Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Cold Weather Camping

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Cold Weather Camping

Old 06-11-20, 02:24 AM
  #1  
ricrunner
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
ricrunner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: New England Australia
Posts: 153

Bikes: Malvern Star Oppy S1 Gravel

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Cold Weather Camping

How many bike tourists like cold weather camping and touring. It is winter here in OZ, and am currently camping 15km from town enjoying some me time, using 4g to post this thread on my wifes phone, as I don't own one. Temps outside at the moment are 10 degrees C, and it will get down to minus 6 C, overnight. To me it is the best time to camp, as we get excessive hot weather from spring thru to mid Autumn (Fall), I don't tour in those times. I have my dog with me sharing the sleeping bag and extra quilts, and put a bit of effort to stop the cold coming up from the ground. I rarely even have a fire, due to sparks maybe hitting my tent, except when fishing which I hope will be successful this trip. Just how many of you tour and camp in cold weather be that extreme, or average winter temps?
ricrunner is offline  
Old 06-11-20, 04:59 AM
  #2  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 9,681
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 362 Post(s)
Liked 64 Times in 55 Posts
I hate really hot weather and don't mind touring when there are cold nights or at least is overnight frost. That said I am not inclined to tour in real winter conditions. My Southern Tier ride was mid Feb - mid Mar so I had overnight frost often and one night it got down into the teens, but it got to at least 50F by mid to late morning pretty much every day. There was a little snow by the side of the road on a couple passes and there could have been snow at some point, but wasn't. That is about as much winter as I choose to tour in. The young guy I rode with part of the way thought it was cold pretty much the whole way, but he grew up in south Florida and lived in San Diego.

So yeah, maybe winter touring in the South. Real winter touring in real winter conditions, probably not. If I was touring when I was younger, I probably would have. I'll go XC ski camping or snowshoe camping if I feel the urge to winter camp. If there is no snow I'd consider maybe backpacking in cold weather too. Actually car camping or staying in a cabin and day hiking, XC skiing, or snowshoeing are probably more likely for me these days.
__________________
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1

Last edited by staehpj1; 06-11-20 at 07:57 AM.
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 06-11-20, 06:18 AM
  #3  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 6,953

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1737 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 219 Times in 183 Posts
I have woken up in the morning several times on a bike tour and found it to be below freezing. But most of my tours are in moderate temperatures where it is not too hot and not too cold.

Probably my chilliest bike tour was in Iceland, June and early July. Never froze but about half the days i wore long pants instead of shorts. I did not even bring a short sleeve bike jersey with me, only had long sleeve. I kept the rain cover on my helmet continuously, mostly to keep the wind out of the air vents. A couple days when i was wearing shorts, I put on rain pants to cut the wind and warm up my legs even though it was not raining. In the campsite I often wore a down vest, sometimes put the rain jacket over it, not for rain but for having an extra layer and to cut the wind.

In the photo, afternoon in the sun, I was still wearing a jacket over a long sleeve jersey and long pants, helmet rain cover to keep out the wind. But it had warmed up enough to switch to short finger gloves.



But, that trip was warm enough that I could wear normal vented bike shoes without covers on dry days. I only needed to put shoe covers on for rain, not for cold.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 06-11-20, 07:34 AM
  #4  
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO
Posts: 1,790

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 305 Post(s)
Liked 84 Times in 66 Posts
I've commuted many winters in several northern US cities, sometimes in snow. I draw the line at icy road conditions, and at 10 degrees F. Slush is okay (especially now with disk brakes) and cold dry snow is okay. Winter bike commuting has never appealed to me. If I'm going to set up a winter camp, it'll be a snow camp on skis or snowshoes. That's fun once in a while. I have a nice down bag rated at -20F for that.
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 06-11-20, 08:08 AM
  #5  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 9,681
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 362 Post(s)
Liked 64 Times in 55 Posts
I should have probably noted that it has been cold enough at higher elevations that water bottles froze solid from time to time on some tours even in summer in the US. So for touring where there are high elevations we may need to deal with somewhat winter like conditions. This can even mean extreme heat and freezing temperatures within the same 24 hour period. I remember roasting in the desert in well over 100F and riding to a high elevation setting for camp and waking to a little ice in the bottles. My memory is a little hazy, but I think we had 110F and a little below freezing within a 24 hour period In June in the Sierras. This is just something you deal with in the Sierras or Cascades and different than actually choosing to go winter touring.
__________________
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 06-11-20, 08:21 AM
  #6  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 26,934
Mentioned: 192 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11378 Post(s)
Liked 3,011 Times in 1,677 Posts
Iíve had to deal with the cold on certain days (e.g, morning ice on the tent fly, cold rain and snow crossing the northern Cascades), but itís not something I would seek out.
indyfabz is online now  
Old 06-11-20, 08:48 AM
  #7  
berner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bristol, R. I.
Posts: 4,160

