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    @jondub wrote:

    A lot of winter camping comes down to how comfortable you want to be which is what will affect the weight of your pack. It is also important to know how warm you sleep. I have winter camped with people where some people are hanging out in their wool baselayer around the campfire while the other people were wearing goose down jackets.

    +1 to this. You’ll very quickly work out what you need and don’t need. I found most people (myself included :scratch: ) over-estimating the amount of food required.

    @firstlight wrote:

    Just started using single wall tent, love them!

    I don’t have any overnight gear sleeping bag/tent yet (borrow/share with buddies that do!), but I must admit I’ll be looking pretty hard at a single wall tent. I’d probably prefer not to head out on an overnighter if I know it’s going to be wet anyway. The vestibule is mandatory if you’ve no other shelter for boots, pack etc. Adam, I like the way you dug out the vestibule to give yourself more room.

    The other general tip to keep your boots dry I do is when I get back to camp I put on dry socks and then get back into my boots and this helps suck a bit of moisture out of the liners. Combine this with a hot nalgene inside your liners and then in your sleeping bag and they’ll be pretty dry and warm the next morning.


    My boots sleep in the vestibule and get frozen. I just jam my feet into them in the morning, they warm up in a few minutes.


    I have used a BD twilight bivy, it’s only around 11 ounces and amazingly compact, but breathability leaves something to be desired. I’ll be trying a beta-light floorless this winter, with two partners it cuts down on weight. Unless I was going somewhere terribly exposed for a long time period (AK glacier camping) I don’t think you’ll ever see me haul a dual wall lead brick around.

    I really like my x-therm pad, sleeps warm enough that I don’t bring a second foam pad for snow and generally sleep with less now. I’m generally a side sleeper, closed cell foam pads are terrible for me.

    Size your bag to allow your down jacket to loft, wear everything to sleep. If you are using your jacket as a pillow you’re crazy. You can get inflatable (disposable) pillows off Amazon that weigh around an ounce and cost a few bucks, much cheaper than all the outdoor marketed stuff.

    Dry socks, boil water in nalgene and put at feet, greatest thing ever.

    Vapor barrier liner sock set up, keep my boot liners dry. Strange to get used to but it works. I use produce bags from the grocery store over my liner socks.

    Put liners in sleeping bag with you.

    Elevate stove off snow and/or put a small cut out of z-lite foam under fuel canister.

    I’m surprised so many people recommend jetboils and not as many mentions of reactors. The jetboil is nice to hang in a tent, a tad more compact, but the reactor is SO much faster at melting snow. I’ve seen 2-3 times faster in the field. Much better performance in wind also. I only bring my jetboil in summer when I don’t have to melt snow for water anymore.


    also im thinking about ditching my fleece “sleeping pants” and bring an extra bottom base layer to double up if it is to be too cold to sleep just in my go to ” wear it all day all night” base bottom. has anyone tried this in below -20c?


    i agree about the reactor stove. they are awesome and 2 of my friends have them. i went with jetboil cuz im too cheap. but in reality its working for me fairly well considering people dont seem to like it much for winter use.

    i was considering buying a dual walled 4 season tent from mec. but im now leaning toward getting a bigger tarp to go over my bivy and work on better campcraft. anybody with a awesome bivy + tarp set up out there?


    My current winter camping setup is as follows:

    MH Archer 3 person tent. The tent has handled a foot+ of fresh snow without issue. Sleeps two very comfortably, has two vestibules and weighs ~5lbs. Tyvek (water proof) tent footprint.

    I upgraded from my thermarest z-pad to an x-therm. I love the x-therm. Warmer and more comfortable for a side sleeper like myself.

    MH Phantom 0 sleeping bag in a size long. Love it.

    Reactor Stove with freeze dried meals plus luxury food (chocolate, whisky, beer?)

    2-3 pairs of wool socks, 1 pair of merino wool long underwear and base layer. I’m a big fan of wool.

