Winter Camping in a Snow Trench – Sub Zero Bivvy Bag Adventure

Join Mike & I as we Attempt to Winter Camp in a Snow Trench at -15° F, Deep in the Woods of the White Mountains.

For this winter backpacking & Snow Camping adventure, we’ll be heading into the austere terrain of the Dry River Wilderness in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Our main challenge for this adventure will be to sleep without the comforts of a tent of hammock.  Our goal is to use bivvy sacks to protect our sleeping bags from the elements as well as extend the range of our sleeping bags.  The latter of which is of particular importance because we’ll be packing in sleeping bags rated for around 15° to 20° F, in temperatures of around -15° F.  Our secondary objective will be to hit the summit of Mt Crawford, replete with stunning, 360° views of the White Mountains. Oh, and we’ve got some pretty fun backpacking food on the menu as well.  We’ll be camp cooking all “real food” on this trip, thanks to the sub-zero temps, no traditional dehydrated backpacking food.

Route Overview – Snow Trench Camping – Sintax77

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Winter Campsite selection, via topographical maps, and well …pure luck.
  • Winter camping snow shovels (see gear list below for further details)
  • The complications of cooking backpacking food in sub-zero winter conditions.
  • Digging a winter camping shelter in the snow, along with tarp setup, should you be lucky enough to have one available (we did).
  • Building a fire on top of snow (not nearly as hard as you might think it is – even on the 6+ feet of snow that we had to deal with).
  • Sleeping in a snow trench with a SOL Escape Bivvy sack.
  • The balance of hitting a winter summit, versus well, not eating, hydrating or, you know -surviving.

Trailhead Parking

  • Davis Path Trailhead, Crawford Notch Rd, Bartlett, NH 03812
  • 44°07’08.1″N 71°21’15.1″W

GPS Data for this trip is available on the Trip Data Page, or by using this link for direct download: GPS Data – Snow Trench Camping Mt Crawford NH 2018 – Sintax77

Stats & Trails Used, Day One

  • Park at Davis Path Trailhead.
  • Head norht on the Davis Path Trail.
  • Setup camp in the flat area found around 2,500′ along the Davis Path Trail.

Elevation Profile Day 1 – Snow Trench Camping – Sintax77

Day 1 Mileage: 2.0 miles
Day 1 Elevation Gain: 1,725′

Stats & Trails Used, Day Two

  • Wake up, get a campfire going, and cook some soup for breakfast to get fueled up.
  • Grab some essential items (snacks, water, camera gear) and leave the majority of gear at camp to keep things fast and light for the upcoming high winds summit attempt.
  • Rejoin Davis Path Trail and head north.
  • At the junction, take the Mt Crawford Spur Trail, towards the summit of Mt Crawford.
  • Head back down the same way, to return to base camp and pack up the bulk our remaining items.

Elevation Profile Day 2 – Snow Trench Camping – Sintax77

Day 2 Mileage: 3.1 miles *0.65 miles to the summit of Mt Crawford, 2 miles from camp to the Davis Path Trailhead Parking Lot.
Day 2 Elevation Gain: 974′

Trip Totals
Total Elevation Gain: 2,699′
Total Mileage: 5.1 Miles

Notable Gear Used / Seen on this Backpacking Trip:

Pack
Backpack – EMS Longtrail 70 (2011 model)

Location
GPS Unit – Garmin Oregon 650

Cooking & Eating Utensils
Multi-fuel Camping Stove – Optimus Polaris Optifuel
Cook Pot, 1L – MallowMe
Cup – Vargo 450ml Titanium Cup
Spork, Plastic –  Sea to Summit Delta Spork

Seating
Byer of Maine Tri-Lite Camp Stool

Bivvy Bag System
SOL Escape Lite Bivvy Bag – Emergency Bivvy Sack for Survival and Camping

Sleep System
Sleeping Bag – Outdoor Vitals Mummy 15° Down Model

Shelter
Tarp – Hammock Gear Cuben Hex Tarp
Ground Cloth – Tyvek, long

Water Storage
Water Bottle – 40 Below 1 Liter Bottle w/ Bottle Boot

Light Sources

Headlamp – Olight H16 Wave LED Headlamp
12,000 lumen Mega Flashlight used to illuminate our campsite in sub-zero temps – Olight X7R Marauder

First Aid & SOS Messenger
Spot Messenger

Traction & Traversal
MSR Denali Ascent Snowshoes *No longer in production, I got them on Ebay. A modern equivalent would be something like the MSR Evo Ascent Snowshoe.
Kahtoola Micro Spikes *I didn’t end up using them, as I had my snowshoes on most of the time, but I always throw these in the pack for snow trips to deal with icy terrain.
Trekking Poles – CNOC Outdoors Carbon Fiber Vertex Trekking Poles

Snow Camping Tools
Camp Brand Snow Shovel *I’m not sure my model is in production anymore.  The closest current version seems to be the Camp Rocket Shovel.