Bikes: Specialized Secteur, old Peugeot

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 578 Post(s)
Liked 356 Times in 227 Posts
I've not camped out in a while but when I did I learned the value of a versatile kit. It is not necessary to have a sleeping bag rated for the coldest expected temps if you already have other gear that can make up the difference such as a down jacket. While I was never an ultra light camper, I did learn to be stingy about weight carried. I ended weighing all my gear and it is surprising how even the weight of little items can add up. Soon you may need a bigger pack and so it goes. A complete list of gear is helpful in selecting what goes into the pack and what stays in the closet.
berner is offline  
Old 06-11-20, 10:06 AM
  #8  
mev
bicycle tourist
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Posts: 1,775

Bikes: Trek 520, Lightfoot Ranger, Trek 4500

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 251 Post(s)
Liked 45 Times in 37 Posts
I haven't toured much below 0C daytime/ -10C overnight.

The days are a somewhat larger constraint. I find there is definite boundary around -5C where despite gloves/mittens my extremities are susceptible to a cold frost nip and I end up stopping and reheating multiple times. So not a big issue if it froze overnight if it warms up past freezing not long after I am on the road. Overnight temperatures are more a case of bringing the right sleeping bag and otherwise blocking wind/cold from getting in. Getting that extra sleeping bag when also dealing with warmer temperatures on an extended tour means I sometimes end up with my normal bag + an second overbag that I use for colder nights. I used this for example in highlands of Peru/Bolivia where it got quite cold, but tropical areas of South America were warmer.

I lived in Colorado without an automobile for eight winters and commuted in colder temperatures down to about -20C but those were relatively short commutes (7km) so I could dress appropriately and had a warm office/home waiting at the other end.
mev is offline  
Old 06-11-20, 02:13 PM
  #9  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 42,586

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 194 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7326 Post(s)
Liked 933 Times in 591 Posts
Ireland in late Feb, but the waters of the gulf stream don't let the coastal weather get that cold..
fietsbob is online now  
Old 06-11-20, 04:55 PM
  #10  
boomhauer
Senior Member
 
boomhauer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 713
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 199 Post(s)
Liked 18 Times in 12 Posts
[QUOTE=staehpj1;21527820roasting in the desert in well over 100F and riding to a high elevation setting for camp and waking to a little ice in the bottles.winter touring.[/QUOTE]

This has been my experience in the high dessert, also. I've learned since to allow my tent to have an eastern exposure so in the morning it warms up quick. The coldest part of the day is just before dawn and I remember waking up because I was so cold. Once the sun hit, all was forgiven.
boomhauer is offline  
Old 06-11-20, 07:48 PM
  #11  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 26,934
Mentioned: 192 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11378 Post(s)
Liked 3,011 Times in 1,677 Posts
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Ireland in late Feb, but the waters of the gulf stream don't let the coastal weather get that cold..
Back in 1975?
indyfabz is online now  
Old 06-11-20, 07:59 PM
  #12  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 42,586

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 194 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7326 Post(s)
Liked 933 Times in 591 Posts
I was in Scotland, on that trip, when Diana Frances Spencer's Limo hit that concrete support, at speed, under the streets of Paris.
fietsbob is online now  
Old 06-12-20, 11:01 AM
  #13  
Miele Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4,050

Bikes: iele Latina, Miele Suprema, Miele Uno LS, Miele Miele Beta, MMTB, Bianchi Model Unknown, Fiori Venezia, Fiori Napoli, VeloSport Adamas AX

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1083 Post(s)
Liked 630 Times in 437 Posts
I like cool or cold weather camping = no black flies or mosquitoes and the beaches are clear of people. LOL

Cheers
Miele Man is online now  
Old 06-12-20, 11:12 AM
  #14  
Doug64
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 5,811
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 887 Post(s)
Liked 206 Times in 130 Posts
My wife and I camp in cold weather a lot, but most of the time we are on skis We've experienced freezing weather on bike trips, but so far no snow. We were prepared and it was not a problem. Depending on the time of year and location, we carry light weight puff jackets, which can supplement our usual bike touring sleeping bags optimistically rated at 25F.

