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It looks like I'll be car camping in temps around 10-20F overnight. This will not be a common thing--maybe once every few years at most. I don't want to spend much on something so rare but do want to make sure I actually have what I need. I suspect the underlayers available around me won't touch it, but I have no way of figuring out what is normal. Would you please give me the essentials run-down?

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Upstate NY here. We camp in subzero regularly. Here are some layering tips. Baselayer: wool or synthetic, don't overdue this. The purpose is to wuck moisture from the body not be your insulation.

I'll add to @DuctTape. More thin insulation layers are better than one thick one. The point is to stay dry and just warm enough. You don't want to sweat, otherwise you'll get wet. While synthetic

@DuctTape for National Commissioner! Spot on... To help you, your Scout Handbook has a pretty good checklist in the Hiking Section (Brown colored textblock fore edge... did you know your Sco

Upstate NY here. We camp in subzero regularly. Here are some layering tips.

Baselayer: wool or synthetic, don't overdue this. The purpose is to wuck moisture from the body not be your insulation.

Warm layer: fleece, down, wool. This is a thicker layer with the purpose of providing the majority of your insulation. This should stay dry.

Top/over layer: Purpose is to keep elements away from insulation layer, whether it is wind, rain or snow (or all three). Some use a top layer to keep fire sparks off their insulation layer.

Some add additional layers, but this is the basic idea.

It is likely you have all three layers already. For example, long sleeve synthetic base layer, wool sweater, water resistant coat.

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I'll add to @DuctTape.

More thin insulation layers are better than one thick one. The point is to stay dry and just warm enough. You don't want to sweat, otherwise you'll get wet. While synthetics do much better than cotton when wet they don't do as well as dry. The goal is to be "comfortably cool."

You can lose a lot of heat from your head, neck, hands and feet as well as wrists and ankles. So, don't forget hats, mittens, boots and reasonable socks. (And extra socks and mittens for those that get them soaked playing and watch out for snow in your boots.) I also have long mittens, neckies, and gators but I get cold easily.

Don't forget to drink and eat. It's harder to stay warm if you're dehydrated or hungry.

Finally, stay away from the fire unless you're going to stay for a while. It doesn't make sense but your body will crank up its metabolism to generate more heat. If you stand by the fire for a few minutes to warm up then you'll slow your metabolism and feel really cold once you walk away from it. It seems to take a long time to get it going again.

The latest thing I've learned is that since I'm now over 60 my metabolism has really slowed. Cold weather camping is harder.

Have fun for me.

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39 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

Upstate NY here. We camp in subzero regularly. Here are some layering tips.

Baselayer: wool or synthetic, don't overdue this. The purpose is to wuck moisture from the body not be your insulation.

Warm layer: fleece, down, wool. This is a thicker layer with the purpose of providing the majority of your insulation. This should stay dry.

Top/over layer: Purpose is to keep elements away from insulation layer, whether it is wind, rain or snow (or all three). Some use a top layer to keep fire sparks off their insulation layer.

Some add additional layers, but this is the basic idea.

It is likely you have all three layers already. For example, long sleeve synthetic base layer, wool sweater, water resistant coat.

@DuctTape for National Commissioner!

Spot on...

To help you, your Scout Handbook has a pretty good checklist in the Hiking Section (Brown colored textblock fore edge... did you know your Scout Handbook was color-coded??)

After you read that and gather your gear, go a bit further and check out your Fieldbook, Fifth Editon, Chapter 2, Gearing Up... then follow that with Chapter 18, Cold-Weather Adventuring.  If you don't have a Fieldbook, please get one for your edification.   https://www.scoutshop.org/2014-bsa-fieldbook-perfect-bound-614985.html

(LOL!!!  My spell check just tried to correct that to "deification"...well, that too, if you have half of the adventures in the Fieldbook!!!)

We just got back today from camping in the nor-easter  (yes, we camped out this weekend in eastern PA), and used it as a cold-weather training camp.  Official low last night was 8F.  Wind sustained at 22 mph, with gusts up to about 40.  That put us just outside the 30-minute frostbite window on the wind chill chart. (Refer to this chart for your "deification"  https://www.weather.gov/safety/cold-wind-chill-chart )  Know where your conditions are going to put you.  When we are going into 10 minute territory, FULL SKIN COVERAGE is mandatory!!!  No exposed skin, anywhere.)

