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«SCOUTS-L COLD WEATHER CAMPING & KLONDIKE DERBYS Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 21:14:00 MST From: Chris Haggerty, Sierra Vista, Arizona ...»

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Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 21:14:00 MST

From: "Chris Haggerty, Sierra Vista, Arizona" CHAGGERTY@BPA.ARIZONA.EDU

Subject: Winter Camping

Below is a list of items I picked up from a winter camp awareness program done by the O-A in

San Francisco. This list is about 15 years old, please keet that in mind (newer material are available). I have added some comments at the end and have used this with our scouts when we go camping in the mountains in the Winter. Hope this helps!



1. REMEMBER: The sleeping bag doesn't heat you, you heat it. So use this rule, "Thickness is warmth", to keep this heat. If you're cold, add some more insulations (blankets, clothes, more newspaper).

2. DO NOT SLEEP IN BOTTOM OF BAG: Your breath contains water. If you close your bag with your head inside, then this water sticks to the bag. Wear a hat to keep your head warm.

3. CHANGE CLOTHES: NEVER sleep in wet clothes. Even perspiration will chill you at night.

4. EAT A CANDY BAR: This increases your metabolism (moves your blood faster) and it helps keep you warm.

5. GO TO THE BATHROOM BEFORE BED: This saves you a middle of the night trip in the cold.

6. DO NOT DRY "WET" CLOTHES IN BAG: Moisture will travel from wet clothes to sleeping bag.

7. PUT TOMORROW'S CLOTHES UNDER BAG: This heats up clothes for tomorrow's cold morning and also provides more insulation.

8. FLUFF UP YOUR BAG: Always fluff up bag before using to create the thickness important in keeping warm.

9. MOST IMPORTANT, KEEP IT DRY: Keep all your sleeping gear dry and follow these rules, and winter camp should prove to be a rewarding experience.


1. Clothing does not make you warm; it is your body processes that keep you warm. Clothing merely provides the insulation to preserve your warmth.

2. Layered thickness is warmth.

3. Keep your torso warm so that it can send heat to the extremities.

4. Avoid sweating by ventilation.

5. Keep rain and wind out of your insulation.

6. Use your head. Keep it covered when you're cold; remove cap as you warm up to avoid sweating.

7. Strain one muscle against another to maintain metabolism.

8. Wool clothing is best but needs wind protection, synthetics are next best. Down is OK as long as it stays dry, cotton is a poor choice.

9. If your feet are cold, put a hat on.

10. Remember the word "COLD" - Keep your clothing Clean. avoid Overheating wear clothing Loose and Keep it Dry


In addition or in substitution to what you would normally bring to camp, bring:

2 shirts (wool,best, or flannel) 2 pairs wool or synthetic pants (Strongly recommend against cotton pants like jeans. They absorb moisture like a sponge).

fishnet, thermal or polypropaline underwear boots (WATERPROOFED) 2 pairs of heavy socks (wool recommended) 2 pairs lighter socks (polypropaline is best) Windbreaker (as is or part of heavier jacket) balaclavia or stocking cap (wool is best) parka or heavy jacket mittens, (WOOL, gloves not recommended except as extra pair) extra shoes It is always best to stay dry when camping in the snow, but you can expect to get wet and should be prepared. Boots or other shoes which are not waterproof will normally start getting the feet wet and cold after less than 15 minutes in the snow (depending on temperature, the colder it is, the longer the feet stay dry). Low top shoes will not keep the snow out of the shoes. Gaiters can be made from plastic bags and a strong tape like duck tape. Do not cover the bottom of you shoes with plastic, doing so will cause you to lose almost all of your traction (and you will fall down!).

Unless your parents are planning to buy some of the items on this list anyway, do not run out and start spending lots of money on cloths and equipment. If all your pants are jeans, for example, bring three or four pairs and change frequently. If you are in doubt or have questions, call one of the troop leaders for advice.

Date: Wed, 1 Nov 1995 09:48:09 -0600 From: "Dr. Steven C. Myers" r1scm@VM1.CC.UAKRON.EDU Subject: Re: keeping warm Gerry Owen asked about the cold and how to keep warm while winter camping.

