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#106430 - 11/14/08 10:30 AM Re: Camping in the winter [Re: bmisf]
TomD Offline

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Canceling a camping trip because of bad weather is like canceling a dive trip because the water is too rough; I've done both. As they say, "discretion is the better part of valor."

Don't be afraid to look for deals on eBay or Craigslist. If you see something, but aren't familiar with it, ask here before buying or bidding. If it is a brand name item, someone here probably knows something about it.

I have bought a few items off eBay including a parka and cycling jacket that were both in like new condition for about half price off retail.

Also, you could put up a Want to Buy ad here. Members are always selling clothes and gear they don't need or are replacing with something else. I have bought and sold a couple of things here.

Our sponsors often have sales. REI and a couple of the others have outlet sites with good deals. Sierra Trading Post always has close-outs at good prices. I bought a pair of brand new current model $300 skis for $50 last year. They sold out in about an hour, but the deals are out there. is a good site for gear reviews. also has gear reviews, although those are not as detailed.
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

#106431 - 11/14/08 11:14 AM Re: Camping in the winter [Re: TomD]
hikerduane Offline

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Bad weather is good experience. With that said, I don't always go on a trip if it is going to start out bad. If weather hits while out, you deal with and gain experience. As for the wet underwear not being fun, I've been snowmobiling in the winter, maybe had light snow/rain, still gotten wet with raingear on, the wet underwear sure doesn't "sit" well, nothing like a little squishy going on where the light don't shine.:) I was able to gain a little experience in early Oct. this year, bping with the threat of up to a foot of snow in Yosemite. Fortunately, only 4" fell at the higher elevations on my first night out, so I had to hike thru it for a few hours the next day in the afternoon. Got lucky, I found a spot the second night under a tree where no snow accumulated. Terrific day the third day out, down to my shorts and shirt in the afternoon and a dip in the water. By the way, I hiked thru the snow in my shorts, it wasn't that cold!

#106432 - 11/15/08 08:43 AM Re: Camping in the winter [Re: hikerduane]
CAbackpacker Offline

Registered: 02/01/05
Posts: 13
Loc: Northern California
No point in duplicating all the great comments folks have already made, but I feel compelled to make this one...

I used to be a Scoutmaster & a Venturing Crew Advisor, we did a LOT of winter camping but I always made sure ALL of the adults attending had gone through our High-Adventure training first! We used to have winter camping trips just for the adults so we could review IN GREAT DETAIL, all of the requirements for safe winter camping. Even those who were "just chaperones" had to attend adult training sessions before we went on the trip, we did this because you never know when you might get caught in a blizzard or somehow ending up camping more nights than you plan! It greatly concerns me that folks are taking Boy Scouts winter camping without proper certification / training!

Maybe I'm over-reacting and if I am I sincerely apologize, but my troop was a serious backpacking troop & over the years we helped haul a number of people out of the backcountry who needed help because of poor planning & lack of knowledge of the basics!

#106433 - 11/15/08 11:38 AM Re: Camping in the winter [Re: CAbackpacker]
TomD Offline

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
CAB, You make a great point and I don't think you are overreacting. I haven't been involved in Scouting since I was a junior assistant scoutmaster with a small troop a long time ago. I wound up with that position because we had very few people with any experience at all in my area and I had been a Scout as a kid. I consider myself skilled enough to take care of myself, but would not necessarily want the responsibility for someone else's child, so I appreciate those who take that responsibility.

I am sure Scouting has evolved a lot since my day, so it is good to hear they have the kind of program you mentioned. A poster I know from another board teaches similar classes and he has experience climbing, hiking and backpacking all over the world, including Antarctica, Denali and Africa.

One thing we deal with here is that Winter means different conditions to different people here. I have winter camped in mild weather at Yosemite, but our Canadian friends are out in -30C weather, which requires a whole different approach.

There is a thread here about a rescue in the PNW last winter involving a group that met up through the Internet for what was billed as a beginner level winter camping trip. The leader was ill-prepared, the group as a whole was poorly equipped (inadequate tents and bags, and no snowshoes) and no one checked the weather so they missed the report of an incoming "storm of the century." As a result, the group was fortunate enough to be rescued after a massive SAR effort involving about a hundred people, snow machines and 2 helicopters. A dangerous and expensive effort that could have easily be avoided.

Unfortunately, judging from the posts on another board from some of that party, some of them didn't learn much from their misadventure.

I have posted here many times a quote by the famous polar explorer, Roald Amundsen:

"Adventure is just bad planning."

Edited by TomD (11/15/08 11:42 AM)
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

#106434 - 11/15/08 01:48 PM Camping in Winter Quinzie [Re: CAbackpacker]
Jimshaw Offline

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3939
Loc: Bend, Oregon

I was invited along on an adult BSA leader Winter training trip at Donners Pass as a guest Trainer, by my friend who was maybe the #1 Boy Scout leader in Ca at the time. I was quite appalled at some of the shenanigans and lack of LNT and respect for the park like area. They didn't realise that their leader was a pretty close friend of mine and I told him later about some things that would have frosted his chill. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

I'd say the problem is the arrogance of the average BSA dad when it comes to camping gear/knowledge. They also just plain had bad attitudes, as in had little respect for the knowledge of the trainers. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

I have a polar bear award for that trip. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />

P.S> if you build a quinzie and especially if you will use it alone - be aware that they can collapse and if they do and you are alone - you die. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> One train of thought is to build a small campfire in the middle of it with a large air hole in the top so the heat of the fire warms the dome and then it refreases into a safer structure. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

#106435 - 11/15/08 05:39 PM Re: Camping in Winter Quinzie [Re: Jimshaw]
CAbackpacker Offline

Registered: 02/01/05
Posts: 13
Loc: Northern California
"my friend who was maybe the #1 Boy Scout leader in Ca at the time"
Interesting comment Jim, who decided he was the # 1 leader????

