry - sweats, pajamas, or the long undies you want to wear the next day. Less is better you want to warm up your body and the sleeping bag, not lots of clothes. Sleep with a hat on to minimize heat loss and keep the rest of your body warmer! Do not keep you head in the bag, as your breath will make the bag cold and clammy. If you drink enough water, you may need to urinate in the middle of the night. Get up and go! Otherwise you won't sleep well, and your body is wasting energy keep all that extra fluid warm. Rules to sleep warm: Wear clean & dry clothes to bed, wear a hat, have a full stomach, and take a quick hike before bed to get your blood circulating.


Use the Buddy System

Stay together!!! Groups of four or more are an even better idea. This way, someone can stay with the injured while others seek help.

Keep an eye on your buddy! Do not let him engage in activities that could get him wet and cold! If the areas around the eyes and lips, or the lips themselves, begin to turn grayish white, the person may be experiencing frostnip. Signs of confusion, inaction, and shivering are all progressive signs of hypothermia (overexposure to winter elements). If your buddy looks wet or cold, do something! Get him somewhere warm! Huddle up or sit by the fire. Action and movement will also stimulate blood flow and move warmth throughout the body.


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Thanks for the tip guys and I forgot to mention we are hiking to the camp but we are going to be in a lodge so i dont think we will need a -10 degree sleeping bag.

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How can you render advice when you do not know the specifics?



Where are you camping? meaning region of the country

How are you camping? Some people call sleeping in a cabin camping.

What is the weather forecast?

What activities are planned? Hiking, skiing, fishing or campfire bsing?



Hunting camp is pretty vague.


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Might as well stay at a motel 6 as stay in a lodge, thats not winter camping. Build snow shelters and sleep in them, no thats winter camping.

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Yah, that was funny, eh? :)


Can yeh tell us a bit more about what you're goin' to be doing at camp, cclman? And where in the nation you happen to be? Winter campin' in Puerto Rico is goin' to be different than winter campin' in Barrow, AK.




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Thanks guy. I am going to be camping in the adk's(where I live) And it snows in July here so you can imagine what its like now. We are going to snowshoe/ski for about an hour or less and then when we get to the hunting camp we'll set stuff up and relax, maybe try to build a snow cave. It really is just to have fun and relax. No major plans are made so it'll be just a nice hike, and a nice day to ourselves pretty much.

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SS goes on his first Winter Camp this weekend.


Dumb idea, heavy snow pack this year (250% of normal), major melt in progress...no confidence in SM's and ASM's to call it quits when things get dicey.


SS is inexperienced, uncoordinated and doesn't think before doing.



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Sounds like SS is like most first years.


Betcha any amount of money I can afford(so about $.50) the Scoutmaster is more cognizant of the weather situation and conditions where the campsite is, and where and how he can bail, if he needs to - than you are.

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