Hot Tent... Is it Necessary

Discussion in 'Backpacking Gear & Clothing' started by BUSTINDOGS, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. dmj

    dmj Well-Known Member

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    I'm probably different than most. But if I'm packing in any distance at all my wood stove goes with me. As already mentioned they don't hold a fire very well. But they do put out quite a bit of heat if you're willing to keep them going. I've been caught to many times wet, cold and miserable. Don't think these old bones will stand it very well any more. So the wood stove goes.
     
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  2. Alex Wheeler

    Alex Wheeler Well-Known Member

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    Sure, it will make things a lot more comfortable. But unless some one is staying up all night feeding it plan to sleep in ambient temps. You need a zero degree bag if you bring the stove or not is what Im saying. The bottom of you is whats going to loose the most heat. So get the best r value pad you can.
     
  3. Winkfish

    Winkfish Well-Known Member

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    I have done my fair share of winter camping and mountaineering and I have never had a heat source in the tent. A quality 4 season tent, properly rated sleeping bag and thermal barrier between you and the snow was all I ever needed.

    I spent three days in a tent on Mount Rainier in an ice storm and only went out to knock ice off the tent from time to time.

    On backpacking trip in Yellowstone one January the temps made it to -40 on three of the nights. I was just fine with a quality sleeping bad and good gear.

    A warm water bottle in the bottom of you sleeping bag goes a long way in keeping you comfortable at night, along with a dry pair of socks.

    I don't like to haul more weight than necessary when in the mountains. If you are not hiking far and weight is not a concern then make yourself as comfortable as possible. .
     
  4. Tikkashooter

    Tikkashooter Active Member

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    with my gear set up (lightlweight 4 season tent with an air pad and 15 egree down bag) as long as you stay dry down to about 15 degrees is relatively comfortable without a stove. if its going to get low teens or less, you will sleep way better with a stove
     
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  5. middleofnowhere

    middleofnowhere Well-Known Member

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    Many times i have kept a small candle lantern burning in my tent. It can be enough to break chill and keep condensation from your breath from freezing on inside of tent.

    https://www.rei.com/product/838879/uco-original-candle-lantern

    This last fall i also tried a zippo handwarmer for a night. The temp was close to freezing (SoCal Mountains), I couldnt have flame due to fire danger and i didnt bring a tent or shelter because it’s SoCal.
    The handwarmer worked pretty good with just my 40* rated quilt.
    https://www.zippo.com/pages/hand-wa...yA2oZey3qzm6EKrFqAdfdAIgBGBc3gfRoCf9MQAvD_BwE
     
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  6. fmajor

    fmajor Well-Known Member

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    I've been a winter camper for over 30 yrs (though last few years not as much as i'm getting old) and enjoyed it all for the most part.

    About 4 years ago i bought an Exped 9 down-filled sleeping mat. It's hefty. It's a bit bulky. It's pretty spendy. IT IS AWESOME!!!

    I used to use a closed-cell foam mat with a Cascade Designs "Thermarest" on top and that served me well for many years - even sleeping on snow-covered ice. But, i could still feel a bit of a chill.

    The Exped (there are now many copies of the design, but none are as good IMHO), however, gives me the best nights sleep in the back country i've *ever* had. Slept on a frozen swamp (snow covered ice) and not a cold spot while on the mat.

    A good sleeping bag is also imperative and you really get what you pay for. For me, Western Mountaineering bags have been the best I've used. My fav is my Puma with Gore DryLoft shell rated for -20F (got it in 2004). Used it to -30F standing temp (bottomed out my thermometer. I also have a Marmot CWM DryLoft rated to -40F and it is also an excellent bag.
     
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  7. Guy M

    Guy M Well-Known Member

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    Good subject. Like many here, I've been camping & backpacking in the winter for decades. Rarely had the luxury of a stove in my tent. Typically it's not "needed" but there are times when it sure is nice.

    What's needed is a good tent that will stand up in wind & snow, providing good shelter. In winter, a little bigger tent is real nice, 'cause there is usually more gear to bring inside.

    As others have stated, a very good bag and a good pad or pads under are essential. When ya blow out that candle, or turn off that headlamp, and burrow down into the sleeping bag... It can be a long, chilly night!

    A trick I learned long ago was to boil up a pot of water on the backpacking stove, just a bit before turning in for the night. Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa, and then fill a one-quart wide-mouth Nalgene bottle with the hot water. If you trust the lid (and I do) chuck that hot water bottle down inside your sleeping bag! Instant heat for the bag, and your feet! Also, there's at least one quart of water avail in the morning, that isn't frozen. That's real nice sometimes.

