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      Camping Last Week...what is your record low?     
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Rob Johnson
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01/23/2012 08:29PM
Heavy Canoe & I went to the Chalk Hills Recreational Area on the Wisconsin/U.P. border last weekend.

Temps got down to -5 or so range (we think, based on weather data not an actual thermometer). That is our coldest so far and we have decided it is about the limit of our gear.

We managed to stay warm but were faced with challenges we haven't seen before like EVERYTHING freezing solid...water, beer, grubs, dish soap, mustard, saline solution (you get the idea), propane heater not putting out enough heat to be useful, and loathing trips to use the pit toilet.

To top things off...the fishing sucked = 3 days of fishing and only 2 fish.

SO...what is your record low and what do you consider a "sane" limit.
 
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OBX2Kayak
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01/23/2012 08:40PM
A bunch of folks from the Hammock Forums were hanging in northern Minnesota last weekend at -19.8 degrees ... all cold camping in hammocks.

It's called the "Minnesota 2nd Annual Frozen Butt Hang."

Last year the event drew about ten people. This year attendance jumped to twenty-five, including at least two women, one a teenager.

They all claim to have had a great time. ... almost makes me want to move back to Minnesota.
01/23/2012 08:41PM
Last winter, my girlfriend and I woke up one morning to -9 or -10 on my tiny thermometer in Tettegouche State Park. The forecast for the next night was -18 for the Finland area, so we decided to only stay one night. We were well equipped the first night, but our sleeping bags were stretched to the limit around -10. We decided against night number two, and found a cheap hotel in Two Harbors for the night. Morning temp was around -15 if I remember right. If we ever get some snow and cold, we're ready for it this year with our new WM Puma bags, so we should be able to handle most conditions thrown at us in the arrowhead. I want some more snow first!

Rick
TuscaroraBorealis
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01/23/2012 09:09PM
Can't say for absolute certain....we didn't have a thermometer along. But, during our winter trip last year the surrounding area (Ely, International Falls, etc.) hit -40 below.

PINETREE
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01/23/2012 09:29PM
Slept out in -30 to -35 degrees F. conditions. You made one nice fire when you got up. Done many days in the -20 degrees F..
PINETREE
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01/23/2012 09:32PM
What has given me the most problems is the dreaded strong winds. It is tough to combat that especially when also trying to fish on that trip. Location of tent is extremely important in that you should get it out of potential blowing winds.
catfish72
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01/23/2012 10:03PM
Me and a buddy spent 4 days on fourtown a few years back. the warmest it got was minus 1 the coldest it got was minus 37 acording to the robot guy on the weather band raido. Besides all the fearing for our lives and what not we had a great time and managed to catch a few fish. for some reason or another todd and I always manage to end up camping on the coldest days of the year. I do not think him and I have been winter camping ever when its been out of the single digits.
SevenofNine
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01/24/2012 07:41AM
Did a camp out at Wild River state park where the temperature bottomed out at -29 degrees. That park is rather cold being it's in a bowl down near the Saint Croix river.

Sane temperatures are the ones where they don't challenge you or teach you something about your system. Obviously you were challenged on your trip. Remember that next time and plan for things freezing.
Arlo Pankook
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01/24/2012 11:33AM
We can't seem to break -15F, we have hit it four times now.
spunduckeywoo
member (17)member
 
01/24/2012 11:49AM
I'm in that -40 category 2 years ago, brutal but good.. I think haha.. we happen to have a little buddy heater we put in the vestibule and ran that every now and then, it worked, we just stayed in the tent :o/
arctic
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01/24/2012 12:07PM
I've been out in the low -40s once, and in the -20s and -30s many times, mostly in the BWCA, but also in Quebec and Yellowstone.
inspector13
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01/24/2012 12:47PM

According the Weather Underground website it got to -20F in Two Harbors and -23F in Ely when I camped at my property Jan 19-20, 2008. I was totally unprepared for what I was doing and ended up taking the sleeping bag to the car, with the emergency blanket and additional quilted sleeping bag with the coats piled on top. I left the next morning to find a blood vessel in my left eye had burst. I think I was so stressed by the cold my blood pressure sky rocketed. I won’t cold camp if the temperature is expected to go below 0F anymore. I don’t think my body can handle it.