We had around six inches of snow.   And these conditions are nothing compared to what, I'm sure, @DuctTape is used to, but for us lowlanders, it is rare.  I taught our Scouts how to build quinzees (see Fieldbook).  They had a blast, and were comfortable and cozy inside at around 30F while the wind was howling outside with single digits.

Here are some other cold-weather tips...especially if you are not used to working in cold weather...

1.  Avoid overheating!!!! If you break a sweat, STOP!  Take off your hat, open up all your layers, and cool off a bit.  Damp clothing is hazardous to your health ;)

2.  EVERYTHING takes more time in the cold.  Plan and set expectations accordingly!  If your Scouts are moving so slowly that, by the time they finish breakfast and cleaning, it is time to start lunch, that's OK!!!  They are learning...  

3.  If it is electric/electronic, and you think you need it, keep it warm!  Flashlights, smartphones, GPS devices....keep them in a pocket next to your body.  Cold temps severely degrade battery performance.

4.  If your feet are cold, PUT A HAT ON!!!  Lots of Scouts don't want to wear hats.  Remember who you are dealing with, and gently correct this error of judgment.

5.  Your "sleeping system" is of CRITCAL importance.  Have a dedicated set of dry underlayer clothing, specifically for sleeping.  DO NOT sleep in the clothes you have been running around in all day.  See #1.  Use two foam pads beneath you...much of your heat goes into the ground vs into the air.  Double up your sleeping bags... do not invest in a 0 degree bag if you won't use it often.  Using two sleeping bags rated at around 30, one nested into the other, will do the trick.  WARNING!  Never breathe inside your sleeping bag.  It will put loads of moisture into your sleeping system.  See #1.  Add a fleece blanket in for extra comfort.  Then do #6.

6.  Bring two wide-mouth Nalgene-type bottles.  Before bed time, boil water and fill your bottles.  Put them in your sleeping bag (one at your feet, and one up around your torso) for a great night's rest.  And, you'll have liquid water to drink during the night, and liquid water to use for hot drinks in the morning.  Can't do much with a water bottle that is frozen solid...

7.  Overcome whatever personal aversions you have, and learn to use a pee-bottle.  I have a dedicated bottle to pee in, discretely, of course.  It is well marked to avoid confusion!!!  Put it some place it won't freeze...empty discretely in the morning.

8.  FIGHT TO STAY DRY!  If you can stay dry, you can stay warm.  If you get damp or wet, and don't deal with it immediately, you will have problems.

9.  Set an alarm and do a wellness check at about 2 AM.  With another adult go around to each Scout, wake them, and ask if their fingers, toes, and nose are warm.  If not, take corrective action immediately using all the tips above.  I file this in the "due diligence" column.  In the best of worlds, I'd like to have the SPL do this, but if a Scout is having issues with the cold and hypothermia, the SPL ain't gonna take the hit...you are.

That's enough for now....lots of other tips and tricks available for cold weather.  If you have an appetite for more, post...

P.S.  I slept under the stars this weekend in those conditions.  Loved it....

 

 

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Look to the cycling community for cold weather gear. Their equipment is designed to be light, easy to put on/remove, and modular so you can build layers and pieces to meet any condition.

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This is a lot of great advice and I can't add much. I have not camped out a whole lot in cold weather but I have had to be out in it for long stretches sometimes overnight. Pay attention to your feet. For hiking and warm weather I generally liked snug footwear but in cold weather some room, especially around the toes, keeps you warmer. I'm allergic to wool so I have had to go with fleece but since I will sweat in those I used sock liners as the first layer. I use glove liners as well. I like a hat with a visor because there is nothing worse than not being able to see where you are going in snow or sleet. When you have to be stationary, make sure you have a windbreak. Check out feed and farm stores for working cold weather gear. They are generally cheaper than places like REI or the scout shops and the stuff is often better quality than what you will find at Walmart. I know I just said I was allergic to wool but my favorite ground cover when I did camp was an old school old wool blanke roll. Easier to deal with than the foam pads and a lot warmer. 

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Family matters got in the way of camping this weekend.

Agree with the above. Keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits all. And as our body changes, we need to adjust. Which means we tweak our gear from season to season.

If you’re less mobile, you need more insulation. If you’re more active, you need wicking layers, and enough dry spares … especially for sleeping.

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Yup, upstate NY was a great scout stomping grounds for me and my sons.  Camp Portaferry near the Watertown area was the bomb.  A lot of good info so far.  I may have missed it, but don't neglect ground insulation for tents.  You can put interlocking foam matting (gym type) inside your tents to add a great deal of insulation while sleeping.  You will need to look at the footprint and maybe cut some vs overlapping excess.  

