Prepping for my first Minnesota winter Camp
Winter is coming hard to Minnesota. Since moving I have been thinking about the up coming winter. My first one as a resident. I have spent time here with friends during the winter months, but never for a whole winter experience.
Honestly I feel quite unprepared for this, but I am in the process of learning. I am a watcher by nature and find myself watching the locals go about their business as they do their normal winter preparations. From this, asking questions and believe me I have questions, I prepare. Not only to survive the winter without any mishaps but also to prepare to do a winter camping trip. This for me will be my biggest challenge yet in the outdoors. Something I look forward to with some trepidation. Can I do this, am I prepared, what to take, where and when.
I am in two minds on this challenge.
- Do I do a “Test run in a fail safe enviroment”. Well with in a safe haven range with out to much risk if I find myself in a unprepared or difficult situation.
- Just do it. With planing of course.
Why in 2 minds. With age, and I am no longer the young easy going, take a risk man I was 20 years ago. Ok 30 years ago. I have matured (I hope) enough to understand the risks involved and my own reduced tolerance and physical capabilities.
Which ever path I choose, it makes no difference. I need to be properly prepared. I am an avid you tube watcher. I learn a lot watching the channels that cater to my outdoor tastes. 99% of my camping I am alone. I weather was not my greatest concern. In California the weather is generally predictable and nowhere near the winter temperatures here in Minnesota. The weather here is harsh to say the least when outdoors. To expose yourself as I plan (Yes its just a camping trip). I have never dealt with the weather I will be in. Temperatures in the low 10’s to below zero are for me personally daunting to say the least. I need to be prepared so that I feel comfortable in my own mind. In other words, practically in physical preparation, clothes camp equipment etc. Prepared. In such away that I will mentally be prepared. Knowing I have equipment to sustain me on a snow camp will go along way to preparing me mentally. I have no real life experience camping in cold conditions, and must use all my resources available to me to get prepared.
Below is my current concerns and current thinking on solutions. It’s a start to settling my mental concerns.
Not necessarily in order but I hope I’ll have all areas covered.
BASE CAMP NEEDS:
- TENT. The tent I plan on using is my French army surplus 2 man pup tent. This is my latest tent. I have never used it to camp. I have set it up and checked it out. It is a typical military type tent and has a lot of space. I will be keeping all my camp equipment inside. Clothes, kitchen etc. If necessary even fire wood. So space is important. It has a built in floor and I will have a tarp underneath to hold out any damp or wet coming up from the ground. Inside I will have a foam pad under my blow up mattress to help insulate me from the cold ground.
- SLEEP SYSTEM. This is a work in progress. My thoughts here are on the sleep equipment I currently have. Here is my current thinking. Besides my clothes I plan on sleeping in, I have 2 sleeping bags. Both rated at 40deg. On their own they are not enough, however one is a Snug Pak. It is slightly smaller than my other one which is bulkier p. I plan on using the snug pack bag as a inside liner in the bigger bag. The snug pack is designed to reflect your body heat back on to you. I also have 2 Snug pack jungle blankets that have the same properties as the sleeping bag. One will be underneath the sleeping bag, the other over the top. This I hope will be enough to keep me warm. Along with the sleeping outfit I’ll be in. I am considering a wool blanket. It seems the item of choice amongst the camping community. Maybe, just not sure yet.
- CLOTHING. This seems obvious. For a person who grew up in cold weather. For me it’s a new game. Having grown up in a warm climate. A cold weather jacket was typically a wind breaker. Having read and watched all I can on this subject, here is my conclusion. Dress in layers. That way buy adding or removing, you can fairly reasonably control your own comfort. I have thermal underwear, 3 or 4 warm jackets and some woolen shirts and socks. I have waterproof boots, gloves and woolen head gear. My sleeping outfit is for sleeping only. Changing into clean clothes to sleep in is good advice. When you dress warm you will sweat into your clothes. Especially after preparing camp and fire wood etc. Changing into clean sleep wear feels good and will make your sleep more comfortable. Ill be sleeping in thermals and some warm pants and top. There is a fine line between warm and comfort. If you over bundle you will be uncomfortable and not rest well. However under bundling can lead to disaster. Plan ahead and test your sleep outfit for comfort. You can always remove clothing if you over heat. But under dressed cannot end well.
- CAMP EQUIPMENT. I plan on cooking by fire wood. However I will have my single gas burner as a back up. I will be carrying at least tinder prepared in advance. Fire wood depends on where I camp. If I can scavenge for wood or not. Or else carry in. Which will limit how much I have. I will have my usual kitchen equipment. It’s minimal and all I need. I’ll have a pad to sit on. I will also have my usual goodies with me. My possible’s pouch, first aid kit etc. That is part if my normal camp equipment.
- MEALS AND WATER. I plan on my first camp being just a overnighter, Really 1 1/2 day camp. I will be taking food for 2 hot meals and some energy/comfort snacks, And as odd as it sounds lots of water, From what I have read and seen, snow melting is a second option as a water source. It takes a lot to prepare.
I have yet to decide where I will be camping.this will take some time to decide. First the choice of safe test or just go. I have been looking at my choices and probably it will be a return to a previous camp location. Being comfortable and familiar in your location will go along way to settling my concerns.
Ill up date to this post as I decide where and when. Then Ill post a post thought on the trip
Stay tuned …
Remember Knowledge is a survival skill
The Novice Survivalist