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Around the world, how cold do you go?

international winter camping

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#1 qwazse

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 06:16 AM

This is more for our international scouters, especially you coeducational lot. But American scouters please pipe up if you think you got something special that maybe we should visit this winter.

Do you go winter camping? where?
What weather do you expect?
In what type of shelter?
What age/sex youth?
Is finding enough adult leaders a challenge?

Edited by qwazse, 04 September 2016 - 06:17 AM.

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#2 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 11:09 AM

So winter camping in the UK....

Yes we do winter camp. Certainly not as often as in the warmer months but camp we do.

Like most of our camps we tend to use scout owned campsites which vary between a field and not much else to the large scale activity centres. It really just depends on what we are up to!

Weather - we're in southern England so the climate is pretty temperate. Even in January a typical winters day is day time high of around 7C and night time low of hovering around freezing. Planning for a camp we're generally more concerned about it being persistently wet than being particularly cold. In a typical winter I would expect day time highs of below freezing only for a handful of days and night time lows below -5C on a handful of occasions. Literally able to count them on my fingers and have some left over! The coldest I've camped with my scouts had night time low of -6C one night.

For the northern half of the country I would expect colder temperatures more often and the Scottish Highlands are a different climate altogether.

We typically use light weight tents. When below freezing temperature expected we pack them in a bit more. 4 to a 3 man tent, 3 to a two man.

I would camp with scouts aged 10-14. Boys and girls. Explorers regularly camp in winter as well (14-18). It is unusual although not entirely unheard of for cubs to camp in tents in winter. More likely they will use indoor accommodation. Certainly in my cub leader days I never took them in tents in December January or February. Theoretically beavers (6-8 year olds) can camp in winter although I've yet ton encounter any that do.

Adults tend to be that bit less keen although never to the point of not being able to get enough.

Does that help?
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#3 qwazse

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 11:33 AM

Thanks 'skip. I'm a little concerned that recent warming trends will make our winter camps more often similar to yours. Our crew's winter wilderness survival weekend was in temps around 70F (17C?).
But, be that as it may, hearing about other places to go for winter challenges might inspire other units to do the same.

I'm dealing with a troop that's gone a little soft. They'll do day events like Klondike derby but won't camp overnight under canvas or less. Former SM and I made regular offers last year, no takers. Hopefully things will be better this year.
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#4 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 12:13 PM

When I was in the UK, one of the Finns I worked with laughed her butt off at me wearing long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, and field jacket when it was 50-56 degrees F (10-13 degrees F) and and she was wearing shorts and a tank top. She was from Lapland in the Arctic Circle, and the temps were a nice summer day for her.

 

I had my revenge though :)  It got above 61degrees F (16 degrees C), and she was complaining and sweating up a storm. I told her it was a nice winter day where I came from. ;)


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#5 SSScout

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 03:15 PM

Wife complains to me when I do not "dress warm" when it starts getting cold.  I know from my personal experience that when the summer is over and the winter is a comin',  I need to turn up my personal thermostat. I will dress up later, when it does get cold. Body does produce more heat easier in winter than summer.   Then too, come summer again, I go without cover so my internal thermostat dials down.  I  am less hungry,eat less,  burn fewer calories. 

 

Last two Klondike Derbies were in late January, here in Murlin,  we had wheelie sleds rather than sliding sleds. 


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#6 Hedgehog

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 06:41 PM

We camped last year outside D.C. in December.  It was in the 70s during the day and the 50s at night.  Sigh.

 

We did camp in adirondacks in February.  The ranger told us his thermometer registered 18 degrees F in the morning.  The Adirondacks had fireplaces right in front of them that we could fire up at night to keep us warm as we fell asleep.  We had the benefit of a cabin with a wood stove for cooking and hanging out in.  Check out Camp Tuscora.

 

Also, check out the Patriot's Path Operation Zero.  I'm trying to convince the guys in our Troop or guys and gals in the Crew to do that.


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#7 ianwilkins

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 02:06 AM

As Cambridge skip says, yes, we Explorer Scouts go winter camping, yes, south of england, it's commonly a very British winter, mild and a bit wet. Though last year we struck gold with a couple of inches of snow on the Sunday morning. Not enough to cause travel chaos (that's about 4", seriously), but enough for snowball fights. Usually though, it's mud that's the issue. We happen to use "tepees", though they aren't really tepees, more accurately called a Laavu, Finland again, or the Sami people of Lapland I think, shaped like a tepee, but one central pole, and lightweight modern fabric. An 8-10 man tent can fit 8 in realistically, yet packs up small enough for one person to carry, we keep each one in an army duffle bag.

 

The other issue, apart from mud, is when it is cold, the kids don't really have the kit. Some have a 3 season sleeping bag, and with an extra duvet and thermals, that can be ok, but some have very poor sleeping bags, and I'm sure 2 x 2 season bags does not equal 1 x 4 season.

