Muscles Not Motors: Winter Camping Gear Review

Ryan James Leclerc
Posted December 31st, 2009

I thought I’d throw a curve snowball at you this month and instead of reviewing skis, snowshoes, or warm fuzzy earmuffs, I am reviewing three items that you will need for a less common but nonetheless thrilling winter activity: winter camping. You can leave the bug spray at home.
Once your tent is set up, you’ll want to get in it before the temperature drops too far, and you start to lose sensation in your extremities. You’re excited about that fresh snow that will be all yours in the morning, but all that snow will be someone else’s if you don’t survive the night. Your chances are really good if you have the Kelty Apex Foraker sleeping bag. Specifically designed to provide warmth, weather protection, and breath-ability in the nastiest conditions, it is stuffed with 750 fill down and made of Stormstopper waterproof breathable material in the foot and hood areas. The entire shell is treated with a DWR finish to shed condensation and melting snow. Once you’ve slipped into the Apex Foraker bag, your survival is all but guaranteed, unless, of course, the Abominable Snowman comes along. Available in regular and long fit. $450.
You want to make your first turns while the sun is rising, hours before that glorious blanket of fresh powder gets tracked out by lightweights who sleep in until 6:00 and then skin up before work. So you’re spending the night on top of the mountain. You’re a hard-core die hard who can clearly handle harsh winter conditions, and you need an expedition-worthy shelter that can do the same. The Sierra Designs Mountain Meteor is just that kind of tent. Setting it up is easy, thanks to SD’s “eye-pole” design, which maximizes interior space while minimizing weight. The Meteor is constructed of durable dye-free nylon and made with smart features such as air-lift venting to prevent tent collapse during high winds, reflective door trim for easier location of your shelter during stormy low-visibility treks back from the tree, and two doors and two vestibules. $549.
When it comes time to cook up some grub, bust out the Primus Gravity II stove. Its new design uses Integrated Burner Technology, which positions the stove 30% closer to the ground for excellent stability, while its four foldable legs keeps it steady when you’re melting snow in a large pot. Just about any fuel will work, so if you’re using a pressurized gas canister or liquid fuels such as white gas, gasoline, or even kerosene, you’ll be (cliché alert!) cooking with gas! Ideal for cooking larger meals, you’ll be able to offer some food to the Abominable Snowman, should he decide to stop by, thereby avoiding a horrific end, and those early morning turns will be yours after all. $125.

Ryan James Leclerc

Ryan James Leclerc used to be single and used to work on the sales floor of Onion River Sports. He is now married and works in the office of Onion River Sports. The creative license he procured in a back alley allows him to occasionally narrate from the past as though it were the present.