Author Topic: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?  (Read 21496 times)

Offline Adam B.

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1342
  • Karma: 40
    • The Uncomfortable Truth
Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« on: October 22, 2012, 01:37:07 PM »
I am not making a move just yet — but am trying to get my ducks in a row to stave off winter depression (SAD) this year. Since I love camping and a good winter tent would be a nice item to have in the "BOB" or bug out "kit" since a good winter tent is going to take up a huge bag of its own...

http://www.calarmy.com/SOLDIERCREWTENT.htm

Right now, this seems like my ideal purchase, along with a stovepipe heater to keep it warm.

I am not a huge fan of freezing my ass off outside in the winter whatsoever — BUT — toys like that would make me want to figure out what is possible — and going back to a campsite right across the street from a place I may go skiing at all day would be quite fun.

I have been thinking of getting into some winter camping this coming winter, and may just go backpacking for now since I have appropriate gear for that.

However, I would like to see what other people do who like to camp even when it is crappy outside.

If I can conquer camping in horrible, snowy, ice cold weather and thrive, cook good food, and enjoy myself in spite of the bad weather I will feel much more "prepared" should something REQUIRE me to do that in the future.

Offline Nate

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 727
  • Karma: 27
  • Rookie Registered Nurse
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2012, 05:42:36 AM »
Adam,

I have done camping in winter weather often, but never in anything colder than 10F or snows deeper than a foot.  What type of camping are you interested in?  Packing in or having the use of a vehicle drastically changes your shelter options.  For my winter trips I use an MSR Fusion 2 tent.  These are no longer made.  For backpacking look for a 4 season tent.  These are typically double walled and have full pole sleeves.  Any of the major manufacturers offer a 4 season.  MSR in my opinion is the Cadillac of tents and North Face, REI, Kelty, sierra designs, eureka, marmot and mountain hardwear are all good brands.  Often 4 season tents have more fabric and less mesh for the tent body compared to 3 season.  My tent has zip out panels to increase ventilation for the warmer months and to reduce condensation in the cold months.  I have also used just a tarp in winter.  If you are going this route proper clothing systems, hydration and nutrition are key to staying warm and comfortable.  Below is my winter tent the MSR Fusion 2.

 



If you have access to a vehicle then you can bring the Taj Mahal with you on a winter trip.  I would look at a canvas tent with stove jack or one of the tipi style tents with stove jack.  I don't have experience winter camping in these but I could imagine they would be a comfortable way to spend the weekend in the cold.  This photo was taken first thing in the morning on a winter trip.  I had just dug out the fire pit from the night's snow fall and got a small twiggy fire going.  Of course, a hot cup of joe was made first over my stove!  My tarp can barely be seen in the back upper right corner.  It is one of those white 9x9 sportsmans guide tarps.  It is set up in a wedge configuration tied to a tree.

Offline Adam B.

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1342
  • Karma: 40
    • The Uncomfortable Truth
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2012, 07:46:01 AM »
I have options for backpacking. My intent of the post were more car-camping oriented ideas.

I saw someone camping in a nice canvas straightwall tent with a wood burning stove inside of it once during a cold camping weekend and always thought to myself how cool it would be to have something like that. However, those tents, their riggings, poles, etc seem huge and would not fit well in my Jeep Liberty.

When I saw the army tent like the one in the link above — it seemed like a good option since it packs down smaller — but was open to ideas about what other people have done.

I even saw a blog about a guy who camps with a small 3 person tent inside of a larger 6 person tent using the "double-walls" idea to help keep the "inner" tent warm with some sort of catalytic heater and CO2 sensor to prevent accidental poisonings. The guy said that works well on his blog.

The army tent I've seen like the one above is my favorite option I have seen so far, but they are quite expensive it seems. It does look like deals can be found online though.

Offline cbowseriii

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 40
  • Karma: 1
  • ANIMIS OPIBUSQUE PARATI
    • The Institute for Personal Safety
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2012, 07:09:34 PM »
Here in FL this is prime camping weather!

Offline Adam B.

