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Topic: Coldest night< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 11:26 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So, we got our first real taste of winter last night and this morning. 20 degrees and snow.  Made me wonder, what's the coldest night you've slept out in?  For me it was my first winter backpacking trip.  It got down to about 22 below.  A real introduction to winter camping.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 11:41 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Damn....that's cold!  I did two consecutive nights at 15 deg, that was chilly enough. My filter and water froze up. :)

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 11:41 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The coldest I've slept out is -20F or slightly below.  Instead of a sleeping pad, I had two hay bales.  My coldest backpacking night was 10F (inside the tent, a tad colder outside).
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 11:46 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My first winter camping experience... at least -40F. I had one of those mini thermometers, and all the "red" was in the bulb. I had a -20 bag, and I shivered all night. We had 4 in our tent, and by instinct, we basically ended up sleeping on top of each other. When I woke up my eyelids were frozen shut. The following night was 0F and it felt wonderful.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 11:47 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

8F was recorded at the nearest town(in Alabama!). 'Bout froze my butt off cowboy camping with a 3/4 length Thermarest self-inflator, and a TNF Cat's Meow 3D.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 11:48 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

-40*.  Greenland ice sheet this past April. Cold enough to freeze whiskey solid.





We had a couple other nights in the -30s that trip (and most in the -10-20s), but that first night was the most memorable, at least for the cold. We were prepared and well equipped though, so we fared okay.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 11:51 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(GoBlueHiker @ Oct. 28 2013, 10:48 am)
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-40*.  Greenland Ice Sheet this past April. Cold enough to freeze whiskey solid.

That's too hard for a Southern boy to even imagine...
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 12:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

-2 near Great Basin National Park, NV

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 12:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

-9*

It wasn't too bad.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 12:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

-7 for me. I was plenty fine. Mind you, I had a candle lit inside the shelter all night.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 1:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You -40s guys are crazy.  You couldn't get me out of bed in the morning.  No way.

I did 7 degrees, with snow.  I had a 0 degree bag and was warm for some portion of the night, cold as hell other parts.  I found out quickly that if I fell off my sleeping pad, I froze.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 1:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Near Sawbill Lake in the BWCA. The forecast called for a low of 10 degrees so I brought my new bag rated to zero. Woke up in the morning a little chilled, thinking they were a somewhat optimistic with that rating. Found out later that it was -18 that morning. I was pleased, slept soundly till my bladder woke me in the morning.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 1:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(GoBlueHiker @ Oct. 28 2013, 9:48 am)
QUOTE
-40*.  Greenland ice sheet this past April. Cold enough to freeze whiskey solid.





We had a couple other nights in the -30s that trip (and most in the -10-20s), but that first night was the most memorable, at least for the cold. We were prepared and well equipped though, so we fared okay.

A little trick I've learned:

Invert that bottle of whiskey and let it warm up just a bit.

The alcohol and whiskey flavor will percolate out, leaving the ice in the bottle.

You'll end up with 150-170 proof.

You can also use this trick to make killer brandy.  Take some fruit wine (plum, raspberry, etc.), put it in a 2L soda bottle and freeze it.  Invert and slaw slightly so you end up with around 80 proof.

The woman who taught me this trick called it "ice distillation"
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 1:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

When my wife and I were young and much more adventurous, we took off from Boston one Friday  in January, heading for one of our favorite sites in NH, with a nice snug cabin, and wood stove.

It was about 4.5 miles up the mountain to the cabin from our car, and at about 3 miles or a little more, it became obvious we could not make the cabin, walking on snow 5-6 feet deep with fairly heavy packs.

So we wisely stopped while we still had 30-40 minutes of light, pitched our tent on top of a snow bank, fixed up a base for the Svea, and cooked a nice hot supper, zipped our bags togeter, snuggled in and slept soundly.

-20 degrees that night, the next morning our warming fire had melted down 4-5 feet, and was no longer much use.

That was one of the trips that permanently convinced me that packing extra warmth and extra hot food is always a good idea, no matter how much it weighs.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 1:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi...


It was about -40 F to -50 F when I got back to my unheated 1950s travel trailer camp that night in AK.

I had no 'conventional' heat yet, so I lit some candles I had, plus some cans of sterno and two Coleman lanterns.

Eventually the inside temp rose to a blazing -8 F. I was in a snowmobile suit, but had only two blankets on my bed. As my 'heat' sources declined, that was one very cold night...!!
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 2:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Gosh, how would I know? I don't take a thermometer.