Clothing
Mid Layer – Surplus Military Fleece
US Army Gen III Extreme Cold Weather Trousers
Gloves – Sealskinz Water Proof Ultra Grip Gloves
EMS Over-mittens w/ US Army Wool Gloves
Boots, Winter High Top Garmont GTX
Face mask / neck gaiter by Seirus Innovation

A Fuel-Free USB Powered Lighter? – And other thoughts on Fire Starting Tools for Camping

Testing out the TekFire Fuel Free lighter for Camping, Backpacking, & Survival Fire Starting.

Gear Seen on this Episode

Sara’s Back! Nomadik Review – 1st Month (Adventure Subscription Box)

A review of Nomadik – a Monthly Subscription box for people who like the Outdoors, Backpacking, Hiking, & Camping Gear.

10% off – use code “sintax10” with this link. 

This Month’s Theme
The Mountaineer Collection

Items in this Month’s Nomadik Box

  • Baledeo Locker 18-Function Multi-Tool
  • Munkees Keychain Compass w/ Thermometer
  • Doohickey Clipkey Tool by NiteIZe
  • Huppy Bar Whole Food Bar

Oh, yeah – and Sara’s baaaaaack!

Sara on Instagram @SarasGreatAdventures

Disclosure: A commission is received for purchases through the above links. Your support is appreciated and makes the backpacking trip videos on this channel possible.

Mail Call – My First Solo Backpacking Trip , MilSurp Gear, New Camping Saw

Tips, tricks and discussion on various Backpacking, Hiking & Camping topics.

Topics Discussed / Gear Seen

    • My very first solo backpacking / camping trip.
    • Hurricane Irene’s effect on the White Mountains back in 2011.
    • Military Surplus gear for backpacking and hiking. My experiences, pros and cons, etc.
    • Link to the bushcraft channel I referenced, ReallyBigMonkey1
    • Maybe I should do an old-school military surplus only camping trip some time?
    • Speaking of old-school – Dan’s been watching for 6 years now.
    • Shout out to the person who sent me a big ol’ box of cool knives and gear for future trips.
    • Backpackers should hug a hunter.
    • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is pretty cool.
    • So is the National Wild Turkey Federation.
    • I totally forgot that Mike once broke a defenseless Gomboy Silky saw years ago.
    • Viewer Steve is the man – he sent me a brand new Bahco Laplander saw to replace our recently broken Coleman folding saw.
    • Mystery box from Nomadik.
    • Checking out the Olight H16 Wave Headlamp with hands free on and off function.
    • A hater brings up a great topic! – Hit that bell button for upload notifications!

Winter Hammock Camping in a Snow Storm – Sub Zero Backpacking in the White Mountains

Join me for 3 days of Winter Camping, Hammock setup, Snowshoeing, Camp Stove testing with multiple Fuel types for Snow Melting, Cold Weather Clothing tips & more on this mega episode.

For this solo winter backpacking and snow camping adventure, I’ll be heading into the deep snow of the Sandwich Range Wilderness in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.  If you’re serious about geeking out on the finer details of camping in deep snow in temperatures below zero F, this video is for you.  We’ll be spending a lot of time at camp experimenting, demonstrating and discussing a lot of winter camping topics in detail, including –

  • Snowshoe types and usage
  • Campsite selection
  • Using the Outdoor Vitals Mummy Pod System
  • Snow melting for drinking water
  • Extensive testing using the Optimus Polaris Optifuel stove comparing several camping fuel types for winter cooking & snow melting – LPG canister fuel, white gas, and diesel fuel. Liquid fuel stove priming, inverted canister mode, fuel efficiency, etc.
  • Winter hammock camping tarp setup in the snow.
  • Trekking poles for winter hiking
  • Staying warm on winter camping trips – clothing layer management and strategy, sleeping bag choices, hot water bottle for supplemental warmth.

Trailhead Parking

  • Oliverian Brook Trailhead, Kancamangus Hwy, Albany, NH
  • N43° 59.747′ W71° 21.032′

GPS Data for this trip is available on the Trip Data Page, or by using this link for direct download: Sandwich Range Winter 2018 Hammock Camping Trip GPS Data – Sintax77

Stats & Trails Used, Day One

  • Park at Oliverian Brook Trailhead.
  • Head south on the Oliverian Brook Trail
  • Setup camp in the flat area near the junction with Passaconaway Cutoff Trial

Day 1 Elevation Profile – Sandwich Range Winter – Sintax77

Day 1 Mileage: 2.5 miles
Day 1 Elevation Gain: 502′

Stats & Trails Used, Day Two

  • Continue south on the Oliverian Brook Trail.
  • At the junction, take the Passaconaway Cutoff, towards the summit of Mt Passaconaway.
  • Head back down the same way, to return to base camp.

