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asdf
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PostMon Jan 04, 2021 12:00 pm 
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I really want to do some winter backpacking, and I am looking for some advice or tips from people who do this a lot.

I have been out winter backpacking before, but I have run into difficulties that have made it challenging.  Challenging is part of the fun, I am sure, but I'm hoping you can give me some advice or tell me how you manage this.

When I'm out in the summer, I usually walk all day.  Dawn to dusk.  With breaks at nice places, of course.  An hour here, an hour there.  But it's rare that I pitch camp before the sun is setting.  This serves two purposes.  First, it keeps me warm.  Even on chilly days, I never get cold, because I'm moving most of the day.


Second, it passes the time.  No time to get bored in camp if I'm on the trail most of the day!

When I've been out in the winter, this causes two problems.  Because I have to stop so early, I get cold, then I get bored.  And end up sleeping 12 hour or such.

How do you folks manage it?
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freshout
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PostMon Jan 04, 2021 12:15 pm 
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Iím usually out with friends so Iím able to not stay bored through substances and conversation. Otherwise Iíve enjoyed listening to podcasts, reading, practicing tarp or fire skills and forcing myself to wait till 6pm to start dinner.
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sticky buns
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PostWed Jan 06, 2021 8:48 pm 
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I don't do a lot of winter camping, but some favorites have included night photography. With a long exposure and a headlamp, I once wrote, in reverse, in script, "Thanksgiving Weekend at Ozette, 2015." That took up a lot of attempts and a lot of time!

How about night hiking, especially if you can time a trip with a full moon and no clouds? Snow sculptures? Dance party? If no one is around, doing a bit of drumming on your cooking pot? Bringing a small musical instrument like a penny whistle (and fingerless gloves)? Going gourmet with dinner? Just listening or paying close attention to your environment? Writing? Drawing? Yep, gotta bring sufficient gear to stay warm.
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Randito
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PostThu Jan 07, 2021 12:16 am 
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With LED headlamps available today -- it is possible to effectively travel and/or do camp tasks before sunrise and after sunset.    Reducing the required hours of inactivity.   One practice I've adopted in recent years to use a combination of an over quilt + puffy pants + puffy jacket for sleeping.   The warm pants and jacket makes getting up in the middle of the night to pee as well as getting going in the morning more comfortable. 

Once the pandemic is over -- know that in British Columbia there are numerous huts built and maintained by a number organizations that allow passing the evening in relative comfort and able to engage in passtimes such as playing cards, etc.
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Gregory
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PostThu Jan 07, 2021 8:10 am 
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When I was a teenager and the national forest along Chinook pass was my back yard and Whistlen Jacks lodge gave me the week end off, I would head off Friday after school and hike long into the night. Hiking off trail in the snow up there by the moon light was enchanting. Often when the temps were real cold I would hike at night and sleep during the day in the warm sun. I actually got to be friends with a pack of coyotes at my the rock shelter I built. Often I would butcher a rabbit and stay up all night there roasting it over a fire and they would lurk just out of sight waiting for the scraps. I miss that area.
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cdestroyer
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PostThu Jan 07, 2021 9:09 am 
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I would not say I snow camped a lot but only on occasion hunting. The biggest threat to a good snow experience is wind, it will dissipate your body heat rapidly so you need the proper wind break and warming clothing. Any camp you need wind protection with heavier tent wall material to block the wind and or a wind break of some kind. Keep clothing as dry as possible, because if you hike hard you will perspire and get wet. Feet also need to be kept dry with changes of socks. Protein for the body to keep warm, sun glasses to keep down the double glare of sun/reflection, skin protection from wind and cold. Enjoy, it can be fun...
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Steve Erickson
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PostThu Jan 07, 2021 2:57 pm 
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If you have not, I would highly recommend you look into some courses that provide avalanche information. Backpacking in snow conditions is a lot different than other times of the year. You have to be able to recognize situations and weather changes to avoid.
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pula58
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PostThu Jan 07, 2021 4:54 pm 
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wear a plastic bag between your liner sock and insulating sock. This keeps the moisture of your perspiration out of the thick socks and boot padding/insulation. That way, the boots stay dry inside and there's no moisture that could freeze. You will (more than) appreciate this in the morning if the night time temps drop below freezing.