The other method I used as a scout in Michigan in the 70s with floorless canvas scout tents was spreading loose bales of straw as an insulation floor.  This was pretty cheap and readily available.  A few things to note on this method: NO flames in tents!  A ground tarp/cloth between the ground and straw may help.  Small items can easily be lost in the loose straw.  When departing, do a good a sift through the straw for knives and things.  A campmaster may direct you how they want the excess straw disposed or reused.

Back to your OP, if you will seldomly camp with those temps, avoid the high price of new wool products.  The earlier posts have the best advice for this.

     

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Ready for the next round of tips?

10.  Coolers become warmers:  If temps are below freezing, do not put ice in your coolers to keep food fresh.  Put in full water bottles with water at around 40F in to keep food from freezing overnight.  Limit opening the "warmers" and close the lids quickly.  We use old 1-liter soft drink bottles.  Each patrol gets two.  They work out nicely.  Wash them out at home, and put in potable water.  (Great way to re-use, versus trashing items or wasting money on bags of ice.)  In a pinch, if water bottles or jugs are frozen, you can use the water from your "warmers" for cooking.

11.  Below about 20F (your taste may vary), do not bother building a fire.  Insulation works both ways :)  I have seen Scouts try to sidle up too close to a fire with all their gear on...they cannot feel the heat, and they wind up burning clothing.  If you have to have a fire, any time you approach, open up all your layers so you can feel where a safe distance is.  But, when you open those layers, you have just lost all that precious heat you just worked so hard to produce.  Whenever we build a fire, it is usually to dry out wet clothing.

12.  Shift your menus to more fats, starches, and sugars.  Calorie needs almost double.  Have some sugary things on hand for a quick warm up.  My personal favorite is honey.  If I'm feeling a bit cold, I do 20 jumping jacks (don't work up to a sweat!) and then down a tablespoon of honey.  Fats and sugars for breakfast, and have a big starchy meal for dinner...think beef stew with potatoes, rice or noodles, and bread.  Then, a Snickers bar (or a delicious Dutch oven treat) and top off your fluids before brushing your teeth for bed.  You have to keep the old furnace stoked!!

13.  Be extra vigilant about hydration.  Dehydration degrades your body performance, and can hasten the onset of hypothermia.  If you feel thirsty, you are already behind.  Everyone is still perspiring, even at cold temps...and you lose a lot of moisture through breathing in the cold...you must replace that fluid.  Urine frequency and color is a good indicator of your hydration level.  See the chart in First Aid section of your Scout Handbook around page 138. 

14.  Have a plan for a warm safe haven.  If someone starts to succumb to the cold, what are you going to do?  If you are car camping, a vehicle works well...  you can warm someone up within 20 minutes.  If you are further afield, do you have some shelter you can set up quickly to get out of the wind?  How quickly can you make a hot cider with the backpacking stove?  BTW, if one Scout begins having hypothermia symptoms, chances are some others are pretty close to the same condition.  Be wary... 

15.  If you have snow on the ground, learn to make deadman anchors.  Your Fieldbook has a brief discussion.  Here is a demo (even though his taut-line is incorrect, and he doesn't show you placement... ;) )  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKBAVvRVwqY&ab_channel=SurvivalCommonSense  This also works well in the sand when camping on the beach!!  Here's another demo so you can see the principle... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4lDIDpgmdc&ab_channel=CanvasCamp  If you have no snow on the ground, putting stakes in frozen ground (and then getting them out) is a challenge.

Enjoy!!

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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18 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

I was going to post about this the other day.  :)

I am in Texas and camping in the cold doesnt come up enough to know how to be properly prepared

I remember the first time I learned how to tie a scarf for functional use. It had always been a fashion accessory before that moment. There's a certain level of knowledge that just has to come through experience.

17 hours ago, DuctTape said:

Upstate NY here. We camp in subzero regularly. Here are some layering tips.

Baselayer: wool or synthetic, don't overdue this. The purpose is to wuck moisture from the body not be your insulation.

Warm layer: fleece, down, wool. This is a thicker layer with the purpose of providing the majority of your insulation. This should stay dry.

Top/over layer: Purpose is to keep elements away from insulation layer, whether it is wind, rain or snow (or all three). Some use a top layer to keep fire sparks off their insulation layer.