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1342
  • Karma: 40
    • The Uncomfortable Truth
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2012, 02:35:12 PM »
HAHA I bet!

I would love to be camping in 82 degree Miami right about now.

I did see one of these show up on Craigslist the other day which seems like another nice winter tent that is somewhat portable...

http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/spo/3371466696.html

Still expensive for what I want to pay but maybe if I land a better job it would be worth it for the "prepping" aspect (DEFINITELY not the "fun" aspect) hahaha...

The army tent is smaller and probably more compact in the vehicle, but carrying a tent on the roof rack would be no big deal since I don't plan on taking a canoe on a winter camp trip (unless there is one bad ass sledding hill, since I've always wanted to do that in the canoe)...

Offline cbowseriii

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 40
  • Karma: 1
  • ANIMIS OPIBUSQUE PARATI
    • The Institute for Personal Safety
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2012, 08:39:43 PM »
Adam:
I don't live in Miami, I live in central FL.  It was 70 today and they expect it to hit the 40s tonight. I am planning a camping trip this weekend!

Offline bcksknr

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2148
  • Karma: 313
  • Child of the Cold War
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2013, 08:07:45 AM »
We have a 10x12 canvas wall tent that we use for our fur trade era buckskinning hobby. They are bomb proof! In cold weather we heat it with a "shepherder's" stove (all of the stove pipes nest and fit inside the stove, 12x12x24). There is no floor, but it has sod cloths. We put down a very heavy canvas for a floor covering. The ridge pole (2x4) is the longest piece but that breaks down into sections with a metal "box" joiner sleeve. This is the type of tent that a homesteader could live in, in Alaska, while building a cabin. It takes longer to set up and take down than a synthetic material tent with aluminum or fiberglass poles. If we ever have to "cut-and-run" this would be my "I'm Never Comming Home", home away from home.

Offline Cedar

  • ...just aDD water...
  • TSP Supreme Galactic Ant
  • ************
  • Posts: 28429
  • Karma: 1396
  • Dont wait for the storm to pass, dance in the rain
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2013, 08:23:05 AM »
When i did my dog sled event each January, I had nothing more than a $18 Fred Meyers tent. My sleeping bags however, they were rated to -30F and I put one inside the other. I also used 2 hot water bottles I put hot water in from the coffee pot over the campfire and chucked those into my bed 20 mins before I crawled in. I have been down to a bit below -42F in there and did that each year for 7 years for three days at a time. Only once was I cold. But yes, I think only my nose hung out of the sleeping bag and I covered up the rest of my head. I think only when it was really cold I slept in a toque, but if it was warmer, such as -20F, I didn't. When it was really cold I wore more to bed, but nothing more than I generally do when I sleep in a house at the 'warmer temps'. I still had my 2 hot water bottles and one was always at my feet and the other at my bum.

BUT. Humidity..... up there when it is that cold, the humidity is about 22%. So the dry cold feels 'warmer'.

Some people on the event used a Swedish Heater tent. Some used canvas hunting tents with a stove in it. Apparently for space and weight, I stayed with my cheap tent. It held the snow out just fine.

I have a time scheduale this morning, but if I can find my pic of the tent, I will post it later.

Cedar

Offline ttubravesrock

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1010
  • Karma: 25
  • Born to be an Alaskan
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2013, 12:53:16 PM »
I don't know what you define as winter camping, but if you are looking for a base camp type of tent, the Arctic Oven is peerless IMO.  Here is the website.

http://www.alaskatent.com/

Offline inconel710

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 554
  • Karma: 22
  • Not-so-New TSP Forum member
    • My 13Skills Blog
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2013, 03:04:00 PM »
Hehe.  Back in November, I spent a night in a hammock in 14F temps.  Had a tarp over me, a USGI poncho liner under the hammock, and a military sleep system in the hammock.  I was bundled up pretty well though - polypro underwear and GI fleece bib and sweater.  My feet were cold, but I'll have to try the hot water bottle thing next time.

