Dark Moon Rising: Camping Information

Because some people are not from around here, and think it is cold in Massachusetts in September, here are some cold weather camping tips from Ruth.

1) you must eat to stay warm. this is not a good time to diet. your normal body processes turn food into body heat. if you do not eat, you will be cold.

2) if you are cold, do not drink cold drinks, drink hot ones. seems like a no brainer eh? but you would be surprised. hot tang and hot jello are both wonderful beverages for staying warm, as well as hot chocolate. sugars are fuel for your body to burn. ALCOHOL IS A LOUSY WAY TO KEEP WARM. it will warm you for a short time, then lower your body temperature.

3) mittens are warmer than gloves. thermal gloves under mittens are best, much better than the flip-top mitten gloves.

4) clothing should not be too tight. good insulation depends on dead air space. dress in layers. if you are too warm and perspire, you will end up cold in the long run. repeat: dress in layers, remove layers as you become warmer due to activity.

5) snowmobile boots are great for snowmobiling, not so great for overnight cold weather camping unless you bring extra liners for each day. trying to put your foot into a boot with liners that have frozen solid overnight is non functional.

6) wear socks. wear two pair of socks, if necessary, wear three. keep socks dry. socks dampened with perspiration are heat suckers. wool socks are warmer than cotton/poly/nylon socks.

7) it is vitally important that your boots are big enough to allow room for your toes to wiggle inside your boots. cramped, cold feet make you miserable. it is hard to have a good time when you are miserable.

8) if you wear thermal underwear, loose fitting is best. silk thermals and fishnet thermals are warmer than waffle weave thermals.

9) any rain gear must "breathe", otherwise moisture will condense and make you miserable.

10) DO NOT WEAR DAMP CLOTHING TO BED! wear dry socks to bed. do not wear sweaty clothing. change your socks if you feet feel cold.

11) wool and corduroy are warmer than denim. wool is still warm when wet, denim wicks heat away from you more quickly when wet.

12) your body's thermostat is in your temples. keep your head warm, and your toes are more likely to stay warm.

13) NEVER USE PLASTIC COATED TENTS FOR COLD WEATHER CAMPING! if your tent cannot "breathe" moisture can condense and "rain" down on you.

14) DO NOT USE SLUMBER BAGS FOR COLD WEATHER CAMPING! sleeping bags come with temperature ratings, make sure yours is up to snuff.

15) small, low tents are much warmer than big tall tents. the tent you will see me with at DMR is completely inappropriate for cold weather camping.

16) most of the heat loss you will suffer at night will be due to your contact with the ground. when camping in the snow, or on cold/frozen ground you will do far better to put extra layers UNDER you than over you. foam pads, hay, newspapers, extra blankets, ground cloths, space blankets, extra blankets go UNDER your sleeping bag NOT on top. NEVER place a space blanket, plastic sheet or other non-breathing material on top of you when camping in the winter, you will wake up wet and miserable.

17) air mattresses allow cold air to stay under you. a foam pad (or more than one) is a much better bet.

18) do not unroll your sleeping bag until 1/2 hour before retiring, then fluff it up before crawling in for the night. for down sleeping bags, follow the instructions that come with the bag.

19) try "bicycling" inside the sleeping bag when you get in. the friction warms the bag, and the exercise warms you.

20) use the privy right before you go to bed, it cuts down on middle of the night trips outside.

21) be careful not to allow snow to build up inside your tent. use a whisk broom to remove it from your clothing and your tent.

22) do not sleep with your head inside your sleeping bag. this can be very dangerous.

23) try not to get wet. brush snow off before approaching the fire. IF YOU GET WET, DRY OFF AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

24) a well packed bag is a bag full of bags. store your gear inside plastic bags then inside your backpack... or your plastic tubs perhaps in this instance. if you use a stuff bag for your sleeping bag, place a trash bag inside it first, then stuff your sleeping bag inside.

25) understand that you will not see me following most of these rules for keeping warm as this camping event is in September, and the idea of being cold is just confusing to me at this time.