In addition Rob Morley said I have heard this works, but I have never tried it. Fill a canteen with hot water, wrap it in a towl, and put it int the bottom of the bag. It should act as a hot water bottle. (Just make sure it doesn't leak g) By all means, change the socks before bed, but don't try the water bottle effect!!! The water will cool down very rapidly and will not be effective.

Besides,an old adage is if you can feel the heat, you're not insulated well enough. True winter campers avoid those warming fires. All they do is make you sweat which later freezes. So how do you keep warm?

First get a copy of the Fieldbook and a copy of the Venture phamplet called "Snow Camping." Also, see the feature in Woods Wisdom which is really good.

They will give you plenty of pointers.

I favor wool and polypro clothing and plenty of layers. I often do not wear the top or "heavy coat" layer at all. Start with a under layer of polypro (socks, pants, and shirt). The next layer is a regular pair of pants and shirt (flannel or wool) and heavy weight wool socks. Make sure their is room (air) in the boots -- it's the air that insulates. Make sure to get waterproof but breathable boots. If my feet get wet my whole day is ruined.

Over this layer I use fleese, heavy weight pants and a mid weight sweater.

They are lighter and warmer than wool and will hold warmth when wet. The nex layer is waterproof snow pants and a midweight jacket with a waterproof layer (light rain jacket) over it. Many times one or more layers aren't worn. I have always hauled along, but never used, a heavy parka which will fit over my outfit above.

The single best investment I ever made outside of wool socks was my capelene (sp?) underware. It is worth its weight in gold. Nah, teh best investment was my goretex vasque boots.

At night, I sleep in clean dry cloths (capelene-polypro with fleese or wool on top. I always include a wool hat since you can loose an incredible amount of heat throught your head. Sometimes I wear a hooded sweatshirt with hood up before applying the wool cap. The hood keeps the draft off the back of the neck. Out troop has hooded sweatshirts for just this purpose.

Use a good quality mummy bag and draw the hood around your head. For your cold feet, make sure the socks are clean and dry and roomy. Tight clothing just won't keep you as warm. Also try someind of foot bag in the bottom of your mummy bag. I have actually put my gloves over my toes when the cold challenges.

Maybe this is not "right," but i keep a supply of chocolate nearby. At my age, I notice that the old furnace gives out about 4 am in the morning.

That is when I wake up, cold, and put on more clothes and eat my chocolate.

I can usually get back to sleep pretty fast.

Finally, don't underestimate the insulating quality of a good ground pad.

The flat closed cell foam pads are ok (opencell just act as sponges getting everything soaked), riderests are better, but thermarests are the best. You should have 3 times (in insulating value) under you that you have on top of you. Make sure you never come in direct contact with the icy floor. Stay on the pad.

For you and your Scouts, this is the time to emphasize that "A Scout is Clean." Add "a Scout is Dry" and you have the formula. Do not allow the scouts to clown around too much, the sweat is a threat and they can loose valuable energy. When my troop first went camping in the snow, I learned a lot. We called the camp off early and I se about learning how to make them successful.

Remember if you want to stay warm, think COLD C = stay Clean O = avoid Overheating L = dress in Layers (I recommend a top waterproof one) D = stay Dry.

Have a great time. When you survive a weekend of bitter cold, properly trained, your troop will gain some real braging rights. A line on our recruiting brochure reads "Have you ever slept on ice and stayed warm?" Yeah, we push our advantages!

Steve Myers Scoutmaster Troop One Akron OH Date: Wed, 1 Nov 1995 09:48:57 -0600 From: "Dr. Steven C. Myers" r1scm@VM1.CC.UAKRON.EDU Subject: Re: keeping warm & the stupid game) I just read Matt's message and I have a couple of points to make to his fine post.

We do a deep freeze every year and we have not had any problem with this as

long as we follow the following guidlines:

... deleted...

Layers This means not only your clothing bu also your sleeping gear. We use a full size bag on a pad.

Inside that bag we use a second insulite pad on which we place a 3/4 bag. In this bag we have a wool blanket. We also alternate the zipper to reduce drafts. Outside bag zipper on one side and the inside bag zipper on the other.

Matt, I for one am way too big for this to work. I cannot getinto some sleeping bags, so for the gratationally challenged, this does not work.

...text deleted...

Consumables Water is a must.Drink lots of it.

This is so so so important. I can't believe I forgot it. Well I was concentrating on clothes, but drinking plenty of water is essential.

