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fgoodwin

Heating Your Tent

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Couple of weeks ago we had our fall camporee. Temps dropped below freezing at night both Friday and Saturday. One of our Dads came for Saturday night. As he was setting up his tent he was commenting about how cold it was getting and the he had a portable heater that plugs into his car's cig. lighter. I just looked at him and said "if you plan to use that thing, we will have to go have a private talk first."

 

He just laughed and said he was kidding of course and he'd rough it like the rest of us.

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I have carried my half of a pup tent before and slept in it on the ground going down hill, so I guess I agree with fgoodwin. I am most thankful to now have a little skeeter netting and a bit of plastic flooring. I have even slept on some rocks but they were more uncomfortable than hot. All I can say for cold weather is that the ticks and stingy things generally stay home. I have slept in clothes, long underwear and my shorts during cold snaps. I have wrapped myself up in my sleeping bag until I couldn't move and slept on foam, air and on cots during cold weather. I wouldn't try a heater, candle or brick lay in my tent due to the probability that it would light off like a Roman candle on the fourth. Since, it is cold and you can't stay in the bag until noon, then I recommend preparing your mind for being cold. Put a few sticks of wood and kindling under a tarp the night before and hope for the best. If you have to go during the night, just keep your boots so you can find them. It is cold. fb

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Going in the night, ahhhhh such fine memories. I guess I lucked out with a bladder the size of a bucket so this isn't much of a problem. But on those rare occasions when I really overdid the hot chocolate - I absolutely savor the amazement at how quickly a pair of leather hiking boots can become petrified in the cold. The SnowSeal just turns to stone and no matter what the thickness of socks, the cold cuts right to the bone. What a great feeling!

As for cold ground. I've slept with tent pitched on deep snow before and a regular blue closed-cell pad seemed to do just fine. I'm not sure what the problem is here. Nice thing, though, about a waterproof floor is that when the body heat melts its way to a perfect fit in the snow under the floor, the melt doesn't soak your bag.

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I bought one of those Coleman heaters about 3 or 4 years ago. It is out in the garage collecting dust with much of the other gear I thought I HAD to have. I think I have used it once when I was getting ready for bed and it was 3 degrees outside. At that temp, you could put your hand right in front of the heater and feel a little warmth, but not much more than that. I've left it home ever since. I just dress warm and bring extra bags and blankets.

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Does anyone think one of these devices in a tent is NOT a violation of the G2SS? I learned about an incident after the fact (by the scouts in question themselves) that one of their parents (TC member) gave them a heater like this on the last campout for their use. As I am not in great favor with the committee right now (I am trying to have a boy-run troop they seem to want a Webelos 3 troop), I want to make sure I am on 100% solid ground that it is a policy violation and not open to interpertation before I read them (TC) the riot act over the heater . (BTW where do you find a copy of the riot act?)

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The Riot Act:

 

While they didn't actually read the Riot Act (an Act of Parliament in 1714 entitled "An act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies, and for the more speedy and effectual punishing the rioters"), local officials would read the required warning from the Riot Act to declare a gathering illegal and demand the participants to disperse, as follows:

 

"Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King."

 

The Guide to Safe Scouting:

 

I take the GTSS to be a guide and not a legislative enactment. So, I don't read it with the jaundiced eye and tortured interpretation I do with legal codes. (Yes, I'm a lawyer.) Thus, when it says "Never use liquid-fuel stoves, heaters, lanterns, lighted candles, matches, and other flame sources in or near tents," I take that to mean heaters in tents is a no-no. I don't wonder if the "liquid-fuel" term modifies "heaters and lanterns" as well as stoves. The reasoning and intent is clear enough for me.

 

I will never allow it on a Scouting trip and I would never do it on a non-Scouting trip. I've been perfectly warm in my sleeping bag in 20 below and I know that mountaineers sleep well in worse conditions and they don't haul heaters up Everest.(This message has been edited by orennoah)

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orennoah: "I've been perfectly warm in my sleeping bag in 20 below and I know that mountaineers sleep well in worse conditions and they don't haul heaters up Everest".

