Cooking when winter camping is different from cooking when backpacking. My favorite setup is to make a bench seat, and sit on a foam pad, with another foam pad under the feet for insulation. Then cut a bench conveniently right in front of the chef on which to put the stove. Lay a thin plywood panel on the kitchen area, on which to place the stove. That way it won’t melt into the snow. With the stove in easy reach, you can heat water, melt snow, and cook a meal. Read more
If the snow is not deep enough for a snow trench, a quinzee is another option for a snow shelter. A quinzee requires about 5 times as much work to make as a snow trench, but its somewhat fool proof. If all the snow you have is 8″, you can still make a quinzee. Some scout troops make these and mistakenly call them “snow caves.” Read more
If you are camping in the winter, a shelter made of snow is tremendously warmer than sleeping in a tent. Different types of snow allow different kinds of snow structures to be built. One very practical shelter for when the snow is deep is a snow trench. How much time you have, if a storm is expected, and if you are going to set up a base camp are considerations. A covered snow trench can made in a couple of hours, and protect you from 40 below temperatures. Read more
Went camping with the scouts, and after last year’s bitter cold 10 below nights, I was braced for cold weather. Instead we got bad weather. I stayed in a 4 man, 4 season tent, and wondered just how big those 4 men were. I found the tent to be about right for two guys and some gear.
Winter camping with scouts, or with anyone, is better when there is a hot springs around. A few hardy scouts and Todd and I as leaders headed to Bonneville Hot Springs for a snow camp. We hauled our gear in about a mile, and set up tents for sleeping. The boys sledded most recklessly using the sleds we used to haul our gear in. Then we had some chile for dinner, and headed to the hot springs just before dark. They did not disappoint, and Todd declared they the best natural hot springs he has visited. Read more
It is often assumed that you can’t use an alcohol stove in the winter, so I did a little test last weekend. The scouts were going on a winter campout, so I took my Caldera Cone to test in winter conditions. It was 21 degrees in the morning on Saturday, and the stove and fuel were stored outside my tent. I put a bottle of water down on the snow as I cooked breakfast, and big ice crystals immediately began to form in the water. It was cold! I cooked frozen Jimmy Dean hash with bacon and fresh eggs, and made enough for 2 people. Then I made a pot of hot water for coffee. Read more