Special Gear Required for Snow Camping

Special Gear Required for Snow Camping

The Shelter

Where you will sleep possibly the issue is : in a complete double skin mountaineering 4 season geodesic tent, in an ultra light double skin tunnel tent, in a tarp tent or just under a tarp? tarp? All are shown here. Before determining, consider a cautious take a look at the common denominator in every one of these photographs: the climate is good, quiet and bright. Its another issue if the climate isnt so fine.


Then a distinction between one which is unsuitable and a great winter tent starts to become obvious. Great winter tents have a double skin, with the interior tent being created from relatively wind-proof cloth and can be sealed right up. In addition they have several posts, the shorter the better. These tents with netting inners and a fly just thrown over a couple of extended poles are just not going to provide shelter to you in poor weather.

The first photograph here exhibits a good Tarptent being hammered by wind well outside what it was designed to deal with. The tent survived, but can you need to stay it for the night? The 2nd photograph (going clockwise) reveals a shaped tarp utilized in the snow: possible having a lot of encounter, but barely an appropriate way to understand about snow camping (one of Ryan Jordans friends). The 3rd photograph (by Mark Eldridge) shows what can use a really simple tarp when theres a large snowfall. occur when you. Another tarp is shown by the fourth (middle middle bottom NNS photo bunch of snowfall (fortunately calm weather), and how the snow can creep in at the edges. Again, youll be able to do manage this, but youll need a good bit of expertise (and a great bivy bag). Lastly, the fourth photograph shows when it gets only too much snow along with it what happens to a solitary hoop pole tent. A single long pole is only not powerful enough for this program.

The Anchors

There was a course of tent euphemistically called a free-standing pop-up by advertising spin doctors. Such pop-ups can be erected without any guy ropes to keep them in position. Two illustrations are in the left side in the preceding illustration. Need I explain these have room in large mountain snow camping? At least, not when there is any opportunity of the climate being something besides dead calm with no practical walker ever assumes that the weather will be secure in the winter. In brief, you need guy ropes and the guy ropes need anchors.

Its possible to anchor guy ropes to the snow without making use of appropriate stakes, as Mike Clelland! shows in his post Dump Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors. making use of sticks as stakes or buried deadman anchors is excellent. Whether its better to bury the stick and dig out a hole as a deadman or to just poke the stick into the snow depends a great deal about the snow problems. In the photograph here, the sticks were just poked by me in, which was really enough. Actually, they were long sticks.

However, some of the approaches Mike shows to be used in snow are quite specialised, while the others have certain disadvantages under several circumstances. For instance, buried stuff sacks and cloth snow anchors do function, but consider some ability in use and overnight it may be very hard to have them out each day if the snow freezes. As stakes utilizing your skis has the disadvantage that the skis cant be used by you anymore. Your turns late at night too bad if you need to invest a short time practising.

Most walkers use stakes in the snow, but perhaps not average stakes. Those lovely Lazr Hi-Vis Titanium Tent Stakes offered by numerous internet sites simply wont do much for you in the snow. Even the Y-stakes and the tubular stakes Will Rietveld analyzed in his post Tent Position Holding Strength will perhaps not be of much use. A lot more cross is needed by you section in the snow. Exactly how much is determined by the climate and the snow.

Theres also a selection of aluminium angle stakes and curved channel stakes available commercially, but again it is possible to make these from cheap aluminium angle. Most of those shown in the photograph here are home-made. As the weight reduction in the holes wasnt that wonderful, the slim one with several holes turned into a little feeble nevertheless. Sufficient power is more significant than shaving a few more grams away.

The Lexan deadman at the best left looked like a great concept at the time, however it ended up that the plastic had two faults. First, it wasnt actually powerful enough to hit into frozen snow, and second the plastic would not grasp in the snow whatsoever. This meant that the stakes slid from the snow with alarming simplicity! Thats OKAY if the anchor is got by you in at the best angle, but you dont have any leeway.

