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mrkstvns

Winter Camping Quick Tip

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Well, it's that time of year again.  Time to dig out the cold weather sleeping bad and time to teach the kids about layering their clothes and staying warm no matter how low the mercury drops.

Here's a simple tip that might help you out on your next winter camping trip....

Before you go to bed, turn your water containers upside down (assuming they don't leak).  Water tends to freeze from the top down, and if you turn your water jug upside down, the layer of ice will form on the BOTTOM of your water jug, not at the top, so you'll still be able to get water out of it in the morning when you wake up and start fixing breakfast.  Try it at home with a water bottle in your freezer....it works!

 

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5 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

Well, it's that time of year again.  Time to dig out the cold weather sleeping bad and time to teach the kids about layering their clothes and staying warm no matter how low the mercury drops.

Here's a simple tip that might help you out on your next winter camping trip....

Before you go to bed, turn your water containers upside down (assuming they don't leak).  Water tends to freeze from the top down, and if you turn your water jug upside down, the layer of ice will form on the BOTTOM of your water jug, not at the top, so you'll still be able to get water out of it in the morning when you wake up and start fixing breakfast.  Try it at home with a water bottle in your freezer....it works!

 

LoL - Come next month, that water's been done froze solid in 1/2 hour no matter what you do up here. :D (Based on daughter's reports from North Dakota, that's happening now.) To counter this pleasant phenomenon I have the following:

  • Aluminum canteen. Cover that bad boy in some coals. Get your water back in as much time as it took to freeze solid. Propane stove works too. Make sure you've removed/protected the cap ... especially if it's plastic. (Plastic vessels? Lay on rocks that had been beside a fire, cover with a towel. Or, suspend in a pot of boiling water.)
  • No rush? Keep your bottles in your tent with you overnight by your head just outside of your bag. They'll thaw by morning -- faster if your tent has a ridge pole from which to suspend them.
  • Acquire water from under ice in the nearest stream Filter, then boil. (Sometimes you have to boil first if it's so cold your filter freezes.) What you don't use for dinner,  store in bottle(s). Wrap bottle(s) in fleece. Store at foot of your sleeping bag.

IMHO, I've seen plastic containers bust in so many elegant ways, I would never use one as my main water supply. However, the 96 oz collapsible canteens are pretty cool backups. What's nice is if laid between a couple of warm rocks, they'll eventually flex to the surfaces, allowing for more heat transfer.

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39 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

Well, it's that time of year again.  Time to dig out the cold weather sleeping bad and time to teach the kids about layering their clothes and staying warm no matter how low the mercury drops.

Yep.  We are camping next weekend, and I am sure I will hear a few comments about how cold they are, as it is supposed to drop down to 68 Friday night!

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LOL!  Our troop is camping this weekend too.  Only the temperature is supposed to be in the low 20's Friday night!

 

 

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1 hour ago, eagle90 said:

LOL!  Our troop is camping this weekend too.  Only the temperature is supposed to be in the low 20's Friday night!

 

Now THAT's what I call "Winter Camping"!!

Think snow...

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As long as it ain't leaking I'll wrap the water bottle inside a towel with a couple of Hot Hands, then place it in the bottom of the sleeping bag ....

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Here's another quick tip for winter camping....

Take care of your batteries for lights or emergency cell phones.

Just like there's frosty cold days when your car battery won't have enough juice to get you going, if your flashlight batteries get too cold, or your cell phone batteries get to cold, they can lose their pizazz.  

  • Charge batteries before you go
  • Lithium batteries hold their charge better than carbon batteries
  • Keeping the flashlight in your sleeping bag with you means you'll have light when nature calls in the middle of the night
  • Don't trust the time on electronic devices when you wake up ---- they have a tendency to lose time as the battery gets cold

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I think everyone should mention their definition of cold weather camping. For us, the 20's are considered cool for September, but not that unusual. Cold is below 0.

