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for those who don't hot tent
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Author:  cheryl [ December 4th, 2015, 11:11 pm ]
Post subject:  for those who don't hot tent ... -sleeping/

The 7 Stages of Cold Weather ‘Sleeping’

Wait, what? I thought this bag was rated to 15º. So, why am I shaking? I just want to s-s-s-s-sleep.

By Brendan Leonard
December 01, 2015

Mathematically, it should work: If my sleeping bag is rated to 17 degrees Fahrenheit, I should be able to sleep in that bag when it’s 22 degrees at 2:30 a.m. at this desert campsite, right?

Nope. Nope nope nope. But I will try, dammit. I try everything: I stick one hand out of my sleeping bag and feel around for my beanie, pulling it inside and sticking it in my armpit to warm it before I put it on my head. I remove my down jacket from the stuff sack that is my pillow, and wrap it around my legs. I take off my down sweater and put it underneath my torso.

I know what’s going wrong here. I have brought a knife to a gunfight, metaphorically. I have also chosen to bring a comfy, two-inch-thick air pad, which, despite its synthetic insulation, holds a giant volume of air that has very likely reached a temperature of something around 30 degrees.

There are several things I could have done: Brought a hard-sided plastic water bottle and filled it with boiling water just before I turned in for the night, and then put it in my sleeping bag between my legs. I could have put on the baselayer pants that are currently sitting in the bottom of my backpack just outside the tent door. I could have brought a sleeping bag liner, or a down blanket to throw over the top of my sleeping bag. I could also spoon my friend Forest and try to leech some of his body heat. Okay, it’s not really that cold.

I’m not even shivering yet. I just can’t quite get back to sleep.

The next two hours of tossing and turning are just one of the Stages of Cold Camping, which you might have found yourself doing every once in a while when you failed to prepare correctly.

1. Denial
Just before you zip the tent door shut, you consider all the weapons of warmth and insulation you have at your disposal. Then you disregard them, possibly with a shrug, before zipping yourself into your sleeping bag. I’ll be fine, you tell yourself. Throughout the next six steps, you will discover that you will not actually be fine, and that you have sandbagged yourself.

2. Doubt
The 15 to 30 minutes before you fall asleep: Hmm, my feet sure are cold. They’ll warm up. Won’t they? I’ll be fine. Chilly in here. It’ll warm up though. I think.

3. Purgatory
You wake up. You can’t get back to sleep. You are not at risk of dying (yet)—your body is just too cold to let itself go to sleep. You look at your watch. You try to go to sleep. You look at your watch again, 15 minutes later. You try to go to sleep. You look at your watch again. Repeat for 15 minutes to four hours. You think of all the mistakes you made—not bringing an extra pair of dry socks, not packing a sleeping bag liner, not bringing a warmer bag, maybe going to bed slightly dehydrated, setting the tent up in a place where the breeze seems to be running right through it, the many life decisions that led you to the point where you think camping in cold weather might be “fun,” the last fight you had with your spouse in which you should have probably just been more humble and admitted they were right, the college you chose to go to vs. the other one, how you tried but never finished reading Infinite Jest for no other reason besides intellectual laziness. You have the time, really.

4. Pushing back
You do sit-ups inside your sleeping bag. You cinch the shock cords around your face tighter until only your nose and mouth. Maybe you cinch the bag all the way closed until your face is inside it. You wait. The chances of your sleeping bag “warming up” are quite slim at this point, since the outside temperature is just going to get colder right up until dawn. But you will try to make yourself believe it might.

5. The Crux
You either a) somehow fall back asleep or b) give up and grab a book and read it inside your sleeping bag until dawn. But probably not Infinite Jest, unless you’re car camping.

6. Time to get up
If you’re lucky, you fell asleep. If not, you read that book or counted sheep until dawn, which seemed as if it would never come. But it did, like it always does.

