Author Topic: Winter camping, how is it done successfully?  (Read 493 times)

gunwharfman

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Winter camping, how is it done successfully?
« on: 19:52:30, 10/09/20 »
I've never properly camped in the winter and I've often wondered how best to do it without spending even more money. I've read this and that about it and note that some people recommend a tent with a close woven inner, whilst others claim that a mesh inner is best?

In fact I've read quite a bit about it and a lot of views seem to conflict as well.

I've also read that the ground level layering that's best is a groundsheet, the tent base itself on top of that, then a closed-cell mattress with a Thermarest type self-inflating or blow up mattress like the Neo Air on top is desirable, that seems t. That seems to make sense to me.

If someone like me was to spend long hours of darkness in a tent I would also think that I would need a lamp (to read for example or to sort out my clothes and equipment) that could remain on for some time before going to sleep. If so any suggestions of type and make? I've tried using my head lamp but its just too bright to be comfortable.

Any advice to offer please and about the items that I haven't even thought about.

richardh1905

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Re: Winter camping, how is it done successfully?
« Reply #1 on: 23:04:03, 10/09/20 »
Definitely solid inner, with just a small amount of mesh, GWM.
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richardh1905

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Re: Winter camping, how is it done successfully?
« Reply #2 on: 23:04:56, 10/09/20 »
..and I always just use a head torch- - most modern ones have a low setting. Petzl make the best, IMO.
« Last Edit: 23:10:04, 10/09/20 by richardh1905 »
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gunwharfman

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Re: Winter camping, how is it done successfully?
« Reply #3 on: 09:38:58, 11/09/20 »
My head torch is only bright, and brighter. I'll search around and see what I can come up with. I'm colour blind (red/green) and if I buy some models, torches as well, I often can't read anything at all which includes maps. They just become a blur, for example, I cannot read a map at night in my wife's car (Honda) but I can in my son's car, a Citroen. Must be something to do with the bulb types that are used?

richardh1905

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Re: Winter camping, how is it done successfully?
« Reply #4 on: 10:23:53, 11/09/20 »
My Petzl Actik has a very low setting (6 lumens), just right for reading in a tent, or for eking the battery out if it is going flat. Also has 100lm (bright) and 350lm (pocket sun) settings. Can't really see me needing 350lm for normal walking, even late winter finishes.


The Petzl Tikkina is cheaper and has 6, 100 and 250 lumen settings.
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zuludog

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Re: Winter camping, how is it done successfully?
« Reply #5 on: 12:19:31, 11/09/20 »
I'm sure you will get plenty of information about warmth/insulation/sleeping bags, but here are some other things to consider -

A simple cartridge top gas stove will not work in very cold weather. You can get petrol pressure stoves, but the easiest would be a hose connected stove or a Trangia
You will need more fuel than in summer as you might have to melt snow; the water will be colder; you will be doing more brews & cooking
Do make sure you have plenty of matches/lighters/fire steels

Bring your water container into the inner tent overnight as it will be slightly warmer; store a water bottle upside down so any ice does not form a plug in the neck; fill your pan with water before settling for the night, then if it freezes you only need to put it on the stove

The nights are long & cold - find something to pass the time - a book - a radio, and so on

Perhaps it's wishful thinking, but I reckon candles add warmth as well as light

Besides regular meals take some hot snacks that can be made with the minimum of fuel, such as frankfurter sausages, cup a soups and instant noodles. Yes, I know they're junk but you don't have to live on them for ever

Mummery's Blood - hot Bovril with a generous dose of rum

You can use a water bottle, even a plastic one, or a Platypus as a hot water bottle. In the morning you will have some lukewarm water and be well on your way to your morning brew

Tent peg extractors are for wimps. Whenever I try to pull out frozen pegs with cold, sore hands I wish I gad one
« Last Edit: 12:26:47, 11/09/20 by zuludog »

barewirewalker

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Re: Winter camping, how is it done successfully?
« Reply #6 on: 13:51:27, 11/09/20 »
Once camped in the Cromlech, Car park Llanberis Pass on pure ice and had to use ice screws for my main guys. Had a lilo and was snug as a bug in a rug, Feb 1963 and temperatures were dropping very low at nights. Knack was to do as much as possible in the tent and sleeping bag and make sure the entrance of the tent was downwind  so you can prepare a meal  more in the tent and sleeping bag.
My mate found a novel way of keeping warm on Helvellyn in a blizzard, a sudden gust of wind caused him to tip all of a tin of curry powder into the meal we were preparing, strange to be sweating profusely in a sub zero blizzard with snowflakes passing horizontally over the tent.
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Birdman

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Re: Winter camping, how is it done successfully?
« Reply #7 on: 16:45:38, 11/09/20 »
It depends on what you mean by winter camping. If you expect lots of snow, your tent has to be able to deal with the snow loading (it can get quite heavy). But if not, then any 3-season tent will do (provided you are not camping in heavy wind, but that is not exclusive to winter). Then, what minimum temperature are you expecting? Of course a dual layer tent is warmer than a single layer and lots of mesh will make the tent colder too. However, you can compensate for that with a warmer sleeping bag. Your mattress is probably even more important than the sleepingbag. So you first have to decide what kind of conditions you want to survive and check that against your current gear. Smiley


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Birdman

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Re: Winter camping, how is it done successfully?
« Reply #8 on: 16:46:46, 11/09/20 »
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windyrigg

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Re: Winter camping, how is it done successfully?
« Reply #9 on: 18:17:04, 11/09/20 »
I guess there's winter & winter.
If we are talking most of the UK (eg excluding Highlands etc) , most of the time; that's very different to Cairngorm in full Arctic mode.
For 'UK most of the time', that's something like kit needed to cope with down to minus 5 degrees.
I use my normal 3 season tent, Mountain Equipment 'thick' blow up mat with old carri-mat on top. My 3 season down Alpkit sleeping bag is cosy to just below zero, if its going to be much colder I add thin summer bag on the outside or a silk liner on the inside. Take a down jacket and a wooly hat etc. I also have a Petzl headtorch with various settings. If its appropriate, a fire is great comfort / entertainment, add single malt as required. You are right that passing the time in the dark is a key issue, selecting a night when it isn't going the rain is a big help, I prefer to sit out (sometimes in the bag on the mat), rather than hide away bored in the tent, until I'm actually ready for sleep.
I keep cooking simple with my 'normal' gas canister stove. Even at zero degrees the performance of the stove is reduced; so keep the gas bottle in the sleeping bag, put  it inside the down jacket before you use it etc
Camping on snow / high / really cold should probably come after some experience of all the above - sorry, I guess you already know that.

archaeoroutes

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Re: Winter camping, how is it done successfully?
« Reply #10 on: 18:45:00, 11/09/20 »
When you say winter camping, do you mean low level camping in the winter months or camping above the snowline?
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Ronin83

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Re: Winter camping, how is it done successfully?
« Reply #11 on: 17:00:47, 13/09/20 »
Defo not an expert, but have done it. Usb rechargable hand warmer or the throw away ones. Put them in your boots so they're not cold in the morning