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Amanita
03-28-2011, 17:21
I'm considering doing a 4 night hike, and the forecast is for 40F during the day and 20-30F at night. Is this too cold for comfortable camping? I have a 15 degree sleeping bag, and will likely sleep in several layers of clothing.

I've never been camping in below freezing temps before, so any advice would be appreciated.

DBCFlash
03-28-2011, 17:36
I just did last weekend. First time cold weather camping since I was a child. Be prepared, You'll need an insulated pad, and a 15 degree bag might feel chilly to you at those temps. Filling a water bottle with hot water and putting it in the bag might help, chemical hand warmers between the layers of your socks works if your feet feel cold. Fleece jammies and a cap work too.
There's nothing better than a hot drink first thing in the morning after sleeping outside in the cold.

Rocket Jones
03-28-2011, 17:55
Can you do a test night on your porch or backyard? Better to find out there than on the trail if you need to tweak your gear for the cold.

Tipi Walter
03-28-2011, 18:01
Can you do a test night on your porch or backyard? Better to find out there than on the trail if you need to tweak your gear for the cold.

DEFINITELY recommend this. Throw a sleeping pad and bag on your porch or deck or yard, or set up a shelter, and 1) get used to sleeping on a pad, and 2) see how your bag works in cool to cold temps. You could spend weeks sleeping outside on a deck or in a yard---why wait for "the trip"?

hikingshoes
03-28-2011, 18:09
DEFINITELY recommend this. Throw a sleeping pad and bag on your porch or deck or yard, or set up a shelter, and 1) get used to sleeping on a pad, and 2) see how your bag works in cool to cold temps. You could spend weeks sleeping outside on a deck or in a yard---why wait for "the trip"?

If i had anything to ask about winter camping this is the man.Which,i am once i getto that part in my planning for my thru-hike.LOL,Dont know about asking about pack weight!!Peace Brother,HS

Amanita
03-28-2011, 18:33
DEFINITELY recommend this. Throw a sleeping pad and bag on your porch or deck or yard, or set up a shelter, and 1) get used to sleeping on a pad, and 2) see how your bag works in cool to cold temps. You could spend weeks sleeping outside on a deck or in a yard---why wait for "the trip"?

Short answer: Because I don't have my bag, shelter, or clothing with me.
Also, sleeping on the ground or in a tree on a college campus tends to be frowned upon by campus security.

Long answer: I'll give It a go when I get back home (where my gear is) but that leaves me less than 24 hours to figure out a definite yay or nay. I'm trying to at least get a strong inclination before then.

Blissful
03-28-2011, 18:35
15 is usually good for those temps but depends on your bag. If you have a cheap bag, you'll have to add degrees to that rating. You can also take a silk liner to help.

dragoro
03-28-2011, 18:53
My silk liner works wonders.

skinewmexico
03-28-2011, 18:58
Every time we get one of our rare cold fronts here, my wife always asks if I'll be outside testing gear!

hikerhobs
03-28-2011, 19:46
I hike alot in winter and sleeping outside is something than you have to get used to. What i do is take my 0-degree bag. Dont over dress when going to bed, but make sure your covered from head to toe. Dont go to bed hungrey, and empty your bladder before you turn in. also get a nice sleeping pad it makes a difference. After a couple of times out ye'll figure it out. NO SNAKES or INSECTS.

Papa D
03-28-2011, 19:48
Boil water - put in nalgene bottle - close tight, place in bag, sleep tight

Panzer1
03-28-2011, 20:05
along with your sleeping bag bring a small blanket. That will be your insurance policy.

Panzer

earlyriser26
03-28-2011, 20:41
You should be fine. I once hiked in PA when it was -15. I was not fine.

10-K
03-28-2011, 20:42
That's what I call perfect hiking weather! Go for it.

ChinMusic
03-28-2011, 20:55
That's what I call perfect hiking weather! Go for it.
This.

Lows just below freezing and highs in the 40s is great, sign me up. I'd take that over 80 ANY day.

Snowleopard
03-28-2011, 21:05
Where are you going for this hike? If you're in college in Vermont, then you ought to be familiar with dressing for these temps. Make sure you have a good sleeping pad, in fact bring a cheap walmart blue foam pad in addition to what you were planning on (i.e., 2 pads). If you just have one pad, use extra clothes and your pack underneath you for more insulation from the ground. If your sleeping bag is a true 15F bag you should be fine. Since many bags aren't as good as advertised and some people sleep cold, follow Panzer1's advice and bring a small blanket (fleece or wool) for insurance. Wear a warm hat, scarf and dry warm socks while sleeping.

You should be OK. Bring extra warm clothes. Do try things out before you're 10 miles out in the woods. This could be just camping the first night near your car.

