COLD WEATHER INFOrmation
Videos with Tips for Staying Warm in Cold Weather
https://youtu.be/Ho9Vf8oiV9g: This is for Northern Tier's Okpik program but the info is still very applicable during our winter outings.
https://youtu.be/upSKJPFPyzY: Winter Camping Sleep system
Dress and Prepare for the Weather
We often get caught off guard with cooler weather. Mornings and evenings in particular can be chilly, even in mild seasons. Please consider this as scouts pack their gear. It is better to overpack and have the right layers than to be without.
Remember the 3 W's of dressing in Layers
Wicking Layer: This is your base layer. Should be tight and made of synthetic material to wick moisture away from your body. Avoid cotton at all costs.
Warm Layer: Warm layer that is your thickest layer. It is usually fleece or wool, puffy layers also work. This holds a layer of air inside the material.
Wind Layer: This should be a large synthetic layer that is large enough to fit over everything. This layer will block the wind and keep you warmer.
"Cotton is rotten" because in cold weather it absorbs and holds moisture. Once it does, it loses all insulating abilities. Blue jeans should also be avoided.
Warm winter boots with a removeable liner are good. The boot will collect moisture inside and that can still be cold the next day, so a removable liner can be taken out and warmed up/dried out. Make sure boots are large enough for your sock layers and not too tight.
Good warm socks made of wool, IsoWool, shearling, fleece, and similar synthetic materials. Do not wear cotton socks for reasons previously stated. A very thin pair of synthetic socks underneath a thicker wool or synthetic layer will work well.
A thin wear of gloves with a wool or synthetic mitten over the top is recommended. This allows Scouts to remove the mittens and use their gloved hands for when they need to use fingers.
Cold Weather Sleeping Tips
In addition to the gear below, we suggest changing out of your day time clothing before bed. Clean, dry clothing will keep you warmer at night. A snack at bedtime like a granola bar can help, as can some light activity before bed to warm you up prior to bed.
Sleeping Bag & Liner: Layering
We recommend using an approx. 20° mummy bag and a fleece liner. The bag alone will help keep Scouts warm on most nights. On colder nights the bag and liner can be combined to get to approx. 0-5°. If even warmer sleeping is needed another sleeping bag can be added, you can nest one sleeping bag inside of the other. In warmer weather when the bag is uncomfortable, the fleece liner is often enough to stay warm.
Also, consider a sleeping bag like the Aura from HikerDirect.com. Visit our Troop Gear Recommendations page for info on how to get discounts.
There are many options here. Some like a cot alone or with a closed cell sleeping pad on top. Alternatively, you can use a thicker sleeping pad such as a self-inflating pad. We recommend one that is insulated (look for an R-value in the description). Even in the fall or spring the ground can suck heat from you. On colder days we recommend a thin foam sleeping mat underneath your thicker sleeping pad to prevent cold from reaching you. The foam mats are cheap and provide insulation.
Note: if you buy your Scout a cot, ensure it is standard-sized, not extra long or it will not fit in our tents. Please buy a cot with curved legs and not pointed legs, to protect the bottoms of our Troop tents.
Do not use regular non-insulated air mattresses in cold weather. These will pull cold air from the ground and make you feel colder.
Please see our Troop Gear Recommendations for general gear info not necessarily related to cold weather, like daypacks, hiking packs, etc.