Instructions for Keeping Warm in the Sack
By Chris Haggerty
1. REMEMBER: The sleeping
bag doesn't heat you, you heat it. So use this rule, "Thickness is warmth",
to keep this heat. If you're cold, add some more insulations (blankets,
clothes, more newspaper).
2. DO NOT SLEEP IN BOTTOM
OF BAG: Your breath contains water. If you close your bag with your head
inside, then this water sticks to the bag. Wear a hat to keep your head
3. CHANGE CLOTHES: NEVER
sleep in wet clothes. Even perspiration will chill you at night.
4. EAT A CANDY BAR: This
increases your metabolism (moves your blood faster) and it helps keep
5. GO TO THE BATHROOM BEFORE
BED: This saves you a middle of the night trip in the cold.
6. DO NOT DRY "WET" CLOTHES
IN BAG: Moisture will travel from wet clothes to sleeping bag.
7. PUT TOMORROW'S CLOTHES
UNDER BAG: This heats up clothes for tomorrow's cold morning and also
provides more insulation.
8. FLUFF UP YOUR BAG: Always
fluff up bag before using to create the thickness important in keeping
9. MOST IMPORTANT, KEEP
IT DRY: Keep all your sleeping gear dry and follow these rules, and winter
camp should prove to be a rewarding experience.
IMPORTANT STUFF TO KEEP
1. Clothing does not make you
warm; it is your body processes that keep you warm. Clothing merely provides
the insulation to preserve your warmth.
2. Layered thickness is
3. Keep your torso warm
so that it can send heat to the extremities.
4. Avoid sweating by ventilation.
5. Keep rain and wind out
of your insulation.
6. Use your head. Keep
it covered when you're cold; remove cap as you warm up to avoid sweating.
7. Strain one muscle against
another to maintain metabolism.
8. Wool clothing is best
but needs wind protection, synthetics are next best. Down is OK as long
as it stays dry, cotton is a poor choice.
9. If your feet are cold,
put a hat on.
10. Remember the word "COLD"
Keep your clothing - Clean.
Avoid -------------- Overheating
Wear clothing ------ Loose
Keep it ------------ Dry
RECOMMENDED CLOTHING FOR
TWO DAY WINTER CAMP
in addition or in substitution
to what you would normally bring to camp, bring:
- 2 shirts (wool,best,
- 2 pairs wool or synthetic
pants (Strongly recommend against cotton pants like jeans. They absorb
moisture like a sponge).
- Fishnet, thermal or polypropaline
- Boots (WATERPROOFED)
- 2 pairs of heavy socks
- 2 pairs lighter socks
(polypropaline is best)
- Windbreaker (as is or
part of heavier jacket)
- Balaclavia or stocking
cap (wool is best)
- Parka or heavy jacket
- Mittens, (WOOL, gloves
not recommended except as extra pair)
- Extra shoes
It is always best to stay
dry when camping in the snow, but you can expect to get wet and should
be prepared. Boots or other shoes which are not waterproof will normally
start getting the feet wet and cold after less than 15 minutes in the
snow (depending on temperature, the colder it is, the longer the feet
stay dry). Low top shoes will not keep the snow out of the shoes. Gaiters
can be made from plastic bags and a strong tape like duck tape. Do not
cover the bottom of you shoes with plastic, doing so will cause you to
lose almost all of your traction (and you will fall down!).
Unless your parents are
planning to buy some of the items on this list anyway, do not run out
and start spending lots of money on cloths and equipment. If all your
pants are jeans, for example, bring three or four pairs and change frequently.
If you are in doubt or have questions, call one of the troop leaders for
I edited some of the last
comments, we do not have much need for wool pants here in Southern Ariziona
(unless we go up in the mountains, which is not that often, unless you
are skier, in which case you already have what you need).
When taking my hot weather
troops up into the snow I used the above and I made sure to plan the activities
which makes snow camping fun. I am refering to sleding (in one form or
another), games like capture the flag (try in a foot or more of snow in
a hilly area-use a wash for no-man's land-its great fun). Snow ball fights,
etc. These activities lead to one of my favorite quotes about Winter Camping
(I am of course refering to the messy Winter Weather I grew up with in
Detroit) is: If you are NOT WET, you are not having FUN. So be sure everyone
has pleanty of extra dry clothing and go have fun in the snow!
Chris Haggerty, Sierra