need advice on cold weather camping

Old 10-24-05, 10:21 AM
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need advice on cold weather camping

hi, I've been camping in the catskills a few times in the summer and once in the winter, last time I went i brought lots of gear and sleeping bag rated to -40 degrees F. but i was freezing the whole day and night (the temp in my tent hit 7 degrees. now this year i want to go again, but i would like to bring better gear. I have limeted money, and i neet to split it between a new jacket, snow pants, thermals and mabye a new bag. what do you guys think i should get? I would thing Thermals and a good jacket to be the most important, please give me sugjestions.
Old 10-27-05, 05:17 AM
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There are a few suggestions I could make.

Most important in my mind is the type of material your garments are made of, especially the inner layers.
Cotton is one fabric you do not want to wear in cold weather.
It absorbs moisture from your body but doesn't allow it to pass on to the next layer of clothing.
Once damp it becomes like wearing a wet sponge and will take heat away from your body.
Synthetic or wool undergarments are the only things to wear, not even a small percentage of cotton is good.
As you layer your clothing, again, stay away from cotton, synthetics and wool will allow moisture to pass keeping you warm.

Another idea is to have a few complete clothing changes.
When going to bed put on a completely new dry set of clothing and as long as your sleeping bag is a good one you will be toasty warm.

Don't be tempted to use a direct fired tent heater of any kind.
You will be warm for a short while but the moisture they give off will make things in your tent damp and will form frost on the inside of your tent.

Another idea is to make sure your jacket is loose enough for layering and make sure you open up when warm to minimize sweating.

You do not have to spend big money on high tech fabrics and stuff.
If you are on a budget, one place you can find good outdoor clothing is thrift shops.
My last find was a $300.00 Columbia hooded jacket for $8.00, my wife got a down parka for $12.00! Both look like new.

The biggest killer is being damp, you need to control this to be warm.
Check the clothing you were wearing on your last trip and let us know what material they were made of.

Any more questions, just ask.
Old 10-27-05, 08:14 AM
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I don't know what kind of tent you have but I use a Eureka and it holds the heat in very well at night. I camp in weather down to 0 and below and end up sleeping in regular night clothes and my -10 mummy bag.
Old 11-08-05, 05:39 PM
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The #1 rule of the outdoors is stay dry.

I am a big fan of tight fitting polypropylene (Thermax, Duofold...) inner layers. Covered by more layers of poly or wool. Wear many layers and don't hesitate to strip off a layer when you start to get warm. Your body will heat up and cool down with your activity level so strip off layer to prevent soaking your clothes with sweat. Since you will sweat and get your clothes wet, high tech. poly. fibers and wool wool will still keep you warm. When hiking hard I would wear a pair of shorts and a polypro vest, but put on a million layers when I stopped for a break.

As for nightime, I have never found a way to keep warm. No matter if it was 30 or -30 I would always wake up cold in the night. I tried a 10 degree bag, a -10 bag and a -30 bag, and I always woke up cold in the night. I tried the sleeping naked inside the sleeping bag... I froze and I had to put on cold clothes in the morning. I've tried bringing along a cute blonde... It was warmer but one always woke up when the other rolled over. Sleeping with a couple good dry layers was the best I ever found, but I still would wake up cold now and then.

I tried sleeping with a pocket hand warmer at my feet (the type that uses lighter fluid and goes into a felt pouch). Well, I awoke in the middle of the night with my feet burning when the damn thing came out of it's pouch.

I never noticed that the brand or style of tent made much difference. If they kept you dry and shielded the wind they did their job. I like larger, more ventilated tents which seems funny in the winter. The ventilated tents feel colder initially, but let the moisture from you breath escape better. I have noticed that in a smaller, poorly ventilated tent I would wake up with snow on the top of my sleeping bag from my breath.

I have never tried a heater in tent. They are too heavy, too dangerous... My one luxury was to have a tent with a vesibule and get everything ready so you can fire up the camp stove and make a cup of real coffee while you are still in the bag. A hot cup of coffee always made putting on cold boots much easier.

Don't forget a couple very good hats. Keep your brain warm.
Old 11-15-05, 04:16 AM
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Some tips to prepare for a cold weather camping:

Consider the types of material for camping in winter. Wool garments are good insulators when wet; mukluks, water-proofed leather hiking boots rubber overshoes proide good insulations too; 3-4 lbs synthetic bags for your beddings and with liner preferably made of wool.I am using a mummy style bag bedding coz it is warmer than rectangular ones. And also, prepare an empty bottle when nature calls you at night, thus limiting you to go outside the tent. It is also necessary to bring extra camping gears such as sleeping bags, wool blankets, GorTex and polypropylene garments, tarps,and additional winter wears.

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