Aslo, this reminds me to put in a plug for you to train your scouts in the signs and dangers of HYPOTHERMIA. You can lose a scout this way! We teach our scouts to play the stupid game with their buddy. We are deadly serious about buddies in the winter, and no one in a patrol may proceed when one member is cold until the stupid game has been played. Now this game has few rules and the scouts love to see who is being stupid. You can just imagine. However, the game recognizes that a early sign of hypothermia is the lack of sufficient oxyginated blood to the brain. A Scout with hypothermia will behave studidly. When we see that, we act. The game begins with someone saying to another "Are you being stupid or what?" If the answer is no (and the questioner is satisfied, the game is over. If not, then its first aid t the rescue. A few winters back, Mike Thomas was very cold and shivering. Well who wasn't -- it was cold! Mike failed the game when he refused to admit that zippin up his coat would keep him warmer.

He was really actimd stupid. He was in real trouble. Since it was a District Klondike I took him to the warming cabin and set him in front of the fire. (He also did not thing that going to the warming cabin would help him get warm.) So play the stupid game. Have fun with the questions and answers, but when you get the scout who can't seem to come up with the right answers, seek hel immediately.

Steve Myers I used to be a Bear Date: Wed, 1 Nov 1995 13:23:30 -0500 From: Stern Dixon SDixon@AOL.COM Subject: Re: keeping warm A couple of tips on keeping warm.

Always use an ensolite or closed cell pad (very firm) on the ground itself.

It offers more insulation than open cell foam (the spongy stuff) and it doesn't absorb moisture either from your body or the ground.

Always take off all your clothes, not just your socks. Your cotton tshirts, et al, will absorb body moisture even if you've been in them for a couple of hours.

Wear head gear to sleep in. A knit cap (not cotton) will keep your head warm and prevent lots of heat loss.

Wrap your feet in your down jacket or vest if the bottom of your bag is nippy.

Use a bag liner of a light polypro. pile fabric. Campmor et. al. sell these for about $30.

Eat something with a lot of fat before going to bed.

A tip I heard once, but haven't tried: drink warm concentrated jello before going to bed. it will keep you from having to get up in the night to pee. I won't get into the reasons this works. Use your imagination.

Final tip: Pay no attention to the comfort rating on your bag. I figure a -5 bag will keep me warm to about 15 degrees if I do all the other things.

Date: Wed, 1 Nov 1995 13:08:52 -0500 From: "Paul H. Brown" phbrown@CAPACCESS.ORG Subject: Re: keeping warm Don't wear the same clothes to bed that you wore that day: too much perspiration in them. And don't wear jeans for any purpose. A sweat suit makes a good winter pajama set. Wear a hat to bed. If wool makes you itch, wear something else. Make sure you don't try to sleep dehydrated: you'll sleep colder.

YiS, Paul H. Brown, UC, GW District, National Capital Area Council phbrown@capaccess.org Date: Wed, 1 Nov 1995 07:24:39 -0600 From: "Greg L. Gough" ggough@MAIL.ORION.ORG Subject: Re: keeping warm Here are a few tips on staying warm in your sleeping bag.

1. About an hour befor bed eat something calorie dense, peanuts etc.

This gives you slow burning fuel for the night.

2. Drink a cup of hot cocoa. Any cold liquid you consume your body has to warm.

3. Change all your clothes before entering your sleeping bag. I wear minimum of polypropolene long underware and liner socks with a wool blend over.

4. Wear a full face mask. You still lose most of your heat through your head. The new polypropolene ones are comfy and warm.

5. Don't sleep with your head covered with your bag. This introduces moisture into your bag.

6. Use a thermorest or comparable sleeping pad or two foam pads and or place leaves or straw under your tent.

7. If you wake up cold, put on your rain suit or cover yourself with one of those emergency blankets (foil coated plastic) or tear open a trash bag and place it on top of you. all form a vapor barrier and will keep you warm but you will have to change your clothes when getting up (they will be moist)

8. Preheat your bag with those Hot Hands hand warmers. I don't sleep with them, too hot! But I do start them in the morning and put them in

my boots :)

I love to cold weather camp. Have been out in 3 degree weather and the above tips have made me comfortable. I welcome any other tips that I might use.

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