    Lots of tricks to this winter camping/backpacking stuff. Most aren't hard, but ya gotta pay attention.

    Will admit that I've been looking pretty hard at the Kifaru setups where a small wood-burning stove can be used. I'm "okay" without it, but am also at the point where I admit that it would be nice, having some warmth in the tent, at least when I go to bed, and when I get up in the morning.

    Regards, Guy
     
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  8. Guy M

    Guy M Well-Known Member

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    My camp here in Washington a couple of months ago. There was no snow on the ground when I went to bed! Stayed comfortable in my little three-season NF tent, a good synthetic bag with both an air-mattress and a closed-cell foam pad under it.
    [​IMG]

    Our arctic camp last spring on a grizzly hunt. Not much snow left. Temps ranged from 20's to about 40 or so for the nine days. I was just fine without a heated tent. The larger green tent had the Coleman cook stove in it and would get nice and toasty with two - four of us in there, and the stove going. The other tents had no heat sources.
    [​IMG]

    Regards, Guy
     
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  9. midnightmalloy

    midnightmalloy Well-Known Member

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    I also use an exped pad for cold weather. Mine is the ultralight downmat UL7. Down filled, 19 oz and a crazy low R- rating. Hilleberg tents and I use a quilt instead of a sleeping bag as I’m a sleeper. Enlightened equipment is awesome so look at their offerings. I will add that a good clothing system helps alleviate issues with wet clothes.
     
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  10. claybreaker

    claybreaker Active Member

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    Money spent on a good sleeping bag is money well spent. We base camp and spike camp in CO elk hunting. We've had single digit temps plenty of nights, we don't run a heater while sleeping, but use a propane stove in morning while getting ready and eating. We also sleep on a cot to get off the ground with either foam or air mattress when in the big tent.

    Be Safe,
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  11. jmcmath

    jmcmath Well-Known Member

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    I’ve done low teens with 30mph winds in a 3 season tent on the ground. It wasn’t pleasant but it was doable.

    Get a nice fire cranking and heat up some rocks to go in the tent with you. Don’t cheap out on your bag. Remember bag ratings aren’t for temperature you will be cozy at, it’s temp you will be alive at.

    The plus side is you don’t have much trouble getting up and going the next morning ;)
     
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  12. claybreaker

    claybreaker Active Member

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    jmcmath makes a good point on bag ratings.

    But in recent years I think the rating systems have gotten a little more consistent. Mainly because some standards have been established called "EN Testing" or EN ratings. I think this helps the buyer tremendously because of consistent testing. So with a EN Rated bag you get 2 numbers 1) EN "Comfort Rating" temperature and 2) EN "Lower Limit" Temperature.

    (EN ratings are based on a sleeper wearing one long underwear layer and a hat, and sleeping on a single one-inch thick insulating pad.)

    Then you have the fact some people just sleep warmer than others.
     
  13. 4mattmyers

    4mattmyers Active Member

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    last year i used the seek outside redcliff, and lite outdoors titanium cylinder stove with 8' pipe. all packed down, they both weighed about 4.5 pounds. the ability to have a nice warm fire and dry out socks, gloves, boots and whatever were invaluable i hunted late season elk in the high country of Oregon for 12 days. that combo is awesome. i dont think ill go back to regular tents.
     
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  14. Mike 338

    Mike 338 Well-Known Member

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    Stoves are heavy, even the untralight ones. They also take up space. Although people think they're good for drying out clothes, unless your in a wall tent and stoking the fire all night, a backpacking hot tent isn't much good for drying stuff out. The thing about cold camping is that you get into your bag as soon as you can. Get back to camp, make dinner and get in your bag. In a hot tent, you get back to camp, strip down to your long johns, leisurely make dinner, heat some water and wash your face or take a spit bath, leisurely make tomorrows lunch, have a second cup of tea, tend to your feet, refill your canteen and just poke around with little things you normally feel rushed to do or don't do because it's cold. Then get in your bag and let the fire go out. In the morning, start a fire a little early and poke around with a good meal and a second cup of coffee. The last thing you do is get dressed because you'll want to jump out of the tent cause it's to warm.

    I usually hunt alone and unless my mule carries in the weight, I just cold camp. I pretty much never make an outside fire. I'd say the biggest advantage to a hot tent is you find yourself taking a little better care of yourself like washing up and tending to your feet. My stove has a flat top so I can heat a couple containers of water on it or just heat some food in a bowl, which lets you have food "and" a hot drink at the same time. Set up is longer and finding wood takes time. Chopping/splitting wood adds a bit of risk as well as well as weight for a hatchet/saw.