    Gore shell jacket and pants (of course), puffy and my favorite red Pendleton flannel (found used in the basement of Next Adventure Portland, OR).

    I’ll use my Fitwell boot liners for around camp.

    Did I miss anything?
    The secret to winter camping is staying dry and warm.


    Current set up

    Sierra design Flash 3 person tent
    It’s a hybrid wall design tent, so fly and tent pitch as one. It does the job and is pretty big. Only weighs a little over 4lbs. Only beef I have is that it only has one vestibule and entrance.

    Jetboil Sumo
    I like the bigger cup for melting snow. I’ve used the jet boil at neg temps while above 11k feet and it worked just dandy. I always keep fuel in sleeping bag.

    Freeze dried food or some kind of rice noodle meal (rice noodles cook really fast, so they work well for meals prepped at home)….and of course beers (I like dales pale ale for convenience)

    Extra socks (I sometimes wear two pairs at once when it gets really cold)

    Intuition liners go in the bag and usually stay on my feet

    MH -20 bag (lamina I believe)

    Thermarest trail pro and z pads (I like using an air and foam pad cause I’m a sissy)

    Rab down jacket, compression wear, mittens, etc…..

    I like to make sure I dig a good wind wall around my tent and/or the communal area; you’d be surprised at how much of a difference a good wall will make. Address cold immediately. It’s much easier to stay ahead of the cold then to work your ass off once you’re freezing. Doing a few squats and push ups before bed to get the core temp up makes going to sleep easier. And most importantly, as a friend of mine once said: “Love the suck”.

    Almost forgot: pee bottle, don’t forget it. My girlfriend even has one now. She got a pee funnel and a pee bottle, winter camping became a lot more enjoyable for her after that.


    @cameron wrote:

    The secret to winter camping is staying dry and warm.

    To that end…My path to happy winter camping is choosing periods of high pressure for overnighters. Get some moon riding, catch a nice sunrise. Easier to stay dry when it’s not dumping.


    just did an early season dry approach 2nights splitcamping mission. no snow after 2hrs of hiking to 2200m. temp was around 0 degree daytime and around -7 at night. brought my -11 down bag to go with my friends hottent set up and stayed super comfy except the night before we left it snowed all night and got a lot of condensation inside the tent because we passed out without opening the top vents. if i had my usual winter hybrid bag i wouldnt worry but my down bag did get wet. good thing it was just 2 nights but if i were to stay another night or two, it might start being uncomfortable. using the hottent we were able to completely dry our gloves, jackets and socks in the tent after a day of touring while it was raining and snowing outside. used my new all weather safety blanket as a ground sheet and it was a great upgrade. it works very well on snow, being a bit thicker, tougher and warmer than regular tarp, sheds snow, water and dirt very well so i highly recommend it if you are using floorless setup.
    i also tried out sparks new heellocker. maybe i just suck but it did not work that well for me. heels kept unlocking or had hard time locking them in on a fly due to snow building on the bottom of the bindings.


    My tips tailored for 3-4 people traveling for 2+ nights:

    Bring (2) pairs of socks and always be drying one of them on your body. Over the shoulders, over baselayer and under puffy layer works well. Bring some foot powder to deal with the dreaded trench foot if not using VBLs. Not a big deal for 2 day trips, but really important for week +.

    Build snow caves. Set wall thickness with poles and pull poles after to ensure ventilation. Work in shifts – one guy digs in light layers until he starts to perspire, while guy #2 clears snow, and guy #3 fires up the Reactor and melts water for soup. Rotate often. With practice, this should take about an hour and will warm you up when you hit camp.

    Carry a 2lb silnylon or cuben pyramid tarp for the kitchen, pitch it in front of the snow cave and dig out benches and a table.

    Montbell makes a 6 oz. bivy that is exactly enough weather protection for sleeping in a down bag in a snow cave.

    Dry your down anytime its sunny. It could always be dryer. Pull out your bag and puffy to dry on long rest breaks in the sun.

