Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Cold Weather Camping' started by bahanse75, Apr 4, 2018.
What is the coldest temperature that you have camped? Any issues with anything or anyone?
The coldest I camped the low dipped down to upper 20's at night and the high was just a bit under 40. I had electricity and ran a electric space heater to keep the inside just above freezing. I used a water jug's for my water as my plumbing would have froze for sure. No problems other than make sure you have a warm sleeping bag. My so called 32 degree bag did a poor job. Thank goodness I had a couple dogs to give me their body heat on that trip. My camper had no furnace and the space heater only managed to take the bite out of the air and keep the water jug from freezing. My old camper had a lot of drafts and I didn't know about reflectix before then. I personally only camp with electric when I know it will get below freezing. I know others who have no problem boondocking when it's cold.
The DW and I spent 3 nights in the PUP with the temps dropping into the teens at night and mid 20's during the day. I had done a few things to help hold the heat in like hanging heavy blankets across the center to only heat the half we sleep on. I had sheets of plywood boxing the bunkend & duct taped some of the gaps & seems in the canvas. With the furnace running constantly plus a buddy heater & the bunkend fan we survived until the generator died and I could not recharge the batteries. The following summer we bought a TT that was not much more than Dry storage with a sink & stove. It is now parked on a friends pond where it is serving as a guest house & hunting cabin.
Last August while camping on the North Shore of Lake Superior, we had three straight nights that got down to 42. We were fine with our heated mattresses at half strength and an extra blanket on top. We only used the furnace in the morning when we got up out of bed.
I have tent camped colder than in a camper. No heat and a good sleeping bag. I guess the coldest has been about 20.
In my Apache, we camped in the upper 20's at night. The only heat we used was a ceramic cube heater. It kept the trailer about 60.
In my TT, we have also camped in the upper 20's at night. We used the furnace be because it heats the belly to keep the water tanks and lines from freezing.
18-19 at night, but it was low 60s during the day. We had full hookups but had to unplug the water every night and pour antifreeze in the shower and sink drains, and per advice of this forum, open all cabinet doors at night. Otherwise electric oscillating heater and electric blankets kept up very warm.
Teens at night. I had the furnace and an electric heater going and also had my PUGS on silverside in.
The only issue was folding it up. Had to run the heater full blast to warm the sides to fold it up.
Winter of 1977...minus 30F in a big tent with 26 Grade 6 students...and we bushwhacked on snowshoes for 2 hours to get there—no, not uphill both ways, but over downed trees and through frozen creek beds. Fortunately, it was at an Outdoor Ed centre, and the tent was prepped for us...straw on the floor and a row of bales around the perimeter. It was essentially wall-to-wall people. Woke up to 4” of hoar frost hanging from the ceiling...like living in a cave.
It was a great experience for all!
We camped into the teens in both pups, though not on purpose; we prefer lows to stay in the 20s or above. Both times, we knew the weather was going to be cold, so had power sites. The first pup didn't have a furnace, so an electric space heater was helpful in cold weather, Second one had a good furnace, we supplemented with the space heater. We also used an electric mattress pad or blanket. Heat retention measures are important (PUGs, rugs on the floor, fleece or something around the bunk edge, etc.), as is maintaining some air movement to prevent condensation.
I have the same experience. Testing things out in our backyard in the mid 30’s the space heater did a very poor job of keeping up.
The furnace on the other hand is awesome. With no reflectix or solar bunk end covers we comfortably kept the inside of the trailer at 60 with the furnace and it was high 20’s outside. Battery and propane usage was small, too. I foresee us being able to camp at least 4, if not 6+ nights in colder temps with the furnace running.
Luckily we didn’t have to put the trailer away in those cold temperatures so I can’t speak to the difficulty of that. We did buy our current 2007 Fleetwood in the sleet and snow but it was still 40 degrees so things folded fine.
we had two small electric space heaters when we camped at grand canyon in upper teens at night, set around 56-57F otherwise it was too hot to sleep, and I set the furnace thermostat at the minimum (50F) but it never turned on. Electric blanket with a cotton blanket under is all I have on my bed, and it keeps me warm so I have to lower the temp during the night. We have PUGs, and I put car windshield sun shades (silver color accordion type folding ones from WM) at the head, sometimes with a pool noodle, to block the cold air flow and insulate. My kid just uses a 50-degree sleeping bag as a blanket on the bed, an electric blanket concept didn't work for kids as they turn and twist and kicked it around during the night. I store the sunshades folded in the trailer - they are similar to reflectix but less hassle to set up or put away since I don't need to zip/unzip the windows and they cover almost the whole sides. I think I also had fleece throws on far sides of the beds tucked under the rail on top at that time. We have a rug runner on the floor during colder weather.
Upper 20's at night.
I used popup gizmos to help retain heat, and reflectix in the windows.
The space heater ran on high all night, and the furnace still kicked on from time to time.
We didn't use the water system.
Overall I'd say it was successful. We kept sufficiently warm. I've camped in colder temps without a popup trailer, but that was before I had kids and a DW.