Since that trip, I visited HammockForums and found out how to rig that poncho liner - I was winging it at the time because it was colder than I'd expected.

nelson96

  • Guest
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2013, 04:53:55 PM »
It boils down to how you are going to get your equipment to it's destination, how comfortable you want to be when you get there, what you require to be comfortable, and what your budget will afford.

I use a wall tent and would not want to use anything less than I've got.  With my set up I can literally be as comfortable as I am at home. 

Offline Cedar

  • ...just aDD water...
  • TSP Supreme Galactic Ant
  • ************
  • Posts: 28429
  • Karma: 1396
  • Dont wait for the storm to pass, dance in the rain
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2013, 06:04:50 PM »
It boils down to how you are going to get your equipment to it's destination, how comfortable you want to be when you get there, what you require to be comfortable, and what your budget will afford.

And that is how I arrived at the Fred Meyers tent. It is what I had, could not afford to get anything new, let alone upscale.

I had the budget of weight too. I had a 4 to 8 dog team on various years and although each dog can pull 160 pounds all day on snow, with 4 dogs that equals 640 pounds and with 8 dogs = 1,280 pounds. Although they CAN pull that amount with lots of conditioning training, I tried to put as little on them as possible as we were going 100 miles in 3 days and although the easiest day is 25 miles, the shorter toughest day is almost straight up and down. With me, my sled (which is 35 pounds) and gear, I tried to keep it around or under 350 pounds, including food, water, camping gear. And I have picked up stranded people in the mountains with my team before, so I have that ability as I have that spare weight allowance by keeping it at a minimum to begin with.

Depending on what you have to Bug Out in, weight is everything.. I know I would not want to carry my sleeping bags with me on my back in a BO situation. They are pretty heavy. But I would rather take them over than a more stout tent than I had if weight came back to the issue, the sleeping bags would win. When it snows (and it was a very dry snow that time of the year when I did this), I wake up periodically and thump the tent to get the snow to drift off it, JUST in case it might cave in. It never seemed to be threatened by caving.

Some years we had straw dropped in for insulating the bottoms of our tents, some years we had to use pine boughs. Realistically, at those temps I was in, I am not sure it really made a difference? I know some floors are insulated in some tents.

I know two years ago when I was on the road every two weeks for 5 months and living out of my truck, my tent and mom's couch when I was house hunting between Oregon and Canada, and it was coming November and I was in the middle of the mountains anyway so in the summer it could hit freezing marks. EASE of putting it up when you are cold and tired is a DEFINATE PLUS!!! I was down to 5 minutes for putting my tent up (a new Fred Meyers tent by now as the zipper finally went out of the other one after 20 years -darn it, plus a 130 pound dog, so I upgraded to a 3 person tent, which is really a 1 dog, gear and 1 pregnant chick tent). When you are on the road and putting up and tearing down a tent 6 times a week, you want it to be fast and easy.

Cedar

nelson96

  • Guest
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2013, 07:10:39 PM »
I am not a huge fan of freezing my ass off outside in the winter whatsoever. . .  going back to a campsite right across the street from a place I may go skiing at all day would be quite fun. . .  I would like to see what other people do who like to camp even when it is crappy outside. . .  If I can conquer camping in horrible, snowy, ice cold weather and thrive, cook good food, and enjoy myself in spite of the bad weather I will feel much more "prepared" should something REQUIRE me to do that in the future.

I use a 16'x20' canvas wall tent with 5' short walls (eve is about 12') and I use a wood or propane heat stove that vents out a chimney.  The tent comfortably sleeps a family of four on cots with room to spare for walking around (upright like god intended) and elbow room for cooking.  Whether we are using the wood stove or the propane stove, we can keep the tent warm enough to melt the wax out of your ears.  The coldest temperature we’ve camped in so far is 11° below zero.  It’s nice to know that at the end of a long day you can get as warm as you want and stand or sit around in comfort.

This tent is our home away from home when we are hunting.  It will also serve as a temporary home if SHTF and my family has to bug-out from our house (BIL).

