Heavy Canoe & I went to the Chalk Hills Recreational Area on the Wisconsin/U.P. border last weekend.
Temps got down to -5 or so range (we think, based on weather data not an actual thermometer). That is our coldest so far and we have decided it is about the limit of our gear.
We managed to stay warm but were faced with challenges we haven't seen before like EVERYTHING freezing solid...water, beer, grubs, dish soap, mustard, saline solution (you get the idea), propane heater not putting out enough heat to be useful, and loathing trips to use the pit toilet.
To top things off...the fishing sucked = 3 days of fishing and only 2 fish.
SO...what is your record low and what do you consider a "sane" limit.
You are never lost, late, or lagging behind if you are on an adventure.
Last winter, my girlfriend and I woke up one morning to -9 or -10 on my tiny thermometer in Tettegouche State Park. The forecast for the next night was -18 for the Finland area, so we decided to only stay one night. We were well equipped the first night, but our sleeping bags were stretched to the limit around -10. We decided against night number two, and found a cheap hotel in Two Harbors for the night. Morning temp was around -15 if I remember right. If we ever get some snow and cold, we're ready for it this year with our new WM Puma bags, so we should be able to handle most conditions thrown at us in the arrowhead. I want some more snow first!
What has given me the most problems is the dreaded strong winds. It is tough to combat that especially when also trying to fish on that trip. Location of tent is extremely important in that you should get it out of potential blowing winds.
Sig: All of us our Dreamers. Dreams are what started everything. We our asking ourselves a great question? all of us interested in wilderness preservation are asking...What kind of world do we want.?
Me and a buddy spent 4 days on fourtown a few years back. the warmest it got was minus 1 the coldest it got was minus 37 acording to the robot guy on the weather band raido. Besides all the fearing for our lives and what not we had a great time and managed to catch a few fish. for some reason or another todd and I always manage to end up camping on the coldest days of the year. I do not think him and I have been winter camping ever when its been out of the single digits.
Did a camp out at Wild River state park where the temperature bottomed out at -29 degrees. That park is rather cold being it's in a bowl down near the Saint Croix river.
Sane temperatures are the ones where they don't challenge you or teach you something about your system. Obviously you were challenged on your trip. Remember that next time and plan for things freezing.
The amount of satisfaction you get from life depends largely on your own ingenuity, self-sufficiency, and resourcefulness. People who wait around for life to supply their satisfaction usually find boredom instead.
I'm in that -40 category 2 years ago, brutal but good.. I think haha.. we happen to have a little buddy heater we put in the vestibule and ran that every now and then, it worked, we just stayed in the tent :o/
According the Weather Underground website it got to -20F in Two Harbors and -23F in Ely when I camped at my property Jan 19-20, 2008. I was totally unprepared for what I was doing and ended up taking the sleeping bag to the car, with the emergency blanket and additional quilted sleeping bag with the coats piled on top. I left the next morning to find a blood vessel in my left eye had burst. I think I was so stressed by the cold my blood pressure sky rocketed. I won’t cold camp if the temperature is expected to go below 0F anymore. I don’t think my body can handle it.
About 5-10 years ago there was little snow in the TC area so on a spur of the moment I threw my gear in my vehicle and headed up to the Arrowhead area to do some snow shoeing, skiing, and winter camping for the weekend. It was forecast to be in the mid 20’s at home and I did not think to check on the temps up north.
When I got to McFarland Lake it seemed a little cold, but what was I gonna do after travelling so far? I skied across John, and East Pike, camping on the edge of the east end of the lake. I made my ramen and hot chocolate and hit the sack at 5 PM. I woke up shivering and looked at my watch, it was 7:30 PM! Moving around in my sleeping bag warmed me up, and I went back to sleep. But 2 hours later I woke up shivering again. So I did sit ups in my sleeping bag to warm up, and went back to sleep. I repeated this all night, sleeping for 2 hours, waking up cold, do some sit ups, and falling back to sleep until daybreak. I gathered up my stuff and headed back to my car and made a beeline to Grand Marais and the rec center where I spent the next few hours in the sauna and whirlpool warming up.
I never did know how cold it was, but the radio said it had gotten down to 34 below in Tower & Embarrass that night. It was probably a few degrees warmer where I was. I figure it was 25-30 below from talking to locals at the rec center/
overnight, cold camping. michigan - 40, minnesota -45 (at least), alaska -? (didn't want to know). whiskey freezes at around 30 below, the party stops when the whiskey is frozen, the swedish bikini team goes home.
but for perspective, we were in colorado several winters ago. we were at a ymca camp for x-c skiing. we were out skiing, everything was perfect, then we noticed that there was no one else around. when we got to the trail shelter we noticed that it was -15F. we didn't even think that it was cold. the relative humidity (none in colorado) makes a huge difference.
Our first winter camping trip it was -39 but may have been colder, the thermometer didn't go any lower!!! It was maybe a high of 10 degrees at most all two nights. It was a challenge staying at 98.6 degrees!
There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.
I have a picture somewhere of the thermometer at -30 when I was camping with some friends. The problem was this was at 2:00 PM it had to have dropped over night. Still do not know to this day how cold it got that night. I was cold in a -30 sleeping bag... put hot water in a water bottle and put it down by my feet just so I could get 3 hours of sleep. Then woke up and sat by the fire for the rest of the night. We stayed two more nights because it warmed up to 0 the next day.... crazy! the fish weren't even biting. We still had fun and I would do it again in a second I would just buy a better sleeping bag and come more prepared.