ZaraSp00k
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01/25/2012 11:00PM
About 5-10 years ago there was little snow in the TC area so on a spur of the moment I threw my gear in my vehicle and headed up to the Arrowhead area to do some snow shoeing, skiing, and winter camping for the weekend. It was forecast to be in the mid 20’s at home and I did not think to check on the temps up north.

When I got to McFarland Lake it seemed a little cold, but what was I gonna do after travelling so far? I skied across John, and East Pike, camping on the edge of the east end of the lake. I made my ramen and hot chocolate and hit the sack at 5 PM. I woke up shivering and looked at my watch, it was 7:30 PM! Moving around in my sleeping bag warmed me up, and I went back to sleep. But 2 hours later I woke up shivering again. So I did sit ups in my sleeping bag to warm up, and went back to sleep. I repeated this all night, sleeping for 2 hours, waking up cold, do some sit ups, and falling back to sleep until daybreak. I gathered up my stuff and headed back to my car and made a beeline to Grand Marais and the rec center where I spent the next few hours in the sauna and whirlpool warming up.

I never did know how cold it was, but the radio said it had gotten down to 34 below in Tower & Embarrass that night. It was probably a few degrees warmer where I was. I figure it was 25-30 below from talking to locals at the rec center/
jwartman59
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01/25/2012 11:26PM
overnight, cold camping. michigan - 40, minnesota -45 (at least), alaska -? (didn't want to know). whiskey freezes at around 30 below, the party stops when the whiskey is frozen, the swedish bikini team goes home.

but for perspective, we were in colorado several winters ago. we were at a ymca camp for x-c skiing. we were out skiing, everything was perfect, then we noticed that there was no one else around. when we got to the trail shelter we noticed that it was -15F. we didn't even think that it was cold. the relative humidity (none in colorado) makes a huge difference.
tonyyarusso
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01/26/2012 11:25PM
So far mine's -9F with Boy Scouts, cold tent, no artificial heaters or any of that nonsense. I'd totally do colder if the weather and my schedule cooperated to give me the opportunity.
mcguiness22
senior member (80)senior membersenior member
 
01/28/2012 12:20AM
My buddy and I went out cold camping last weekend. On our way back in we were told it hit -23. Thankfully there was no wind.
karola
distinguished member (257)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/30/2012 07:41PM
Hit -24 on a trip 3 years ago cold camping. I had an older -60 bag but still didn't sleep too great!
McVacek
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02/15/2012 06:22PM
Our first winter camping trip it was -39 but may have been colder, the thermometer didn't go any lower!!! It was maybe a high of 10 degrees at most all two nights. It was a challenge staying at 98.6 degrees!
Stik8481
member (29)member
 
02/16/2012 02:07PM
I have a picture somewhere of the thermometer at -30 when I was camping with some friends. The problem was this was at 2:00 PM it had to have dropped over night. Still do not know to this day how cold it got that night. I was cold in a -30 sleeping bag... put hot water in a water bottle and put it down by my feet just so I could get 3 hours of sleep. Then woke up and sat by the fire for the rest of the night. We stayed two more nights because it warmed up to 0 the next day.... crazy! the fish weren't even biting. We still had fun and I would do it again in a second I would just buy a better sleeping bag and come more prepared.
tonyyarusso
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10/16/2013 12:15AM
quote tonyyarusso: "So far mine's -9F with Boy Scouts, cold tent, no artificial heaters or any of that nonsense. I'd totally do colder if the weather and my schedule cooperated to give me the opportunity."
I suppose I should update this thread - last January I drove up for a night and recorded -23F, also with no stove, no fire. Slept great - it was the getting up and making breakfast that was brutal.
Doughboy12
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10/17/2013 09:25AM
quote Stik8481: "... put hot water in a water bottle and put it down by my feet just so I could get 3 hours of sleep. "

Step one; Boil water, put it in a bottle parka, put it at the bottom of your bag. (Repeat as necessary though the night.) (white gas stove all the way.)

Step two; always leave your clothes on. It adds to the rating of your bag. If you remember NOT to sweat, you don't have to worry about the moisture.

Step three; Don't worry about buying a $500-$1000 -60 degree bag. Take your summer bag and put a 0 degree bag inside. Easier to regulate your temperature and doesn't break the bank.

Step four; Hydration is more important than you think when it comes to staying warm.

