BWCA Late February Solo in the Hardwoods Boundary Waters Winter Camping and Activities
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MidwestFirecraft
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03/03/2022 08:22AM  
Took my first solo hot tent trip the last week of February. It was the first time I camped near oak, and it was really nice. No sparks and the wood burned long and hot. I had a beautiful couple of days with full sun and only coyotes and owls to serenade me at night. I was able to try out my home made stove reflector which worked perfectly. I also made a light weight ash rake that really came in handy. This was the first time I used a cot, and although I am a hammock camper for the most part, I'm a huge fan of the cot for winter camping. It will replace my chair from now on, and I love that I can store my gear underneath it, allowing tons of room in the tent. All in all an excellent time was had.




 
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03/03/2022 09:51AM  
Congratulations, and that looks like a great set up! Yes, that oak sure will burn better than jack pine and black spruce! How many days were you out, and did you end up getting much melt near the stove or did you did down to the ground?
MidwestFirecraft
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03/03/2022 09:59AM  
Jaywalker: "How many days were you out, and did you end up getting much melt near the stove or did you did down to the ground?"
It was just two days, but very relaxing non the less. Did a lot of snowshoeing and enjoyed the woods. I did dig out almost all the snow before I set up the tent. The reflextics kept what was there from melting, unlike my January trip that was a muddy mess!
Minnesotian
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03/03/2022 02:16PM  

Nice, an oak savanna. That does make for a better burn. I gotta find a spot like that.

Setup looks great. How do you like the stove orientated in that direction? I ask because I tried that once and disliked it, and rotated it 90 degrees.

How did that lightweight reflecting work around the stove? I myself would be nervous about having something that can easily melt that close to the stove, but I may be wrong as I have never set it up in that manner.

Ash Rake is key.

Next, you gotta make a clear door for that tent. Rochford Supply in Minneapolis carries a clear vinyl rated for -20f meant for icehouses: https://rochfordsupply.com/shop/Textiles/Clear_Vinyl/Clear_Vinyl/index.html
I took a section of this stuff and made a clear door using powerful magnets. I sewed the magnets to the vinyl directly and sewed another set of magnets to a strip of cloth.

Having a clear door is probably the best improvement I have done on my tent. Just gotta watch the temperatures or it will shatter. And it does get stiff when cold. I found a cardboard document tube a great way to transport it.
03/03/2022 02:20PM  
Looks like a great set-up that you have. I would agree on the cot... just great for winter camping. Explain more about a "light weight ash rake". Where was your camp?? State Park, NF, other? Why not a cot AND a chair??
03/03/2022 04:15PM  
Minnesotian: "
Next, you gotta make a clear door for that tent. Rochford Supply in Minneapolis carries a clear vinyl rated for -20f meant for icehouses: https://rochfordsupply.com/shop/Textiles/Clear_Vinyl/Clear_Vinyl/index.html
I took a section of this stuff and made a clear door using powerful magnets. I sewed the magnets to the vinyl directly and sewed another set of magnets to a strip of cloth. "


I love this idea, and have not been to Rockford Supply for too long. Any problem rolling this up when you put it away?
Minnesotian
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03/03/2022 04:28PM  
Jaywalker: "Minnesotian: "
Next, you gotta make a clear door for that tent. Rochford Supply in Minneapolis carries a clear vinyl rated for -20f meant for icehouses: https://rochfordsupply.com/shop/Textiles/Clear_Vinyl/Clear_Vinyl/index.html
I took a section of this stuff and made a clear door using powerful magnets. I sewed the magnets to the vinyl directly and sewed another set of magnets to a strip of cloth. "



I love this idea, and have not been to Rockford Supply for too long. Any problem rolling this up when you put it away?"


I usually bring it in overnight as the temperatures might get really cold and crack the thing. If the vinyl is warm and pliable, then there isn't any issue in rolling it up. If it is stiff, then it might not roll as tight as needed to get in the tube.

Bobbernumber3, I also made an Ash Rake, similar to MidwestFirecraft. You can see his in one of his photo's. It has a yellow handle. All it is is a piece of rod welded to a piece of flat steel. It has a flat back and is just long enough to get all the way to the back of the stove to rake all the ash or unburnt charcoal forward. Comes in real handy after 3 or 4 days of constant stove use.
03/03/2022 04:48PM  
Minnesotian: "......... Comes in real handy after 3 or 4 days of constant stove use."

My longest camp at one spot was 5 days. I was surprised that the stove didn't fill up with ash more than it did. Ash rake sounds a charm.
MidwestFirecraft
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03/03/2022 05:47PM  
Minnesotian: "
How do you like the stove orientated in that direction? I ask because I tried that once and disliked it, and rotated it 90 degrees.


