stupid noob questions about winter camping

kimbur96

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Dec 30, 2015
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So I did my first ever overnight in winter. Well winter outside of Florida. lol.

1) How do you get the tent stakes in the ground when it's frozen? I could only get them in about 1-2 inches and that was with a hammer! I found a couple good size rocks to help hold the tent lines. Is there a secret? what if there aren't any rocks around?

2) Do bic lighters fail in really cold weather? My lighter would not flame despite many, many attempts. I put it in my pocket and when i got home it worked fine? It was 20F with wind. But i even tried protecting it form the wind and still wound't catch. Lucky for me I had some back up matches.

3) My stove canister froze to the ground. After boiling water for dinner and hot chocolate I let the stove cool. When i went to pick it up it was solidly frozen to the ground. I was able to kick it loose with my boot finally. Tricks or tips?

any other tips or tricks for winter camping?
 

Nick

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2) Do bic lighters fail in really cold weather? My lighter would not flame despite many, many attempts. I put it in my pocket and when i got home it worked fine? It was 20F with wind. But i even tried protecting it form the wind and still wound't catch. Lucky for me I had some back up matches.

Keep it close to your body warmth and it will be fine. They don't always stop working, but it seems like they do fairly often in extreme cold. I figured maybe the metal expands and keeps enough fuel from coming out.

As for the other stuff, my only recommendation is don't camp in the snow. That's what the desert is for! :)
 

Venchka

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Aug 6, 2015
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Call Henry Shires at TarpTent. Ask him what you need to make your Moment freestanding. I know he sells an additional pole, but there may be more to it. Henry builds the tent. He will know.
Get a white gas stove. In the meantime, put a piece of foam between your canister and the ground. A styrofoam fast food container big enough to hold the canister should be easy to find.
Good luck.
Wayne


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pstm13

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1. They don't go in frozen ground. You need a freestanding tent. If you are lucky you can use the snow by turning your stakes or a stick sideways and burying them in the snow. Tie the line in the middle like a snow anchor. The bigger the stakes the better. Otherwise rocks are your best and usually only option.

2. Bic lighters are similar to canister stoves. They suck in extreme temps. I use a Zippo with Coleman fuel. Leave it dry until you need it and put some white gas in the bottom with a squeeze dropper when you set up your white gas stove (see #3). Stick matches are also a great option. Yes, I said good old stick matches.
I have seen these metal matches but have never used them. They run on lighter fluid which is just Coleman fuel.
3. If you are camping in the winter regularly you should get an MSR XGK EX. It is for melting snow on Everest and one of my favorite stoves. You could also get a Dragonfly or a Whisperlite Universal if you wanted but they won't be as good in extreme conditions. The hotest fuel is diesel or kerosene but they stink so most people avoid them. Coleman fuel is therefor the default but the XGK will burn almost anything including unleaded gas. You may also want a larger fuel bottle depending on how many are in your group and the number of days in a trip.

Use the stove in your garage or backyard a few times. Have someone with a white gas stove show you the ropes. Priming it is a skill best learned with supervision.

Use a liner inside your tent. The weather could shift and melt the snow if your body heat doesn't do it.

Keep anything with a battery in your sleeping bag.

Put water in a pot before you go to bed so you can just put it on the stove and melt it in the morning.
 
Last edited:

kimbur96

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Dec 30, 2015
Messages
194
Call Henry Shires at TarpTent. Ask him what you need to make your Moment freestanding. I know he sells an additional pole, but there may be more to it. Henry builds the tent. He will know.
Get a white gas stove. In the meantime, put a piece of foam between your canister and the ground. A styrofoam fast food container big enough to hold the canister should be easy to find.
Good luck.
Wayne


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I have the additional pole for my tent so I guess it is basically free standing. It was the wind i was most worried about.
IMG_5544.jpg


thank you Wayne for the tips about the styrofoam i will get a piece. And I'm looking at another stove. Winter is too long here not to winter camp.
 

kimbur96

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Dec 30, 2015
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1. They don't go in frozen ground. You need a freestanding tent. If you are lucky you can use the snow by turning your stakes or a stick sideways and burying them in the snow. Tie the line in the middle like a snow anchor. The bigger the stakes the better. Otherwise rocks are your best and usually only option.

2. Bic lighters are similar to canister stoves. They suck in extreme temps. I use a Zippo with Coleman fuel. Leave it dry until you need it and put some white gas in the bottom with a squeeze dropper when you set up your white gas stove (see #3). Stick matches are also a great option. Yes, I said good old stick matches.
I have seen these metal matches but have never used them. They run on lighter fluid which is just Coleman fuel.
3. If you are camping in the winter regularly you should get an MSR XGK EX. It is for melting snow on Everest and one of my favorite stoves. You could also get a Dragonfly or a Whisperlite Universal if you wanted but they won't be as good in extreme conditions. The hotest fuel is diesel or kerosene but they stink so most people avoid them. Coleman fuel is therefor the default but the XGK will burn almost anything including unleaded gas. You may also want a larger fuel bottle depending on how many are in your group and the number of days in a trip.