    Bring an ultralight snow saw and build walls around your tent. Cut clean steps into your shelter. Build a wind break for your kitchen.

    Plan for and prevent problems, don’t fix them. This goes for shelter maintenance, staying warm, staying caloried, hydrated, dry, and clean. It is much easier to stay in the black then to try to dig yourself out of deficit. Healing & fixing in sub zero conditions is hard.

    Use a hot water dish to keep Reactor canisters warm and efficient.

    Gossamer gear makes great ultrathin practically weightlist evazote sleeping pads to slip over your Ridgerest or similarly craggy closed cell pad. Prevents snow and ice buildup in the pockets.

    Put fat in everything. Coconut cream powder and whole dry milk from asian markets is great in cocoa, oatmeal, and coffee. A vial of olive oil is awesome but keep it warm, it will turn solid (but will thaw easily). There is a limit though, at which point you’ll just poop out all the fat you can’t digest. Go for a 15/20/65 Protein/Fat/Carb mix. Fat calories weigh the least so make sure you max out the 20%.

    Brew a miso soup right when you get to camp for instant sodium recharge and general morale boost. Hot tea, hot chocolate every night.

    Carry down booties and slip them into shells for tooling around camp. Dry liners in your jacket. Have big mesh pockets inside your puffy (Patagonia DAS has awesome ones).

    Montbell UL Thermwrap pants are the sheeeeeet. Light, inexpensives, full zip. Yeahhhh.

    Don’t forget to put sunscreen on your neck, under your chin, and under your nose when hiking long days in the sun to protect from reflected exposure. Bandanas or buffs around the neck work well too.

    Duct tape, evazote pads, or even thin flat dried fruit can make quick glacier-goggle side shields.

    Put finely grated strong hard cheese on everything. Put butter on everything.

    Use the squishier plastic wide-mouth nalgenes as they tolerate wide temperature fluctuations better. Don’t boil water and pour in a polycarbonate nalgene to slip in your bag, you’ll regret it. Make sure one of your nalgenes is a narrow mouth so you can drink out of it while on the trail without spilling all over yourself.

    Metal drinking bottles are great for bag warmers. Can even be heated up directly on a fire. Cover with an old wool sock and slip in bag for an incredible all-night hot water bottle.

    Long big serving spoons are worth it. Trying to get to the bottom of a deep dinner of freeze dried with a 4 inch Ti spork will make you nuts.

    Bring more cheese.

    Given the choice between bringing more bag and more pad, bring more pad. You lose more heat winter camping through the ground then through the air. I prefer NeoAir over 2oz evazote torso + backpad feet over full length ridgerest. Ridgerest is key for lounging around the kitchen or under the feet while standing around.

    Wide mouth platypus-style nalgene = pee bottle. Be sure to mark it with the mark of death.

    Clear the tent/cave regularly in snowstorms. Don’t wait for it to get bad. leave a pole in a wide vent basket side up and you can use it to clear vents from the inside during the night.

    Carry tea lights. Make small niches in the snow cave and light up / heat the cave with 2-3 a night.

    Carry a small amount of hand lotion to keep your cuticles from cracking all to death by day four.

    Chapstick chapstick chapstick.

    Cuben fiber drybags are great sleeping bag stuff sacks and can double as inflatable pillows.

    Use a pole or avalanche probe and a carabiner to dip nalgenes in hard-to-reach streams and water holes.

    Replace BD Firstlight tent poles with carbon avalanche probe poles sold by 3rd party supplier.

    Carry a garbage bag. 1 million and one uses.

    Bring earplugs to sleep out those windy nights in a flapping tent or next to a snoring tent mate.

    Use lithium batteries in headlamp. Wear it around your neck to bed so you can find it in the middle of the night when you need to find your pee bottle.

    Rico in AZ

    ^^^Skills to pay the bills!
    Thanks for posting that!


    Besides all the gear study the terrain try to determine where the temperature inversions may be present. The few times i have done winter camping we stayed toasty up and out of the cold sinks on a small ridge.

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