Icefield Parkway, Alberta, Canada-- 4 layers in early June


Bike turing-- Journaling. I'm not sure how many layers she had on


Ski Touring-- Journaling

Last edited by Doug64; 06-16-20 at 01:23 PM.
Doug64 is offline  
Old 06-12-20, 08:05 PM
  #15  
DropBarFan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 3,151

Bikes: 2013 Surly Disc Trucker, 2004 Novara Randonee , old fixie , etc

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 671 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 44 Times in 38 Posts
I haven't tried winter touring--main reason would be short days, but also chance of ice/snow & the need to upgrade from 3-season tent & sleeping bag. Winter might be fun for a short local/regional tour that could be done on short notice when weather forecast looks OK. But I prefer to go downhill skiing in the winter...a fun challenge & change of pace from cycling.
DropBarFan is offline  
Old 06-14-20, 08:34 PM
  #16  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 10,342
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1625 Post(s)
Liked 254 Times in 221 Posts
I have to say that even though I commute in the winter, like Mev its a short commute and I get to warm up inside afterwards, so all in all Im not that keen on actually touring when its cold, and really never have any colder than maybe 5c overnight?

I do still laugh at how on my second trip to Mexico, there was this cold front that covered all the states and Mexico, bringing very unusual cold temps. I think the nights were about 5c and I just remember this one hotel was freezing (no heating of course, and windows that dont close well, big spaces around doors etc) and like Dougs wife, I was just freezing sitting in the little lobby doing journaling with all the clothes I had on there because thats where the wifi worked. I remember being very jealous of the big fluffy blanket some kids had all over them on the couch nearby.
The next day, I even had to go and buy a toque, a winter hat, and warmer gloves, which was kinda funny given that I had left Canada in January, didnt bring any proper headgear or warmer handwear, and ended up buying this stuff in Littletown, Mexico.
Was so glad I brought my summer sleeping bag with me, used it often under covers and blankets in chilly hotel rooms.
djb is offline  
Old 06-15-20, 04:03 AM
  #17  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 9,681
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 362 Post(s)
Liked 64 Times in 55 Posts
Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
I like cool or cold weather camping = no black flies or mosquitoes and the beaches are clear of people. LOL

Cheers
What are you considering cold? For me it depends on your definition of cold. I definitely am not a fan of hot weather and cool weather is great, but truly cold weather can be pretty rough for touring. For me sub freezing overnight lows are fine, but sub freezing daytime highs are not my idea of touring weather. I consider frost at night and getting above 50 F every day lovely touring weather. If it hits 50 F by mid morning so much the better.

I have suffered in the heat on tour a lot more than in the cold. The thing is that many places going in summer is the only prudent choice and that means you will wind up dealing with the heat on any long tour with maybe a few cold nights. Thus far the only long route that has appealed to me for winter was the ST and I wasn't all that cold that much of the time. For Summer and even Spring and Fall I seem to always have extreme heat for at least some of every long tour with a cold night here and there at altitude..
__________________
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 06-15-20, 09:13 AM
  #18  
Leebo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 5,682

Bikes: Kona Dawg, Surly 1x1, Karate Monkey, Rockhopper, Crosscheck , Burley Runabout,

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 840 Post(s)
Liked 74 Times in 55 Posts
Too much work, weight and too cold, frozen water bottles? No thanks. Spring though fall in New England. 45 to 90 F ? All good.
Leebo is offline  
Old 06-15-20, 09:43 AM
  #19  
PedalingWalrus
Senior Member
 
PedalingWalrus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 1,121

Bikes: Corvid Sojourner, Surly Ice Cream Truck, Comotion Divide, Salsa Warbird, Salsa Beargrease, Dandelion Dream Tandem

