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Old 01-21-2015, 12:57 PM   #1
Boreal Fox
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Coldest Temps Camped Overnight In

What's the coldest it's gotten when you camped overnight?

For me I was hammock camping (south of the ADKs in the Shawangunks) with a friend of mine and when we woke up in the morning it was 8 F which was a bit cold to sleep in a hammock but I survived.

Edit: New record of -25 F (more with wind chill) set in Feb 2015!

Last edited by Boreal Fox; 02-02-2015 at 03:15 PM..
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Old 01-21-2015, 02:42 PM   #2
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Several years ago, on staff for BSA Okpik/Gawasa winter camping training at Camp Kingsley, north of Rome on the Tug Hill. We taught scouts how to build a variety of snow shelters. Some chose to build quinzees (hollowed out snow mounds), others made trenches in the deep snow and covered them with branches and tarps. I built myself a nice quinzee with an elevated snow platform inside and a snow door plug.

It got down to -30F that night. Inside my shelter, with a couple of small candles, the temp remained above +20F, nice and toasty. Those scouts who built quinzees survived as well, although many (not all) of those in other less insulated makeshift shelters sooner or later ended up going to the nearby mess hall to thaw out by the wood stove. The young scouts learned a lot that weekend. And so did the adult drivers when few vehicles wanted to start the next morning.

I've slept in quinzees on other real winter camping trips, but none in outside air so cold as then at -30.
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Old 01-21-2015, 02:52 PM   #3
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Camped at one of the lean-tos at Seventh Lake a few years ago, when we got back to the parking area the next morning around 10AM the truck said -7F.
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Old 01-21-2015, 03:07 PM   #4
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In the 70's in Manitoba and NW Ontario, -40. Year after year. Booze freezes solid. When you pee on the snow it turns into little round pellets that roll around.

The key (for us anyway) to having fun: big fires.
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Old 01-21-2015, 03:54 PM   #5
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-35 in the Presidentials, -22 in Vermont with strong winds. Both nights were in a Eureka Timberline tent. It was the late 1970's and that was what I could afford. Somehow, we made it work and neither of us lost fingers or toes. I don't test myself that way any more, despite having much better equipment.
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Old 01-21-2015, 05:25 PM   #6
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5˚ below last year. Sleeping in a 3.5 season tent (Mountain Hardware Hammerhead) with a 0˚ down bag. Got a bit cold in the middle of the night but pulled my down coat over my legs, my heavy fleece pullover up top and my Dachstein Mitts on my hands, zipped up and went back to sleep. Worst part was forgetting to bring a piss bottle.

Back in the early 80's, spent a long weekend up at a friends hunting cabin in Franklin NY. 2nd day, woke up to temps around -25˚f & falling with wind chills claimed to be -70˚ on the radio. Decided to go out an pull the trucks nose up to the side wall of the cabin to protect the radiators from the wind. Just five minutes outside and my fingers were numb and hurt for an hour. Didn't have the knowledge or gear back then. Spent the rest of the day huddled in the cabin drinkin & playing cards.

I have to wonder with those of you that were out in -20 and worse, what were the temp ratings of your bags?
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Old 01-21-2015, 05:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerseyhighlander View Post

i have to wonder with those of you that were out in -20 and worse, what were the temp ratings of your bags?
-30
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Old 01-21-2015, 06:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I have to wonder with those of you that were out in -20 and worse, what were the temp ratings of your bags?
-40. We always knew it was going to be that cold so got -40 bags, the coldest rating available.
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Old 01-21-2015, 07:00 PM   #9
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Negative teens. +30deg sleeping bag with liner. Golite SL2 tent. Several layers of wool and fleece. coffee, fire, meat, booze.
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Old 01-21-2015, 08:43 PM   #10
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minus 22*F in my hammock at Chub Pond MLK weekend a few years ago.
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Old 01-21-2015, 08:45 PM   #11
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How heavy were the '70's -30 & -40 sleeping bags?
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Old 01-21-2015, 09:01 PM   #12
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I have slept at -25 twice. The both times were in an Amy issue extreme condition bag. It is rated to -40 and weighs about 10 lbs. I carried it on quite a few winter overnights in the High Peaks. There were many nights way below zero that we slept in leanto's and lightweight tents. By then I had acquired a 0 degree bag (49.00 cheapie) and used my clothing and liners to stay warm enough. A candle lantern can make a huge difference in a 2 man tent.