Use the stove in your garage or backyard a few times. Have someone with a white gas stove show you the ropes. Priming it is a skill best learned with supervision.

Use a liner inside your tent. The weather could shift and melt the snow if your body heat doesn't do it.

Keep anything with a battery in your sleeping bag.

Put water in a pot before you go to bed so you can just put it on the stove and melt it in the morning.

Thank you for your tips and answers. Good old stick matches are how i finally got fire. So glad I had a little tube of them. Without fire/stove i wouldn't have been able to stay the night. At least not comfortable (no food, no hot drink)

I was looking at the MSR whisper lite. You like the XGK EX better? and why? Not questioning you, just trying to learn.

Great idea about putting water in the pot to melt in the morning I wouldn't have thought of that. I had my jug of water wrapped up in thermals in my tent hoping it wouldn't freeze.
Thank you!
 

pstm13

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The Whisperlight is a great all around stove. It will work well. I suggest the universal or the international. I have had trouble finding white gas on the road because I forgot to go to wal mart. It is nice to be able to use anything. The universal will use canister fuel as well. The XGK is the turbo version and will work a little better for melting snow in -20 degree temps.

You can get the whole whisperlight setup from eBay for $50. You may want to buy the pump new. Everything else will last you for ever.
 
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Wyatt Carson

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Apr 15, 2015
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298
S
2) Do bic lighters fail in really cold weather? My lighter would not flame despite many, many attempts. I put it in my pocket and when i got home it worked fine? It was 20F with wind. But i even tried protecting it form the wind and still wound't catch. Lucky for me I had some back up matches.

I have seen one of my mini bics fail and not in cold weather. Still I like Bics. I have seen first hand wooden matches fail many times and heard of others having the same issues. If you want a fail safe way of lighting your stove Light My Fire Ferro rods come in several sizes. The smaller ones are less heavy of course. The BSA Hotspark is a mini ferro rod that lasts a good while and does the same type thing and it is super light and compact. Any of them make lighting stoves very easy. I really like lighting my alcohol stove with one.

Other than that I echo the low warm deserts in winter LOL...
 

Venchka

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Aug 6, 2015
Messages
330
kimbur96,
How did your FF bag work in kinda sorta maybe winter? Any idea how cold it got?
Try this google search. deadman tent anchor
You might need an inexpensive ice axe. They will go on sale in the spring. A used one in good shape would be fine.
I see the crossing pole now. Some cheap stuff sacks, plastic grocery bags or Ziploc bags can work as deadmen. The ice axe can help get things unstuck when it's time to pack up.
Do you have the mostly solid inner tent?
Beat the bushes for a good white gas stove. MSR or any of the Swedish stoves (SVEA, Primus, Optimus) will do the job. Craig's list, consignment stores, etc. You live in backpacking country. Used gear should be plentiful.
Have fun.
Wayne


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Outdoor_Fool

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Dec 11, 2015
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When I have had to, I tied my tent to the base of any nearby shrub or tree or picnic table leg, a few feet of paracord is great to take along for that. From your picture, I would have tied to the tree if I felt it was necessary. It looks like you had a 10-inch spike to use also, which I always have when I car camp, they are great for staking in hard ground.

I have used a Whisperlite International down to -20 or so many times. I almost always use unleaded gas in it. Never had a problem. I love my XGK for boiling water but I do not like the noise similar to a 747 taking off while it is running. Be sure to frequently lube the pump on whatever stove you use. Cold temps can really mess with pump's ability to form a good seal in the pump cylinder and frequent lubing can really help.

In a pinch, anything that insulates the bottom of the stove from the ground will help prevent freezing to the ground, including corrugated cardboard, a piece of plywood, etc. If you can create a spark from your lighter, you can light most canister and gas stoves. I prefer to use a fire steel as it sparks great and lights the stoves without having my fingers in the resultant flame.

When there's enough snow, I bury my water bottle anywhere from 5-20 inches deep depending on how cold it is and with the lid end down. That way, the lid does not freeze to the bottle. I also have a closed cell foam wrapper that I put my water bottle in to help insulate it. I have also wrapped my water bottle inside a down or fleece jacket to help insulate it when necessary. I prefer not to do this as the slightest leak can soak the jacket.

