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LeCastor

Winter Camping Plans?

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Ok, it's chilly out (in some parts of the U.S., like Wisconsin ;) ).

Do any of your Troops/Crews have any winter camping trips scheduled? Where do you go? What kind of preparation do your Scouts/Venturers take part in prior to heading out into the frozen tundra?

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January/February no firm dates yet, we have a weekend planned at Pokagon State Park in Indiana, they have a frozen toboggan track.  We also do "Camp Alaska" where we eschew tents and build our own shelters to sleep in.

We devote a minimum of four troop meetings to training specifically for winter camping: clothing & equipment, cold weather first aid, cooking, and fire building.  Our hope  is for lots of cold and plenty of snow.

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We are in the south...so we go further south.  This year to the beach and camping along the intercoastal in January.  Also some backpacking in February and wide games in March.  Of course it rarely gets below freezing for the whole day around here, maybe into the 20's at night but warmer during the day

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5 hours ago, LeCastor said:

frozen tundra?

For us Frozen Tundra is merely a Toyota not parked in the garage with some frost on it, once the sun hits, it's all good

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We camped last weekend,Nov 9-11, in WI on our troop's camp property .It was 10 degrees with 2-3 inches of snow on Friday night. We got another inch or so on Saturday night. The scouts really liked hanging out in the falling snow around a roaring fire. All the scouts were outside in tents. The Webelos slept in a storage building with a wood stove.

Our December campout is always a joint campout with 3-4 other troops at another troop's cabin. All our scouts will camp out side and there should be sledding and the creek will be frozen and maybe the river. 

January is uncertain. Our camp has unmaintained sand and grass roads. If we can get in, in cars, we will camp there, otherwise we'll camp at a council camp.

We do Eagle Cave every other year, so no February campout for us this year.

March isn't planned yet. Last year we camped at a council camp and the scouts and webelos camped in the snow.

The past 2-3 winters have been frustrating for us. We have older scouts who want to do hard core winter camping, quinzees and such, but the weather is fickle. It will be too warm or 0 degrees without much snow on our scheduled weekends and then later dump a foot of snow when we can't use it. *I* would love to send a couple of scout(er)s to CWLT at Northern Tier and then do a regular January trip to the North Shore or Boundary Waters, but thats a long term plan.

In terms of planning, we don't do much. Scouts know how to layer already. The 2 main things we do are 1) unlike warmer campouts where scouts use their own tents, in the winter all the younger scouts have to tent together, having 2 or 3 scouts in a tent keeps every one warmer and provides a safety margin if anyone gets too cold 2) we make sure folks have an extra sleeping bag, most of our scouts have 20/30 degree bags but we have extra huge uncompressable 80's era sleeping bags that scouts can use a a quilt or as a ground cloth or as an over bag; Its big and bulky and heavy but warm and cheap. If we ever move to more extreme back country camping we'll have to up our game but it works for now.

Edited by oldbuzzard
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When I was 15 we drove 2 1/2 hours up to Big Bear up in the San Bernadino Mountains during the brief time of year when they have a modicum of snow so that we could experience the "thrills" of winter camping. There was almost no snow on the ground to speak of, but to a kid like me who had never seen snow before it might as well have been the North Pole. There was  only enough in a few melted-out patches to make four or five muddy 'snowballs,' and by the time we woke up it was all gone.

Of course, when I say "woke up," I wrongly suggest that I actually slept. Not a one of us had proper clothing, sleeping gear nor even the most basic preparation for the cold we struggled through that night. It was, without question, the second-worst camping experience I ever had to endure, and I would never dream of willingly camping outdoors in a place that had winter again! 

That said - I hope your boys have better experiences than I had camping in the winter time! Of course, I imagine you people have winter time in the first place, something that fortunately we lack entirely here. :rolleyes:

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Also in the south, however our council camp is about 90 miles north of us.  In the winter, that equates to about a 10 degree drop in temperatures at night.  Many of our Florida born and bred Scouts do not handle anything below 75 very well, and do not own 'winter' clothing.  At our chapter Ordeal weekend last January, we had several show up in shorts on Friday night, on a weekend when it dipped to 27 degrees that first night.

We camp, hike, and backpack year round here.  Much more comfortable being on the trail for three days in November or January's temps than July's upper 90's.

By the way, I did plenty of real 'winter camping', with plenty of snow, ice, and zero degree temperatures before relocating to Florida many years ago.