7. Gratitude
Finally outside the cold, dark prison of your tent, you are grateful for the sun, or grateful for the still-hot coals of last night’s campfire, which you use to ignite a brand-new fire to warm yourself by, or for coffee, because you didn’t get nearly enough sleep last night. Later (hours or days later), you will be grateful for things like the fact you can turn on an external heat source in your car just by twisting a dial (a miracle!), or the comfort of a much warmer bed with a duvet at your house or apartment.

Camp Notes is a big high five to the fun of sleeping outdoors and all that comes along with it. You know, camping and stuff.

Photo by Vern


Author:  Rockie [ December 5th, 2015, 8:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: for those who don't hot tent

For cold weather camping tips.
1 A toque is a must (Keep your head warm and the rest of the body will feel warmer)
2 Keep a pair of dry wool socks just for sleeping only (Keep them dry)
3 PJ's are a must, don't sleep in clothing that may be damp (dampness kills)
4 A plastic laminate flooring underlay pad for under sleeping pad is a must
5 A pillow is a positive addition (worth the extra packing space)
6 Consider Hottenting Absolutely perfect for those serious winter camper
7 Exped mat "9" for best sleep ever

Author:  pbsmokey [ December 19th, 2015, 2:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: for those who don't hot tent

A closed cell foam pad is a must. Now they make air mattresses with insulation in them. I never used one but worth checking into. Make sure you have an empty bladder. Holding in your urine takes energy that can be used to keep you warm. Sometimes lying on your back lessens the sensation of how full your bladder is. Basically you don't realize how much you need to go.

Author:  pbsmokey [ December 19th, 2015, 2:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: for those who don't hot tent

I forgot to add that you if you eat a high fat snack before bed, that will give you a shot of slow burning calories to keep you warm. Don't eat anything sugary. That will give you a sugar rush. Try something like a handful of nuts, like almonds or a piece of summer sausage if your stomach can handle that before bedtime, many people can't, so I recommend nuts. You might also consider chemical heat packs. Put one in your mittens and socks. I'm a pretty "warm sleeper", some people aren't, but the tip of my nose usually gets cold when sleeping in below freezing temps., so I usually wear a balaclava that covers my nose, or a neck gaiter pulled up over my nose.

Author:  Dave Hadfield [ January 2nd, 2016, 12:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: for those who don't hot tent

"A plastic laminate flooring underlay pad for under sleeping pad is a must"

I'm not sure what you mean. But what always works well, and seals off all trace of cold from below, is a groundsheet (I use Typar house wrap), a foam pad, then a thermarest.

It's good to have the foam so that during the day when you sit you don't put a hole in your thermarest.


Author:  C. Potvin [ January 2nd, 2016, 12:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: for those who don't hot tent

I remember one night in a quinzee on starling lake in Algonquin. I had done everything right, had a candle burning to keep warm, etc. but for whatever reason, I couldn't warm up, and the temps just kept getting lower through the night.

At some point in the night, I managed to convince myself that if I DID get to sleep, I'd never wake up. I was huddled in my Down sleeping bag filled with terror of sleeping, and terror of freezing and terror of staying awake. Then I managed to convince myself that all the shivering and energy I was using would lead to asphyxiation if I stayed in the quinzee/sleeping bag.

In the middle of the night, I got up, got dressed, and went out and lay in the snow. The sky was amazing. It was perfectly clear - like it often is when a high pressure system leads to incredible cold. I decided if I died that night, the star show would be a fitting last sight, and I relaxed, and fell asleep in the snowbank.

The next morning I awoke to my travelling companion (a hyperactive dude from Georgia) howling about how he found me out there and bragging about how warm he had been in his tent. The morning was beautiful and clear with a few marestail clouds streaming high up through the sky.

Now, I'm pretty sure that 90% of the danger that night was in my head. I've spent other nights since then sleeping out in the snow, and never felt in danger as I did that night, in fact there are very few nights that I can remember as vividly as that one. I hold on to it though. Its a valuable lesson in the tricks your mind can play in the cold and dark of winter.

Author:  Dave Hadfield [ January 2nd, 2016, 6:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: for those who don't hot tent


I admire your Revelation.

But double-check the mushrooms in your soup.


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