I am really fond of hot tent camping. The time spent in winter in a warm tent with a mug of hot lemon tea will never be forgotten, the atmosphere of the frosty forest and the creaking snow under the feet of are so beautiful! The extraordinary silence of a simple tent comfort that we can create for ourselves remain in the memory forever.
Place for a tent
I choose a place for a tent without dead trees nearby. It would be perfect, if the nearby trees will not have dry branches hanging over the tent in bad weather. They can fall either on the tent or on its inhabitants. I carefully clean the place under the tent from snow. I recommend you to make sure that there are no snags of stones and fallen trunks embedded in the ground. If this is not done immediately, you will have to clean up later when the snow melts under the tent.
Installation of the floor
In winter and summer, I use the same tent floor. Its main feature is that it is moisture-proof and does not allow the moisture formed under the tent to leak inside. For protection from the cold, I put a layer of fir twigs on the ground. So I prepare sleeping places, and then I put the floor down. This makes it comfortable and does not allow the cold coming from the ground.
Fixing the tent floor
There are several options for fixing the floor of the tent. One of the most convenient ways is to fix the tent floor with zippers. It makes the tent more airtight and requires less time.
Fixing the tent
Wind in the forest is rare and it is not necessary to put a tent on backstay anchors. However, I do not bet for fear of being blown away by a hurricane. I just want to increase the area of the tent, which becomes even more spacious thanks to these simple procedure.
Mat in front of the entrance
In order not to bring snow into the tent, I make something like a door mat. I used to make such a carpet from spruce branches. Their sharp needles hold and clean the snow from the soles very well. But then I began to use dry spruce branches, in my opinion they are even better at this task. And the greens do not need to be cut.
I use inexpensive stoves made of stainless steel, such stoves are simple and reliable. A hot tent stove must be reliable, I suppose. Nobody wants to freeze in winter.
Installing the tent stove
Before use, I traditionally lay a mat made of thermal fabric in order not to burn the floor. In the place of contact with the valve we insert a pipe pre-wrapped with a heat-insulator to protect the tent from heating. Then we install the remaining parts of the pipe.
A small tip for you: the higher and further the chimney the better. When it’s really cold outside I put the stove closer to the center of the tent. This way the heat from the stove spreads in all directions.
If the weather is not very cold (up to -10 degrees Celsius), the stove stands close to the wall of the tent. By the way, that wall is also covered with thermal fabric. The stove can be overlaid with stones. They accumulate heat and give it up for a good while. This will save you firewood in winter.
In winter you can carry backpacks and take with you not only everything you need, but even more things. It can be possible, if you have a drag sled.
My first trips several years ago showed that the main thing is to spread the weight as evenly as possible. The center of gravity should be in the middle of the sled. I usually fix the thing with a rope to keep them more secure.
If you pack everything right and tie things well, the sledge will go through the snow smoothly without falling over. It will save you a lot of time.
I use a drag sled to transport firewood to the camp.A drag sled is very helpful for the transportation of small firewood. It is an extremely simple thing, but at the same time its functionality is wider than just transporting things.
I often use a sled when sawing firewood. You can have dinner on it and even put a hot frying pan, if you throw some branches on the plastic bottom of the sled.
When it snows, I cover some of the firewood with a drag sled. In the morning I can light a campfire from dry wood.
Shappell SWB3 Wear Bar Kit
In the bottom part of the sledge can be installed Shappell SWB3 Wear Bar Kit that protect the plastic from abrasion.
Preparation of firewood
I always start lighting my stove with the driest wood. Normally it is pine or aspen. The main task is to light the stove a.s.a.p. and get coals, in which you can lay raw wood that burns much longer than dry wood.
The firewood should be a bit shorter than the stove. It is more convenient to move them in the oven. The preparation of firewood for camping involves their sawing and, as a rule, cutting. You have always to think about how to get firewood in winter.
The amount of firewood for a night
At night when the coals are good, I put two small dry billets and 3 raw ones. At the same time, I make a minimum air access mode to avoid active combustion in the stove. It should be something between a quiet fire and smoldering. When I do so, my sleep is warm and comfortable.
