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Here’s a follow up to my first winter camping post a couple of weeks ago and a review of two different sleep set ups I used:  Hammock and Solo Tent. Winter camping takes more planning and effort but refines my outdoor skills each time I do it.

Tradition:   Charlie Brown Christmas Tree and our Scouts Interfaith Service Book

I traditionally help plan the Winter Campout for my Boy Scout Troop.  All but one year in the last 5, I have slept outside while the Scouts and other adults take the cabin.  I always invite them to be prepared, challenge themselves and take a shot at winter camping, but nevertheless, they always take the cabin.  No worries, outside is quieter and usually smells better…and they will always remember me as their crazy leader that slept outside.

In addition to bringing a Christmas tree to winter camp, my patch blanket always comes along.

Last year, I stayed in because it got down to -30 degrees with the windchill.  This year was a perfect, 18-25 degrees at Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp in WI.  It takes a little more prep work packing, but its always worth it.

IMG_7487.JPGNight 1 – sleep/shelter set up:

  1. Big Agnes FlyCreek UL1 Tent – REI Garage Sale Score!
  2. Thermarest Z Lite Foam Pad (great for Scouts!  I borrowed my kid’s)
  3. Thermarest Pro Lite Plus Pad (my other kid’s pad)
  4. Reflectix in between Thermarest pads
  5. REI Serrana 25 degree water resistant down mummy bag
  6. Enlightened Equipment Revelation 10 degree Quilt

Slept ok until sleeping pad deflated in the middle of the night in the cold temperature.  I blew it back up and it deflated again.  Slipped around a bit and found that I needed to stuff my gear around my sides to keep the cold from drafting in.  The deflating pad must have been from the air density changing, and made for a pretty miserable night’s sleep with the unfortunate timing of a flu bug setting into my aching joints.

img_2031.jpegNight 2 – sleep/shelter set up:

  1. Hummingbird Hammock with Whoopie Slings
  2. Reflectix under the bum
  3. REI Serrana 25 degree water resistant down mummy bag
  4. Enlightened Equipment Revelation 10 degree Quilt
  5. Gordini Mittens under the bum
  6. Water baby: Hot water in a Nalgene, covered in a wool sock, between the legs, later kicked it to my feet.

With a cold/flu bug in full swing, I took a power nap in my new hammock during free time in the afternoon, first hang!  About a month ago I traded my Hennessey for it with a friend.  It was about 25 degrees outside and this set up minus the Mittens and water bottle kept me nice and toasty warm.  I had not used the Revelation as a hammock under quilt yet and was pleasantly surprised at how easy and intuitive it was to put on.  The elastic straps are very easy to connect and adjust and I liked it better than the Costco quilt I rigged up on my previous hammock.   I slept for a whole hour until my own Scout came to check on me and wake me up for afternoon activities.

Once ‘lights out’ rolled around, my cold had gotten worse and I was kind of dreading sleeping in my tent again, and I didn’t want to come inside.  So I trudged out in the snow and set up my hammock again in the dark, ran back in to grab a warm water bottle and snuggled up.  The mummy bag worked great and the under quilt cinched up almost completely closed leaving a breathing hole.   I was cold when I first crawled in, but stored my mittens under my bum for extra protection from the cold, and it warmed up right away!

IMG_7504Woke up to 18 degrees and fog without a tarp, slept great and was snug as a bug in a rug!

Nerd alert:  How to calculate double bag temperature rating (hypothetically):

I stumbled upon this formula of how to determine the warmth doubling sleeping bags on a Hammock forum.  The person who posted it said they found it written down somewhere from years ago and didn’t know the origin...how mysterious!  It may or may not be accurate, but it got me thinking:

x -(70 – y)/2 = z

x = first bag (higher rated/lower degree)

y = second bag (lower rated/higher degree)

z = rating of doubled bags

As I was preparing for the ultra cold BWCA trip, I experimented with this formula and came up with the following calculation:

x=25 degree REI Serrana Mummy

y=10 degree EE Quilt


Then, tried it the other way since I would be inverting the bags and got -10 degrees

Then I added 10 degrees because women generally sleep 5-10 degrees colder than men.

Either way, I figured I had a 0 to -7 degree bag with the two combined.  Win!

All of this is probably overkill for folks who sleep warm but it was perfect for me!

Always extra gear at Winter camp, games, snacks, Christmas tree….Glamping!

Got any great winter camping or hammock tips?   Got any ‘must have’ items you bring along?

Post em here!
Happy (cough cough cough) trails!



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