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  1. #1
    Senior Member 6 feet over's Avatar
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    Batona Winter Gear Test

    Being as I doubt Iíll be able to attend the group camp at Batona, I decided to go there myself and do a cold weather gear test, since I have my Colorado trip planned for later this year. I had all my gear thrown in my truck, but typically, it wasnít well organized. Due to work and family, I didnít get as good of a jump in the morning as I had hoped.

    I stopped at the Batsto Office to get my camping permit, and was on my way.



    I had brought some firewood, but between the office (by their directions) and Batona Camp, there were several places with stacked wood offered for sale. I didnít stop, so Iím not sure if they are open for business during this off season time. As Iíve never been to Batona Campground, I was a little unsure of where I was going. The Office did give fairly good printed directions.

    Following their directions, I made it to the Carranza Memorial.



    The turn into the camping area is on the right, a short bit before the memorial. There isnít much to let you know youíve arrived on site. There is one Batona sign, two out houses, and one water pump. No picnic tables and no metal fire rings, just the remains of old fires, and unfortunately evidence of other less than ethical campers.

    With my late start, I didnít have much light left to set up camp.



    I had the best intentions to take photos of each stage of my set up, but cold, fading light and general forgetfulness conspired to make me fail. I started with my 12 X 12 Sportsmanís Guide ĎNeoí tarp in my home made black mesh one piece skin.



    Of course, I forgot to take a photo of my Clark NA set up. (I use the Neo tarp, and keep the smaller stock tarp as a stand by)

    When the sun was down, but I still had a bit of light, I heard voices. Youíd think that with 25ļ on a January Wednesday night, Iíd have had the place to my self, but it wasnít to be. Two hikers doing the Batona Trail started to set up camp near by. I hadnít noticed, but they had left tarp covered fire wood there before they started their hike. It turns out, one was a reporter with the Courier Post, and he was doing an article on winter camping. After introductions, I left them to make their camp. They later stopped by to share my fire and we talked for a bit.



    http://blogs.courierpostonline.com/i...batona-tonite/
    A full story on winter camping is supposed to be in the Courier Post on Sunday, January 25th.

    They seemed interested in the hammock set up and Kevin, the reporter, asked questions about gear and winter camping. His partner Don is a manager at the Marlton REI. He was Kevinís unofficial guide on their trek.



    This is how I was set up:

    12 X 12 Neo tarp
    Clark NA
    Cheap blue pad inside hammock
    Zero degree synthetic bag
    Bass Pro Red Head top & bottom under layer (think Under Armor)
    Polypro bottoms
    Fleece pants
    Wood sox (one pair)
    3 layers on top, fleece
    Wool hat


    That night by the fire, and the next morning, it was 25ļ. Wind was calm.



    While talking fireside, we werenít ever cold. After they turned in for the night, and I waited till my fire had died down, I started to get cold. I turned in, and have to say I didnít sleep very well, but not due to cold.

    Iím not much of a camper, and I still need to learn to relax and just sleep instead of listening for the approach of coyotes, bears, Bigfoot or the Jersey Devil. If I had just walked 18 miles like my neighbors did, I bet Iíd have slept better.

    While never uncomfortably cold, my feet were a little chilly. I meant to try the hot water bottle method, but didnít get a Klean Canteen yet, and didnít want to trust a Gatorade bottle, leak wise.

    I woke right at dawn, and got up to see my new friends off on the next leg of their journey. As we chatted and they struck camp, it started to snow. Very nice. After they were gone, I took a walk around, and got some photos. It was during this walk I policed up the trash that other losers had left behind:



    (assembled under my tarp for the photo: 3 plastic bottles, two fireworks boxes, two candy bags, one broken lighter, one box of Graham Crackers {1/2 full}, and one empty Colman Fuel container).

    My JetBoil didnít want to light. I could have used something else to spark it, but I used my Trail Stove instead. Iím sure it wasnít as efficient as the JB, but more reliable as it turns out. After I lit my Trail Stove, the JB did light once, but when I added water to use it, it again failed to light, and I gave up. Iíll have to work in it.



    Since I once again planned a trip having to work the next evening, I was packed and on my way by 10:30. This seems like a good place to stage out from to visit other near-by attractions. There are canoe options, and several trails to walk around on. I did see some deer on the drive in, and have no doubt if you bring binoculars it would be worth it.

    As I told my unexpected guests, I was somewhat disappointed that I didnít have the solitude I expected, but have to admit they were good company. Youíd think a vegetarian (Don) and a bow hunter (me) sharing the same fire might result in some controversy, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Funny how people with good manners can have a civilized discussion.

    Over all I liked this place, but if I failed this past Wednesday to be alone, I doubt Iíll have much of a chance to summer camp there and be alone with my son. Iím sure you could walk a bit and make a stealth camp if you wanted to. At least four times vehicles rode by in the dark, but since they never stopped I wasnít sure if it was park police or private citizens.
    The harder I work, the luckier I get.

  2. #2
    Whoooo Buddy)))) Shug's Avatar
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    Glad the cold hanging worked out well for you. You will adapt to "night sounds" ... every night gets easier.
    Good job on hauling out that trash. It still gets me that people leave all that after they tote it in. I commend you.
    Be ever vigilant!
    Shug
    Whoooo Buddy)))) I Love Onions, Grits, Greens, Livermush, NC Style BBQ, Potted Meat, Anchovies, 'Naner Puddin", Peanut Butter Pie, Red Velvet Cake and Cocoa and Straaaaaawwwwberrrry Milk and Coffee Crisps....
    I Hope Heaven has a Bakery!!!!



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  3. #3
    Senior Member Iafte's Avatar
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    Article as it ran in the paper.
    Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time. ~Steven Wright

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6 feet over View Post

    Wood sox (one pair)
    What kind of wood were they made from? Aren't they are little stiff and heavy?

    Sorry, couldn't resist...

    --Kurt

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6 feet over View Post
    That night by the fire, and the next morning, it was 25ļ.
    ...
    My JetBoil didnít want to light. I could have used something else to spark it, but I used my Trail Stove instead. Iím sure it wasnít as efficient as the JB, but more reliable as it turns out. After I lit my Trail Stove, the JB did light once, but when I added water to use it, it again failed to light, and I gave up. Iíll have to work in it.
    That's typical of a JB (or any canister stove) at those temps. The pressure drops due to the cold, so it seems like the igniter isn't working, but its really just the lack of gas pressure.

    That's why JB came out with the Helios this year. You either have to switch to something other than canister, or move to a system where the canister is inverted such as the Helios.

    --Kurt

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