We use a bread bag on each foot. Boots are bone dry inside at the end of day, as are our thick socks.

But, of course, you must take off the damp liner sock  at the end of the day and put on dry socks. We hang up the liner sock in the tent at night...it probably won't dry, but put it in your jacket
pocket in the morning when you wake up and it will probably be dry by the time you start out from camp.

Good luck, be safe.
If in the snow:
Beware of tree-holes.
beware of avalanches.
Beware of snow that is undermined by running water
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Randito
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PostFri Jan 08, 2021 8:27 am 
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pula58 wrote:
wear a plastic bag between your liner sock and insulating sock

This works.  I have also found that applying antiperspirant spray on the feet every few days also to be effective and avoids the softening of calluses that can occur when a vapor barrier sock as you describe is used.
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the1mitch
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PostMon Jan 11, 2021 9:35 am 
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For what it's worth, I subscribe to the pulk lovers crew. I rigged one up from a kids toboggan and old waist belt from a discarded pack. That sucker tracks fairly well, except downhill, and leaves me with a daypack sized load to carry. The other benefit is that the question of "do I have room for that?" is now a yes. A caveat is needed, I have to pick my routes carefully and my design has changed from the original.
1) pvc line stiffeners. Rope goes thru them from sled to belt.
2) a trailing rope for my partner to hang on to for the difficult sections. 6-10 feet
3) angle aluminum runners to help it track. drilled. screwed in and cut in a ship prow front  angle.

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illegitimi non carborundum!
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Bedivere
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PostMon Jan 11, 2021 12:09 pm 
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pula58 wrote:
But, of course, you must take off the damp liner sock  at the end of the day and put on dry socks. We hang up the liner sock in the tent at night...it probably won't dry, but put it in your jacket
pocket in the morning when you wake up and it will probably be dry by the time you start out from camp.


When I have damp socks, I put them in my bag with me at night, at about waist/stomach level.  They're dry by morning from body heat.

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JVesquire
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PostTue Jan 12, 2021 2:45 pm 
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You didn't really say if you were going winter camping or camping in the winter. The former, to me, is camping in cold conditions, on snow and ice and requires a bit of adjustment in gear, prep, etc. A few thoughts:

Are you camping on snow or ice? One commenter suggested a pulk, which is nice if you are traveling on snow and reasonably level ground. Obviously you aren't going to pull a pulk up Aasgard Pass. If you're camping on ice or in really cold conditions and the ground is frozen, your normal tent stake set up won't work and you need to think about ice screws or using a deadman anchor when you set up your tent. You also need good insulation between you and the ground, as in any cold weather, such as a closed cell pad.

Are you traveling across frozen ice? Go with someone who knows what they're doing if you do. Dangerous ice can look safe, and safe ice can feel dangerous, unless you know what you're doing. Minimum gear for this would be a tool to check ice depth (auger or stave), ice awls, and waterproof footwear in case of slush.

Is it going to be cold? Like, really cold? If so, everything you bring will be frozen eventually, candy bars, water, contact lenses in their unopened case. Keep your snack in an inner pocket if you don't it to be hard as a rock. If you want water in the middle of the night, boil a quart and put it in a thermos, or get an insulated cover for a Nalgene and store it upside down so the opening doesn't freeze first. If it's really cold, and you're out for a few days, your skin will be chapped and dried out. After three days in single digits, my hands are cracked and bleeding if I don't have decent hand lotion with me.

Don't get into the tent before 8 p.m. There's plenty to do. Gather a crap ton of firewood and burn it. That'll warm you twice. Look for evidence of wildlife tracks in the snow. If it's really cold, things get even more fun. At around 20 below a cup of boiling water will instantly vaporize when you throw it into the air, creating a great photo opportunity:

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