Lessons Learnt From My -7 Wild Hammock Camp
Following my recent -7 hammock camp in the snow, is there anything that I would have done differently?
Below are the key things that I would have done differently.
Turn the tarp around 90 degrees so that the ridge line tie up points can be used as side tie out points. this would have given the sides of the tarp more stability against the wind and the weight of the snow.
Changing the tarp to a steeper angle to allow the snow not to settle on it so much was a last minute idea that paid off. However, I still had to bash the side walls as the snow was pushing them in during the night. This brings me back to the paragraph above.
Set the door closure corners together before pegging out the side walls of the tarp. this would have closed the ends off better.
Gasifier twig stove was a bit of a pain to get going due to the wetness of dead wood that I collected on site. Take solid fuel tablets or more gel fuel to use. Or just take my kids Bulin or BRS 3000 gas stoves. However, having said that getting the thing going and keeping it going did take up a fair bit of time and helped relieve some of the boredom. See next comment.
Long winter nights on your own can be boring. Find something to amuse yourself with in the long dark hours.
Doubling up on sleeping bags can be a pain in the backside to get in and out of. Not to mention the bulk that you have to carry. If mid-winter camping is something that you might do a lot of, consider a dedicated 4 season sleeping bag. Same goes for underquilts.
Don't be afraid to take off some layers of clothing before getting going to bed. I had left too many layers on. At the same time, don't be afraid to put another pair of socks on.
All in all though this was a successful wild camp, especially as others had abandoned their wild camps during this time.
Key things to remember about wild camping in really cold weather (for the UK anyway) are common sense and preparation. Don't get flustered, don't get wet, either from rain, snow or sweat, don't rush and therefore don't make silly mistakes. Admittedly having the right kit helps, or at least having kit that you can utilize or modify to the conditions, will make your life easier. Practice with the kit in better weather, learn how to set it up, how to protect yourself and how to pack it away. All this will make the deep winter stuff much easier.
I've seen too many wild camp YouTube videos where folks have obviously been ill-prepared and even from the off as they leave the carpark, you know which individuals are going to struggle. Please don't end up as a statistic for the mountain rescue teams.
Be safe, and feel free to add any experiences that you have learned from you wild camps.