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Bushcraft , Survival, Homesteading, and simple living articles and info.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Traditional Winter Camping

Winter in northern Michigan can be long and cold and for many it is a time to stay indoors. Staying indoors for the outdoors man during these months will give you a good case of cabin fever! Learning to enjoy winter activities such as xc skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing and winter camping will get you out during this season and you may even look forward to it!

I have done some winter camping in the past with a nylon tent and sleeping bags doubled up and it was fun but cold. Ever since I read Calvin Rutstrums "Paradise Below Zero" and then the Conovers "Snow Walkers Companion" I knew I wanted to camp in the winter with traditional canvas tents and heat them with a wood stove.

Well this past fall I bought a tent and a wood stove from Don Kevilus at the Four Dog Stove Company. I went with a 12x12 shackleton tent and a Two dog stove, Don said that stove would heat that size tent at -30 F . I was not interested in super light weight tents and stoves as I was not going to be doing any serious expeditions, I wanted something that would fit my whole family and would be somewhat portable. The tent sleeps 4-6 and weighs 45lbs. and the stove weighs about 40lbs. I really like the wood stove design as it is pretty much airtight and has a baffle in it to make it more efficient and to give you a hot spot on the top for cooking.

I have had this tent set up on my property all winter and have slept out in it with my son, but really wanted to head out to the woods for a real test run.

Well winter was getting near its end and I wanted get out before it warmed up. Luckily I have a friend that has a few of the same screws loose as I do and the bonus was that he brought sourdough bread and Texas beans!

The first picture is of the sled with the tent, stove, rucksack, axe and saw loaded on. All together this weighed 100lbs + , but we were hauling the gear most of the way on a packed snowmobile trail and it was pretty easy to pull.
This type of camping requires a certain amount of "bushcraft" skill to be comfortable and safe, but after those skills are learned this quickly crosses over into wilderness living. People can live in camps like this for months at a time if not more with the right resources.

This is basically a pyramid tent with 2' 6" walls, a 6' front entrance and a 9' center pole.Camped in the woods near a river gave us "running water" and plenty of wood for heat.

("Cougar" Rob enjoying the heat from the stove)

A few candles gave us enough light to read by as it reflects off of the walls and the snow to light the place up.

Running water, lights and heat. What more do you need?

Axe and saw were the tools used to pay the heat bill. Turns out it was -16 F in town that night. We made it through the night just fine, but also learned a few valuable lessons that we will take on the next trip. Overall I really enjoyed this type of camping and hope to have more time for it in the future...till next time...Ben


Indermuehle said...

Love your blogs, and store. got all the xmass presents and winter camp supplies in less than three days from ordering. thanks agian

Unknown said...

I would love to give winter-camping a try ever since I first heard it from a friend who works at a ToyHauler Parts company. But instead of just traditional camping, I would like to bring our RV for the trip. Do you think the winter camping experience would still be as fun with an RV along?