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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_7612In addition to my post earlier in the week The California Transplant’s Guide to Winter Layers, I pulled together this quick list for the Boy Scout Leaders at our monthly district meeting as a conversation starter and to share some of the stuff I’ve personally seen or done this winter to stay warm.

  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 adventure buddy 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.
  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. 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. 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.  Saw this one at a shoe clinic and lots of winter runners swear by this method as great ice and snow traction.

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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