Saturday, December 13, 2014

Winter Camping Symposium

I've always been a cold tent camper. Camping was just something you did so that you could be where you needed to be in the morning. Nights interrupted the planned activities so we set up camp and made due until morning. Most of the time it was cold, very cold. I only used a zero rated sleeping bag. 100's of nights until it wore out but never once did I want to carry or use a 'hot tent'. That's a canvas tent with a small, relatively light, wood stove. Open to new things, I go with a buddy to a Winter Camping Symposium  to learn about 'winter camping'. I was interested in learning about hot tenting but after a short time of talking to some of them I learn they pull #100 pounds of crap into the woods to just camp. <? huh> Camping to camp didn't register and even if it did, #100 pounds of gear seemed idiotic when I can do it in #20 maybe #25 and by most accounts my experiences were colder.
Above is a 'bushcraft' set up and they do not use a #100 pounds of gear but we differ in that I use high tech gear and they use what is already in the wood but as far as I could tell they too are going to just camp for the sake of camping. I respect this form for at least the skills required to get it done and make a comfortable site. They predominately use a tarp and a long fire (a narrow long fire between two 6 foot logs so the heat is even while sleeping).

 Above, this lady sets up an old canvas tent and a small Muskrat brand stove and she and her little dog go out camping (see the round hole in the lower left corner, it's his house when she pulls a sled he hides out). This tent is small and the total load is maybe #50 pounds. I'm starting to warm to the idea that if I keep the gear down it may be worth the effort if I have a reason to be there.
 This is closer to what I object to and others are so large they use a trailer. But maybe it's got it's uses.
 Above is more ladies hot tenting. Two of them have been doing it for years and they bring a lady new to hot temp camping, and a lot of wine. It's an old canvas tent that had the original poles but they wanted it to look cool and replaced them with perfect matching branches. it was really cool. Yes, leaves are just something you deal with.
This is a great portable Yurt design. I was impressed with the design but the packing size was very large. But it was COOL.

Below: Into the Symposium part we learn some buschcraft tarp skills that apply out west where they don't have mosquitos but maybe I can find a time I need to hide out after the bugs die. This is Dan Cooke of Cooke Custom Sewing. Consider visiting his site. He was very generous and handed out a lot of information on building custom gear like proper Choppers for brutal cold bushcrafting.

 Wrapping things up I spent the night very comfortable in my high tech gear and in the morning I want to make some breakfast but I didn't plan real well and don't have a normal 'kitchen' set up so I make a variety of things like peanut butter toast, eggs and diced ham left over from dinner. I feel comfortable but it's 22 degrees out and I'm putting a lot of responsibility on my last cup of coffee.

My buddy is in his new, hardly used, homemade, without plans, bike pack-able, #12 pound tent and stove combination. His fat bike in the background carried everything he needed to fend off the cold. This is also a good time to mention the hobby barn in the background because we are at an active YMCA camp.
 I pop into my buddies tent to have coffee and talk about the plans for the day. It's really nice inside, maybe 80 degrees. I didn't realize how much I cooled down while having breakfast but it's abundantly clear at times Hot Tents have merit.
I changed my mind about hot tenting and if I can keep the weight down I plan to 'goat' get me one.

1 comment:

  1. I'll provide you with a FREE stove if you need it....even though I know you would want to build your own...That's the fun part