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Winterize Your Camping Habits

Tips to take with you when the winter snow flies in camp.

Equipment

  • Consider using sled to drag extra-heavy winter pack
  • Bring a shovel to build wind barriers or snow shelters; compress entire camp area with boots for smooth sleeping and cooking
  • Bring repair kit for ripped packs or tents: Wrap duct tape around ski poles for storage; bring heavy thread and needles; spare pole basket; wire and pliers to fix snowshoes

Setting up camp

  • Face tent toward morning sun but only if away from blowing wind and snow
  • Anchor tent guy lines with snowshoes, buried tent stakes, sticks, or a loop around a packed mound of snow (bollard)
  • When snowing, even over night, tap on tent walls; dig out tent sides to prevent collapse

Sleeping

  • Keep water bottles thawed in bottom of sleeping bag overnight
  • Consider a vapor barrier liner (vbl) for your sleeping bag (keeps in heat with your body moisture). Lowers bag rating by 10 degrees, but must wear long johns to wick moisture from skin
  • Use extra foam sleeping pad under your regular pad at night
  • Go on a mini-hike before bed to raise body temperature

Miscellaneous

  • Keep batteries in inner pocket to prevent freezing.
  • Change to dry underlayers if sweating upon arrival in camp
  • Rehydrate often to stay warm; evaporation of sweat lets you forget you need water

Adapted from Making Camp, by Steve Howe et al., Backpacker Magazine, (The Mountaineers, 800-553-4453, www.backpacker.com/bookstore, $16.95)

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