I was also involved in Scouting at a District Level & had a fair amount of disagreemnet with a number of Scout Leaders who (in my humble opinion) weren't adequately emphasizing training or things like LNT, etc., and in fact many weren't emphasizing the training for what we had designated as "High Adventure" activities. We had a separate District Group that provided the High Adventure Training to any and all Troops that wanted to participate. Unfortunately, it wasn't BSA policy that you HAD to attend or be certified by our HAT (High Adventure Team) in order to take your scouts out, but the District did promote/suggest/recommend that all active Troops have adult leaders become certified.

#106436 - 11/15/08 08:17 PM Re: Camping in Winter Quinzie [Re: Jimshaw]
Tango61 Offline

Registered: 12/27/05
Posts: 931
Loc: East Texas Piney Woods
I'm sorry that you had such a negative experience with your friend's troop. As with any organization (BSA in this example), there are members who "don't get it". I'm sure if you compared a sample from this board to your average camper/backpacker you would find that most here are more aware of and practice common camping courtesy and LNT.

I am an Eagle Scout (1979) and was an assistant Scoutmaster for a large troop (75-95 Scouts) in the Dallas area for 4 years. We were fortunate to have 10 Assistant Scoutmasters (ASM) in addition to several other adult leaders. All of the ASM's and several of the adult leaders have attended adult leader training. All of the ASM's had attended basic outdoor skills training (2 sessions - 2 days each). Several of our ASM's have extensive camping experience. We took 3 crews to Philmont this past summer and 70% of the attendees were certified in CPR/AED. All Scouts were required to have earned First Aid merit badge. About half of the attendees were also certified in Wilderness First Aid.
We have two adults leaders that are certified in rifle and shotgun shooting, and another who is trained in climbing.
We also have some special needs Scouts and several ASM's are trained to deal with those Scouts.
Is this typical to have this much training? Probably not, but I would say that for our area it is not that unusual. We are fortunate to live in an area where training is readily available and have adults who take their responsibilities seriously.

We camp in all types of weather. (I, mean no disrespect to Bulrush). I can recall only one camp out that was canceled due to weather. It was forecasted to have ice on Sunday when we would have been coming home and it would have made the roads very hazardous. (Dryer can attest that people in Dallas have no idea how to drive on ice!) We typically have to deal more with heat than with cold and with violent weather (ie tornados).
In north Texas, we don't experience the prolonged winter weather that many on this board do. It typically comes in sudden bursts. We have left on Friday evenings with temp's in the mid 60's and by 11pm it is 35F with freezing rain and the temp still dropping. Of course, we listen to the forecast so we know what is coming. We spend 2-3 weekly meetings talking about winter camping and showing the Scouts what to bring (our troop is boy lead so it is older Scouts teaching younger Scouts - with a healthy dose of adult input based on experience). So, do they listen? Usually not the first time. It takes one really cold campout where they freeze their buttocks before they really get it. (We make sure they are in no real danger).
We have 2-3 campouts each winter where the weather gets nasty. The boys are taught to watch for signs of hypothermia. We had an incident last winter where one of our patrol leaders got chilled and had early symptoms of hypothermia. The other Scouts in his patrol got him into his bag and started getting warm liquids into him and came and got an ASM. We started getting calories into him then. Another time, one of our special needs Scouts became mildly hypothermic, frustrated and agitated (not related to the hypothermia) and his patrol members came and got adults to deal with the situation (as they had been taught to do).
So, I guess some of it does get through.

I can guarantee that if you went camping with our troop, you would find that we leave the place cleaner than we found it, otherwise we don't leave until it is. We emphasize LNT and we also teach to have the right gear for the situation.
Do the Scouts always listen? NO!, but as I said, some of it does seem to get through. We have a parent's meeting once a month (same time as the Scout meeting) so they know what is coming up and we share information with them about what type gear their son needs. We also use a group broadcast email to share information. Do they get? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It's not from a lack of trying on the part of the leadership. Most of our new dads pick up very quickly what is expected and none of us "old goats" have a problem with telling them (privately) if they are not putting forth a good example.

My family and I have relocated to deep east Texas so we are looking for a new troop and hope to find one as outstanding as the one we left.

I hope you (and others on this board) have better experiences with Scouting in the future.


#106437 - 11/18/08 08:21 AM Re: Camping in the winter [Re: bulrush]
LaoTzu42 Offline

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 29
Loc: Indiana
So, after all of this. How was your trip? Our scouts had a camp out this weekend also and had a great time.

#106438 - 11/24/08 08:23 AM Re: Camping in the winter [Re: LaoTzu42]
bulrush Offline

Registered: 04/19/07
Posts: 132
Loc: Michigan
I posted earlier that the troop cancelled the trip on Thu night at the meeting. Generally people around in Michigan wait until the last minute to cancel anything, and hope the weather will change for the better.

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