Del Q
03-28-2011, 21:13
You wont die as long as you stay dry, silk liners are great, gloves and a good hat or balaclava to me is key, eat before you go to bed. I also keep an empty "pee" bottle so that I do not have to leave my tent at 4am. When available, I will pile up leaves or pine needles under the tent which provides a nice amount of additional insluation, spread it out how you found it before you leave the campsite.

Amanita
03-28-2011, 22:21
You wont die as long as you stay dry, silk liners are great, gloves and a good hat or balaclava to me is key, eat before you go to bed. I also keep an empty "pee" bottle so that I do not have to leave my tent at 4am. When available, I will pile up leaves or pine needles under the tent which provides a nice amount of additional insluation, spread it out how you found it before you leave the campsite.


As brilliant as the "pee bottle" concept sounds, I'm not sure all the wisdom in the entire female hiking board could convince me to try it.

I'm planning to stay mostly in shelters, bringing a hammock/tarp as backup (going to use a ground style pad in the hammock). The idea of setting up a tent in the mud doesn't really appeal to me.

Ox97GaMe
03-28-2011, 22:56
If you are using a tent, you can calculate 5-10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature, depending on the type of tent. A good ground cloth and a sleeping pad to keep an insulating layer between you and the ground will help too.

Im cold natured and I do a lot of winter camping. If it is dry and cold, you shouldnt have too much trouble with that temp bag. Wet and cold (drizzly rain) is the worst, because the dampness will make it feel colder than it is. Keep a dry set of clothes, no matter what to change into so you can get warm when you need to. A lot of folks set one pair of clothes aside for this and seal them in gallon size ziplock bags.

happy hiking

DROY
03-28-2011, 23:38
I also keep an empty "pee" bottle so that I do not have to leave my tent at 4am.

haha dont want to get your bottles mixed up in the dark ;)

TIDE-HSV
03-28-2011, 23:48
As brilliant as the "pee bottle" concept sounds, I'm not sure all the wisdom in the entire female hiking board could convince me to try it.

I'm planning to stay mostly in shelters, bringing a hammock/tarp as backup (going to use a ground style pad in the hammock). The idea of setting up a tent in the mud doesn't really appeal to me.

A girl I used to hike with had a gadget which looked like a flattened funnel, but I don't think even she would have attempted to use it in a tent...

booney_1
03-29-2011, 19:14
You mentioned you'd sleep in multiple layers of clothes.....DON'T !!!!

The clothes you wear during the day absorb more moisture than you realize.
Either strip down to skivies and wear an extra t-shirt, or bring along some sweat pants and an extra hoodie, or long underwear top. Also bring a wool cap to sleep in even if you don't need it during the day...also dry socks

I grew up in upstate NY where as a boy scout we camped year around, often below zero. I had a pair of quilted bottoms and tops (thanks sears!!) that I always brought, they really made the difference.

The sleeping pad you use will make a big difference also...

Ladytrekker
03-29-2011, 19:18
My lowest temp at night was 17 and the hand warmers that you shake and or break work great, put them on the cold spots of your body and they will warm you right up and last all night.

SassyWindsor
03-29-2011, 23:27
Certain times of the year I have a tough time deciding which tent to take, a lighter 3 season or a heavier 4 season. Checking weather forecasts and historical weather events helps me decide. The main thing is to have clothing/gear for the extremes that can occur during that time of year. Remember to layer your clothing and stay as dry as possible when not moving. Keep you sleeping gear dry at all times, and stay hydrated.

Bronk
03-30-2011, 01:12
You need to sleep with anything you don't want to freeze...this means your water filter, water bottles...if your boots are wet, wrap them in a plastic bag (grocery bag works) and put them in the bottom of your bag, otherwise they could freeze to the point where you won't be able to put them back on. I also bring any clothes I plan to wear in the morning into the bag with me so that I can put them on without having to get out of the bag in the morning and they are pre-warmed.

Amanita
03-30-2011, 06:37
Got out last night to test my set up, went pretty well. I fell asleep in less than an hour and stayed asleep until my alarm rang.

However, I definitely need a new, bigger, sleeping pad. Thinking about the Thermarest Ridgerest Sol.

I also discovered something about hammocks. Misplaced items will invariably end up under your butt. :rolleyes:

fredmugs
03-30-2011, 07:06
Boil water - put in nalgene bottle - close tight, place in bag, sleep tight

Did this in the Whites last Oct - wish someone would have told me sooner.

Tinker
03-30-2011, 08:28
By Amanita:
I also discovered something about hammocks. Misplaced items will invariably end up under your butt. :rolleyes:
Absolutely true. I use the pocket on the side of my hammock to store small personal items that I don't want to be sleeping on later :D. Larger items go in one of the pack liners I carry and sit on a small ccf pad (I call it my doormat) right under the hammock.