At 3-4 o’clock a.m., I add firewood in the same ratio. After that I can sleep in the warmth until the morning comes.
This time I decided to make my overnight stay thoroughly and I made the beds for my tent from logs. This method is labor-intensive, but effective. The assembly chart is simple, 7 sturdy logs in my height fit on two large logs at the edges. These logs are the base for the bed. If possible, we clean them from snow and ice and frozen grass so as not to drag it all into the tent.
We choose logs for the bed only from dry wood. There should be no moisture inside it, and should be no snow on it. I found several tall and dry pines from which to cut the poles. One of the main tasks is to cut off the knots and possible irregularities. A sharp axe will perfectly help to cope with this.
We put smaller poles in the center, after that we begin to lay the bigger poles on the edges. Sleeping in such a bed is like sleeping at home. The ground doesn’t feel cold at all.
If there are few dry trees
This bed can also be used as a comfortable bench. In the case when there is not much dry wood, you can do it with just two poles. For that purpose you have to saw them in halves and tie them up. It will not be necessary to fasten the poles on the bed. I use elastic bands from the sleeping quilt and the mat. They hold them perfectly.
Traditionally, we put a rug or blanket on top, and then the Sleeping Pad . The level of comfort is the highest, sleeping on such a bed is incredibly comfortable. Healthy sleep always promises cheerfulness of mind and body.
A huge plus of this design is that there is a lot of free space under the bed where you can put backpacks, things or firewood. And if it’s scary at night, you can hide yourself under this bed.
The uninvited rodents
One night, a gang of little saboteur mice snuck into my tent, which was not completely closed. They began to deal with my provisions and woke me up at 3 a.m. wildly crunching and squeaking. I hung up the bags and fell asleep.
An hour later I woke up as a felt a mouse running over my head, and in the morning I found that the mice were ahead of me and ate my breakfast. After that, I began to check all the locks of the tent before going to bed and began to pack food in plastic airtight containers. The plastic has not yet been attacked by mice.
Usually I use either a bucket or a plastic box with a transparent lid for food. The products in it are clearly visible, and I do not have to look for anything.
In any case, both plastic buckets and a box are cheap and practical, the lid can be used as an additional table or cutting board when you are too lazy to do something more convenient.
Everyone needs a table in a tent. Sometimes I make it from simple logs, which are cut down and serve as countertops. I use from two to three logs depending on their diameter, although the more logs the better, there is always something to put on the table. Before I bring the table into the tent, I use it as a block on which I chop necessary firewood. This trick allows you no tot cut a log specifically for chopping firewood.
If you do not want to use a log instead of a table, you can always buy wonderful camping table.
How not to wake up at night in a cold tent
Firewood in the stove can burn out faster than you expect, and there is a risk of waking up at night in a cold tent. To avoid this I add some firewood at about 3 a.m. The first night loading comes usually at 10 p.m. In any case, I leave a stock of the driest logs, some waste wood and other kindling next to the stove, so that at night it is possible to melt the extinguished stove extremely quickly.
Once this foresight helped me a lot. The alarm didn’t go off, the stove burned out, and the temperature in the tent quickly dropped to -20 degrees Celsius, just like outside. I was freezing, but after a few minutes the wood in the stove crackled merrily warming everything around.
Cleanliness in the tent
I always make a broom from a spruce or fir tree. Sometimes I knit it right after pitching up the tent and sometimes on the next day. I do this for several reasons. The most important thing is the relative cleanliness of the floor.
During the day a lot of bark and waste wood are formed on it and snow can be brought in. Day after day the tent can turn from a cozy home into a hermit’s lair. It is not difficult to spend a few minutes cleaning the floor, but what is the effect!
The benefits of this are not only aesthetic but practical. The less dirt there is on the floor of the tent, the less is the chance to pierce or cut it, and you can do this simply by unsuccessfully stamping on a waste wood.