1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:
  •  
  • Keeping the flashlight in your sleeping bag with you means you'll have light when nature calls in the middle of the night

Umm, I don't want to take 20 minutes to put all that clothing back on. Wide mouth Gatorade bottle. :)

1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

Don't trust the time on electronic devices when you wake up ---- they have a tendency to lose time as the battery gets cold

Say what? That's one issue I've never seen. I'd be surprised as most watches are based on a crystal. They will lose power to the display before the timing circuit fails.

7 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

Before you go to bed, turn your water containers upside down (assuming they don't leak).

Better yet, bury them in snow. Snow is a great insulator. If we left our large water bottles out they'd freeze solid. A better thing to do with small water bottles is to insulate them, put boiling water in them, and put them on your thighs inside your bag. It'll keep you warmer most of the night. In the morning you'll have warm water to drink.

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9 hours ago, MikeS72 said:

Yep.  We are camping next weekend, and I am sure I will hear a few comments about how cold they are, as it is supposed to drop down to 68 Friday night!

There with you...we are camping this weekend, and it will get down to 34 on Friday night, 36 on Saturday.  For us, that will be like Siberia.   That being said, some will be in shorts.

Honestly, we rarely have days where it does not get above freezing for some portion of the day.  In the last 20 years we have camped where some snow came down maybe 3 times, accumulation once.  We had to head to the mountain to experience that

10 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

Before you go to bed, turn your water containers upside down (assuming they don't leak).  Water tends to freeze from the top down, and if you turn your water jug upside down, the layer of ice will form on the BOTTOM of your water jug, not at the top, so you'll still be able to get water out of it in the morning when you wake up and start fixing breakfast.  Try it at home with a water bottle in your freezer....it works!

 

Yeah...if the water's freezing in the tent, we would be waaaay out of our element.

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12 hours ago, MattR said:

I think everyone should mention their definition of cold weather camping. For us, the 20's are considered cool for September, but not that unusual. Cold is below 0.

We define cold weather camping by the extra gear brought to stay dry (layers), warm (bag liner) , and sometimes mobile (crampons, snowshoes).  Good exercise for QM's  and PL's to extend 3-season gear into winter and keep scouts safe.

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13 hours ago, MattR said:

Umm, I don't want to take 20 minutes to put all that clothing back on. Wide mouth Gatorade bottle. :)

 

YES!!

Keep an empty bottle handy so you don't HAVE to go out in the night.

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13 hours ago, MattR said:

I think everyone should mention their definition of cold weather camping. For us, the 20's are considered cool for September, but not that unusual. Cold is below 0.

For most of my life, I'd have considered cold weather camping to be nights in the teens.

Today, I'm working with scouts in Texas where many of the sports stores sell bags that don't even get you down into the 40s.  Our scouts will tell you that 40 is cold and lower than that is INSANE.

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The wide-mouth Nalgene or Gatorade bottle is called a “Scoutmaster’s Friend.” Gatorade bottles are good because you can throw them away when the trip is over. If you plan to reuse the bottle, make sure it is somehow marked so it is never confused with a water bottle. I use an older white poly Nalgene.

i have been on winter campouts where the contents of that bottle froze overnight.

Oh, and another tip: if you have an old, ripped closed-cell sleeping pad, you can cut it into strips, and tape the strips around water bottles and propane bottles to keep the contents warm. Other scraps also make a good kneeling pad when the ground is cold, and or wet.

Edited by an_old_DC

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"I think everyone should mention their definition of cold weather camping. For us, the 20's are considered cool for September, but not that unusual. Cold is below 0."

Cold is always in the negative numbers - the coldest to date, - 45 C working the King's Route on Mt. Logan....  however, for Scouts, it depends on their location,  I'm sure Scouts in Texas would find the temps of Michigan's UP a challenge, just as Michigan Scouts would consider a Texas winter little more than a chilly fall day...

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15 hours ago, MattR said:

I think everyone should mention their definition of cold weather camping. For us, the 20's are considered cool for September, but not that unusual. Cold is below 0. ...

It always feels colder at the beginning of the season ... this frosty morning on my walk to the coffee shop I crossed paths with one of our committee on his way home with his dogs. He busted my chops for me having my balaclava on. "Too soon for that." Said the guy who already had his coffee in hand!

Come spring, same temperature, and I might be in shorts.

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