Winter backpacking/hunting in snow

BuckSnort

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Do any of you do this? Now that I have a floorless shelter (hopefully I will have a stove soon) I plan on doing some winter backpacking and maybe hunt some coyotes while doing it... I have always done all of my backpacking in fair weather from spring through late fall but never in the cold months.. Obviously I need to have some changes in gear and equipment... I'm sure some of you do this and would like to see some pics of you're trips and setups if you got some...
 

Lawnboi

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I like to camp in the winter. but not without a woodstove. this year I'm hoping to get a kifaru sawtooth and a medium stove for ice fishing. I'm sick of dragging a big shack out on the ice.
 

Grizbacker

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Aug 28, 2012
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This is when I do most of my backpacking. Late November. Wool is your friend. Especially wool pants, nothing else comes close. Leg gators are also nice. I just use a two man tent with no stove and a good sleeping bag and pad. One constant issue is water bottles/filters/creeks etc. freezing up. Hot chocolate or coffee in the mornings really helps too. Put simple, everything is ten times harder when there is a foot of snow and it's 10 degrees, but it has led to some nice animals for me.
 

Nick Muche

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So if you are hiking/hunting all day in say a foot of snow, you get back to your tent that does not have a stove in it, how do you go about drying out your clothes or how do you store them so they are not frozen solid in the morning?
 

Mike7

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I don't like winter camping without a stove, but dry and cold (preferably over 15 degrees) is sometimes more comfortable than 30-35 degrees and raining like we can get here.

In cold dry (i.e. not to wet and humid), sleeping with your boots on or in your sleeping bag works (this is what my wife has done in her synthetic bag). I have not done this with my down bag, so have had the unenviable task of putting on the frozen boots in the AM before getting a woodstove. So, bottom line in my opinion, if mountaineering above tree line or going without a stove in mid winter, then have a synthetic bag for increased foot comfort and put your boots inside with you or even on.

Still without a stove though, it is really uncomfortable on the fingers to do the chores necessary to eat breakfast and breakdown camp, some of which require a person to take off their gloves it seems. Thin gloves which you can wear do do these chores then are really nice to have (like some REI or Black Diamond light weight soft shell types). So, I where a thin pair of gloves and then have some big mitten shells clipped to my sleeves that I can throw on as needed when fine dexterity is not needed when breaking down camp or to help warm my hands up intermittently. Once fully clothed and hiking with gloves on, then you're good to go of course. With a floorless shelter with stove however, you can do much of this in more comfort and leave the shelter up to be thrown on the pack last.

If it is 32 degrees and raining/humid, I don't know how to fully dry out without a stove. I just do the usual pulling out the insoles from the boots and opening them up to air out under the shelter. Also, my boots don't soak through typically because I wear gaiters and wax my outer boots. Having a fresh pair of dry socks is also nice when putting on slightly damp/sweaty boots in these weather conditions (in these situations, I carry more than 1 pair of socks like I do in September).
 

Mike7

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P.S. Don't try slipping slightly wet soft shell liner gloves into a well fitting pair of larger insulated gloves. It just doesn't work...you will look like O.J. trying to put on dried out leather gloves with his fingers all spread out.

Looser mitten shells seem to work much better for sliding on over slightly wet liner gloves of any kind, but it also seems to help to have a slightly slicker soft shell outer on your liner gloves.
 

Grizbacker

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So if you are hiking/hunting all day in say a foot of snow, you get back to your tent that does not have a stove in it, how do you go about drying out your clothes or how do you store them so they are not frozen solid in the morning?

Good question. We don't have a stove, sometimes I wish we did but we get by just fine without one. First, you have to be smart with your clothing. Like i said, wool is king because it keeps you warm even when wet. Most importantly though we do our best not to get real wet. Leg gators and good boots do a real good job of keeping your legs dry. I also bring a small lightweight butt pad to sit on in the snow to keep my butt from getting wet. It's usually cold enough when we go that it's gonna snow and not rain, but rain gear can be important too if it's not quite that cold.

So tying to stay dry is most important, but sometimes our stuff does get a bit wet. For this reason, we do sacrifce a bit of weight for extra clothing. I only bring one set of pants and one set of heavy layers, but I do bring extra gloves, socks, and I bring two sets of merino base layers. This way even if my outer layers get wet, I know I have dry stuff for my base layers and hands which really is most important.

As far as drying stuff, it just depends on the specific weather that day. Sometimes we dry in south facing sunny spots on warmer days with no precipitation. We usually hang our stuff in the tent at night, if it's not super cold the body heat and airflow does dry the dampness off. All the other gear goes in the tent or vestibule at night to protect it from storms. If worse comes to worse we will make a fire to dry stuff out, but we rarely have to if we do everything above and that's good because I don't like to start campfires while hunting.

We find it is actually much harder when it warms up a bit and things start melting. When it stays down around ten or zero everything is so frozen you can usually just brush it off. The only problem then is keeping water and filters from freezing.

