View Full Version : Cold weather camping and fires...

15-02-2007, 13:17
'ello all.....

Just wanted your views on what you do in cold weather if you're camping outside when it comes to fires....

do you sleep beside one? Had any scary moments? Safety advice/funny stories about waking up "really hot" or really cold? :D

If I'm going to do it, should I keep a good stock of wood nearby? :rolleyes:

All advice and thoughts appreciated!!


15-02-2007, 13:31
Main problem with sleeping next to a fire is the problem of spark holes in anything synthetic, eg bivvy/sleeping bags, mats, tarps etc. A wool blanket over your sleeping kit helps.

15-02-2007, 14:05
I guess it depends on whether you need a fire for keeping you warm or just for cooking.

Assuming you need one for warmth through the night then a full body length one, with some form of natural reflector behind you would be the best to go for. Also it will make a big difference if you sleep on some form of raised platform or very good insulating material to stop the ground from draining the heat from your body. Likewise wind protection can make a big difference.

You'll definitely need a good stock of firewood to last you through the night - in fact a hell of a lot more than you'd expect. You will also likely be up regulalrly through the night tending it. People with small children are generally experts at handling this kind of fire ;)

Stuart did an article a while back on learning to do this with Mors out in the Canadian winter. It's interesting reading. If you can't find it holler and I'll have a look for it.
Hope that's what you were after mate.

15-02-2007, 14:23
Never had a problem with a fire, but once kicked over an alcohol stove and set fire to my boot. :eek: :yikes: Didn't half get me jumping. :burnout: It's probably why I don't tend to cook too close to my kit.

With a real fire, I've had occasional spark holes in my kit, but nothing serious.

I've never really had fires going all night unless there was a few of us to tend it in 'stags'. If I'm on my tod, I'll let the fire burn down before climbing into my pit.

My winter sleeping kit can cope with the British winter, now I've worked out what I'm doing. :rolleyes:

15-02-2007, 14:44
Personally I dont like sleeping close to fire since I woke with my para boot in some very hot embers bout 17 years ago, A good 3-4 season bag, bivi bag and roll mat should keep you warm enough to sleep properly even in light snow, me and a mate did a overnighter last march in snowy conditions - our water bottles froze up but we were quite comfy tucked up in our bags, and the crisp white countryside was a marvel to wake up to :)

Scuba Pete
15-02-2007, 14:44
When its cold and wet fires use a crazy amount of firewood. It rains alot in scotland :( I am usually in my hammock so I am not too close to the fire. It's amazing how much they warm the surrounding air.

I don't goto sleep with my fire roaring as my hammock and tarp are synthetic and I don't want to wake up on fire.

hammock monkey
15-02-2007, 15:07
slept out in a huge storm once, hacked down with rain all night and the trees bent around in the wind. we were sleeping amoungst the roots and as the trees bent and groaned in the wind the ground moved with them.

we had a pretty big fire going all night and, apart from waking up several metres down the slope it was a fantastic night! the feelings of the trees being alive and powerful will stick with me forever. i've looked at trees differently ever since.
all i had was my old 10 sleeping bag and one of those sweaty orange survival bags to keep the damp out. plenty of layers and a wooly hat.
highly recommended, everyone will think youre mad, but its only a bit of weather.

it was the biggest 'camp' fire we ever had, and used a load of wood, but it kept us warm all night, the wind took the sparks away from the side we slept on. it was kind of a large (4ft across) oval shaped tipi fire to begin with. nowadays i'd build it better, maybe a reflector, but no complaints! just get plenty of wood, keep an eye on how fast its burning and pile it up accordingly.
dried us off as fast as we were getting wet too...almost :)

15-02-2007, 16:17
I spent 3 months in the Australian Outback and desert in winter.

I remember being 120 miles or so east of the Oodnadata track north of Lake Eyre in the Simpson Desert and it was in the 80's during the day but within a few hours of sunset it was below freezing at night and windy.

I had no tent, just a kip mat and a cheap 4 season sleeping bag. I was still cold at night so my buddy and I made a fire every evening. One night I was lying in my doss bag and telling my buddy how warm it was with the fire and he started laughing, so much so he could not speak. I did not know what at until a few moments later when the sparks from the embers being blown by the wind onto my bag had burned right through to my feet! :eek: By the gods I've never got out a sleeping bag quicker in my life! It was duly covered in sand and put out!

After that night we always without fail, covered the embers in a thick layer of sand before doss time! :D You live n learn huh? hahahaa