The largest issue with aluminium stakes is the reverse of that discovered with Lexan. The oxide area of aluminium will bond really well to snow and ice : so well that obtaining the stakes from the following morning the ice and frozen snow could be a nightmare. The carbide tip was broken by me off a stock wanting to obtain one angle stake out. The slim aluminium was not powerful enough to consider much harsh treatment throughout the extraction procedure, however. It crumpled.


This led me to try out making my own UL snow stakes from 0.5 mm 6Al4V titanium alloy sheet. The area of titanium bonds just lightly to snow and the alloy is a lot tougher. The outcome is that the angles and anchors go in quite easily, remain in provided theyre coated, and emerge in the morning pretty easily. Well return to wise methods for acquiring stakes out afterwards.

However, the reduce and titanium is very challenging or drilled edges of the stakes can abrade even Spectra guy lines under storm conditions, when I found out in When Things Go Wrong. Essentially, the wind created the Spectra guy rope fret against the titanium border all evening, till it broke. As described in the Supplement to the first post I managed to resolve this issue for my MYOG stakes. Basically, I coated the sharp Ti edges with aluminium, in the shape of pop-rivets. The loops of cord you can see are really large Spectra; the hooks are Titanium wire.

Atmosphere Mats and Foam

Sleeping on soft insulating duff (layers of pine needles) in the woods in summer is something; sleeping on chilly snow or ice is really another point. You should remember that the squashed down underneath you provides almost no insulating material whatsoever, if you are making use of a sleeping bag. Without additional insulating material between you and the snow you would be losing heat to everything evening very rapidly and you would possess an extremely wretched night, or even a critically harmful one. You require thermal insulating material under you: a mat of some form.

We have three principal forms of mats : the self the sheet of foam, inflating air mat, and the blow up air mat. Most great makers specify the insulating material rating of their mats as an R-value. The larger the amount, the better the insulating material. We measured the R-value of many mats in our State of industry Study of Air Mats (in several elements), with fascinating outcomes. A mat will be probably needed by you with an R value of at least 4 at the practical degree of inflation, but individuals do change.

Thin foam could be helpful as a nutritional supplement, but just for that. Thicker foam still will not have a higher R-value, and is scarcely enough in the snow. For air mats we discovered that the powerful R-value changes with the quantity of inflation, or how thick they are under your hips. That stated, the blow up air mats are of little use : mats are needed by you with some form of insulating material inside. This could be foam, artificial or down. Including a thin layer of closed-cell foam under or over the airmat is commonly completed.

A fascinating discovery created by most experienced snow campers is that the lifeless flat hard packed snow area becomes, overnight, a partly shaped outline of the body. The heat loss is slowed by the air mat, but heat does movement, and it flows fastest where the mat is thinnest : under your shoulders and hips. This is really very favorable: you wind up with a properly shaped bed. It may be quite comfy (but challenging to picture). In the photograph here you can observe a place along the center of the tent site : where the warmth from our bodies has partly melted the snow that is, and the water has refrozen. This melt has developed a hollow along the center of the website: I suppose we were snuggled together all the evening.

Sleeping bags and quilts

If its chilly outside, you are likely to want some insulating material over you during the night. This might be apparent, but an important detail is hidden by it. That materials is squashed flat and supplying almost zero insulation, if youre sleeping on the top of possibly artificial insulation or down. Why many experienced walkers have changed to quilts this is. Yes, quilts function well in the snow, but you should learn how to utilize them correctly.

Some might object to the assertion, stating that they understand that quilts do not function in the cold and that you need to use a sleeping bag. Nicely, Ive yet to see anybody use a sleeping bag at home in the cool. It is either blankets (now getting less common) or a quilt. If a quilt works in the home.

Some get somewhat baffled over a quilt because several American quilts are too slim and designed for summer and have no hood area at all. Evidently, the notion is that these two omissions save weight. It is an example of political orientation triumphing over common sense and perform. You want a hood in winter, for not just one but two reasons. First, a hood keeps your face warm, which is critical to a great nights rest. But 2nd, a hood helps to remove drafts down along the body.