Some add additional layers, but this is the basic idea.

It is likely you have all three layers already. For example, long sleeve synthetic base layer, wool sweater, water resistant coat.

This is very helpful! And hilarious that you assume I likely have a base layer, wool layer, and fleece layer when I have none of those things. My water-resistant coat doesn't even have a hood. 😆 Now I know what to look for and how to assess them. Thank you!

16 hours ago, MattR said:

I'll add to @DuctTape.

More thin insulation layers are better than one thick one. The point is to stay dry and just warm enough. You don't want to sweat, otherwise you'll get wet. While synthetics do much better than cotton when wet they don't do as well as dry. The goal is to be "comfortably cool."

You can lose a lot of heat from your head, neck, hands and feet as well as wrists and ankles. So, don't forget hats, mittens, boots and reasonable socks. (And extra socks and mittens for those that get them soaked playing and watch out for snow in your boots.) I also have long mittens, neckies, and gators but I get cold easily.

Don't forget to drink and eat. It's harder to stay warm if you're dehydrated or hungry.

Finally, stay away from the fire unless you're going to stay for a while. It doesn't make sense but your body will crank up its metabolism to generate more heat. If you stand by the fire for a few minutes to warm up then you'll slow your metabolism and feel really cold once you walk away from it. It seems to take a long time to get it going again.

The latest thing I've learned is that since I'm now over 60 my metabolism has really slowed. Cold weather camping is harder.

Have fun for me.

Ah! Super useful info! The food and fire advice is particularly insightful. Thank you!!

I'll be sure to enjoy it while I can!

15 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

@DuctTape for National Commissioner!

Spot on...

To help you, your Scout Handbook has a pretty good checklist in the Hiking Section (Brown colored textblock fore edge... did you know your Scout Handbook was color-coded??)

After you read that and gather your gear, go a bit further and check out your Fieldbook, Fifth Editon, Chapter 2, Gearing Up... then follow that with Chapter 18, Cold-Weather Adventuring.  If you don't have a Fieldbook, please get one for your edification.   https://www.scoutshop.org/2014-bsa-fieldbook-perfect-bound-614985.html

(LOL!!!  My spell check just tried to correct that to "deification"...well, that too, if you have half of the adventures in the Fieldbook!!!)

We just got back today from camping in the nor-easter  (yes, we camped out this weekend in eastern PA), and used it as a cold-weather training camp.  Official low last night was 8F.  Wind sustained at 22 mph, with gusts up to about 40.  That put us just outside the 30-minute frostbite window on the wind chill chart. (Refer to this chart for your "deification"  https://www.weather.gov/safety/cold-wind-chill-chart )  Know where your conditions are going to put you.  When we are going into 10 minute territory, FULL SKIN COVERAGE is mandatory!!!  No exposed skin, anywhere.)

We had around six inches of snow.   And these conditions are nothing compared to what, I'm sure, @DuctTape is used to, but for us lowlanders, it is rare.  I taught our Scouts how to build quinzees (see Fieldbook).  They had a blast, and were comfortable and cozy inside at around 30F while the wind was howling outside with single digits.

Here are some other cold-weather tips...especially if you are not used to working in cold weather...

1.  Avoid overheating!!!! If you break a sweat, STOP!  Take off your hat, open up all your layers, and cool off a bit.  Damp clothing is hazardous to your health ;)

2.  EVERYTHING takes more time in the cold.  Plan and set expectations accordingly!  If your Scouts are moving so slowly that, by the time they finish breakfast and cleaning, it is time to start lunch, that's OK!!!  They are learning...  

3.  If it is electric/electronic, and you think you need it, keep it warm!  Flashlights, smartphones, GPS devices....keep them in a pocket next to your body.  Cold temps severely degrade battery performance.

4.  If your feet are cold, PUT A HAT ON!!!  Lots of Scouts don't want to wear hats.  Remember who you are dealing with, and gently correct this error of judgment.

5.  Your "sleeping system" is of CRITCAL importance.  Have a dedicated set of dry underlayer clothing, specifically for sleeping.  DO NOT sleep in the clothes you have been running around in all day.  See #1.  Use two foam pads beneath you...much of your heat goes into the ground vs into the air.  Double up your sleeping bags... do not invest in a 0 degree bag if you won't use it often.  Using two sleeping bags rated at around 30, one nested into the other, will do the trick.  WARNING!  Never breathe inside your sleeping bag.  It will put loads of moisture into your sleeping system.  See #1.  Add a fleece blanket in for extra comfort.  Then do #6.

