Winter Camping

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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This winter season, Columbia Sportswear is heavily promoting its new line of TurboDown jackets and vests, even featuring it in prominent TV ads during last week’s World Series. Besides having some marketing snazz, what exactly is TurboDown? And what does it say about the current state of goose down in general? The TurboDown sandwich: synthetic…

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My canister stove is simple and convenient to operate, and has long been my go-to three-season option. But it sucks in the winter or any time temperatures start dropping below freezing, when they work poorly to not at all. Why? Why, stove, why??? Photo: Michael R Perry/Flickr Commons It boils down to some basic chemistry…

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If there’s one item of winter gear that merits a splurge, it’s a good sleeping bag. Few things are as luxurious—or as essential for an enjoyable cold-weather camping experience—as a cozy and warm night’s sleep. A winter sleeping bag is a significant financial investment, however, making it all the more important to find the perfect…

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Opting for a three-quarter length sleeping pad allows you to carry less weight and bulk in your pack, but it also comes with some notable drawbacks. Is it worth it? Though there’s an increasing array of sleeping pad lengths, shapes, and sizes, most 3/4-length sleeping pads (often listed as size small) are right around 4…

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It’s a face-off (hand-off?) between two winter options, with a quick review of the pros and cons of each, as well as my personal preferences and recommendations. In This Corner: Gloves!  Gloves provide you with maximum dexterity, which is crucial if you’re doing anything that requires some degree of coordination. For day-to-day around-town winter handwear,…

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