Improved lock for a tent
In winter I close and open the tent quickly in order not to let out the heat. A small improvement of the lock will greatly facilitate the handling of it in the winter. Any string is passed through the clasp and tied at the bottom, now it is much more convenient to open and close your tent with gloves or thick mittens. It becomes really easy to take it, and it is easier to find it in the dark by touch. The detail is very small and the benefits of it are many.
Drying things in the tent
Dry clothes are obviously a guarantee of a good rest and productive work. A few ropes put under the dome of the tent are a great simple solution for drying things, because the warmest space in the tent is there. The main rule is to tie the rope not in tight so that the clothes do not come into contact with the wall. Otherwise it will absorb the condensation formed on the inside of the tent. For these reasons, I also place the sleeping places a little further away from the walls of the tent so that the sleeping quilt remains dry.
How to dry your boots without laces? On this question, I broke my head until I decided to use the loop on the back part of the boots. I take a stick, cut out a small groove and tie any string with a loop, then I hang up the boots. They dry extremely quickly the moisture evaporates instantly, nothing drips down and very soon you can put warm shoes on.
Sometimes while enjoying a cup of tea, you can also knock out a coat hanger made of two sticks. At the end of the vertical line there should be a knot that clings to the tent. In the straightened form clothes dry much faster.
If I am too lazy to do this, I simply use a rope stretched horizontally.
The soft light and cheerful crackle of the campfire makes any camp cozy, but the kerosene lamp makes the camp even more cozy. For me it is a symbol of rest and comfort in the wilderness, when a light twinkles in it, the forest around becomes fabulous and mysterious, and the warm light is especially pleasant to the eye in the winter forest at night.
In the camp there are dozens of places where the lamp can be hung or put.
It can be not only beautiful, it can be also useful. For example you can hang a lamp in the area of the entrance or on a suspension for a pot of tea to see what we have cooked and baked hang. But not forget to keep a kerosene lamp away from fire.
Humidity in the tent
The level of humidity in the tent is constantly changing and in order to preserve the most valuable thing a little longer I use hermetic packaging. Here I keep the books the source of our knowledge and inspiration. There is not much free time, but if there is you can spend it using the crackle of firewood, and the aroma of fragrant tea – this is what the atmosphere in any library should be like.
A hot kettle or a pot can leave an unpleasant burn. in this case fire resistant gloves or mittens are always useful in the tent and around the campfire. It is better to have two pairs of gloves (one in the tent and the second one near the campfire). They will not wander from one place to another and get lost.
Before leaving the camp
Before I leave the camping place, I make it ready for my next visit. All remaining logs I put vertically under the crown of a large tree.
If you just put them buried with snow they will get wet. It is more practical if the log is put in an upright state, the snow will certainly fall on them, but in minimal quantities. Hangers will also be useful in the future. The main thing is to leave them in a prominent place.
Cleaning of stove chimneys
A couple of times in the winter season I clean the chimney from snuff, which is mainly formed due to the use of coniferous trees. I do this with simple dry spruce branches that do this job perfectly. Once it was really cold for three days and on the stove walls appeared about one and a half centimeters of carbon, because all the firewood was coniferous wood. The draught in the stove deteriorated although the oxygen supply was provided as usual and the blower was open. After I cleaned the chimney everything returned to normal.
Thus, when the draft in the stove becomes weak in spite of a good access of oxygen, the furnace should not be ignited forcibly, it should be cooled down. Then you have to check the chimney. Cleaning and checking the chimney are important extremely procedures and I do not forget about them. I let the stove cool down a little and clean it as much as possible from coal and ash. The coal from the stove goes to the campfire.
Kind of p. s.
The camp is ready for a future meeting. I am sure that you can be in nature not only for fishing, hunting or hiking. Nature itself is valuable and self-sufficient, and often we go to the forest for its own sake. Nature gives us energy and purity of spirit, it teaches us to be honest and active. It shows us that beauty is simple. The forest is our abode where we learn not only to survive but to live, to live without fears and doubts. We learn to feel at home.