 

Would those be the same mountaineers who regulary lose toes, fingers, noses and ears to the cold? ;)

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About keeping warm, in Texas some may think we really don't get to experience this wonderful camp experience but some say our blood is thinner and sometimes it does get quiet cold. When taking my 1st leader camper training many years ago it was between 0 and 10 on the whole camp out. We learned some newspaper under our sleeping bag really helped keep the cold from coming up from the bottom. Also in our bags which were only 40 degree bags we put a sheet or flannel blanket so that we would not roll in to the zipper which really could wake up up in the middle of the night if it was touched with bare skin. We also put the next days set of clean clothes in the foot area, so we just had to wiggle around to put on fresh clean clothes the next cold morning. But probally the most imporant thing we learned that really needs to be over stressed exspecially to young scouts is they need to have CLEAN DRY bodies. Many of a night a baby wipe was used to to clean ourselves because it was just to cold to get in the shower. We then sleep with tommorrows CLEAN socks, underwear, and a hat that covers your ears and nothing else at all. I know many a leader who would rather take scouts cold weather camping because once everyone is in bed they stay there. Less worries of middle of the night play going on.

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This won't help much with that 4:00 am bathroom call, but putting really hot water in a Nalgene bottle, covering it with a t-shirt or something similar, and taking it in the sleeping bag will warm it up quickly, and keep you very warm for several hours. And no flames!

 

I doubt this would ever happen today, but my SM from my youth used to tell a horror story from back when he first became an SM, back in the late 60's or early 70's. The boys had strung a Coleman lanter up in their tent. Evidently they had no problems while it was lit, but when they went to turn it out, the boy was turning the fuel cap instead of the control valve. When the fuel cap opened, the vapors ignited and big flash! The SM ran over and made a mad grab for the handle. Luckily he caught it and the rope, and threw the lantern out the front of the tent. In the end, no one was hurt and an extremely valuable lesson was learned.

They are called accidents for a reason. Heaters may say they are safe, but are they accident-proof? Doesn't sound like it to me.

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packsaddle,

Speaking of frozen boots, here is Brad Range's experience in Antarctica, from correspondence back to his SM:

 

"So it turns out that giving me the Polar Bear Camper patch at the court of honor before I left was a very good preemptive measure on your part. I just got back from my two-day survival school orientation. I slept in a Scott tent (so named because Robert Scott died in one about 60 miles from here), built an igloo, and learned several great lessons about extreme-cold-weather camping. Some were learned the hard way.

 

By the way, my previous cold-weather-camping record was beaten by upwards of 40 degrees. When I checked my thermometer during the night, it had dropped to -31 degrees Fahrenheit. I was warm in my sleeping bag, by which I mean I didn't lose any fingers or toes to frostbite. The worst part was getting out of the bag in the morning and putting my feet back into my bootswhich were frozen solid. It took about 20 minutes of running in circles to regain feeling in my feet. Other than that, I was fine."

http://www.scouting.org/boyscouts/resources/18-900/journals/brange/contact/2004-0902b.html

 

Brad gave me the hot-water bottle idea for the sleeping bag - it works!

 

 

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I know all about staying warm in winter. My question is how do you keep your water supply from freezing? Many times we have to carry our water and our 3-5 gal water jugs freeze up at night. Can't really put them in the fire or on the stove to heat them up effectively. Don't really want to run our automobiles either. Any suggestions?

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acco40- If you use Nalgene bottles with the wide mouths, turn them upside down to prevent the opening from freezing. As far as 3-5 gal jugs I just dont know. If it is that cold so they freeze solid I dont think you need rehydration. Call the coroner.

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>My question is how do you keep your water supply from freezing?

 

Keep them out of the wind and turn them upside down. Water freezes from the top down, so you should have some water when you flip it over in the morning.

 

Ed

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Keeping your 5 gallon jugs from freezing?

Flip them upside down and bury them in the snow. Fill your coffee pot and pots with water before you go to sleep. Those you can put on the stove to melt in the morning. Before bed, heat water and put in nalgenes for everyone's sleeping bag.

 

BTW, a solidly frozen JetBoil carafe takes much longer than 1.5 minutes to boil in 10 Below zero weather. It takes about 10 minutes, but the hot coffee that comes from it is probably the best cup of coffee you ever had!

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