Scouting/Winter Camping

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Boy Scout Winter Camping Tips -

  • Remember C O L D:
    • C Clean - dirty clothes loose their loft and get you cold.
    • O Overheat - never get sweaty, strip off layers to stay warm but no too hot.
    • L Layers - Dress in synthetic layers for easy temperature control.
    • D Dry - wet clothes (and sleeping bags) also loose their insulation.
  • COTTON KILLS! Do not bring cotton. Staying dry is the key to staying warm. Air is an excellent insulator and by wearing several layers of clothes you will keep warm.
  • Remember the 3 W's of layering - Wicking inside layer, Warmth middle layer(s) and Wind/Water outer layer. Wicking should be a polypropylene material as long underwear and also sock liner. Warmth layer(s) should be fleece or wool. The Wind/Water layer should be Gore-Tex or at least 60/40 nylon.
  • If you’re camping in the snow, wear snow pants over your regular clothing
  • Dress right while sleeping. Change into clean, dry clothes before bed. Your body makes moisture and your clothes hold it in - by changing into dry clothes you will stay warmer and it will help keep the inside of your sleeping bag dry. Wearing wool socks and long underwear (tops and bottoms) in the sleeping bag is OK.
  • Put on tomorrow's t- shirt and underwear at bedtime. That way you won't be starting with everything cold next to your skin in the morning.
  • Wear a stocking cap to bed, even if you have a mummy bag.
  • Put tomorrow's clothes in your bag with you. This is especially important if you’re small of stature. It can be pretty hard to warm up a big bag with a little body, the clothes cut down on that work.
  • Put a couple of long-lasting hand warmers into your boots after you take them off. Your boots will dry out during the night.
  • Use a sleeping bag that is appropriate for the conditions. Two +20ºF sleeping bags, one inside the other will work to lower the rating of both bags.
  • Use a bivvy sack to wrap around your sleeping bag. You can make a cheap version of this by getting an inexpensive fleece sleeping bag. It isn't much more than a blanket with a zipper but it helps lower the rating by as much as 10 degrees.
  • Don't burrow in - keep your mouth and nose outside the bag. Moisture from your breath collecting in your bag is a quick way to get real cold. Keep the inside of the bag dry.
  • Don't sleep directly on the ground. Get a closed cell foam pad to provide insulation between your sleeping bag and the ground. A foam pad cushions and insulates. The air pockets are excellent in providing good insulation properties. Use more than one insulating layer below you – it’s easy to slide off the first one.
  • In an emergency, cardboard makes a great insulator. Old newspapers are also good insulation. A layer of foam insulation works too.
  • Bring a piece of cardboard to stand on when changing clothes. This will keep any snow on your clothes off your sleeping bag, and help keep your feet warmer than standing on the cold ground.
  • No cots or air mattresses! Better to lay on with 30º earth instead of –10º air.
  • Drain your bladder before you go to bed. Having to go in the middle of the night when it is 5 degrees out chills your entire body. Drink all day, but stop one hour before bed.