Step five; Don't wait to get up to pee. You won't win the battle and you will just loose more sleep by fighting it.

Step six; make breakfast in bed. Open the vestibule on the tent prime the stove, boil the water, make the oatmeal and coffee.

Toasty as can be. Never had a cold night and if you can get moving in the morning all is good. Cheers.

(Disclaimer/Warning: Of course you should know the dangers of running a stove by your tent. You need to know the limits of the flame area when priming and keep it a good distance away. Just slide out a ways until it get.)
Doughboy12
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10/17/2013 09:38AM
Oh, sorry... -32
Minnesotian
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10/21/2013 09:23AM


-35 last January on Caribou Lake by Clearwater Lake.
Moss Tent
Guest Paddler
 
10/21/2013 05:18PM
Zara Sp00k hit it right on the head.

I will admit it: I am that idiot who slept outside during a year of undergrad, in Ontario. That was more than 20 years ago, and I'm now apparently a mystery legend in the Environmental Studies faculty. Some day I will go back and give a talk about it.

Got back from an end-of-summer trip out west, and hadn't yet lined up accommodation, so I decided to live out of my varsity team lockers, using my camp gear from my western trip.

September was amazing, the waning summer was beautiful.

October saw the flights of birds, the leaves turning, and the first frost. Every day it was a bit colder, the challenge became that much greater. At some point that I don't remember, I became determined to keep doing it until I couldn't bear it.

I had a small dome tent, and at some point invested in a -30 Quallofil bag, it was absolutely huge and heavy, and I was using a 2" thick blue Thermarest.

November came, and it was the worst month yet. Not quite cold enough to snow, which meant that it was cold, and WET. Sucked, but I made it.

December brought the first welcome snowfall, fun stuff, until exams, when there was a sudden cold spell. Because I didn't want to fail, I bailed a couple of nights to my girlfriend's place, and a couple of nights I fell asleep in a U building after studying until the wee hours of the morning.

Went home for XMAS break, then came back in January. OMFG. It was cold--and by cold, I mean the cold that is difficult to recover from. I ended up in the bag, with a few layers of clothing on, and it was still cold.

Enter the last week of January/first week of February, IIRC. 3 consecutive days of -30's for the low, then 2 days below -40...-41, then -43. I made it through the -30's, although those days, I would struggle onto campus, take a warm shower for half an hour, eat and go to class, and fall asleep on a crash pad in the gym, I was so tired.

I would eat calories like you wouldn't believe, to try to be as thermogenic as possible at night...but when it went below -40, I pretty much didn't sleep at all, the first night because I was uncomfortable using the breathing tunnel I had carefully made, and the second night, because I was scared that what I was doing was really effing stupid, I was out alone in -43. I literally thought I would freeze to death. I was beyond the limit of my gear, -30 bag, 7 layers of clothing, thermarest, survival blanket, tent, etc., and monster amounts of food, and sleep and lots of hydration during the day (luckily it was a weekend and I didn't have class).

When I would start to drift off, I remember it feeling like I imagine it feels to be buried alive in a coffin with a window on top so that you can see the earth as it is being shoveled into the grave...this sense of dread, this inevitability, the absolute certainty of death should I give up the struggle to survive. It was really trippy.

I could go on, but you get the picture. It's scary, and it takes its toll, the cold cumulates, and is inevitable, relentless. If you can't eat enough or get warm enough during the day or rest enough during the day, it WILL get you, it's just a matter of time. The fatigue saps you of your will.

To this day I think of how stupid it was, even natives had better structures and the heat of fire, although maybe less calories, and worse nutrition...maybe.

Ever since, I've been paranoid. I lived out west for 10 years and did lots of high alpine, now in Minnesota for the past 13 years. I have seen, and keep wanting, the Feathered Friends Snowy Owl bag, a thing of beauty. I have the massive parka and down pants, and have been too hot in -30's in northern MN...but I'm telling you, there is a step function somewhere around -40, where shxt becomes serious, it's not entirely a game anymore.

Coldest I've ever experienced was -52 at CFS Alert. I didn't sleep out in it, but it was very cerebral. I had good gear, even mitts the size of Samoyeds, and had to clip into safety lines so that the wind didn't blow me away while going between buildings. With the wind, which was gusting up around 90km/h, it must have been incredibly cold. Even with that gear, in the wind, the cold is like an enemy with infinite knives, stabbing at every chink in the armor. In the lee, it's fine for a while, but breathing is difficult, it is so cold, and so dry. It's hugely tiring, when combined with the lack of light, and the absolute roar of the wind, and the wind-driven ice shards in the air, those are conditions under which you die. Scary stuff.