6.  Bring two wide-mouth Nalgene-type bottles.  Before bed time, boil water and fill your bottles.  Put them in your sleeping bag (one at your feet, and one up around your torso) for a great night's rest.  And, you'll have liquid water to drink during the night, and liquid water to use for hot drinks in the morning.  Can't do much with a water bottle that is frozen solid...

7.  Overcome whatever personal aversions you have, and learn to use a pee-bottle.  I have a dedicated bottle to pee in, discretely, of course.  It is well marked to avoid confusion!!!  Put it some place it won't freeze...empty discretely in the morning.

8.  FIGHT TO STAY DRY!  If you can stay dry, you can stay warm.  If you get damp or wet, and don't deal with it immediately, you will have problems.

9.  Set an alarm and do a wellness check at about 2 AM.  With another adult go around to each Scout, wake them, and ask if their fingers, toes, and nose are warm.  If not, take corrective action immediately using all the tips above.  I file this in the "due diligence" column.  In the best of worlds, I'd like to have the SPL do this, but if a Scout is having issues with the cold and hypothermia, the SPL ain't gonna take the hit...you are.

That's enough for now....lots of other tips and tricks available for cold weather.  If you have an appetite for more, post...

P.S.  I slept under the stars this weekend in those conditions.  Loved it....

 

 

Deification it will be from now on! St. Maximos once said, “He who aspires to divine realities willingly allows providence to lead him by principle of wisdom toward the grace of deification. [...] For since God is goodness itself, he heals those who desire it through the principles of wisdom, and through various forms of discipline cures those who are sluggish in virtue.” Seems fitting. 

I've got a Fieldbook on your recommendation and will be sure to cover all these resources. Thank you!! I saw one flashlight reviewed consistently bad for cold weather but did not make the connection to all electronics. I'll be sure to have an insulation layer for my cot and will take the rest to heart. I'll probably come back after reading to ask another more educated round as I figure out logistics! Thank you!!

14 hours ago, Rabid said:

Look to the cycling community for cold weather gear. Their equipment is designed to be light, easy to put on/remove, and modular so you can build layers and pieces to meet any condition.

Ingenious. And readily accessible around me. Thank you!

13 hours ago, yknot said:

This is a lot of great advice and I can't add much. I have not camped out a whole lot in cold weather but I have had to be out in it for long stretches sometimes overnight. Pay attention to your feet. For hiking and warm weather I generally liked snug footwear but in cold weather some room, especially around the toes, keeps you warmer. I'm allergic to wool so I have had to go with fleece but since I will sweat in those I used sock liners as the first layer. I use glove liners as well. I like a hat with a visor because there is nothing worse than not being able to see where you are going in snow or sleet. When you have to be stationary, make sure you have a windbreak. Check out feed and farm stores for working cold weather gear. They are generally cheaper than places like REI or the scout shops and the stuff is often better quality than what you will find at Walmart. I know I just said I was allergic to wool but my favorite ground cover when I did camp was an old school old wool blanke roll. Easier to deal with than the foam pads and a lot warmer. 

Ahhh! Perfect. Will do. Thank you!

12 hours ago, qwazse said:

Family matters got in the way of camping this weekend.

Agree with the above. Keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits all. And as our body changes, we need to adjust. Which means we tweak our gear from season to season.

If you’re less mobile, you need more insulation. If you’re more active, you need wicking layers, and enough dry spares … especially for sleeping.

Fantastic reality check. Thank you! I hope your family matters are benefitting from your presence.

17 minutes ago, Double Eagle said:

Yup, upstate NY was a great scout stomping grounds for me and my sons.  Camp Portaferry near the Watertown area was the bomb.  A lot of good info so far.  I may have missed it, but don't neglect ground insulation for tents.  You can put interlocking foam matting (gym type) inside your tents to add a great deal of insulation while sleeping.  You will need to look at the footprint and maybe cut some vs overlapping excess.  

The other method I used as a scout in Michigan in the 70s with floorless canvas scout tents was spreading loose bales of straw as an insulation floor.  This was pretty cheap and readily available.  A few things to note on this method: NO flames in tents!  A ground tarp/cloth between the ground and straw may help.  Small items can easily be lost in the loose straw.  When departing, do a good a sift through the straw for knives and things.  A campmaster may direct you how they want the excess straw disposed or reused.