I bought it new from Davis Tent (of Colorado) last year, before hunting season of 2011, and got a really good deal on it.  I paid right around $1,400 for it with an additional $150 cost for making my own poles.  The $1,400 got me the tent w/ add-on's, angles (for poles), and stove kit.  The tent rolls up in to roughly a 3-1/2’ x 2’ dimension and you do not need the frame (poles & angles) to use it.  If you do use the frame, you have to have the ability to haul long poles (longest poles are 8’11” on my tent).  The wood stove (which is not the one pictured) is even smaller than the tent when it’s rolled up.

We store the tent, its accessories, and all the other camping gear in a cargo trailer.  When we're want to use it we do a quick inventory of the food, water, and stuff like that, then back up to it with the truck and take off.

Here are pic's of the inside of my tent.  The only thing missing from view is the full sized picnic table we put in the center back of the tent.  We prefer a table like this so that we can all sit together and eat our meals in comfort. . . .

A view of the back right corner as you walk in


A view of the left side as you walk in


A view of my dad (the cook) cooking breakfast in the front right corner as you walk in


nelson96

  • Guest
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2013, 07:22:53 PM »
HINT:
The material that Davis Tent uses does a very good job in keeping out rain (using no fly), but if it's snowing very heavy the snow will sometimes stick to the material and weight it down in spots over time.  To keep the snow from building up while you are away or sleeping, using a cheap blue tarp (or any color they come in) over the top allows the snow to slip right off on its own. . . .  Depending on the brand of tent and the canvas material used to make the tent (believe it or not there are many) some will use a tarp like this during all weather conditions.  We've only needed it in very HEAVY snow conditions.

nelson96

  • Guest
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2013, 09:45:51 PM »
What we've been using on our elk hunts is a direct-vent propane heater in the tent.  The advantage to this versus wood is no wood cutting, no filling the stove all night and no waking up to a cold tent.  The stove has a thermostat (needs no electricity) and a pilot light, so we can even keep it going on low during the day so none of the food freezes and it's comfortable the instant we return from a long day of hunting.

It's an Empire brand and looks very much like this one . . .

http://www.gaslogsfireplacesandmore.com/images/empire/RH-50C.jpg

Offline swaby

  • Fledgling Prepper
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: 0
  • Long time listener (4 years) new to forum
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2013, 11:34:11 AM »
I am like you and I have a set up that works great in the winter ( I am a hammock hanger ) when I am out backpacking but I want something that will work for a Bug out situation that can fit a couple of people. I can across this video by Yankee Prepper and it is a decent idea. The tent is from Sportsmens Guide and they have a couple of sizes and the stove is a DIY ammo can stove.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40SMh2Vd7fc

the biggest enemy of a tent camper in winter is condensation so if you have some type of heat source that will help combat this.

nelson96

  • Guest
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2013, 12:00:29 PM »
the biggest enemy of a tent camper in winter is condensation so if you have some type of heat source that will help combat this.

Unless you have a "stove jack" cut in the tent to "direct" vent through.  Of course it also requires a heating stove that has direct vent capability and utilizes a chimney pipe.

Offline bcksknr

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2148
  • Karma: 313
  • Child of the Cold War
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2013, 11:31:49 AM »
Just got back from two overnights at a skijump competition. The first night was below zero with a -20/-25 wind chill. We used my buddies "wedge" tent, with a "bell" back. This was a common Rev War design (canvas of course). Just two upright poles and a ridge pole. Not bad to set up or tear down. We put down a layer of straw (one bale) with two canvas tarps and a Persian rug, to insulate from the frozen ground. Set up cots with two military arctic extreme sleeping bags (good to -50 I believe), disguised with Hudson Bay wool blankets. Then we fired up my friends little cast iron stove (by little I mean you can carry it around with one hand, maybe 25lbs.).  The tent has a fireproof stovepipe hole. A couple of candle lanterns and a large coffee pot on the stove and we were set for the weekend. We dressed in our 1840's Fur Trade Era clothes (lots of wool). There were three lodges and six of us set up this way. We got a lot of attention from the foreign spectators (Finland, Canada and Norway) They were very interested in our camps and why we were in buckskins and capotes. I had just finished a pair of elkhide mukluks and they worked better than I could have hoped for. Of course, I had started with 1/2 inch thick felt pakboot liners ontop of 1/2 thick wool felt insoles and built the leather mukluk to fit. Snowseal brand beeswax leather dressing is the way to go; it won't make leather "cheezy" like mink oil or greases. But, I digress. If you have the means of transport and need a base camp you can't beat the type of canvas tents that buckskinners use. Besides, playing "mountain man" is a hell of a good time.