How did that lightweight reflecting work around the stove? I myself would be nervous about having something that can easily melt that close to the stove, but I may be wrong as I have never set it up in that manner.


Next, you gotta make a clear door for that tent. "


I really liked it oriented that way. I had it 90 degrees the other way so the door opened towards the long side wall last time, and that worked fine as well.
The relfectix never got hot, protected the tent, and it felt warmer in the tent with it. I was nervous as well and kept hitting it with the infrared thermometer and it just never got hot, like aluminum foil and a potato:)
I had the door open a lot as it does bring the vibe down when you shut the door and can't look into the woods/river anymore. That is one of the reasons I love my hammock so much. I will look into the clear door, thanks for the tip!


MidwestFirecraft
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03/03/2022 05:55PM  
bobbernumber3: "Explain more about a "light weight ash rake". Where was your camp?? State Park, NF, other? Why not a cot AND a chair??"

Minnesotian covered it, but I find with the baffle I need to rake the hot coals forward before putting new wood in.
Camp was near Cambridge MN on my parents property. I love a chair with a high back on a canoe trip, but with the cot I just found it redundant and took up space when I had the cot to sit/lay on. I do want to build a lightweight portable table though.
MidwestFirecraft
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03/04/2022 07:54AM  
Minnesotian: "Setup looks great. How do you like the stove orientated in that direction? I ask because I tried that once and disliked it, and rotated it 90 degrees. "

What didn't you like about the stove oriented in that direction?
Minnesotian
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03/04/2022 09:13AM  
MidwestFirecraft: "Minnesotian: "Setup looks great. How do you like the stove orientated in that direction? I ask because I tried that once and disliked it, and rotated it 90 degrees. "


What didn't you like about the stove oriented in that direction?"


So in my tent, which is an older Snowtrekker from the early aughts, it's footprint is more square like. It's big, 12'x12', but when I had the stove orientated with the door opening towards the back like in your setup, a couple things I didn't like.

The length of the stove cut into the sleeping area, especially if there are two or more people. This tent can technically sleep 4, but I have never had more then 3. And that was tight.

With the door opening into the sleeping area, I found that sparks had more potential of getting out and possibly landing on sleeping pads, bags, drybags, etc.

I like to use a stack of processed wood as a kinda barrier between the sleeping area and the stove. Oriented this way, I couldn't utilize the stack of wood as a barrier as it would block access to the door.

I also have a shelf, and I found it harder to use the whole length of it when it was tucked against the tent wall as opposed to the other way. I tried the shelf on the other side and found it was more in the way when entering and exiting the tent and also I might be knocking into pots and pans sitting on the shelf.

But that is what I have found works best with this tent. Your orientation might be perfect for your tent. And I can see why you did, because your tent looks narrower and the stove would butt into the door path, which is more dangerous overall.

Here are some photo's of the inside stove and the clear door. One of them was taken while looking out on Lake Superior at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. The others were from a shake-down trip at Wild River State Park.
MidwestFirecraft
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03/04/2022 09:40AM  
Minnesotian: "MidwestFirecraft: "Minnesotian: "Setup looks great. How do you like the stove orientated in that direction? I ask because I tried that once and disliked it, and rotated it 90 degrees. "



What didn't you like about the stove oriented in that direction?"



So in my tent, which is an older Snowtrekker from the early aughts, it's footprint is more square like. It's big, 12'x12', but when I had the stove orientated with the door opening towards the back like in your setup, a couple things I didn't like.


The length of the stove cut into the sleeping area, especially if there are two or more people. This tent can technically sleep 4, but I have never had more then 3. And that was tight.


With the door opening into the sleeping area, I found that sparks had more potential of getting out and possibly landing on sleeping pads, bags, drybags, etc.


I like to use a stack of processed wood as a kinda barrier between the sleeping area and the stove. Oriented this way, I couldn't utilize the stack of wood as a barrier as it would block access to the door.


I also have a shelf, and I found it harder to use the whole length of it when it was tucked against the tent wall as opposed to the other way. I tried the shelf on the other side and found it was more in the way when entering and exiting the tent and also I might be knocking into pots and pans sitting on the shelf.


