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How Did I Do It? > Hobbies, Games & Toys > Winter Camping Gear
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Camping is one of my favorite hobbies, and I have a semi crazy sister who joins me in my passion.

We lived for most of our lives in the foothills and mountains of Pennsylvania, where we camped nearly weekly as children and teens. Marriage didn’t change a great deal, however our passion was for winter camping and we chose husbands who don’t care for the snow and ice and the challenge it represents, so they don’t join us in the yearly trek into winter survival.

In point of fact, they use the time when we’re gone to enjoy some bachelor time, watching hunting shows, having a beer and eating beans and hot dogs, a meal we don’t relish overly.

Our first foray into cold weather camping was high up in the mountains on a trip to New Mexico, where the Sandias presented a challenge all their own. Unaccustomed to the heat of the day, and the vast difference between the night time temperatures, we were ill prepared for the trip, and learned a great deal from it.

Having seen one too many old westerns, we took our thin sleeping bags, rolled them up and used them as pillows for our heads, to find ourselves half frozen at about 40 degrees when three AM rolled around.

From experiences like this comes wisdom and we feel ourselves qualified to write on winter camping with a bit more knowledge of what can happen if you aren’t prepared than the average person may have.

When you choose to take on winter camping, a few rules apply that don’t necessarily apply to the average mid summer camping trip.

You are going to be challenged by the elements, rain, snow or cold air are issues.

You are going to need to compensate for those elements and make arrangements in advance for times when weather changes rapidly and can create real issues.

The first thing you’re absolutely going to need is a tent rated for cold weather. One that we recommend is the military tent that you can purchase at Eureka military surplus supply.

This one is light weight, sets up in a heart beat.. well about five minutes for the two of us, and weighs just about nothing.. but will withstand some pretty severe winds and snow.

Its rated for minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit and will repel rain, even when its driven by winds up to about 15-20 miles per hour.
Trust me when I say that when the temperature is running 30 to 15 Fahrenheit, you want a tent that’s going to handle high winds and rain.. This one works even in the summer if you’re caught in a rainstorm, and carrying it isn’t an issue. Its compact of course and isn’t really a large gazebo like luxury tent, but that’s not necessarily what you want when the temps are dipping low. Too large a tent is going to take too much to heat, so leave your four room bit of modern technology at home when you are winter camping.

This one will measure just about 50 inches tall and has just about 60-65 square feet of floor room.

You’re also going to need some superior sleeping bags, which can be purchased really at any upscale outfitters, but our choice for those was Cabela’s, one of the foremost outfitters of hobby gear in the world.

Located in Nebraska, just a stones throw from us, we found a 3-D mummy bag with an excellent price tag of about 100.00 USD and a temperature rating of minus 15 F.

The sleeping bag is built with more sidewall panels that gives it its 3-D design which offers you a lot more room inside the bag.. It also gives you the best in insulation without a lot of weight.

The insulation is Quallo® with Thermolite® Micro as a double insulator in the areas where most heat will be lost to you… the head, top of the back and the feet..

These two pieces of gear are absolutely necessary and will assure your warmth inside the tent.. Trekking to the campsite as well as how to set and what plans to make in advance will be tackled in the next winter camping article.. Beginning Basics.


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