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  1. #1

    Default The Great Outdoors: Special Winter Edition

    I enjoy being out in nature in all seasons, and winter is one of my favorite times, especially in extreme weather. I enjoy the challenge of it, but I also enjoy the experience. Snow, cold, and frost transforms the woods and mountains into an alien world, one we no longer recognize from our summer or even fall visit. Leaves rustling in the wind turn into ghostly whispers as life sleeps and appears to die. The overwhelming chorus of insects is gone, replaced by the ever-present howls of the wind and the constant crunching of your own footsteps.

    What do you enjoy about winter? What are some activities or trips you've done?

  2. #2

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    Probably the biggest barrier to enjoying nature most of us creatures accustomed to elaborate heated shelters face is staying warm.

    Here are some winter clothing tips from a polar bear...

    Wind is the cold's knife which allows it to cut through insulation. Unless you're a polar bear or other such Arctic critter, use a windblocking outer layer, such as a softshell, tightly woven fabric or even a rain jacket. Most coats don't have very good wind blocking fabric, and that's what nearly everyone wears as their outer layer. And, most coats are ridiculously underinsulated. They have just enough insulation to keep the average person warm while walking fast at freezing with no wind. That's where a sweater or fleece jacket or even another coat is useful.

    "There is no bad weather, only bad clothes." -Swedish proverb

  3. #3
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    My one winter excursion, spending the night in Yosemite valley while it's 12 degrees overnight was nominally successful. but I'd do a couple things very differently. First of all, get a damned sleeping bag rated for that. I used my regular sleeping bag with a liner to amp it up and shivered all night and had nightmares about my parents telling me what to do. Second lesson is either wear new socks and gloves in the morning after a sleep, or sleep with your socks/gloves in your bag. What inevitably happens is that they get all sweaty from hiking, then freeze solid overnight, and it's hell getting them to do anything for you again. I had to move around for a good hour before I could feel my feet and hands again in the morning.

  4. #4
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    I generally dislike winter, but I do a pretty good job of reframing it and appreciating the beauty here and there. Thus far this winter, that is not doable though since it's been below zero and we have virtually no snow to enjoy visually. Hopefully that changes soon. I'd like to get a wide angle lens so that I can partake in winter photography and maybe some light hiking. I suppose I'll need heavy duty hiking boots too.
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  5. #5
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    Snow still hasn't lost its novelty for me. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've seen snow. There is a certain magic to waking up to snow in the morning.

    I moved to Europe about four months ago, so I'm keen to schedule some weekends away in the new year. Currently on my list are: Iceland, Norway, parts of Sweden, Scotland, Wales.

    I've also never been skiing or snowboarding before. I'd like to try those things. I need to do a bit more research on where to go, however.

    I come from a mild to warm climate, so anything below 15ºC (~60ºF) feels like winter to me, ha.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    My one winter excursion, spending the night in Yosemite valley while it's 12 degrees overnight was nominally successful. but I'd do a couple things very differently. First of all, get a damned sleeping bag rated for that. I used my regular sleeping bag with a liner to amp it up and shivered all night and had nightmares about my parents telling me what to do. Second lesson is either wear new socks and gloves in the morning after a sleep, or sleep with your socks/gloves in your bag. What inevitably happens is that they get all sweaty from hiking, then freeze solid overnight, and it's hell getting them to do anything for you again. I had to move around for a good hour before I could feel my feet and hands again in the morning.
    I've done the inadequate sleeping bag thing before too. Type II fun for sure! (not fun at the time, but fun to talk about later) Great tips, and also keep the shoes or boot liners warm. I almost got frostbite after forgetting to put my shoes into my sleeping bag (inside a plastic bag) at 0F and having to pack up in the morning wearing ice blocks.


    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Deadpan View Post
    I generally dislike winter, but I do a pretty good job of reframing it and appreciating the beauty here and there. Thus far this winter, that is not doable though since it's been below zero and we have virtually no snow to enjoy visually. Hopefully that changes soon. I'd like to get a wide angle lens so that I can partake in winter photography and maybe some light hiking. I suppose I'll need heavy duty hiking boots too.
    I really hope you get some snow! Cold without snow just isn't worth it. A wide angle lens would be great--I'm just imagining some of those shots!

    For most people, all they really need for winter is something which will keep their feet warm and dry. I did a three night backpacking trip in the UP of Michigan down to 0F in lightweight, non-waterproof trail runners, as well as plenty of other winter trips. I did use a waterproof GoreTex sock though. (Yes, these were the same shoes which became ice blocks when I forgot to keep them warm overnight.) You probably already have the socks needed, and maybe even a running shoe which is slightly oversize to allow enough room for extra socks. (This is important: blood flow = warmth.) Try this, working from foot outward:

    thin polyester, polypropylene, silk, or nylon liner sock (even men's dress sock or hose sock would work)
    turkey size oven bag taped with duct tape loosely around the ankle for snug fit (this is a vapor barrier liner to protect your socks from sweat moisture)
    the warmest, thickest wool sock you can fit in your shoe and still keep the fit a bit on the loose side
    another turkey size oven bag put into your shoe, but with the shoe insole on the inside of the bag (this is the outer waterproof layer)
    spare oven bags and duct tape (although I never needed these on my three day trip)
    try to use some type of Aerogel-insulated insole instead of the regular one if you can (Toasty Feet brand is what I use)
    whatever footwear you want to use: boots, trail runners, moccassins...

    This keeps me warm while hiking down to around 0-10F


    Quote Originally Posted by Ingrid in grids View Post
    Snow still hasn't lost its novelty for me. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've seen snow. There is a certain magic to waking up to snow in the morning.

    I moved to Europe about four months ago, so I'm keen to schedule some weekends away in the new year. Currently on my list are: Iceland, Norway, parts of Sweden, Scotland, Wales.

    I've also never been skiing or snowboarding before. I'd like to try those things. I need to do a bit more research on where to go, however.

    I come from a mild to warm climate, so anything below 15ºC (~60ºF) feels like winter to me, ha.
    That's very exciting! I'd like to visit all of those countries in the winter!
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    I thought you were joking at first, @JAVO. That's... a lot of layers. I have nothing besides basic cotton socks and some polyester blend socks (I'm assuming that's what they are).

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Deadpan View Post
    I thought you were joking at first, @JAVO. That's... a lot of layers. I have nothing besides basic cotton socks and some polyester blend socks (I'm assuming that's what they are).
    It's only two pairs of socks needed though.

    Estimating the total cost:
    Wool socks at Target, Meijer or Walmart hunting section: $10
    Men's dress socks: $3
    Oven bags: $2

    If your polyester blend socks are thin, you could use them instead of the dress socks. They'll get soaked with perspiration anyway.

    You can use bread bags or plastic produce bags too. They're free, but less durable. Not a problem on a short hike.
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    I was outside for about ten minutes yesterday and very nearly got frostbite in my fingers, and I was wearing gloves. Any tips Mr. Polar Bear?
    “All men by nature desire to know” ~ Aristotle
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAVO View Post
    "There is no bad weather, only bad clothes." -Swedish proverb
    True. Layers, wicking fabrics to keep you dry (and warm), investing in stuff that's going to keep out the wind. I have a fishermans sweater that's wool but it's a fantastic layer further away from the body so it doesn't get wet. Boots and gloves - lightweight, lots of Thinsulate and soles that function well in the snow/ice. I also use hand and foot warmers when I'll be out for any length of time. And cover your head and face.
    I like to rock n' roll all night and *part* of every day. I usually have errands... I can only rock from like 1-3.
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