How so? Well, take a look at the hood drape around the head and the way the sufficient quilt width. Yes, the quilt shown is a summer quilt weighing about 600 grams, but two of the kept us warm down to -7 C one evening. I acknowledge we cheated: we were snuggled right together and my quilt overlapped Sues. But we were warm.

Weve also utilized these summer quilts under a 2-man over-quilt in mid-winter: basically a double layer. Any condensation that accumulated within the best quilt, keeping our summer first layers dry. This worked great. But a single 2-man quilt by it self doesnt: there are inescapable drafts down between the couple.

You are able to only see a blue hat on Sues head inside the right hand photograph. Keep your face warm! It is possible to not see the gentle fluffy socks shes wearing, however theyre there. Although this frequently comes off after a couple of hours, shes even been known to use a BPL cocoon jacket to mattress.

Meals, Stove and Cooking

You want a great stove! It cant be stressed too much that youre quite dependent on warm meals and (occasionally) water from melted snow for survival. There is numerous alternatives here.

Wood Fireplace

This only works deep within the woods in great weather. It could be done, but I believe you may be a little mad to depend on this.

Booze and Esbit

The darlings of the ultralighters. These also could be utilized, but both are slow, suffer terribly from any wind, and will require lots of gas. Check it out on the one-night trip perhaps. (But honestly, Id not disturb.)

Fluid gas

By this, I suggest white gasoline and kerosene. Yes, they both work, and also have been extensively employed. Various kero stoves were used by me for several years. After my beginning and some interesting encounters (chiefly at other peoples palms), I have since prevented white gas stoves. Ive become a little cautious nowadays. However, kero is fairly secure but utilizing it nicely requires talent (or much experience), particularly for priming (use a little bit of metho), and it stinks. Sue set up with it as it was safer than white gasoline, but the smell was always hated by her.


I imagine a lot of you know I am a transform to canister stoves. I was transformed when I did a range study and found that theyre very simple to use and very strong, and that a lot of tales about canister stoves were fictitious. Where did those tales come from? Partly from older white gasoline enthusiasts and partly from the early Bleuet cookers perhaps. The Bleuet ranges are still accessible, but they are underpowered, do not enjoy the cool, and are a little delicate (ie they can leak gasoline).

An upright stove is good and simple in the summertime, but for winter use heat tube is recommended starting with a remote canister stove with pre by me. BPL has a score of posts on these. You can begin with Choosing a Winter Range. Yes, youll be able to utilize an upright canister stove in the snow, but as in several instances the canister will perish in the cold, that requires a touch of expertise.

So where can you do the cooking? Well, when the climate is truly excellent (zero wind) and maybe not too cold and there are several you to talk about the labour, you could constitute a cooking area with chairs and . table a. All quite comfy. Just make sure you have something stiff between the snow and the stove : your stove wasnt wanted by you sinking into melted snow and falling over. Actually, such good climate doesnt usually occur.

Sue and I retreat into our tent and I prepare inside the vestibule, if the weather is bad or cool or windy. Sue enters her quilt of course. Now, some totally mindless (and totally ignorant) business attorneys will cry at this and proclaim your certain and . death ghastly Disregard them: their only concern is keeping anybody from actually suing their business. That you could die of the chilly while attempting to cook outside in a storm is not their issue. (Why some businesses fall under this lawyer-driven trap is beyond me. It merely makes them appear silly.) Just ensure theres space for the carbon and steam dioxide to get free from the tent as youre cooking. OK, never, ever seal a tent up entirely in the snow if next morning you need to wake up. People have perished by breaking this rule.

You consider if you will need to melt down snow to obtain water you should double the quantity of gas. Yes, it really requires just as much gas to melt down sub-zero snow (only to water at one C) as it does to boil water. Because the air is really dry, and you may have to drink a lot. At least in early phases, be generous with gas.