Years ago, When stationed in R.I. several of us (all from Fl.) tent camped in a state park outside of Providence. Our eggs froze in the shell, ( we had to put them, water and vodka in our sleeping bags. (1 st nite everything but the alcohol in a bottle of vodka froze) I had read that 2" of ice would hold a man up, found out different when crossing a small creek only up to my knees then back to the fire to dry out before the pants legs froze. Ranger came out and asked where we were from and we stated Fl. he laughed and said the park was closed but we were not going to start any thing but a campfire with all the snow and ice so have fun, he was still laughing as he left.
Oh also had a flat and had to heat the tire up to unfreeze it to change the tire, and naturally had to heat the keys to unlock the door. Good Luck and Happy Camping It was, to say the least memorable and a one time trip. for me
I have camped below 0 F. in my lifetime. Main thought in your mind is be alive in the morning. Cold weather camping requires proper gear and some experience. I'm not referring to plugging in to a 30Amp pole.
I've not done anything much below freezing in our pup, but during my Scoutmaster days we did a winter camp where it got to -14° one night. At the time I had a 20' canvas teepee, & with a LP heater in it, it stayed about 50° inside, everybody slept warm.
Certainty into the single digits and below 0F on occasion. Whether in the the pup or other, as mentioned some prep and equipment helps.
Water and freezeable things need some management. Those that do cold weather camping off grid regularly, often go with a Buddy or Wave heater. Will heat continuously with no power demands. For a pop up, Reflectix or similar in the windows and under the bunk mattresses help. Good, cold rated sleeping bags, or absent that some supplemental covering helps. Usually if people can get warm and sleep comfortable at night, they can endure more and for longer during the day.
Hope this helps....
During my years of tent camping I always figured the rating on the bag was enough to keep you from dying, but not necessary comfortable (or asleep, I *really*really* hated waking up from being cold!). When camping in weather down into the 30s or 40s, I broke out the -20 rated bags!
Excerpt from last spring's "Big West":
McGaffee Campground, Cibola Nat'l Forest near Gallup NM - 5/19/17
N 35 deg 22.115'
W 108 deg 31.310'
6:17AM: It snowed last night. I stepped out last night in the cold to accomplish what gentlemen my age do at 3:00 in the morning and, as I trod on the trailer step, I felt it. My foot squished. I'd felt it before and recognized it right away. Snow. Some radio weather report yesterday had mentioned snow but I simply did believe it applied to me: This is New Mexico. In May! It's supposed to be warm. My travel plans lead me toward the south in the spring in order to avoid the heat of summer. It just snowed.
7:44 AM: OK. So the furnace thermostat is set to 55 deg (can't waste propane, don'tcha know) and has made the trailer cozy enough. I have warm clothes and boots and even gloves. It's no big deal. I can see that the snow is not sticking to the gravel road outside my trailer so I expect that the roads will be mostly OK. I'm going to wait a while, hoping that the snow will melt off the trailer before I button it up for travel.
Coldest successful camping was 23 deg f when I set it up and it got down to 13 deg. Few issues and I collapsed it at about 27 deg
I tried camping at 6 deg f and it got down to -1 deg f. Furnace failed to stay lit. Stayed warm overnight with blankets sleeping bags and body heat.
I've winter camped with a friend of mine while in college up in Northern MN and it was -38F, which is about the same in C(this was in a tent). This was between Christmas and New Years. We had hiked and pulled our sleds part way down a lake up there that has a FS campground on it. Honestly, we slept well. Extremely cold the next morning, if you took your mittens off and did not get your outer jacket zipper zipped in the first five seconds, you had to put them back on to warm up because you lost any feeling and dexterity in your fingers. We had an isobutane stove with for cooking which was a major mistake, zero vapor pressure at those temps. Had to start a fire and then put the stove near enough the fire to warm up the canister so that we could cook our oatmeal. Once oatmeal made, had to eat in 60 seconds or it would freeze solid. Sounds bad, but that was not actually that bad. We had plenty of liquid water (kept in our sleeping bags).
We spent the day hiking around and we went out on the lake for a bit. As often happens when it get that cold (and relatively early in the season), there was slush on top of the ice and that got on our snowshoes so we had to hustle out of that area and clear out shoes quickly before it froze. We walked around all day and the high for the day was -18F. Bad part was my buddy forgot his facemask, so we had to switch off about every 30 minutes so that no one got frostbite. We got back to our campsite in the afternoon and because of the exertion of hiking, we had sweated some, which is kind of deadly in those temps. The vapor makes it partway out through your clothes and freezes - solid like. Anyway, we decided to pack up stuff and head back to the car. Luckily another car came by the place where we were parked, because it took them 45 minutes to jump start our car. We got it started and then headed to our hunting shack which is not too far away from there and fired up the wood stove big time and walked about half a mile down to the corner bar, which is actually the only real semblance of civilization for about 20 miles. Had a beer and headed back to the cabin, got it up to 85 and that felt great. We hiked around on snowshoes again all day the next day and then got back to the cabin and packed up our stuff and headed home.
I was pretty woods savvy at the time, but it was still incredibly dangerous camping in those conditions because one wrong screw up and it would be easy to freeze to death. I will say that after that experience, I knew what cold was and didn't complain anymore when it got just a bit below 0.