My 2 cents.
OBX2Kayak
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10/21/2013 09:07PM
I think minus 17 degrees is my personal low.

Now that I live in the south, I do all my cold temperature camping vicariously on this site.
WhiteWolf
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10/22/2013 02:08AM
Got lost on the Sag/ Saganagas(spelling) portage (NE side of SAG) 565 rod portage winter trip in 1997 in mid FEB. It was not a pretty site. We ended up finding a gravel road and traveled down it for a mile or two until darkness and
fatigue set in. I had a (very early model Eagle) flip out GPS mounted to a VEX battery ina backpack and even with EXCELLENT navigational skills, we could not figure out where we were at. So we camped at the bottom of a valley on this clear cut (road) in the middle of nowhere . We had chicken drums/breasts over a fire. I remember vividly to this day that the cooked side once flipped over (to cook the other side) was cold upon eating. All the firewood was gathered above ground (tree necks of fallen branches etc) anything on the ground was too frozen or water tight. My buddy, (John Freemore) asked me to take an auger and several water bottles to the local (swamp) and collect water for his preparation for supper. I walked about 1/8 mile, drilled a hole and filled the water bottles. Upon return ,, each was solid ice. That night was when I learned to not wear to much clothing in your bag to prevent your bag from doing it's work. I had on too much clothing and stripped down to one layer and was fine and let my bag do the work.
AS a weather pro/freak... I put the temp in the -25 to -30F range that night. Stoves froze up in the AM,, we backed tracked out the way we came in following subtle tracks to a very snow plowed in truck, dug the truck out, only to have the truck not start. Warmed the oil pan with the Featherlite 442 and we were on our way. Took about 45 minutes of not knowing if we would have to camp again before the truck started.
The lessons I learned from this trip are infinite.

Have been on the top Eagle Mtn buliding a quinche with -10F and 30mph wind. That was fun. Bring your stoves in with you at night or expect trouble cooking with them in the AM. Sleep with your wet socks/minor clothing in your bag,, they will dry out unless you want ice blocks in the morning. Bring extra boot liners.
2old4U
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10/22/2013 12:20PM
Hit -42 on Mud Lake fishing for pike one year with my wife and another couple cold camping! THE LONGEST night of my life...spent half of it standing IN the fire. Fishing was great though when you could keep the holes open! I can honestly say I will never do that again unless I have a tent with a stove.
Moss Tent
Guest Paddler
 
10/23/2013 10:24AM
More truth from 2old4U, it's that -40 step function. You lose that sleep standing in the fire...try a second night, the fatigue is cumulative.

Even if you have a super-bag like the Snowy Owl, you are still breathing in -40+ air during the night, and probably -30's air during the day, which takes a lot of energy to heat, and a lot of moisture from your membranes.
OBX2Kayak
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10/23/2013 10:07PM
2old4U
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10/25/2013 03:25PM
quote Moss Tent: "More truth from 2old4U, it's that -40 step function. You lose that sleep standing in the fire...try a second night, the fatigue is cumulative.


Even if you have a super-bag like the Snowy Owl, you are still breathing in -40+ air during the night, and probably -30's air during the day, which takes a lot of energy to heat, and a lot of moisture from your membranes."


I always tell the truth, don't you? Not really sure what you are getting at but I wouldn't pull your leg. Our trip pictures are date stamped 02/03/96 and when we came out we heard on the radio it got down to -42 the night we spent there. As I recall it was one of a long string of extreme cold days. You got me on the standing in the fire comment though...that may have been embellished somewhat, but I assure you we were damn close! You can email me and I'll send ya the pictures if you like. I can't find a contact for you being you were a guest paddler the day you called me out.
Moss Tent
Guest Paddler
 
10/26/2013 07:33PM
2old4u, I wasn't being sarcastic at all.
Joseph16
senior member (70)senior membersenior member
 
10/26/2013 10:09PM
Feb 2012 it was -8 but the girl i brought out was much colder to the idea of cold camping in a quincee.

PS I hate the term "cold camping"
 
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