Kids Outdoors

All of my children enjoy the outdoors in one way or another. All of them enjoy camping but a few of them are fair weather campers. Some of them are interested in winter camping and that’s the subject of todays post.

My youngest son and daughter have been interested in colder weather camping but have never owned a proper sleeping bag or pad, so I decided to remedy that.

I ordered Big Agnus Duster sleeping bags and REI Co-op Kindercamp sleeping pads for them. This combo should be good down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit and should last them for awhile.

Once we received them we decided to get out and give them a test run. We ended up with a warm spell so it only got down the 40 degrees the night we tested them. I love the fact that the sleeping bag has a pocket for the pad so that the kids won’t be rolling off the pad at night. This is huge in my opinion. It means they won’t be waking up cold at night and that they’ll be less likely to be rolling all over at night.

When testing any new products I always test at home first. That way if there’s any issues it won’t put anyone in serious danger. This is extra important with kids. We ended up with high winds that night and my son decided he didn’t like the wind so he was able to walk to the house and sleep inside. My daughter and I decided to stay put and enjoy the evening.

The next morning when we woke up I asked her how she slept and if she liked her new pad and bag. She said she was plenty warm all night, which I figured since it only got down to 40 degrees. We slept under my waxed canvas tarp with the front open.

I count this as a win since she enjoyed herself and I look forward to slowly working down to see what temperature she can comfortably get down to with this setup. We’ll keep testing close to home and use it on trips that we know she’ll be fine temperature wise.

Do you have kids that enjoy camping? Do they winter camp? What gear are you or your kids currently testing and how do you go about testing new camping gear with your children?

Testing Winter Gear

Over Thanksgiving the nighttime temps were supposed to be in the single digits here in NY, so even though I was visiting family I still wanted to test some of my winter gear. I didn’t get my 0-degree rated over quilt from Hammock Gear until spring, so I was never really able to give it a good test. I figured this would be the perfect time. All Temps listed in this article are in Fahrenheit.

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Everyone else thought I was nuts wanting to sleep outside in those temps but all I could think about was testing some of my gear and honestly, I love how quiet and peaceful it is outside during the colder months.

So, I setup my DD Hammocks Superlight tarp. I placed my UST heavy duty reusable emergency blanket on the ground as my ground cloth.  I placed a foam pad down and then placed my Klymit insulated static V on top of that. I knew with that combination I shouldn’t feel any cold from the ground down to at least -10 or so.  I laid my 0 degree over quilt out and ran the sleeping pad shock cords around the sleeping pads so that the over quilt would stay put on top of the pads. It’s a nice handy feature for ground camping with an over quilt. I laid may Pathfinder wool blanket over everything just to keep everything safe and dry during the day. I wanted the wool blanket just in case the over quilt didn’t keep me warm.

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The first night went well. It only got down to 11 degrees overnight. I stayed warm all night. The only issue I had was that in the middle of the night the wind changed from blowing on the sides and back of the tarp to blowing right through the door opening. Since I had the wool blanket, I just threw it over top of everything to keep the wind from blowing in any holes between the sleeping pads and over quilt. The wool blanket did the trick. After waking up and remedying the wind issue I slept soundly the rest of the night. Since the temps never reached very low, I really didn’t view this night as much of a test.

The next night got down to 4 degrees overnight and I stayed toasty warm all night long. I even slept in until around 9:30 am so I’d say that was a success. Based on how warm I stayed I’m confident that this setup can get me down to at least -10 to -20. I think I can most likely get away with just the Klymit sleeping pad down to 0 degrees. I think the two pads together was overkill but who doesn’t like extra padding when ground camping?!

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I’m looking forward to doing some more testing and fine tuning of my winter gear. Eventually I’m hoping to get up into the Adirondacks for some winter camping this coming winter. One thing I didn’t like about my setup was the tarp configuration. It looks neat and all but it’s a pain getting in and out off, not roomy at all and since it’s so tight inside, condensation that builds up overnight is constantly getting on clothing and bedding because its impossible to move around without touching the tarp. I’m just not a fan of this tarp configuration. I’d go with something a little roomier so that I’m able to move around with ease without worry of touching the tarp “walls”. This is in no way a reflection on the tarp. I like this tarp a lot.

What does your winter kit look like? What pieces of winter gear are a must have for you? What winter gear are you testing for the first time this winter? What are the lowest temps you’ve camped in so far? Thanks for reading and please let me know what your thoughts are on winter camping or if you have any great winter camping stories to share. Be safe out there and enjoy each changing season.