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539892F0-2BA5-4477-82AC-AE6C0E0D9041The word of the day is Bombogenesis and the headlines are all about the Cyclone Bomb that is hitting the East coast right now.   Reports are coming in that New York City is colder than Mars….and Minnesotans are still being spotted wearing shorts.

IMG_7612Expanding on my previous post,  The California Transplant’s Guide to Winter Layers,  here’s a quick list of 10 hacks and skills to help you stay warm this winter!

  1. Chemical hand warmers are great for keeping all sorts of things warm when its cold, including your phone battery.   Use two if it’s really cold. My smart friend, Pam,  gave me this tip right before we hiked up Eagle Mountain for Hike #52 in single digit temps and it totally saved my battery.   Read about our Eagle Mountain adventure here.

If you have access to a microwave before heading out, make a small reusable rice sock out of a mismatch sock and some rice or lentils.  I found out about the lentils from a gal at church this Sunday, they smell a little lentil-ly but really hold the warmth.   I seriously have it on my lap right NOW!

  1.  Double up two sleeping bags to make one warm one. I used this fancy formula to figure out how to stay warm on my winter camping trip two weeks ago and it helped me determine whether I had what I needed to stay warm.   It may or may not be all that accurate, but I definitely didn’t get cold.  I found this on a hammock forum and no one knows it’s origin.

x -(70 – y)/2 = z

x = first bag (higher rated/lower degree)

y = second bag (lower rated/higher degree)

z = rating of doubled bags

  1. Reflectix is a lightweight material that can be used many different ways. Use a small piece to sit on, wrap around your water bottle for insulation, stick under your backside in a hammock to keep it warm, insulate food while rehydrating, windscreen, foot warmer, fan to get the fire going, etc. If you don’t want to buy a whole roll, use a metallic mailing envelope.  Even a non-metallic bubble wrap mailing envelope will help keep you warm, and its a great way to repurpose that online shopping packaging!
  2. Fill a Nalgene bottle 2/3 of the way full with nearly boiling water and put it in a wool sock, hat or wrap in fabric.   Place between legs (femoral artery), armpits or kick it to your feet to stay warm.
  3. Store your mittens under your rear when hammock camping to make them easy to find and keep your backside insulated.   This totally saved my butt at winter camp.
  4. Use a cheap reflective emergency blanket on the bottom of your tent or hammock to reflect your body heat and keep the wind/draft out.
  5. Attach a ziptie, paracord or keychains to zippers to make them easy to access with mittens.  This may seem basic, but keeps you from taking your mittens on and off.
  6. Pull your backpack over your feet in your sleeping bag to add warmth to your feet and legs.   Add your boots to keep them from freezing.
  7. Don’t hold it!  If you wake up cold and have to go pee, don’t hold it….it will make you colder than the quick visit outside….then do some sit ups in your sleeping bag to warm back up.
  8. Make some screw shoes!  Ok, this isn’t technically a “keep you warm” hack, but it might keep you rubber side down.  Add 3/8-1/2” sheet metal hex screws to the bottoms of your hiking boots or running shoes to make instant ice grippers. Mark spot with a sharpie and install with a power drill in the treads avoiding thin or worn spots.  This is another trick I learned from my smart friend, Pam at a shoe clinic.   Lots of winter runners swear by this method as great ice and snow traction.  Read about the pair I made here.

IMG_2031What are you doing to stay toasty inside or out during this cold snap?   Comment below and stay warm!!

Happy Trails!



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