This weeks Poll

Winter Camping?  Do you?
It’s a yes or no question.. but what I really want to know is this:
If you camp in the winter (with your Troop), what kind of training do you do to prepare?
What kind of gear do you have and and/or modify to have great winter camping experiences?
If you answered NO.. why?

Have a Great Scouting Day!


  1. Well, we camp in the winter, but here in South Texas, having to wear jeans constitutes winter, so it’s not like we have to do much preparation.


  2. Last winter we followed what was in the fieldbook regarding cold weather camping, clothing and layers as well as wool. That helped the boys to keep their toes and fingers warm. Utah winters give us some good snow for caves and not just a small 2 man cave we have had caves that would fit 6 people and standing up room. The thing we do is dig the caves and then change inside the caves to another set of dry snow clothes, gloves and hats. The wet ones we leave outside standing by themselves. As far as equipment for winter camping no one wants to pack the camp chef up the mountain so it is fire only cooking.


  3. If it’s above -30 F we camp. If we are practicing wilderness survival we do it without tents. Whether its digging in to the snow for shelter, setting snares to catch our food, taking a 200 mile snow machine trips deep in to the remote wilderness, participating in the Great Alaska Council’s freezeree, or snowshoeing into the back country and then flagging down a train for a ride back to civilization, we camp.

    Check out our winter camp photos at


  4. Here in Oklahoma our coldest is usually around 20 degrees. Not too bad. The wind is the worst. Our former scoutmasters did not think that boys would go on campouts in January, so for years we did YMCA lock-in’s and slept in the gym. Then we tried a scouting event outside of Wichita, KS, the Trappers Rendezvous. This is a big swap meet held by that council that attracts hundreds of scouts from several states. Our boys loved this event, and voted every year after that to go back. We have slept in 3 degree weather in the snow, and I heard no discouraging word from our s, couts. Our troop bought a raised firepit for camp fires at this event, and a kerosene heater for our wiinter shelter that we mainly use for this event (everyone sleeps in their tents, I in my hammock.) I think I would have a riot on my hands if I suggest not going next year. We also like to go to December Civil War re-enactments in Arkansas and February ski trips in Missouri.

    We do special meetings on treating hypothermia and frostbite in the meetings before our winter season campouts. We show how to layer our clothing and I harp on the “cotton kills” theme a lot, although I still see the majority of camp clothing consisting of blue jeans and cotton sweat shirts. sigh. I bought winter camping stuff and show off my clothing, but it is hard to get that message across.

    Jerry, I have seen the videos of your troop camping on top of 4 feet of snow, and waking up to dig out of snowbanks that landed overnight. We do not have anything like that here. But our winter winds will chill you to the bone. Keep up the good work.


    1. Allen

      I find it interesting that you talk about hypothermia and frostbite training and then say that the boys still wear cotton, all in the same sentence. Sounds like your training is not getting through.

      This may sound hard, but if any of our boys show up with cotton for a winter camp out they are not be allowed to go. If you allow them to go, what have you taught them? You will only have to leave them once and they will get the message. Once that happens they will be warmer and will have a more enjoyable time.


      1. We have sent Scouts home also when they show up unprepared. Cotton in Oregon in the winter is a bad thing.
        I can’t comment on Allen’s training, but it is an important issue.
        One thing that we have done is have all the new parents sit in on our cold weather training and give them a list of the gear we expect to see. We make it very clear that you will not go if you are not prepared. This is not a money issue… if they need the gear we will get it for them, we want every Scout to go and have fun… but I can not put the Scout or his buddies in harms way because they go unprepared.


  5. i did call off a winter trip one year due to the boys being unprepared. We planned a backpacking trip at a state park in December (the boys chose it). But when we arrived at the church to take off, I saw that the four boys who showed up had clearly gotten home from school and thrown together some stuff and headed out the door. No boots, just tennis shoes. A weather report showed rain for the next day, but they did not have adequate rain gear. And they did not bring enough water. I called it off. I am glad I did, because we got the worst freeze we had had in many years. Our part of the state had power outages that took the power company seven to 10 days to get back on line for the entire city.

    I am going to rethink our winter gear requirements. I can talk until I am blue in the face and I fear that scouts will not change their ways, perhaps until the harsh reality of being sent home is encountered.


    1. Allan

      if you go to scroll down to Miscellaneous Safety Topics and then continue on to a file called Cold Weather Safety Powerpoint.

      This is a program that I put together many years ago and have use with my scouts. It is based on information from the military and my experiences as a safety engineer working on the North Slope of Alaska for 20+ years. Some of it is graphic, but cold related injuries can have life long consequences so it we need to “Be Prepared” before going out into it.

      Hope this might have been of some help.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s