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Stay away from any cot.

The blue pad at Wal-mart is great, lightweight too.

Have your son put a space blanket uner his bag and on top of his pad, shiny side up to reflect any body heat back toward his body. Have him lightly drape a rain poncho over his bag to retain any body heat.


I hope this helps.



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My advice:


For winter camping in snow and sub-freezing temps (which my Troop does at least twice a year), I use a quality closed cell pad (Z-rest) on the bottom and a quality self-inflating pad above (Pro-Lite 4). That's the setup I recommend to my Scouts.


We just returned today from two nights near Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevadas. Temps at night were in the single digits and I didn't hear a single complaint about cold, even though there was insufficient snow on the ground for us either to build snow shelters or anchor our tents with deadmen and the ground was frozen so hard that it was impossible to drive any stakes in. So, we left our tents in our packs and slept in bivies or wrapped in tarps. With quality double padding, the frozen ground didn't cause any problems.



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When we cold-weather camped in Korea, the only thing we nixed were air mattresses and cots. Some Scouts (older and long-termers) sprung for thermarest and had no problems. And, many younger Scouts used the closed-cell foam -- they were readily available at the military clothing sales stores, and not expensive. Either work fine, as long as your son follows all the other great advice here.


One additional thing I did, right before lights out, was shove a Hershey bar at each Scout, before they tucked in, and told them to eat it before they went to sleep.


Our Troop would also put a cup full of water on top of a chuck box. If it was ice in the morning, they got a polar bear patch.


All the cold weather camping we did, I only remember one Scout having a problem. He didn't follow our guidance to use the toilet before bed, had to get up in the middle of the night, had a hard time re-warming after he got back in his tent, and you know the rest...



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  • 3 weeks later...

This topic (if I may be allowed a slight detour) makes me wonder about my choice of a ThermaRest air mattress for Philmont. If it springs a leak will it give me enough/any insulation? Is there a reliable, lightweight repair kit? Should I be safe and switch to some sort of closed-cell pad (these 52yo bones might not like that much)? Am I being too paranoid? :-)





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Thermarest has made several patchkits over the years, they work. Or get a tube of SeamGrip and some patch material, thats how I fixed mine.

Also considder a heaver ground cloth or a protective sleeve for the mattress, I would hate like heck to give up on my Thermarests, as comfortable to me as my bed at home.

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