Random Observation/Comment #495: Overnight 0 degree camping in the Catskills will grow hair on your chest. Ladies, you have been warned.
I’ve gone camping before, but I’ve never done it in freezing conditions. I’ve also never gone with such an awesomely prepared group like DBA (Destination Backcountry Adventures run and led by Dave DiCerbo).
As a spontaneous and over-trusting type, I agreed to an overnight 0 degree camping conditions in the Catskills this past weekend. While filled with doubt in the beginning for ways to stay warm and not die, I decided to gather some key tips and lessons learned:
- Being Over prepared is better than being under prepared
- Pick the right gear for your trip
- Avoid camping alone (it’s also more fun with others)
- Pick a campsite slightly off the beaten path on a flat area near fuel
- For the campsite, take into account wind and cold air drafts down the mountain
- Pack headlamps
- Boil all water and wash out all bottles that held possibly contaminated water bring a saw and hatchet to collect wood
- Bring camping stories
- Find good dry tinder wood (hemlock) and dense maple.
- Wear the right shoes
- Bring extra socks and shirts
- Use rocks piled on the back of a fire pit to reflect the heat towards the group (directional campfire)
- Be careful of fire being too close to the rocks because they can exploded
- Stay hydrated
- When cutting wood, use the weight of the wood against it. Wedge the hatchet in first and then turn upside down and throw the wood into the blade.
- Pack your sleeping bag with spare clothes and a hot water bottle
- Avoid wearing too many layers in the sleeping bag because it will keep the heat trapped in before reflecting
- Work as a team to get stuff done
- Use a beacon to tell people in the real world where you are
- Sleep in huddles
- Turn off your smart phone and enjoy the wilderness
- Don’t keep your wet gear too close to the fire or it will burn
- Keep layers and change them if they get sweaty
- Tie food away from the campsite
- Prep food that can be thrown next to the coal
- Bring baby wipes to feel cleaner
- If it’s cold, keep busy and chop wood or break sticks
- Wear good shoes that are insulated, water resistant, and have the right treads
- Pack extra socks because wet socks suck so bad
- Go with someone you trust
I survived with all my fingers and toes, but I can’t emphasize the people you go with enough. I wouldn’t of been able to tie the knots to setup the tarp!
~See Lemons Frozen