 

We get plenty of leader help usually. The leaders seem to relish the challenge. And the winter camp we go on usually has loads of activities for the explorers, so we tend to hang around our campsite, drink tea, and chop wood. Who wouldn't want to do that?


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#8 T2Eagle

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 10:31 AM

Lower Great Lakes Region here.  We do at least one Wilderness Survival campout in either January or February.  The other month varies depending on the activity we're concentrating on, sometimes we do tents sometimes a cabin.   It's virtually always below freezing at night, in the past few years we've had two eight inch snow storms, smaller snow showers, one below zero F event and one near zero event.

 

It's all about proper equipment, especially sleeping bags, and proper training. 


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#9 MattR

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 09:56 PM

We're usually below freezing at night from October through April, September and May are 50/50. For our cold campout in February we go to the other side of the continental divide where it's snowier and colder. At night, 0 F is respectable, -10 is cold, the coldest I've been in is -20, and the coldest I've heard of for our district is -25. We sleep in tents. But we tend to have less humidity so I don't think it's as bad as the Midwest. During the day it can get close to freezing. If the sun comes out it's really nice. Odds are that's also a big improvement over the Midwest :). The thing that makes a campout tough is not so much temperature as it is wind.

 

T2Eagle is absolutely right, it's all about the right gear, knowledge, and what you're used to. People in Montana would probably laugh at us.


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#10 blw2

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 10:10 AM

I can only answer the part about getting adults..... I would go.  In fact I have often wanted to go on one of those winter snow cave excursions.... seems like a fun scout activity..... sadly not much of that going on here in Florida!

 

I've lived and spent plenty of time in snowy locations though, so I do know "what I'm getting into"

 

I'm reminded of a backpacking trip I took with some friends in college.... not a scout thing, but it sortof applies.

I was using borrowed gear.... a mummy bag with no ground pad or insulation

That was my coldest experience..... got down to around 20F and was I ever cold!

I have experienced much colder, but that was my coldest camping without proper gear.... brrr....


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#11 fred johnson

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 07:11 AM

This January we were camping with a high of -3F and a low of -23F, about -30 celsius.  Sleeping was done in quinzees.  

 

http://boyslife.org/...e-snow-shelter/

 

Shelters kept everyone nice and warm.  But to be honest, it was still dang cold especially with the wind.  


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#12 perdidochas

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 03:59 PM

This is more for our international scouters, especially you coeducational lot. But American scouters please pipe up if you think you got something special that maybe we should visit this winter.

Do you go winter camping? where?
What weather do you expect?
In what type of shelter?
What age/sex youth?
Is finding enough adult leaders a challenge?

Well, not speaking internationally, but for NW Florida.

 

Winter is the best time to camp here.  We expect lows in the 30s, and highs in the 50s and 60s, with a chance of rain.  Shelter is tent or hammock with tarp.  BSA 11-17 males.  Not much problem, we have more problems getting adult leaders to camp in summer locally. 


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#13 The Latin Scot

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 11:51 AM

Well, we are way down in Southern California just a mile or so from the water, so ... yeah. Last year our Troop had to drive for 5 hours to get to a mountain far enough inland + tall enough to get snowfall so they could actually do a  "winter camp-out." And even then, there was only an inch or so of snow. The pitfalls of paradise I guess, lol. We get to do a lot of beach camping though!


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#14 Ankylus

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 08:46 AM

This is more for our international scouters, especially you coeducational lot. But American scouters please pipe up if you think you got something special that maybe we should visit this winter.

Do you go winter camping? where?
What weather do you expect?
In what type of shelter?
What age/sex youth?
Is finding enough adult leaders a challenge?

 

1) Yes, we winter camp and we do so wherever the mood strikes. Sometimes private ranches, sometimes state parks, sometimes national forests. There is very little difference in our winter camping and in our summer camping. But then, we are in Southeast Texas, where 32F is an "extreme weather event" according to the TV News.

 

2) Weather varies. Since you are talking about winter camping, I assume temperature is of interest. As noted, it's warmer here. We have never canceled a campout for cold--either in Cub Scouts or in Boy Scouts--but then I have only been camping in temperatures less than 32F a handful of times over the years. I think the coldest was 24F or so. Other than than, sometimes its wet, maybe some rain or ice. But never been camping in the snow with the scouts.

 

3) We only tent camp in the Boy Scouts...no shelters more sophisticated than a tent. In Cub Scouts we were cabin camping. The reasoning there was that we knew we would have some young children and perhaps younger siblings, many of whom might not have camped before.

 

4) In the Boy Scouts, all the youth are male, of course,  10 or 11 through 18 yo. In Cub Scouts, there was family camping, so we had both sexes and all ages.

 

5) Finding enough adult leaders has never been a challenge because of winter camping. Our two most popular campouts are in November and January, and they are also our best attended by the adults.


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