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Backpacker Magazine – January 2012

Adventure Upgrade: Camp Comfortably in Winter

Extend your backpacking season: Here's how to stay warm and protect your gear.

by: Kristy Holland

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Illustrations by Supercorn
Illustrations by Supercorn

Adventure Upgrades
Elevate your skills with tips we gave to real readers who wanted to go bigger and farther.
Sleep Warm
Rest well to weather cold days.

» Stay dry. Change into dry layers to sleep, brush off snow before entering your tent, and keep a small sponge on hand to wipe condensation off walls.
» Insulate. Don’t lose heat to the frozen ground. Layer a foam pad under an inflatable, or get a cold-weather pad like Kelty’s Recluse 2.5i ($80;
» Warm up. Pile on calories at dinner and snack before bedtime. For a warming boost snuggle with a hot-water-filled bottle and do a few sit-ups in your bag.

Keep Gear Frost-Free
Don’t lose performance in a deep freeze.

» Boots and gloves Put gloves and shoes and/or boot liners inside a stuffsack and keep the sack in your tent or sleeping bag footbox overnight.
» Water purification Leave pump filters at home; they may freeze and crack. Instead, use a chemical or UV treatment to purify or plan to melt snow for drinking. Note: Boiling water from clean snow isn’t necessary because snow doesn’t harbor gut-busting bacteria.
» Stove Bring a white-gas burner; the fuel performs better than canisters in temps below 40°F. Melting snow to drink? Pack at least 6 ounces of fuel per person, per day. Facing extreme temps? Carrying up to 15 ounces of fuel per person per day may be appropriate.
» Electronics Alkaline cells use water-based electrolytes that freeze at 32°F. Keep cells warm in your pockets or use lithium (which work down to -40°F).

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