TRIP REPORT:Minnesota Frozen Butt Hang - January 7-9, 2011
Greetings all from back at home in cozy Madison. Drove back last night with Frithz from the Frozen Butt Hang. What a great time meeting fellow forum member again and new ones too, one from far away as North Carolina.
Many thanks to Four Dog and friends for hosting us, and to Beep for getting the snowball rolling.
I thought I'd start a new thread, rather than add on to page 40 from the trip planning thread.
I will be posting links to more pics from Picasa (if I can figure it out),
but here are some teasers:
Almost everybody had a great time:
Fritz and I arrived Thursday, the night before, and camped out all alone at St Croix State Park. The overnight low was 8°F, and little did we know, it wouldn't get much warmer than that for the rest of the trip.
We met everyone else in Hinkley the next morning for a hardy breakfast before Four Dog lead us into the bush. He and Firekeeper had set up a warming tent complete with wood stove. Later they erected a parachute over the fire pit to trap in the heat and smoke.;).
It was great to share techniques about winter camping, and Four Dog had some cool tricks including his Supershelter. This consists of a reflective blanket covered by 4 mil polyethylene plastic set up next to a fire to capture the infrared radiation. You have to experience it to believe it works. At one point it was 35° inside and -5°F outside!
We had group chili Friday night and group soup Sat night. Plenty of food! The left over chili froze with serving spoon embedded, and took 45 min over the fire to get it out. (It's always better the next day)
Weather: The low temp was -10°F Friday night, and -14° Sat night. There was about 1 to 1.5 inches of snow total.
It was fantastic to meet new forum members and reconnect with others.
Until next time,
PS: the pictures should speak for themselves.
(edited to add details)
Trip Repost from the Trip Plan Thread & Pic Link
Before I start I just want to put out a huge thanks to fourdog for doing such a great job hosting this event for us! He acted as our guide and brought lots of extra gear and his knowledge and expertise camping in these conditions was most impressive. I learned a LOT from him. He's done many trips in these conditions and even COLDER and it was real interesting hearing from his past experience in what works and doesn't work so well. Camping in these conditions is so much different than your typical three season conditions. I will definitely be retooling my rig next time I venture out in these conditions. It was fun going around and checking out everyone's rigs and seeing lots of different setups bouncing ideas around.
Night one was about -8F and night two was -15F.
Things learned with some personal thoughts...
1. The pulk is an absolute necessity in my opinion in doing trips in these temps. I won't do another winter trip without it. My pulk worked great.
2. It may be stating the obvious but the ultralight concept just isn't a viable option in these conditions. I can't imagine anyone being able to go out with an uber-light pack on their back and expect to have a safe and enjoyable experience. You need LOTS of insulation...especially if you are going to spend more than one night out.
3. Frost is unavoidable. You cannot eliminate it but as fourdog says...you have to learn to manage it. If you get a lot of frost on your quilts after the first night and can't dry it out properly your down insulation will not work as well for you on night two.
4. As much as I like the two quilt concept for three season (underquilt/top quilt combo I came away impressed by the peapod style quilt system after seeing a few rigs set-up that way. Not to say that the traditional underquilt/top quilt combo system doesn't work, it obviously can and does however from what I saw the full wraparound style quilt is whole lot more foolproof and much less hassle to keep you consistently warm than than having to squirm around doing the tuck. A zip up mummy bag would work too but unless it has a top zip it still has more fiddle factor than a full wraparound quilt. I'd like to see some of the other quilt manufacturers come out with wider quilts that allow for a complete wraparound enclosure with lots of loft and maybe with a zipper on top.
For my rig...less than ideal but it got me through both nights just barely I used:
Warbonnet Traveler Hammock
Yeti 3 season underquilt with a JRB Hudson River overlapped.
Ridgerest pad in between the hammock layers
Dri Ducks poncho on the outside.
10F Synthetic mummy bag with a broken zipper used as a top quilt.
JRB Old Ragmountain top quilt with the footbox stuffed inside the mummy bag for double footbox insulation...very effective BTW!
Lots of extra clothes!
MacCat Deluxe Tarp with 2Q/ZQ doors.
Built up snow walls around the tarp to eliminate drafts.
It was great meeting everyone. Many traveled long distances to attend this event. MacEntyre drove all the way from North Carolina...WHOA!!!!!!
Some may call it cheating but it was real nice of fourdog's friend Paul to bring his big Cabelas tent complete with stove heating and two cots just in case anyone had problems sleeping in these challenging conditions. It was also a nice place to go to warm up once in awhile, melt snow, heat water cook, etc.
The big parachute pitched up over the main campfire area was a neat idea although it did get a bit smokey under there at times! Fourdog's demo of the super shelter (hammock enclosed inside reflective tarp and poly plastic on all sides creating a dome with a parallel fire in front) was really neat. With below zero temps outside it got up to 40 degrees inside the hammock shelter and no smoke blowing in. A few people shot video of this and I am sure it will get posted.
All in all I think I can speak for everyone that we had an absolute blast. It was nice to see everyone pitch in making extra trips with their pulks to help fourdog and Paul haul out all of the extra gear they brought so everyone could leave at the same time today.
I'd like to see this become an annual event. I would attend again without question and with all of the knowledge I learned I plan to do more winter camping in the future but not at these temps unless it were with a group like we had here.
Be patient waiting for more trip reviews. Some won't be back for a couple days. I was one of the fortunate ones to only live a couple hours away from the event's location. I'll post some pics but probably not until tomorrow as I'm pretty beat and have to work tomorrow bright and early.
Here are my pics. http://www.flickr.com/photos/15255236@N07/
Video of Heated Hammock Super Shelter