But it was cold enough that, after dressing in several layers and crawling inside my minus 20°F bag on top an inch-plus pad, I still felt like I froze my butt off.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 2:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

-30 for two nights in yellowstone over valentines day weekend about eight years ago. We moved to a B&B in Gardiner for the third/last night of that little getaway.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 3:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've only winter camped a couple of times, and didn't have a thermometer.  Cold, but nothing like what some of you have experienced.  

Coldest summer temps have been in the teens.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 3:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(WalksWithBlackflies @ Oct. 28 2013, 11:46 am)
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My first winter camping experience... at least -40F. I had one of those mini thermometers, and all the "red" was in the bulb. I had a -20 bag, and I shivered all night. We had 4 in our tent, and by instinct, we basically ended up sleeping on top of each other. When I woke up my eyelids were frozen shut. The following night was 0F and it felt wonderful.

I should add, -40F was the coldest temp, but the coldest I've ever been was in Coyote Buttes (AZ/UT border) in December. Normal nighttime temps are 30F, which is what I planned for. But I just happened to visit during record cold, where it got down to around 0F at night, and "warmed" up to around 40F during the day. I was a shivering mess each night. Crossing the slush-laden Paria River multiple times wasn't much either.

Makes sense that I go to the desert and nearly freeze to death. Good news is that I didn't see any other people there; and surprisingly, there was no snow in the Flagstaff area so I was able to climb a relatively snow-free Humphries (didn't pack snow gear), and again no people.

Here's a picture of The Wave 2 with an icy puddle:



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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 3:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(WalksWithBlackflies @ Oct. 28 2013, 3:22 pm)
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... but the coldest I've ever been was in Coyote Buttes (AZ/UT border) in December. Normal nighttime temps are 30F, which is what I planned for. But I just happened to visit during record cold, where it got down to around 0F at night  ...

Although that's colder than average, it's not unusual.  The northeastern corner of AZ often has runs of single-digit lows any time after mid-November.  The record lows are typically 35-40F below the average lows, and excursions to near-record territory happen fairly often.

The night I camped at 10F in the Gila came after a series of days that hit 70.  It didn't get above freezing for the next three or four days after that.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 4:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ Oct. 28 2013, 3:39 pm)
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(WalksWithBlackflies @ Oct. 28 2013, 3:22 pm)
QUOTE
... but the coldest I've ever been was in Coyote Buttes (AZ/UT border) in December. Normal nighttime temps are 30F, which is what I planned for. But I just happened to visit during record cold, where it got down to around 0F at night  ...

Although that's colder than average, it's not unusual.  The northeastern corner of AZ often has runs of single-digit lows any time after mid-November.  The record lows are typically 35-40F below the average lows, and excursions to near-record territory happen fairly often.

The night I camped at 10F in the Gila came after a series of days that hit 70.  It didn't get above freezing for the next three or four days after that.

I just remember the radio station in Page forecasting record lows. "Meh, how bad could it be?" I thought to myself. Interestingly, I just looked on-line and the December record low for Page is 1F; but it is -20 in Kanab. I would have never guessed it would get that cold in that part of the country.

Also of note... it was the only time I was terrified in the backcountry. A herd of some animal came though my camp one night making horrible sounds... but I had no idea what they were. Only a few years later while watching Survivorman or Man vs Wild did I tentatively identify the culprits... peccary. The sounds were exactly the same. Only their range doesn't seem to extend that far north. Wild pigs, perhaps?


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 5:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wow, some of those temps make me hurt just thinking about them. For me about 35 years ago I had to sleep out without a tent with Uncle Sam's gear and it got down to 17 and I was thinking that was hard core. My hat's off to those -30 to -40s.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 5:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(WalksWithBlackflies @ Oct. 28 2013, 4:03 pm)
QUOTE
Also of note... it was the only time I was terrified in the backcountry. A herd of some animal came though my camp one night making horrible sounds... but I had no idea what they were. Only a few years later while watching Survivorman or Man vs Wild did I tentatively identify the culprits... peccary. The sounds were exactly the same. Only their range doesn't seem to extend that far north. Wild pigs, perhaps?

Javelinas don't normally get that far north, as far as I know.  Other desert critters are sometimes inexplicably noisy, like ringtails and foxes.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 6:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Probably early October a few decades ago when a record cold continental front pushed into the Eastern Sierra from the northeast.   Wiped out most of the fall aspen leaves that year turning leaves from green to black.    Two of us were car dispersed camping and slept outside his vehicle tentless.  His Subaru had a temp gauge that I vaguely recall read 2F or 3F and there was a breeze.  Wore all my clothes.   Was laying atop a Z-rest and an old North Face synthetic bag above with me inside a -5F REI Elements winter down bag and inside recall was barely luke warm.  However was bothered by annoying drafts up near the top opening even though was fully cinched up and wore head gear.   Next morning drove through an area that read -5F.