Offline Adam B.

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1342
  • Karma: 40
    • The Uncomfortable Truth
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2013, 02:00:49 PM »
These are all good ideas. From experience, I am never going to go camping in the winter for FUN unless I have all the equipment and know what I'm doing (set up and tear down) in advance. I lose all of my energy by this time of year and I am just struggling to stay awake and keep myself from gaining another 20lbs before it gets warm enough to enjoy being outside again.

Well, that is unless I need to "bug out" of course but I'm not holding my breath for that one.

nelson96

  • Guest
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2013, 02:19:30 PM »
These are all good ideas. From experience, I am never going to go camping in the winter for FUN unless I have all the equipment and know what I'm doing (set up and tear down) in advance. I lose all of my energy by this time of year and I am just struggling to stay awake and keep myself from gaining another 20lbs before it gets warm enough to enjoy being outside again.

Well, that is unless I need to "bug out" of course but I'm not holding my breath for that one.

Have you thought about the experiences you can learn from by camping in the winter?  Whether you have the right equipment or not, camping in the winter months can be both a lot of fun and a teaching moment, especially given the controlled environment over a bug-out situation.  This can prove beneficial if you ever have to truly bug-out. 

Given that I do have the propper gear, I am as comfortable winter camping as I am summer camping.  Even more so in fact since summer heat can prove very uncomfortable at times.  Cold can be easily dealt with in a tent, but heat, not so much.  Staying active can also help you keep those pounds off you mentioned.

Offline bcksknr

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2148
  • Karma: 313
  • Child of the Cold War
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2013, 02:52:37 PM »
Best part of winter camping is no bugs! :)

nelson96

  • Guest
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2013, 02:59:34 PM »
Best part of winter camping is no bugs! :)

ahh, yes . . .  Not too many negatives actually, given you don't choose a storm to do it in.  Winter time often offers some very nice clear sky weather.

Offline Adam B.

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1342
  • Karma: 40
    • The Uncomfortable Truth
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2013, 01:09:18 PM »
Quote
Have you thought about the experiences you can learn from by camping in the winter?  Whether you have the right equipment or not, camping in the winter months can be both a lot of fun and a teaching moment, especially given the controlled environment over a bug-out situation.  This can prove beneficial if you ever have to truly bug-out. 

Given that I do have the propper gear, I am as comfortable winter camping as I am summer camping.  Even more so in fact since summer heat can prove very uncomfortable at times.  Cold can be easily dealt with in a tent, but heat, not so much.  Staying active can also help you keep those pounds off you mentioned.


That is more likely to happen in the beginning of winter than it is in the end like we are experiencing now. I am just too beat up, tired, out of shape, and can't even tell you the last time I actually saw the sun was. Needless to say, if I ever get the opportunity I am moving further south because winter is not my friend. I only enjoy skiing in it — which, if I do get winter camping next winter it will be for that purpose. Canaan Valley State Park in West Virginia has tons of campsites right next to 2 ski areas that are right across the road from each other. That would make a nice place to give the whole winter camping thing a go.

Right now I am so sore, tired, etc etc there is no way I can even get the energy to load up my truck and go somewhere.

That is why I hope they never "pull the plug" on this country during the winter months, and also why I believe when they do "pull the plug" (for lack of a better term), they will do it in the winter *(or right before winter like they did in 2008).

Offline Nate

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 727
  • Karma: 27
  • Rookie Registered Nurse
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2013, 07:11:18 AM »
I just got back last night from a winter trip and I learned a few things.  Campsite location is very important.  Our first night we got to a campsite around midnight.  The wind was howling, snow was flying and the temps were in the low teens before windchill.  We found a somewhat sheltered area and set up the tarp.  I was cold all night and the wind was blowing the tarp constantly all night.  Snow would get in under the tarp.