Keep going out there, you will figure out so many little things that help you stay, warm comfortable and safe.
 

kimbur96

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Joined
Dec 30, 2015
Messages
194
kimbur96,
How did your FF bag work in kinda sorta maybe winter? Any idea how cold it got?
Try this google search. deadman tent anchor
You might need an inexpensive ice axe. They will go on sale in the spring. A used one in good shape would be fine.
I see the crossing pole now. Some cheap stuff sacks, plastic grocery bags or Ziploc bags can work as deadmen. The ice axe can help get things unstuck when it's time to pack up.
Do you have the mostly solid inner tent?
Beat the bushes for a good white gas stove. MSR or any of the Swedish stoves (SVEA, Primus, Optimus) will do the job. Craig's list, consignment stores, etc. You live in backpacking country. Used gear should be plentiful.
Have fun.
Wayne


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I had my FF bag and another sleeping bag (1 piece of of the 4 peeve military modular system) ok for care camping but very heavy and bulky. Between the two bags and my dog I was warm. Not sure how cold it got. Last I checked it was 23F but that didn't include the wind. And it was windy. Windy enough that when i fell asleep i had a dream that me, my dog and my tent slide down a hill in the wind and ended up in a parking lot of a business....weird, lol.
I do have the "solid" inner tent. Its still mesh at the very top but definitely better than the all mesh inner tent.
I will look for the anchor you mentioned.

white gas stove. Not thrilled with having to have e liquid gas stove. they scare me for some reason. Lack of experience I am guessing. Too bad there is some kind of mentoring program, lol.

I'll keep at it.
 

Brendan S

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Joined
Mar 19, 2016
Messages
382
You don't really need a white gas stove. Inverted canister stoves are the way to go down to -5 F or so unless you're melting snow for a group or something. Much lighter and simpler. Check out optimus Vega or Kovea Spider.
 

pstm13

Auribus Teneo Lupum
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Joined
Dec 27, 2012
Messages
570
I have seen one of my mini bics fail and not in cold weather. Still I like Bics. I have seen first hand wooden matches fail many times and heard of others having the same issues. If you want a fail safe way of lighting your stove Light My Fire Ferro rods come in several sizes. The smaller ones are less heavy of course. The BSA Hotspark is a mini ferro rod that lasts a good while and does the same type thing and it is super light and compact. Any of them make lighting stoves very easy. I really like lighting my alcohol stove with one.

Other than that I
I had my FF bag and another sleeping bag (1 piece of of the 4 peeve military modular system) ok for care camping but very heavy and bulky. Between the two bags and my dog I was warm. Not sure how cold it got. Last I checked it was 23F but that didn't include the wind. And it was windy. Windy enough that when i fell asleep i had a dream that me, my dog and my tent slide down a hill in the wind and ended up in a parking lot of a business....weird, lol.
I do have the "solid" inner tent. Its still mesh at the very top but definitely better than the all mesh inner tent.
I will look for the anchor you mentioned.

white gas stove. Not thrilled with having to have e liquid gas stove. they scare me for some reason. Lack of experience I am guessing. Too bad there is some kind of mentoring program, lol.

I'll keep at it.

The MSR Windpro II or the Whisperlite Universal run on canisters. With winter canister fuel and the ability to invert the canister help with cold weather. I was reading the blog by @Andrew_Skurka and he is a big fan of the windpro II for winter. If you look at a picture there is a tube that curves over the burner. That heats the fuel and helps solve the pressure issue.

The higher end MSR reactor and windburner stoves have a pressure regulator that helps. You can also hang them in your tent but I don't recommend it.

I collect white gas stoves and have had or do have most MSR models. If you want me to make a video that shows them side by side, how to set them up, and run them let me know.
 

kimbur96

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Dec 30, 2015
Messages
194
Ptsm13: I went to the MSR site and watched the video they have. Here's my question when you are done cooking you shut off the gas and burn off the residual in the line. Do you leave the pump connected for the duration of the trip or do you have to disconnect that every time too?


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pstm13

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You don't really need a white gas stove. Inverted canister stoves are the way to go down to -5 F or so unless you're melting snow for a group or something. Much lighter and simpler. Check out optimus Vega or Kovea Spider.
It all depends on location. A stove that stops working at -5 degrees would not help me much. I live near some of the coldest places in the lower 48. That could be the daytime high. However, if used on the south end of the US it should be fine. I also like the Optimus stoves. They are built to last longer than MSR stoves (especially the white gas stoves) but are more expensive and tend to run heavier.
 
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pstm13

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Ptsm13: I went to the MSR site and watched the video they have. Here's my question when you are done cooking you shut off the gas and burn off the residual in the line. Do you leave the pump connected for the duration of the trip or do you have to disconnect that every time too?


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You let the stove burn down and cool for a few min. And then disconnect the stove from the pump. This is done every time you put the stove away. There will be a little fuel left in the line so position it so it can just drip out on the ground. The pump can be left in the fuel bottle for long periods of time just release the pressure by unscrewing the pump a little and letting the air out similar to opening a soda bottle. Then tighten it again.
IMG_0984.jpg


This is how it is stored. You just put it all in the bag. I leave my pump in the bottle though.
 
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