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@Jameson76 and @MikeS72, I grew up in the South and camped in what I thought was winter only to move to Wisconsin years later and get the true winter experience. My first Troop was in Peachtree Corners, GA--in the Atlanta Area Council--and we would go on a few overnights where the temps would reach into the 40s. Then, we moved to Harvey, LA--in the New Orleans Area Council--and the majority of our camping trips were in Southern Mississippi. We backpacked on the Tuxachanie Trail once and I woke up with frost on the hood of my sweatshirt and everyone freaked out. ;) 

@The Latin Scot, I have a Marine veteran buddy who did mountain warfare training in the mountains in California. He has some awesome stories of truly cold temperatures! His NCO dug a hole in the snow and cooked his dinner over a fire...all while only wearing his boots and boxers. :D 

Our council here in Wisconsin has now held two winter Wood Badge courses and I camped out in my tent for both of them, while the majority of the learners and staffers stayed in cabins. One of the staffers said, "Wow, LeCastor, you don't have to be a bada$$ all the time!" Coming from seasoned Wisconsinites I felt like I had earned my stripes.

When I was Scoutmaster of a Troop here in WI, we often did winter outings and I always encouraged the Scouts to sleep in their tents or make quinzees. One Scout--who is now a Marine--dug out the quinzee and "slept" in if for about an hour before he joined his Patrol mates in the warm cabin. :( 

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@LeCastor  I spent a week at one of the Atlanta Area Council camps, Woodruff Scout Reservation and compared to Florida in July, it was downright cold, at 42 degrees the first night we were there.  Also spent about a week and a half on staff of a Woodbadge course hosted by New Orleans Area Council in '74.

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I ❤️ Woodruff Scout Reservation so much! 

********

One of these days I'd like to do the Okpik camp at Northern Tier...Also, I ran across this while researching winter camping schools:

http://www.bullmoosepatrol.com/bmp/2014/12/24/bsa-winter-camping-school-hypothermia

I interacted briefly with this man from the Bull Moose Patrol at Madison's annual Canoecopia event--paddle sports oriented. Seems like legit outdoorsman.

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2 hours ago, MikeS72 said:

@LeCastor  I spent a week at one of the Atlanta Area Council camps, Woodruff Scout Reservation 

 

1 hour ago, LeCastor said:

I ❤️ Woodruff Scout Reservation so much! 

To be clear...it does snow at Woodruff, you just have to be there on the right weekend

Klondike 2013 126.jpg

Klondike 2013 143.jpg

Klondike 2013 193.jpg

Klondike 2013 351.jpg

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So, the last snow was in 2013? The lake isn't even frozen. :)I am jealous of the dock, though. Our lake in the summer is probably not much warmer than that one in the winter. And it's a lot smaller.

22 hours ago, LeCastor said:

When I was Scoutmaster of a Troop here in WI, we often did winter outings and I always encouraged the Scouts to sleep in their tents or make quinzees. One Scout--who is now a Marine--dug out the quinzee and "slept" in if for about an hour before he joined his Patrol mates in the warm cabin.

I teach scouts to make quinzees and the scouts use them because they are much warmer than tents. We have one winter campout where the quinzees are also warmer than the cabin, just because the cabin leaks like a sieve. Well, that and nobody is allowed to sleep in the cabin.

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Our troop camped in Yosemite Valley the first week of December for a couple of years running. Had fresh snow on one trip

We've camped at Marin Sierra, our summer camp, in the winter for a number of years for snow camping. 5TMg82fJCLynaPt_H8UeISZZft9R2IHbqoG4XTsCPa8jETVUAGVKH7eG4vfmAxUYh61yEh0fmPiV0Hkr1vRkaFT_16BI0U_k6eQExaNSMyGW4n4X6VZNhxCBJuClC3l2CKdsZHlmQDhGhORx3LQGJNhjtkYr2uxhHm3BhcVu9Q3rGmt3ViGBVGbKfbnhyFuhYVkvkX0fIY24Y87t_e9s23hjpmI8uFSZUkOYNyKsNilcj1mRT09D4ZYTvM1dbY06CgPYOUvfvvmKd3ekbET4PWt4x8PYKcIC--Rsqe5-PvfQObDu5ujTUaNe1qPxSzdsM5Kmr5_JcmYtXrN4YEeQYqpnMRqYSA0ThfD9pUOq6jlTV4PngNrxKp7s2MqHbA0ApitmPk1bGKG536oE-S-f6eMW-wto4tiMH196QWonq_cLOIW78nwOa1gSxl3q2_tJElAGRK2b9sjxItraC5w6Bqd325J544GAb5pj9vctdaw4MKR_B3z7wkxGvqVFj2hPCphS7tp1irztMT44qBpnk2hcRPaRN1UvKarIk9oRGRTNccmk9LLV4vdrMLBQsYQNC3auLYXYH9XGBT0QztPnOHkj894ohKYo3mOLzHPXfMeEKc01pHnamXs-oWsmKoD7t3-lriT-d5b96T3wH0TOC1HV=w2244-h1262-no

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The claustrophobic in me freaks out at the idea of quinzees, even though I know they have a long history.

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Welcome, @Jahaza , to the Forum! Let's build a fire, warm up over a cup of hot chocolate, and talk about Scouting! (You don't have to sleep in the quinzee. ;) )

Edited by LeCastor
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