Next morning I found a better site in a horseshoe shaped area between some dunes.  It felt warmer in the more sheltered location. 

I also learned the importance of water in the winter.  We planned on melting snow as back up with using water from lake Michigan as our primary source.  There was ice on the lake for about 50 yards from shore.  We did not want to chance falling through so we melted snow.  My buddy's canister stove failed the first night.  The cold must have effected the self sealing valve on his canister because it was leaking gas.  My alcohol stove is not the most efficient for melting large amounts of snow for water.  So we used the campfire for snow melting.  This was a tedious undertaking because between the frequent heavy snow squalls we were obtaining firewood.

In hindsight, I would have brought my Whisperlite stove instead of the alcohol stove.  This would have saved us lots of time and effort at gathering firewood.  We would have also been better hydrated because it wold have been easier and faster to melt enough snow to obtain the necessary amount of water.

Many lessons learned!

Offline Nate

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 727
  • Karma: 27
  • Rookie Registered Nurse
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2013, 08:07:53 AM »
Also in hindsight, though the tarp was good, I wished I would have packed my 4 season tent.  Since we had frequent heavy snow squalls, the tarp was good to shelter under during those periods.  Sleeping under it was better the second night as we had a better campsite and rigged the tarp in a better configuration.  However, a 4 season tent would have allowed us better shelter from all directions.  We had to redo the tarp after the wind changed direction for a brief period.  We were worried that if we left the tarp as is, and the wind changed during the night, we would be screwed. 

We were glad that we packed more food than for 3 season camping.  I made myself a second dinner right before bed saturday night.   I threw 3 hand warmers into my 20 degree bag and put on extra socks and a thicker second pair of long underwear.  The temps were close to zero before windchill and I felt warmer and more comfortable than the first night.  I actually slept good!

So to sum up, pack a stove suitable for melting snow as water is an issue in winter camping.  Pack a tent for sleeping and a tarp for sheltering under during snow squalls.  Make sure to eat heartily right before bed.  As with any backcountry trip, I return home wiser in my outdoor skills and I become more appreciative of modern conveniences!

Offline Adam B.

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1342
  • Karma: 40
    • The Uncomfortable Truth
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2013, 10:11:28 AM »
Good stuff. I am going to make it a goal to winter camp before the end of 2013. The latest I've camped is mid-late November and the earliest I've camped is early March.

All of those instances were on freakishly warm weekends — but where we would still find snow in the mountains where camping.

The biggest challenges I could see are — the tent and setting up in an appropriate place (more wind to deal with) — and NOT losing things in the SNOW. That is one of my biggest "fears" is dropping things into the snow, only to never find them again. I have dropped things in my backyard in winter only to not find them until the snow melts in spring.

I think keeping everything simple, and having a tent I know that is warm enough that I can set up efficiently (definitely not buying a winter tent and then waiting until a big snowfall to set it up the first time).

It is those 3 months out of the year which I feel that if I can "defeat them" and make camp as fun and comfortable as I do in the summer — I will be much more prepared for that kind of scenario in a "get out of town" scenario. I think camping in the winter will definitely help with winter depression and the extreme fatigue that overcomes me as the months wear on.

Right now I am past the point of no return on the energy levels. When I get to this point all I can do is ride out the winter, hope everything holds together and wait until the weather breaks, I get a day or two of SUNLIGHT against my face, and my body starts shifting from the whole "comfort food / hibernation" mode into "healthy food / exercise and energy" mode.

I know if I can get a real winter camp trip done between Thanksgiving and Christmas that I will be MUCH more likely to go on more as the winter sets in. Ultimately I would love to go somewhere REAL rough and camp / snowshoe for a weekend or set up a "base camp" for a ski weekend where the set-up, tear-down, fire making, and cooking will just add to the soreness / exercise I am getting from the skiing itself.

Offline Adam B.