But that is what I have found works best with this tent. Your orientation might be perfect for your tent. And I can see why you did, because your tent looks narrower and the stove would butt into the door path, which is more dangerous overall


Thank you for the detailed explanation and pics!
With the 9.5 x 9.5 tent I have found I can't place two cots on the back wall. The best I have found is to have one on the back wall and one on the wall opposite the stove. With the tent being so much narrower than yours, I find as you stated it is protrudes into the entry way to far.
When I get the 13x13 Mega Crew I am dreaming about, I will orient the stove the way you did to allow more room for everyone sleeping in the back and have the front for entry and gathering/eating.
03/04/2022 11:27AM  
MidwestFirecraft: "Minnesotian: "Setup looks great. How do you like the stove orientated in that direction? I ask because I tried that once and disliked it, and rotated it 90 degrees. "

What didn't you like about the stove oriented in that direction?"

Funny, I put mine right between you two at a 45° angle. I figure the sides kick out most of the heat (other than the top), so I like having them away from the walls more. Also gives me space on each side for wood and for boot drying sticks. I have plenty of room in my tent so space is not a concern.
MidwestFirecraft
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03/04/2022 12:23PM  
Jaywalker: "

Nice!
Minnesotian
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03/04/2022 03:48PM  
Jaywalker: "a concern.
"


You know, right after I typed up that explanation above, I realized I had never tried a 45 degree. Thanks for posting, I'll have to try that next time.
03/07/2022 11:51AM  
Minnesotian, check out Sawmill Lake Campground in Birchwood Wi.
It is where we have the Winter Camping Rendezvous, and is a mini-bwca with lots of small lakes. Very cool spot to spend a weekend winter camping. Red Oak and Maple laying everywhere.
Minnesotian
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03/07/2022 05:57PM  

Thanks for the recommendation, Soledad. How are the roads getting there in winter? Plowed out?
GeneH
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03/23/2022 03:28PM  
Soledad: "Minnesotian, check out Sawmill Lake Campground in Birchwood Wi.
It is where we have the Winter Camping Rendezvous, and is a mini-bwca with lots of small lakes. Very cool spot to spend a weekend winter camping. Red Oak and Maple laying everywhere."


I'll have to add this to a list of winter camp options. Thanks!
jillpine
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04/23/2022 04:27PM  
I’ve never winter camped in a hot tent, just hammock. When you pull a pulk of food, clothing, tent, stove, hatchet, and gear, what does that weigh? Do you use a harness?
More questions: i know it depends but how toasty does the tent get? Is there condensation and mildew when you store the hot tent? Also, ever worry about carbon monoxide from the constantly running stove? I think about it when I’m wintering at the dry cabin. The stove is always burning. Thanks for sharing all these pictures.
MidwestFirecraft
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04/23/2022 06:07PM  
jillpine: "I’ve never winter camped in a hot tent, just hammock. When you pull a pulk of food, clothing, tent, stove, hatchet, and gear, what does that weigh? Do you use a harness?
More questions: i know it depends but how toasty does the tent get? Is there condensation and mildew when you store the hot tent? Also, ever worry about carbon monoxide from the constantly running stove? I think about it when I’m wintering at the dry cabin. The stove is always burning. Thanks for sharing all these pictures. "


Weight would be a guess for me, but I would estimate around 100-150 pounds. I know that sounds like a lot, but the UHMW sleds are so slick, I can pull it with my fingers. Of course going up hill it is harder. I use a wide cotton tumpline that you can wear over a shoulder, your waist, or pull with your hand.
If you have hard wood you can get the tent up to 90 degrees. It can get miserably hot! The trick is knowing your stove and keeping the damper and air flow just right so your comfortable in a base layer.
If you store the tent wet, there will me mold and or mildew. It it can be a lot of work, I hang mine up in front of a fan for a day in the basement, or keep it in the garage during the season, then it is not a problem.
I don't worry about CO2, but smoke is a concern. With a cotton tent like a Snowtrekker, it breathes, plus you have vents. It is important your stove has an air tight seal and that you open the damper when you load it with wood. Many people have brought CO2 detectors in their tents, and non that I know of have gone off.
Many people let the fire go out at night, I like it to remain between 32-40 in the tent. Water doesn't freeze, and it is easy to get out of your sleep system in the morning, only taking 15 minutes at the most to bring the heat up to 60 degrees.
KeithMiller
 
08/09/2022 08:38AM  
Soledad: "Minnesotian, check out Sawmill Lake Campground in Birchwood Wi.
It is where we have the Winter Camping Rendezvous, and is a mini-bwca with lots of small lakes. Very cool spot to spend a weekend winter camping. Red Oak and Maple laying everywhere."


I made a clear door with materials from Sailrite. I fastens to the velcro for the summer screen in my Snowtrekker. Used it once at Sawmill lake, Winter Camping Rendezvous. Other than BWCA it is one of my favorite places. Lot closer to Indiana than BWCA.
 
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