questionshow many winter campers are out there?

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I've always wanted to do this, but haven't managed to do it yet. What sort of tips do you have to share for a potential newbie like me? :)

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If there was a like button I'd push it. (Along with pressing the one up button of course.) But alas I must simply make an igloo and be content with that. :)

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Proud member of the Polar Bear Camping Club.

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Well, basic cold weather tips come in handy - layer aggressively and take layers off so you don't sweat, based on what you're doing. Bring plenty of extra socks and change immediately if they get wet - the exception is wool, which retains some heat when wet, but you still want to get those dry asap.
Also, at night, the ground will steal all of your heat (which is a big reason I'm a believer in hammocks), so make sure you have a decent sleeping pad (and of course a warm bag - I can't recommend more highly a used military 4 piece sleep system for about $100 bucks shipped on ebay. I've literally slept on top of snow with just this sleep system using the goretex bivy cover and had to strip down to not overheat).
Remember to force yourself to drink water; people tend to get dehydrated in cold climates because they neglect drinking. Also, your body will burn 3-5000 calories a day keeping warm in cold weather, so make sure you plan your food accordingly. I have more tips if you want

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I'd love to give it a try. But I'd have to travel a good ways to get somewhere to actually really "winter camp" most years. And convincing others to join me on a camping trip when it's cold would be difficult.

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@drunkcajun: May as well make it a bit of an exchange - you have any tips for people wanting to head out into it?

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I camp in the winter, but the camping we have done has not been in the snow. We went to Palo Duro Canyon this past Thanksgiving. It was about 17° at night and 32° during the day. Very dry and sunny.

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@djfatben: The tips you gave are good ones. Instead of the hammock, I use a Thermarest pad (self-inflating) and large fires. :)

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I haven't done it in a few years, but would like to again. My last winter backpacking trip was in the Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness Area in Colorado. We spent several days >10,000 feet. Ahhhh.

In addition to @djfatben's advice:

Always have dry strike-anywhere matches and fire starter on your person.

As "Gonzo," the kick-ass "stove guy" at REI in Denver told me, sterno can freeze. If that's what you cook with, carry it inside your jacket. (I use a liquid gas stove.)

If it's early winter/late fall and you're in bear country, be aware that bears are packing on fat for hibernation. So take bear avoidance seriously. Store food - and even clothes worn while cooking - in a bear bag, not too close to camp. Don't store food in your tent. Don't use the bathroom too close to camp. Make noise while hiking so they know you're coming.

Also, I 2nd the Thermarest. Both Ridge Rest & self-inflating.

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Hm, I was originally looking at the Jetboil Flash, but if I want to be multi-seasonal that doesn't look like it'd be optimal.

As for bears, I have a bear bell already so I think I'm on the right track! :)

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I have had a real bad itch to get out and try it this year. Bought a 20 degree down mummy bag, but don't really have a good tent for snow camping. I'd like to get one of those hammocks, do you stay warm all night? Best part about it is less people, just not much to do during the day, and hard to stay up at the fire at night when it's cold!

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I'm down with it, winter camping is the best. No crowds, no bugs, don't need a tent. You can build a shelter with snow (providing you have some). The atmosphere is more still in the winter making stargazing while laying in the snow more enjoyable.
My coldest night camping out was -24F and I would do it again.

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@johnnys13: My setup is a grand trunk hammock strung up between two trees with a rope ridge line over it, and a tarp down almost to the ground on the windward side, and I use a military sleep system with a self inflating mattress pad shoved between the bivy and the bag. Makes any wind that does get past the tarp more negligible, and is really comfortably warm all night. Night time pissing is always crappy, but if it's so cold out that your testicles would actually jump up your butt and not come out again there are other measures you can take. I've used an old Gatorade bottle as a pisser with great success and no spillage (second part is critical).
Regarding fires, if you have a space blanket (the $2 mylar silver ones), you can tie it to a couple sticks so it makes a makeshift wall that reflects a lot of extra heat back to you on the other side of the fire. You can do the same on the side you're sitting on by putting it just behind you.