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1342
  • Karma: 40
    • The Uncomfortable Truth
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2013, 10:14:16 AM »
ANOTHER "get into winter camping" idea I've had, and friends of mine have done this (And I have done it in early March) is to backpack somewhere there are Adirondak Shelters — and just take a TARP.

It will at least get you prepared enough to know what kind of sleeping bag / etc will work for you. The shelters in one of the state parks close to my house are great for this. You can go on a 10-20 mile hike and sleep in a shelter without having to worry about doing anything other than cover the opening of the shelter with a tarp to block the wind etc.

nelson96

  • Guest
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2013, 05:49:21 PM »
...The biggest challenges I could see are — the tent and setting up in an appropriate place (more wind to deal with) — and NOT losing things in the SNOW. That is one of my biggest "fears" is dropping things into the snow, only to never find them again. I have dropped things in my backyard in winter only to not find them until the snow melts in spring.

I think keeping everything simple, and having a tent I know that is warm enough that I can set up efficiently (definitely not buying a winter tent and then waiting until a big snowfall to set it up the first time)....

...I know if I can get a real winter camp trip done between Thanksgiving and Christmas that I will be MUCH more likely to go on more as the winter sets in. Ultimately I would love to go somewhere REAL rough and camp / snowshoe for a weekend or set up a "base camp" for a ski weekend where the set-up, tear-down, fire making, and cooking will just add to the soreness / exercise I am getting from the skiing itself.

It sounds like you are intending to do more primitive camping like Nate, but with the right equipment it really isn't any harder to camp in rough winter conditions than it is in the summer.  Depending on weather we don't even have a campfire and we do all our cooking in the tent.  We've had it so hot in the tent during below zero temps that we've had to sit outside for a while until the stove and tent cooled down.

If the snow is deep and fluffy we put a blue tarp down next to where we are setting up to stage things and prevent loss of tools and gear in the snow.  My brother and I have set our tent up many times of course, but the two of us can now have our 14x18 up in about 30 minutes (that includes putting the frame together, pulling the tent over it and staking the roof tight), another 30 minutes to have it nice and warm.



.

Offline ttubravesrock

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1010
  • Karma: 25
  • Born to be an Alaskan
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #28 on: February 19, 2013, 10:15:26 AM »
Our first night we got to a campsite around midnight.

I've done my share of midnight site-searching and camp set-ups. It is always better to arrive at your campsite during the day. You always wake up in the morning and look around and say something along the lines of "How did we choose this spot?"

Offline Adam B.

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1342
  • Karma: 40
    • The Uncomfortable Truth
Re: Ideas for a good winter camping tent?
« Reply #29 on: February 19, 2013, 03:31:46 PM »
Quote
It sounds like you are intending to do more primitive camping like Nate, but with the right equipment it really isn't any harder to camp in rough winter conditions than it is in the summer.  Depending on weather we don't even have a campfire and we do all our cooking in the tent.  We've had it so hot in the tent during below zero temps that we've had to sit outside for a while until the stove and tent cooled down.

If the snow is deep and fluffy we put a blue tarp down next to where we are setting up to stage things and prevent loss of tools and gear in the snow.  My brother and I have set our tent up many times of course, but the two of us can now have our 14x18 up in about 30 minutes (that includes putting the frame together, pulling the tent over it and staking the roof tight), another 30 minutes to have it nice and warm.

Like I said, it is mostly my lack of energy in the winter ("SAD" they call it) that keeps me from doing things like that. I had everything ready this year to battle that and get outside more, but now my weekends are spoken for every single weekend, so I didn't get to go skiing and snowshowing etc (which would have kept me in shape) more than a couple of times.

My schedule in life literally changes completely every 3 months it seems (new job, life cirumstances change, etc etc) so I never really can plan a season ahead anymore. I just kinda "wing it."

I just want to experience and know I can do both primitive winter camping AND "luxurious" winter camping (car camping and backpacking) with the same effeciency as I do when it is warm out (ie., being able to more or less go at a moment's notice and have everything already packed and at the ready).

I certainly do not feel "ready" for a potential "bug out" if it happened during the 3 months of snow and no sunshine. If that kind of circumstance happened in the OTHER 9 months I would thrive.