During winter as an alpine skier avoiding expense of a motel when I don't really need it, I have often slept inside my Subaru's in Hope Valley where temps regularly drop a bit below zero because of sumping cold air pooling in a wider valley with a narrow exit down canyon.  However inside a vehicle is always somewhat less cold than outside.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 7:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

-26°F in the Adirondacks, right around the holidays.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 7:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Back in January of 95, whilst being thinner amidships, I wasn't sporting any thicker brain matter I guess, as my eldest brother and I went for a little backpacking trip to the northern tiers of Minnesota.  As we stopped for cantaloupe-sized caramel rolls on the way up, we noted the keen sting clamping un-compassionately down upon our noses, and thought then, in the back of our minds, perhaps a mistake had been made. But we were men. And we didn't admit it.

So we struck off onto the trail, under the rigorous loads of winter packs, and all seemed well enough. It was cold tho, but we didn't know how cold. We did notice it was an ordeal to tarry pack-side with a cup of tea, in point of fact, we had all of about 2 minutes it seemed before life started to suck acutely, hence we up and sallied forth before our teas could be properly slurped.

That night at supper, I noticed my white gas in the old whisper light was struggling to light for some reason. I had heard once, that white gas will be harder to light when its really cold. And this was cold, tho I still had no idea how cold. And when I slopped my beef stew onto my down jacket, and 3 seconds later plucked it off like a gold coin, I figured that ignorance of temperature might be a good thing for a while.

Winter camping is at last a joy and a pleasure, but the nights are where it will really test you. As you endure campaigns of endless darkness and penetrating cold, which hath descended upon your fair encampment like the definitive gable of a supreme court justice - laying out the law, with no mercy to those stranded in its wake. Elder brother and I were at it's mercy. And the night wore on, as we squirmed in our sleeping bags. The deep penetrating cold pressing down on us. Old mother nature was kneeling on our chests, and she was slapping our faces. I grunted. I seem to grunt in my sleeping bag when I'm cold, in the misguided belief that it squirts some warmer blood on down to my toes. And for a while at least, I feel better. But then the trickle of the creek we were camped by went silent, seizing up like an old man's arteries. I grunted some more, but it didn't help.

All was not well in our sleeping bags. Things were freezing up all around us, and if they weren't doing that, they were exploding. The sap in the trees would crackle and pop and moan their disdain for the idiocy of trying to make a living in winter. We were sort of doing the same in our tent, but in good spirits I guess, as we had both jointly reached that unsavory portion of a man's outlook where we were both waiting for the promise of a rising sun. Of which after about three life times eventually happened, and as the cowboys of old like to bellow, we got the heck out of Dodge.

On the drive home, whilst reveling in the sweet man made heat belching out of dash board of the old Ford truck, knew we had just experienced deep, penetrating cold. When we drove past a local bank, and noted the thermometer outside of it, we knew precisely what it was. It said thirty-eight degrees below the blessed zero mark, as the Fahrenheit flows. And 38 below, it turned out, was just cold enough.

-GJ
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 7:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

-10 on a one night camping trip. This was back in the winter of 1978. I didn't sleep much at all that night - I was too cold!

A few years ago I camped in RMNP over Easter weekend. It was 12 degrees the next morning. it wasn't so bad - I had a good warm sleeping bag this time  :)


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 7:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Woodswoman @ Oct. 28 2013, 4:23 pm)
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-10 on a one night camping trip. This was back in the winter of 1978. I didn't sleep much at all that night - I was too cold!

A few years ago I camped in RMNP over Easter weekend. It was 12 degrees the next morning. it wasn't so bad - I had a good warm sleeping bag this time  :)

Oh, what a difference a bag makes!  I remember a Labor Day trip in the North Cascades with my best friend that caused us both to go home and buy new bags!

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(Grizzly James @ Oct. 28 2013, 7:17 pm)
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And 38 below, it turned out, was just cold enough.

Just cold enough, huh.  You got that right. :O

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2013, 9:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hikerjer @ Oct. 28 2013, 8:37 pm)
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(Grizzly James @ Oct. 28 2013, 7:17 pm)
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And 38 below, it turned out, was just cold enough.

Just cold enough, huh.  You got that right. :O

Pretty much!
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