Mornings are cold but there are things that help. I sleep with my base layers in my bag so those keep warm. Keep your other clothes close too. Then get dressed in your bag where it's still warm.. Next, a warm breakfast ( oatmeal and hot chocolate) helps a ton. And if it real real cold sometimes we will use the adhesive body Warmers under our layers.

It isn't easy, but it really is possible if you are smart about your clothing choices and try to keep dry during the day. And I love it because we hardly ever see other hunters packing in this late and it has led to some big animals for us. Someone ( I think maybe Columbia) makes wool pants with a waterproof liner. These would be awesome and I think I might get some. I will try to post pics up of some of our winter pack ins later.
 
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Grizbacker

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Aug 28, 2012
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P.S. Don't try slipping slightly wet soft shell liner gloves into a well fitting pair of larger insulated gloves. It just doesn't work...you will look like O.J. trying to put on dried out leather gloves with his fingers all spread out.

Looser mitten shells seem to work much better for sliding on over slightly wet liner gloves of any kind, but it also seems to help to have a slightly slicker soft shell outer on your liner gloves.

Yeah I wear lightweight wool gloves and a heavier pair of glove/mitten combo. I had a heavy synthetic pair of gloves freeze solid into a block of ice once after I got them wet filtering water. Will never use those gloves in November again.
 

Becca

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Catching up on threads, sorry for the late reply.We have done a fair amount of winter camping (helps that winter lasts 8 months a year up here...lots of opportunities, ha ha) both via backpacks and with snowmachines. I use much of the same gear i used during the other seasons, but just more layers and insulation. I find I like having some sort of "floored area" to keep the snow out of my sleeping area...in a floorless shelter an enclosed nest (which we typically use anyway) or piece of tarp or tyvek will work fine. Doesn't have to have enclosed walls, just a barrier to keep the snow off you inside.

I love having a stove for cold weather camping...besides keeping the chill off, the days are shorter and you will be spending more hours in your shelter. Dry heat from a wood burning stove also helps keep down the condensation inside your shelter, both from your breath and from drying gear. If you will be using a stove on snowpack, consider bringing something flat to put under the feet, or use rocks or sticks in the field. Otherwise your stove can "sink" into the snow, and be hard to keep level.

As far as other gear considerations, I think the most critical (at least for me) is a sleeping pad that offers more insulation. No matter how warm your clothes or sleeping bag, your pad is all that will be insulating you from the snow beneath. We usually use Big Agnes IAC, but sometimes even put closed cell foam pads underneath in really cold temps. Once you get chilled on a winter trip, it can be hard to warm up. On that note, I am a huge fan of bringing along a nalgene water bottle to fill with boiling water at bedtime, and then tuck into the sleeping bag with me...it will retain heat for hours, just make sure you get the lid screwed on really tight.

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Alvakadei

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Our life has long been based on the principle: the more comfortable, the better. We have "smart" houses, "smart" work, "smart" food, and now "smart" clothes have emerged that know better than ourselves whether it is warm or cold for our bodies.
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It seems like a good thing. I bought it here:
So far satisfied with the result. I think that this clothing is not only suitable for fishing, but also for outdoor activities in winter.
 

TomJoad

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Denver, CO
So if you are hiking/hunting all day in say a foot of snow, you get back to your tent that does not have a stove in it, how do you go about drying out your clothes or how do you store them so they are not frozen solid in the morning?

body heat is your one and only friend when you don’t have a stove. Anything you don‘t want frozen goes in your bag. I always wear moist clothes around camp doing chores to fully dry out on my frame. Boots are of special concern if you are working hard and sweating some. This is why the best mountaineering boots have a removable liner. You can use the liners around camp like slippers on the snow. When you climb in your bag they go with you. All my winter bags are x-long for this reason, I’m 6’ but I can still cram my boot liners in the bottom of my bag.

Other things that must go in your bag:
- phone/gps/batteries
- water filter
- bladder if you use one (not recommended)

pro-tip: a few nalgenes filled with boiling water popped in your bag 20 min before you hop in really get things rolling. You’ll be entering a warm toasty nest.
 

ram94

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And all because Alvakadei (a member since 6 hours ago) wanted to plug their product. Smooth


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Sharticus007

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Jun 23, 2020
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Great Falls, MT
I like to camp in the winter. but not without a woodstove. this year I'm hoping to get a kifaru sawtooth and a medium stove for ice fishing. I'm sick of dragging a big shack out on the ice.
Are you going to actually set it up on the ice? I think I saw a youtube video of Patrick Ice fishing with a tipi.
 

Lawnboi

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North Central Wi
Are you going to actually set it up on the ice? I think I saw a youtube video of Patrick Ice fishing with a tipi.

This thread is from almost 8 years ago. Though I wanted to ice fish out of my tipi I havnt. Setup on ice one time. Doing some winter fishing/backpacking still has my interest but around here it’s just not practical.
 

86indy

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S. IL
This thread is from almost 8 years ago. Though I wanted to ice fish out of my tipi I havnt. Setup on ice one time. Doing some winter fishing/backpacking still has my interest but around here it’s just not practical.
Lawnboi, how was the setup on ice? Those hubs go up so darn quick now I curious..
 
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