I asked a Facebook group, “What’s the coldest weather you have cowboy camped in.” The answer was, “Minus 28 in an ice cave.”
And I was wondering if I could risk it at 30 degrees…
Most of us are mortal so we will never be found outside at 28 degrees below zero!
How do we get our backpacking fix when every outdoor option involves death by frostbite?
Other than a trek in New Zealand (its summer there), here are a few options to fill our time.
Try New Recipes
What spouse would not be thrilled with a romantic candlelight dinner complete with cold soaked couscous and tuna!
If you normally carry a stove and canister, you may find some stoveless options that will work for you when the weather warms up. I actually like cold soaked couscous and tuna!
Are there new ingredients you could add to your current recipes that will move them to the trail gourmet level?
And… where the heck can you get the precooked, dehydrated pinto beans that Jupiter likes?
Learn A New Skill
For instance, how in the world does Erik Normark build a campfire on a frozen lake? Even more important, why would you ever want to camp on a frozen lake?
YouTube is our friend on this one!
Maybe you have been intrigued by the thought of using a tarp on the trail instead of a tent. There are hundreds of videos on a thousand ways to set up a tarp and survive on the trail.
Maybe it’s time to forsake Guthook and learn how to read and triangulate your position on a topographical map. Even better than YouTube would be taking a class through a local outfitter if you have one near you!
How about building your own soda can alcohol stove and learning how to use it? Just not in the kitchen trying new recipes!
Ask the question, “Will this work for me?” Then look for opportunities to test or practice on a local trail or in the great outback (yard)!
Spread a clean tarp on the floor (because your spouse will not want all your dirty stuff on the carpet).
Separate your gear into systems, cooking, sleep, clothing etc. Think through how you will use each system on the trail.
Pack, unpack, re-pack until you feel comfortable doing it before you have coffee!
Think through questions like, “Is this item quickly accessible if it is raining? Could I find this in the dark? Is this item in the wrong system?”
Practice until you can find something in your pack with your eyes closed!
While it seems like a silly exercise, those who have successfully completed a through hike have one thing in common, a simple system that can be replicated daily over an extended period of time.
Research A New Trail
I stumbled across one of my favorite trails while doing research on another trail.
Where are the trail heads? What is the water situation? If the trail is longer, what about resupply? What additional skill sets will I need to hike this trail?
Most trails have a wealth of information available to us online.
Facebook has a multitude of groups dealing with specific trails. I currently have about five groups that I enjoy sharing and receiving information from.
Just watch out for fear mongering with social media! Don’t assume someone else’s experience, make your own!
Leave a comment below if you have ideas for hibernation days!