Day 2 Elevation Profile – Sandwich Range Winter – Sintax77

Day 2 Mileage: 4 miles
Day 2 Elevation Gain: 1,473′

Notable Gear Used / Seen on this Backpacking Trip:

Pack
Backpack – EMS Longtrail 70 (2011 model)

Location
GPS Unit – Garmin Oregon 650

Cooking & Eating Utensils
Multi-fuel Camping Stove – Optimus Polaris Optifuel
Cook Pot, 1L – MallowMe
Cup – Vargo 450ml Titanium Cup
Spork, Long – Sea to Summit Alpha

Hammock System
Hammock Body – Dutchware NylonD 11′ Netless
Hammock Suspension – Dutchware Polyester Tree Straps with Titanium Cinch Buckles

Sleep System
Sleeping Bag / Hammock Quilt – Outdoor Vitals Mummy 15° Down Model

Shelter
Tarp – Hammock Gear Cuben Hex Tarp
Ground Cloth – Tyvek, long

Water Storage
Water Bottle – 40 Below 1 Liter Bottle w/ Bottle Boot

Light Sources
Flashlight / Clip-on Headlamp – Olight S1 Mini Baton

First Aid & SOS Messenger
Spot Messenger

Traction & Traversal
MSR Denali Ascent Snowshoes *No longer in production, I got them on Ebay. A modern equivalent would be something like the MSR Evo Ascent Snowshoe.
Kahtoola Micro Spikes *I didn’t end up using them, as I had my snowshoes on most of the time, but I always throw these in the pack for snow trips to deal with icy terrain.
Trekking Poles – CNOC Outdoors Carbon Fiber Vertex Trekking Poles

Snow Camping Tools
Camp Brand Snow Shovel *I’m not sure my model is in production anymore.  The closest current version seems to be the Camp Rocket Shovel.

Clothing
Mid Layer – Surplus Military Fleece
US Army Gen III Extreme Cold Weather Trousers
Gloves – Sealskinz Water Proof Ultra Grip Gloves
EMS Over-mittens w/ US Army Wool Gloves
Boots, Winter High Top Garmont GTX
Face mask / neck gaiter by Seirus Innovation

Olight S1 Mini Baton – My Go-to Flashlight for Ultralight Backpacking

A Review of the Olight S1 Mini Baton USB Rechargeable LED Flashlight.

This is currently my go-to flashlight for backpacking and camping trips due to it’s low-weight, 600 lumen capability when needed, and ultra-long run-time in moon light mode for tent and hammock lighting. I also find it to be a handy work project and EDC light (every day carry).

Links for full Manufacturer’s Specs, Features, etc

Specs and Features, as per Manufacturer

  • General Data
    • Beam Distance (ft) 427
    • Beam Distance (m) 130
    • Max. Performance (lumens) 600
    • Charge type Micro-USB
    • Compatible Batteries 1 x CR123A/RCR123A
    • Light Intensity (candela) 4200
    • Light Form:  Wide/broad hotspot. Perfect for up close illumination.
    • Lens / Reflector Type TIR reflector (big, defined wide hotspot)
    • Series Series S (EDC, General Use)
    • Available color temperature: Regular – cool white 6500k, 70 CRI (seen in review) or HCRI model -cool white 5500k, 90 CRI
    • HCRI version built for perfect color reproduction with illuminating objects eliminating all unwanted extra tints.
    • No charger is needed for charging the battery. The included battery is rechargeable through a built-in Micro-USB port, therefore it may share the same charging cable with a phone.
    • Magnetic tailcap. The flashlight attaches securely to any ferrous metal surface for hands free use.
  • Lighting Levels (for regular 6500k model)
    • Turbo – 600 lumens, 1 minute bursts
    • High – 330 lumens, 60 mins
    • Medium – 60 lumens, 6 hours
    • Low – 15 lumens, 30 hours
    • Moon – 0.5 lumens, 15 days
  • Other Modes
    • Strobe
    • Auto shutoff timer, 3 mins or 9 mins
  • Technical Characteristics
    • Waterproof IPX8
    • Weight (g / oz) 43 / 1.52
    • Length (mm / in) 54 / 2.13
    • Head Diameter (mm / in) 21 / 0.83
    • Body Diameter (mm / in) 21 / 0.83
    • Led Cree XM-L2
  • Package Contents
    • 650mAh RCR123A Rechargeble Battery with microUSB charging port
    • 50cm charging cable USB-microUSB
    • Pocket Clip
    • Lanyard
    • Instruction Manual