Backpacking Tip of the Week

Staying with the theme of Winter Backpacking or Camping this week we are going to discuss the camp site.
One of the biggest challenges in a cold weather environment is Wind. It is one thing, like rain or driving snow that you can not change. You have got to learn to adapt to it. By that I mean learn to plan for it and around it. You can put on layers of clothing, a good protective layer that will keep the wind from penetrating and robbing you of valuable warmth.
You need to wind proof your camp site too.
Here are some things that you can do to establish a comfortable campsite in the cold.

First. Avoid low laying valleys, cold air settles in valleys and low ground. Gaining as little as 10 to 15 feet can be all the difference in warmth. If you must camp in low ground, create lower ground. Set up your tent and dig a small trench in the snow in front of your tent, this will allow the cold air to be pulled away from you. Do not put anything in the trench that needs to stay warm.
The trench doubles as a natural chair. You can sit in your tent and put your feet in the trench while you cook or shake out your clothing before getting in the tent.
Also avoid ridges. Ridges provide little or no protection.
Look for natural wind breaks like groves of trees or a huge rock. Build a snow wall if that is all you can find, but get out of the wind.

Second. Look at your Tent. Keep the snow off the roof of your tent. Periodically knock the snow off to avoid to much weight. You do not want the weight of the snow to snap your tent poles. Use your guy lines and keep the tent tight to allow the snow to slide off. Just like in the rain…stake your tent out as tight as possible. You may have to anchor your tent. A water bottle or stick can make a good anchor, you can also buy anchors like the ones pictured here.
But keep your tent tight.

Finally, keep you gear dry and warm.
Fluff up your sleeping bag before getting in it. Sleeping bags store the heat in space between the fibers. Fluff it up to create air pockets.
Keep your Sleeping bag in the water proof stuff sack till you use it.
Sleep with your boots in your tent. Put them in a stuff sack turned inside out or a garbage bag. Throw them in your sleeping bag or under your bag… but keep them in the tent. If your boots get cold…boil up some water and fill your water bottle with it. Throw your water bottle in your boot while you eat breakfast. You will step into nice warm boots.
Note: Never cook inside your tent. If you must, cook it in the vestibule, but never in the tent.
Keep your tent ventilated.. open the windows to reduce the condensation.. and if you do fire up your stove in the vestibule you want the ventilation to keep from passing out.

Keep comfortable in the winter while you are camping. It makes the experience so much better, and the adventure all that more tasty.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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