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.

Automobile Winter Emergency Kit

With colder weather and snow rolling in, it’s time to get your vehicle setup with an emergency kit in case of a breakdown or accident. Accidents and breakdowns never happen at a convenient time. Worse yet is to be stuck during a bad winter storm when there’s accidents happening all over and it’s hard for emergency vehicles to get around and they’re overwhelmed. During those times you’ll have no choice but to take care of yourself or loved ones until help arrives. So, now’s the time to prepare an emergency kit and get it in your vehicle.

Here’s some ideas of things you may want to put in your emergency kit.

  • Wool Blanket or Winter Sleeping Bag
  • Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Emergency Candle (2 or 3)
  • Lighter
  • Folding Knife with Glass breaker
  • Protein Bars or any type of snack bar
  • Fill up a bottle of water and put it in the car every time you go somewhere. You can’t leave a bottle of water in the car all winter because it will constantly freeze and thaw eventually breaking the bottle. (At least where I live anyways)
  • 2-3 Flares
  • Jumper Cables
  • Book and or Card Game
  • Warm Clothing and Boots (For those that by virtue of their job, don’t get to dress warm)

 

Get in the habit of plugging your phone into the charger as soon as you get into your vehicle. Try to keep your phone charged up when traveling. The last thing anyone wants is a dead phone when you need to make an emergency call.

If you do find yourself in an accident (where no one is seriously hurt) or broken down, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you are prepared in case of a long wait for emergency crews. Remember, for your own safety, to stay put inside your vehicle well waiting for help. What extra things do you carry in your automobile winter emergency kit? Thanks for reading and be safe out there this winter.