Overnight Backwoods Camping

Everyone is welcome to join the hard-core campers for an overnight trip into the woods and away from the safety and warmth of the cabins. If this is for you, you may be looking for a little advice.

Tenting. They do make 'four season' tents or winter tents. They typically have more poles, sturdier fabric and a more closed fly to avoid blowing snow/wind. But to be honest, almost any tent will do. One thing to know, though, is that a big tent is a cold tent! Do not despair. If you think you'll be a cold weather wuss, there are a variety of flameless tent heaters you can purchase. However, flame or not, they emit CO2 and maybe even some Carbon monoxide and should not be in an enclosed tent with you. So, if you really must, warm up the tent before you get in and before you get up but, don't leave anything burning all night or anytime while you're sleeping. You'll also find that your breath will condense on the inside of the tent and freeze. Experienced winter campers will have a small candle in a hanging holder that dangles form the center of the tent. Just a singe small flame can warm a small tent enough to melt and evaporate much of the condensation and take the chill out of the air. This is dangerous inside a nylon tent, and like a heater, should only be used before bed and before getting up and should ALWAYS be supervised by a responsible adult while lit.

Sleeping. You'll need a good cold weather sleeping bag, a Thermarest mattress, a couple of extra fleece blankets and if you've got extra room in your truck, fill it with blankets! In regards to what to wear to bed we caution you to NOT wear what you wore during the day. Put on some dry, clean clothes. What you wore during the day will be wet so don't wear it to bed. This is the most important rule. The second most important rule is to keep your head warm. Wear a second, dry toque to bed. Put it on your head, make sure your ears are covered and pull you blankets up to your eyes. In extreme cold situations, you may have trouble keeping your nose warm. This is where that extra fleece blanket is indispensable for creating a bit of a cavern over your head to warm the air you breath, but still have some airflow for fresh air. When you first retire, your body has to warm up the blankets. This is the worst, or best, if you're a bit masochistic. A fleece or flannel inner lining (NO NYLON) inside your bag is the best. Even cotton can be too cold. You really don't want to waste body heat on this trivial task, so get flannel inner lining on you sleeping bag or sheets. As far as what to sleep on, there's no discussion. Thermarest. Period. They're expensive, but they are the very best. Finally, a note on really cold weather - if it is really and truly very cold, most of the so called deep winter sleeping bags with -25 to -30C rating aren't really good enough. Layering your sleeping bag with another sleeping bag makes it comfy (it's all about the layers). The outer sleeping bag need not be anything special - just enough to capture another layer of air. We've got big 4x4's. Use them to carry blankets, and you'll be much happier for it.

Beverage management. "So, if it's below freezing, how do I keep my drinks cold, but liquid.?" The answer is to keep them in a cooler! Put them in cold, but don't add ice. The cooler will maintain their temperature nicely. Even though the River Shiver will be fully catered, you will still want to bring your favorite beverages. It is important you stay hydrated. Eating snow or ice DOES NOT HYRDATE you. The energy your body uses to melt ice actually burns off more liquid than you consume in ice. The humidity in our play area is extremely low, and you will loose a lot of moisture through your breath and sweat. It's sometimes hard to force yourself to drink cold water on a cold day, but it's important to keep the fluids flowing.

Bathroom Etiquette. At the main cabins, there will be an outhouse, but that is as fancy as we'll get. We're not in a high traffic, mostly rocky terrain like the Rubicon trail, so it's not necessary to 'pack it out'. Nor, is it possible in the winter to bury it underground. But, you do need to bury it right next to the ground such that when spring comes it decays quickly in the new growth of spring. Now, in the winter, this can be a tricky endeavor. First of all, you have all those layers of clothes, and then there's wind chill and such and if you have a proper shit shovel that doubles as your seat, there's a whole cold shovel on the ass problem. Plan ahead - find a spot in the trees that offers the needed privacy but most importantly, blocks the wind. You don't want any wind when you're exposed. And leave the magazine at home because in this activity being fast is really good. At the critical time, quickly disrobe and make haste in your endeavors. Just think about how good it's all going to feel when you're done and zipped up again. Follow this advice, and hopefully we'll never loose an RMLCA 'member' to frost bite on a winter camp!

 

 

 

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