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Klondike/Winter Camping

The best part about attending a Klondike Derby is that since it is essentially car camping, there should be no reason to be cold or wet – or hungry. Winter camping is typically very gear and technique driven and there’s plenty of room for you to bring lots of stuff to be keep February at bay. With that being said, here’s some advice from my adventures at Northern Tier.

  1. Make sure you have a sleeping bag rated for the weather. Keep in mind that the ratings can be a bit dubious, so an extra sleeping bag, blankets, etc., would be a good idea just in case.
  2. Sleeping pads, much like sleeping bags, are also rated for their insulative value. If you have a pad that’s only great for the summer, keep in mind that your sleeping bag will be compressed below you and not fully effective. The ground can suck heat out of you through a thin pad and a compressed sleeping bag. So bring an extra pad, and/or reflective/emergency blanket to help keep the heat where it belongs.
  3. There should be absolutely no reason for anyone to have cold or wet feet. Bring a pair or two of good boots that will keep your feet warm and dry. Bring several pairs of socks – a wicking sock and a wool sock combo is the best way to go. Bring enough socks so that you can change them out a few times a day. Mom, Dad, Grandma, Uncle, if you’re reading this and your scout isn’t, be sure to sneak some extra socks into his duffel bag.
  4. Extra clothes, especially warming layers are a must. You’ll be moving, you’ll be standing still, you’ll be competing and who knows what else. That’s why layers are important so that you can shed them while running around or working hard and put them back on as needed if you’re just hanging out at the campsite.
  5. Bring snacks and make sure you have a water bottle. We’ll all burn extra calories out there, so snacking is encouraged. You’ll also need extra water (yes, due to the altitude) in order to adequately process those extra calories while
    you’re moving around and trying to stay warm.

Klondike can be one of the most fun and safe events on the BSA calendar, as long as you’re smart about the gear you bring and remembering to use it to keep you dry and warm. I look forward to seeing as many of you out there as possible, so please sign-up soon!

Scoutmaster Jon

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