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a few friends annually camp out during the month of February, something I have never done. so this time I was invited along and thought I'd share some of what I learned.


i'm on the far right, talking while the photo timer went off:xeye:




some beautiful landscape, 20,000 acres of state game lands


I highly recommend getting a pair of gaiters. these not only saved my boot laces from icing over, they also help to keep your pants dry.


lesson learned: for steep terrain, get some trekking poles. i didn't have any this trip and it was easy to lose your balance in the deeper snow.


at roughly 6.30 pm we arrived at the top of the mountain, very near to where we decided to camp. beautiful scenery and a beautiful view at the top.


of course i was assigned to make the fire. glad i did though because i heard the other guys asking if anyone brought a lighter / matches (i of course had my fire starter kit with multiple ways to start a fire) thoughts on fire position? i thought the two big rocks made a nice reflector. see any disadvantages?


the view when we awoke. snowed slightly and continued to flurry as we set out down the mountain.


it was eye opening as to how i needed to change my pack. this was a very light weight requirement of a trip. it made me see just what all i had duplicates of in my pack and what i should throw out to lighten the load.
some regrets:
  • i wish i would have used my bivy sack with my sleeping bag. the bag was rated for zero degrees but since we didn't have a 4 season tent, condensation did appear on the bag in the morning
  • storing more clothes in the bag with me for morning. no one likes putting on cold clothes. i had most of my base layer on while sleeping but stuffing some pants at the bottom may have kept them from freezing stiff
  • snack food. while we were all comfortable enough to sleep, none of us got any real amount of sleep. i wish i would have brought something to snack on while i was in and out of naps to keep my body producing some more heat. sugary foods like chocolate i think i read on this board.
  • i need to invest in trekking poles. or make my own. the adjustable ones they had seem to be a good cheap investment

please add anything you see that i may not have covered or if you have any recommendations. since this was my first overnight winter camp out, i'm open to more wisdom
 

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Looks like a lot of fun to me.

....and since ya asked! :D:

I sure see a lot of cotton for a winter trip! Fleece and wool are cheap these day's bought right. My fashionable Euro military wool trousers have been on dozens of trips and cost a whopping $15.

As far as snacks and staying warm food, we hang with any kind of nuts, extra butter and olive oil in everything, carbo buzzes will have you waking up cold. Speaking of waking up you made no mention of a pee bottle so you don't have to get out of a warm bag while waking everyone else in the tent up at the same time!

Bad winter etiquette for sure!

By the way, that bottle should be a different shape than the other water bottles in your bag. My favorite **** bottles are Pace Picanti 1/2 gallon jugs with the handle. If your hydrating right and especially at our altitudes, it's pretty easy to fill a 16 oncer!

Speaking of things in the sleeping bag, that's just one more reason I don't go anywhere without a bivy. With a bivy the extra cloths, boot liners, battery powered devices, water, snacks etc. etc. don't have to be in your sleeping bag with you to keep from freezing. It also keeps your stuff from getting mixed with everyone elses in the tent.

Which is also bad winter etiquette! :cool:

I'm envious of your trip, we did a 5 dayer earlier this month, and wanted to twist out this weekend for a few more but we have Ski Patrol duty this weekend. (don't want to mess up the free season lift tickets :D:)

Take care,
Den
 

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I sure see a lot of cotton for a winter trip!
i had a wool underlayer. flleece top with the columbia jacket. pants are something i'm looking for, i'll try searching for something similar to what you recommend.

Speaking of waking up you made no mention of a pee bottle so you don't have to get out of a warm bag while waking everyone else in the tent up at the same time!
i didn't pack one, but i mentioned it at camp. they looked at me like i was crazy, i should have just went with my instincts and brought one. thanks for the recommendation of a large size and different shape :thumb:

Speaking of things in the sleeping bag, that's just one more reason I don't go anywhere without a bivy. With a bivy the extra cloths, boot liners, battery powered devices, water, snacks etc. etc. don't have to be in your sleeping bag with you to keep from freezing. It also keeps your stuff from getting mixed with everyone elses in the tent.
great advice, i'll be sure to pack the bivy next time!
 

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Pepple and Razor, great advice! For people who haven't done this before, go with someone who has for your first time. Pepple, looks like you did very well and thanks for sharing. I would eliminate all cotton, even as outer layers. Razor didn't mention that the larger salsa bottle is not just to hold more liquid, but it has a larger opening for your late night accuracy-challenged episodes. It isn't cool to pee on your tent mates.

I haven't done this in a few years, but we never used tents. We used army issue body bags. We were infantry at the time and anything to creep out the other soldiers was worth it. Body bags work well, but can get hot if you zip up most of the way.

Great info guys!
 

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Yeah, it's great. Scares some people though.
 

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I would add some snow shoes to that list of poles and gaiters. I have a pair or $35 USGI Surplus Snowshoes that have suited me well. I'm a big guy (240lb), and with 45lb of gear I've had no problem with them whatsoever. Winter camping is a hoot. Its nice to have friends who aren't afraid of a little cold.

PS: I buy all of my snowshoe poles used at ski rental shops. For less than $5 you can probably buy a pair to suit your needs. Telescopic poles are nice, but honestly, I never collapse them in the field because their always in my hands even without much snow.
 

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Nothing to add except I was out in February for 9 days. Snapped this picture while I was there.

I was basically standing on the Can/US border when I took it. Dont know if you can tell but it was dam cold.
Craig
 

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Pepple, Great post! I have always enjoyed winter camping and backpacking. There's NO BUGS, very few people, and invigorating cold air. If a person goes prepared properly, it can be a great experience. It looks like you guys had a blast, and were well-prepared.
If you have any more photos, please post 'em!
 
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