Winter Camping

Things you think about while shoveling out more than a foot of snow. (Again.) How high can I consistently throw snow while shoveling? Will it clear the summit of Snow Planet, the mountainous pile next to my driveway? And if all this snow around me instantly melted, how much water would I be standing in?…

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It’s been snowing a bit in New England lately, a slow-motion avalanche from the sky that has buried the entire region under feet of snow. It’s been a remarkable, fascinating, and exhausting spell of weather. So take a break from shoveling out for the umpteenth time and dig instead into a trove of map-based data…

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Can you dig it? Photo: Chewonki Semester School; Flickr A quinzee is a giant pile of snow that you then hollow out to create a shelter—essentially it’s a build-it-yourself snow cave. Knowing how to construct one is a useful winter survival skill, a fun activity to do with kids, and a potential use for the…

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Coffee is good. Brain-splitting headaches are bad. If you’re a backpacking caffeine addict like me—or you simply enjoy the occasional backcountry brew—you’ll need the tools to produce a cup or three of this headache-staving, performance-enhancing, deliciously stimulating beverage. Here are your backcountry coffee options, rated for weight, quality of brew, and convenience. Instant opportunities It’s…

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Most disposable hand warmers provide several hours of quality heat, but what if you only need warmth for a limited time? Don’t waste perfectly good heat by throwing out a hand warmer after only a short use! Save it for when you need it with this über-simple technique. Use the heat when you need it….

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I’ve used an extensive array of outdoor gear over 20 years of hiking, camping, and backpacking. Here are my top five most used, most abused, most durable, and most loved items. Please share yours! Mountain Hardwear Subzero Parka I purchased this ultra-warm, super-sized down parka a decade ago—and still revel in its delicious warmth every…

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Yes, by an average of nearly three degrees Fahrenheit, according to widely cited 1998 study by Dr. Han Kim of the University of Utah School of Medicine—Cold Hands, Warm Hearts (paywall). The researchers used infrared radiation to measure the temperatures of 219 people varying in age from infants to 84 years old (78 male, 141…

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It’s hard to sleep well when you’re cold. A few simple techniques can make all the difference. You need fuel to keep your furnace burning all night. In case you wake up chilled, have a quick energy, high-calorie snack at the ready for a middle-of-the-night refuel.  Use a thick, full-length sleeping pad; what works in…

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Anyone who has ridden a chairlift to the top of a windswept ski area, snowshoed down a snow-covered trail, or traveled into the backcountry by any means when all is white has imagined a cold, lonely night in the woods. Some people get lost. Others get stuck, stranded, or injured. It happens to even the…

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Moisture drains heat from your feet. Once your feet cool down, it takes a lot of energy to re-warm damp socks and boots. Keep them dry, keep them toasty. Here are some tips to keep feet warm: Block snow from your boot tops with gaiters or snug-fitting pant cuffs. Carry a pair of dry socks…

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