On our first winter overnight we stayed at Wallface leanto at about -10. In the morning my son went to the brook to break the ice to get a pan of water for the stove. When we set it on the stove it had already skinned over with ice. We also learned some valuable lessons on using a white gas stove at those temps.
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Old 01-21-2015, 10:19 PM   #13
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-32f, it was the coldest temp in the Cont. US near Lake Placid, NY, around 1963-4. The 4 of us were in a Eueka cotton umbrella tent with a 1/4+ inch of frost on the inside of the tent when we woke up. At 10AM it had warmed up to -17. We all had double Army surplus winter down bags. We learned to always sleep with our boots in our bags after the 1st night. The ice was 39" thick on a nearby lake.
Then -42 C 200 miles North of all roads in eastern Quebec, 1995. All modern gear - uneventful, with zero wind, solo.
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Old 01-21-2015, 11:31 PM   #14
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The best quality down bags even back to the 1920's were Eider down better than anything we can get today, though the light weight nylon waterproof breathable shells on our bags today are much better. In the 80's I bought a Marmot -40 degree bag with gore-tex shell and 850 loft down that weighs about 4 pounds, still have that bag. I used a VBL (vapor barrier liner) in the bag to keep the down dry. As I recall that bag was about $400 back then, though I worked in the industry and got the bag at a discount fortunately. I used One Sport mountaineering boots back then, still as warm as anything you can put on your feet.

Most extreme nights were not the coldest nights, Mount McKinley April 1991, 14,500 feet elevation, -20 to-25 degrees, wind 50-70 mph. + higher gusts, 3 days straight. You dig down a couple feet into the glacier and use the snow blocks to build walls around your tent to break the wind. You hunker down and wait, a good book is essential, I had a paperback copy of "A History Of The World" about 600 pages as I recall, I read it twice on the trip, 28 days total. We used our skis , ski poles, and snow picketts for tent stakes. Oh, and a pee bottle is essential.

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Old 01-22-2015, 06:38 AM   #15
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Coldest Temps Camped Overnight In

-8F last year hammock camping. I was warm and toasty during the night.
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Old 01-22-2015, 07:28 AM   #16
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Now the truth comes out
You sacks of ****.

-52 with no synthetic gear.
Early 80's in the Ha-de-ran _dah

Hitch-hiked ourselves home three days later.
Like we usually did.
You sad sacks.

Duxbak and whatever else was in our basements.

I guess nobody here has dropped acid at 50 below.
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Old 01-22-2015, 10:37 AM   #17
Boreal Fox
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You all have me beat, looks like I need to get out and embrace the full frostiness of winter in the coming weeks.

Neil, what bag were you using that's rated for -40? I have a 0 degree but am going to be out in the wilderness next weekend when it's forecasted to be -10 and I don't know if that will be adequate.

DuctTape & 12trysomething, that's incredible. How did you stay warm in just a hammock?
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Old 01-22-2015, 12:05 PM   #18
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Coldest Temps Camped Overnight In

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boreal Fox View Post
You all have me beat, looks like I need to get out and embrace the full frostiness of winter in the coming weeks.

Neil, what bag were you using that's rated for -40? I have a 0 degree but am going to be out in the wilderness next weekend when it's forecasted to be -10 and I don't know if that will be adequate.

DuctTape & 12trysomething, that's incredible. How did you stay warm in just a hammock?
I used a 0 degree under quilt that was enhanced with a piece of reflectex. On the top I had a 0 degree top quilt. Both of the quilts cam from HammockGear.
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Old 01-22-2015, 12:11 PM   #19
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The bag I used and still have is 6lbs of goose down. I paid $275 for it and now it's only good to about -10. I found that by wearing synthetic underwear and inserting a vapor barrier liner I could extend the range and keep the down dry and lofty for successive nights.

Our gear was made from wood, leather, cotton and wool in those times and we spent many an evening drying our socks and moccasins out by the fire for the next day. Getting out of the warm bag into -40 air required mental fortitude and a bursting bladder. A pile of dry conifer sticks and birch bark was always at the ready for an instant wall of flame.
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Old 01-22-2015, 04:16 PM   #20
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Although I've camped out many winter nights in the Adirondacks, my coldest two nights happened down in the Catskills. I was leading a winter backpacking trip for the AMC over the President's Weekend and we base camped for two nights on the flank of Belleayre Mt. at the lean-to; I selected to spot because there was flowing water and I hate melting snow. Anyway, the first night it was -28 F and the second it got down to
-32 F. I was in an old Western Mountaineering bag and a Eureka Timberline tent. Both nights I would have slept better if my co-leader didn't have a small bladder. Actually, I felt sorry for her. She was probably up and out at least 3 times each night. Me...I never had to leave the comfort of my sleeping bag. Just lucky I guess.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...Be well.

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