Back to your OP, if you will seldomly camp with those temps, avoid the high price of new wool products.  The earlier posts have the best advice for this.

     

Thank you!! Do you think ground insulation or cot insulation is more important if I'm sleeping on a tall cot? I assumed the latter, treating it kinda like a hammock. 

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28 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Ready for the next round of tips?

10.  Coolers become warmers:  If temps are below freezing, do not put ice in your coolers to keep food fresh.  Put in full water bottles with water at around 40F in to keep food from freezing overnight.  Limit opening the "warmers" and close the lids quickly.  We use old 1-liter soft drink bottles.  Each patrol gets two.  They work out nicely.  Wash them out at home, and put in potable water.  (Great way to re-use, versus trashing items or wasting money on bags of ice.)  In a pinch, if water bottles or jugs are frozen, you can use the water from your "warmers" for cooking.

11.  Below about 20F (your taste may vary), do not bother building a fire.  Insulation works both ways :)  I have seen Scouts try to sidle up too close to a fire with all their gear on...they cannot feel the heat, and they wind up burning clothing.  If you have to have a fire, any time you approach, open up all your layers so you can feel where a safe distance is.  But, when you open those layers, you have just lost all that precious heat you just worked so hard to produce.  Whenever we build a fire, it is usually to dry out wet clothing.

12.  Shift your menus to more fats, starches, and sugars.  Calorie needs almost double.  Have some sugary things on hand for a quick warm up.  My personal favorite is honey.  If I'm feeling a bit cold, I do 20 jumping jacks (don't work up to a sweat!) and then down a tablespoon of honey.  Fats and sugars for breakfast, and have a big starchy meal for dinner...think beef stew with potatoes, rice or noodles, and bread.  Then, a Snickers bar (or a delicious Dutch oven treat) and top off your fluids before brushing your teeth for bed.  You have to keep the old furnace stoked!!

13.  Be extra vigilant about hydration.  Dehydration degrades your body performance, and can hasten the onset of hypothermia.  If you feel thirsty, you are already behind.  Everyone is still perspiring, even at cold temps...and you lose a lot of moisture through breathing in the cold...you must replace that fluid.  Urine frequency and color is a good indicator of your hydration level.  See the chart in First Aid section of your Scout Handbook around page 138. 

14.  Have a plan for a warm safe haven.  If someone starts to succumb to the cold, what are you going to do?  If you are car camping, a vehicle works well...  you can warm someone up within 20 minutes.  If you are further afield, do you have some shelter you can set up quickly to get out of the wind?  How quickly can you make a hot cider with the backpacking stove?  BTW, if one Scout begins having hypothermia symptoms, chances are some others are pretty close to the same condition.  Be wary... 

15.  If you have snow on the ground, learn to make deadman anchors.  Your Fieldbook has a brief discussion.  Here is a demo (even though his taut-line is incorrect, and he doesn't show you placement... ;) )  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKBAVvRVwqY&ab_channel=SurvivalCommonSense  This also works well in the sand when camping on the beach!!  Here's another demo so you can see the principle... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4lDIDpgmdc&ab_channel=CanvasCamp  If you have no snow on the ground, putting stakes in frozen ground (and then getting them out) is a challenge.

Enjoy!!

Extremely helpful!! Thank you!!!

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I may have assumed too much but you know how scouters can get long winded.  Worst case, get silver plastic exercise suit.  That will work for a day.

Cot insulation is more important on high cots like you mention.   

 

Edited by Double Eagle
Edited for cot info.
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12 minutes ago, Double Eagle said:

I may have assumed too much but you know how scouters can get long winded.  Worst case, get silver plastic exercise suit.  That will work for a day.

 

I am extremely grateful for it. And the baseline of what's normal in cold weather is exactly what I came here to learn. I appreciate it immensely. Thank you!

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1 hour ago, GiraffeCamp said:

Do you think ground insulation or cot insulation is more important if I'm sleeping on a tall cot? I assumed the latter, treating it kinda like a hammock. 

Good question! Sleeping bags are worthless where you smash them down. That and the fact that the ground is cold means you'll freeze if you don't have insulation directly under you. So, if you're on an uninsulated blowup mattress you will have very miserable night. Same goes for a cot. You need insulation underneath.

Not sure you'll need it but I put an army surplus wool blanket on the floor of my tent.

Also, I wear a hat to bed. If it gets real cold I make sure my neck is covered as well but that's just me. The sleeping bags that tie up close around my face don't quite work. I move around too much.

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