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 358 Post(s)
Liked 145 Times in 87 Posts
I like to go every time and often. If it happens to be winter then I prepare for the occasion and go
PedalingWalrus is offline  
Old 06-15-20, 01:39 PM
  #20  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 6,953

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1737 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 219 Times in 183 Posts
I grew up in Minnesota and did lots of winter camping when I was in my 20s and 30s, but that was decades ago. I really prefer warmer weather camping now. And if I was going to go so some serious winter camping, it would be on cross country skis or snowshoes, not on a bike. Studded tires are very slow riding.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 06-15-20, 02:53 PM
  #21  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 9,681
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 362 Post(s)
Liked 64 Times in 55 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I grew up in Minnesota and did lots of winter camping when I was in my 20s and 30s, but that was decades ago. I really prefer warmer weather camping now. And if I was going to go so some serious winter camping, it would be on cross country skis or snowshoes, not on a bike. Studded tires are very slow riding.
I don't own one, but could imagine a fat bike being a fun choice, I agree on the skis or snowshoes though. Also as I get older, hut to hut starts to sound more and more interesting.
__________________
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 06-15-20, 05:25 PM
  #22  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 6,953

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1737 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 219 Times in 183 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I don't own one, but could imagine a fat bike being a fun choice, I agree on the skis or snowshoes though. Also as I get older, hut to hut starts to sound more and more interesting.
I could get talked into hut camping.

Sorry the photo is rotated, can't figure out how to fix it. Not a fat bike, photo from the first time I had my studded tires on the bike and found a photogenic ice patch to use for background.

Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 06-15-20, 06:42 PM
  #23  
skookum
cyclotourist
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: calgary, canada
Posts: 1,164
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 314 Post(s)
Liked 115 Times in 70 Posts
I have winter camped on skis, and it can be okay if you are well prepared and if it is cold and dry. Cold and wet is another matter entirely.
One of the coldest times in my life was cycling Cabin pass on the Great Divide in heavy snow and rain in September. I hope I never have to do anything like that again.
skookum is offline  
Old 06-15-20, 10:30 PM
  #24  
ricrunner
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
ricrunner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: New England Australia
Posts: 153

Bikes: Malvern Star Oppy S1 Gravel

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
What are you considering cold? For me it depends on your definition of cold. I definitely am not a fan of hot weather and cool weather is great, but truly cold weather can be pretty rough for touring. For me sub freezing overnight lows are fine, but sub freezing daytime highs are not my idea of touring weather. I consider frost at night and getting above 50 F every day lovely touring weather. If it hits 50 F by mid morning so much the better.

I have suffered in the heat on tour a lot more than in the cold. The thing is that many places going in summer is the only prudent choice and that means you will wind up dealing with the heat on any long tour with maybe a few cold nights. Thus far the only long route that has appealed to me for winter was the ST and I wasn't all that cold that much of the time. For Summer and even Spring and Fall I seem to always have extreme heat for at least some of every long tour with a cold night here and there at altitude..
Well, what I consider cold is around 5-15 Celcius during the day, anything colder then that for cycling during the day, I just normally have a rest day, but if it continues, I will head for a warmer areas at temps like up to 18 C or home. Cold like 0 to -8 C over night, I don't mind,, much colder, in the areas where I tour don't happen, plus overnight, you can usually warm yourself up, with the appropriate clothes and bedding. I,like you prefer the cooler weather then warmer weather for touring.
ricrunner is offline  
Old 06-15-20, 10:41 PM
  #25  
ricrunner
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
ricrunner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: New England Australia
Posts: 153

Bikes: Malvern Star Oppy S1 Gravel

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I grew up in Minnesota and did lots of winter camping when I was in my 20s and 30s, but that was decades ago. I really prefer warmer weather camping now. And if I was going to go so some serious winter camping, it would be on cross country skis or snowshoes, not on a bike. Studded tires are very slow riding.
I had one advantage, that I grew up, in a cold area( for Australia, it was cold anyhow), and stayed most of my life here except for 22 years away in warmer climes, that I had to do for a job, but hated the weather. So as soon as I retired headed back to same area, I now look forward to the odd snow event, and normal colder weather in Winter. Am in my 60's now and don't feel the cold, like I feel the heat today.
ricrunner is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.