Will we shiver in the cold of night?

Because we’re going to spend the night outside during Winter for the first time, I’m pretty damn nervous. What if we have to come back home with our tail between our legs? What if I can’t sleep? What if we can’t heat up the food, if the campfire won’t start? But because ”what ifs” do absolutely nothing (unless I have a need to stay up all night), one needs to plan ahead.

After the trip we’ll get back to this equipment list, seeing if next time we can leave something behind. We chose a destination that’s both close enough to home and has a tent spot close to the parking lot. This way we don’t have to worry about the weight of the bags too much. Check out my earlier post about making choices and minimizing risks.

If the forecast is on point, it’s going to be between 3 and 8 degrees celcius. Funny enough, it’s not too different from last year’s Midsummer’s Eve, except there’s a bit more snow this time around. In Isojärvi last May I had a crappy sleeping bag, so I’ll be fine with my brand new one.

Equipment that’s coming with us

  1. Tent: It’s not expensive or specifically designed for Winter, but it’s there to grant us shelter and protect us from the elements. We got it from Varusteleka last year, a regular tent that’s been assembled a few times last Summer. From what I understand, good ventilation is key when fighting moisture (and freezing) in the inner surfaces. Should the tent fail us, there’s the lean-to and should that be filled with other hikers, Plan C is to head home.
  2. Sleeping bags: Heikki has a very light, yet warm sleeping bag whereas I carry a bigger one from Varusteleka. They’re both meant for only three seasons but we’re taking extra ones along for additional insulation.
  3. Double sleeping pads: the cold tends to creep in from below so without a proper pad, you’re going to get chilly. The solution is pretty much the same as it is in Summer but instead of offering padding, it gives insulation. You place airfilled pads at the bottom and put foam ones on top.
  4. Travel stove, water and food: You knoow what they say: we came here to eat!  Food is probably even more important than equipment because you need to have enough and it needs to contain a lot of energy. On the first day we’re going to have travel food that comes in bags and for evening snacks, sausages! For breakfast, it’s going to be porridge and depending on how long the day gets, one or two meals before we head back home. Our trusty Trangia, even though inefficient in its lack of a gas burner, will handle the cooking. I’m a bit nervous about making a campfire but I’m thinking good kindling will save the day! Water transportation requires proper vessels that can handle boiled water.
  5. Snowshoes: We’re not sure what the snow situation is over there but if the trails have seen too few hikers, there might be a lot of it. We didn’t want to buy skis for this trip alone, even though I already own a pair – they’re just not meant for deep snow.
  6. Hiking equipment: The main thing is to wear too few clothes in the beginning and after a kilometer or so, remove or add to them. You’re guaranteed to sweat when snowshoeing. Double when carrying a tube backpack. Underlayer is a skintight, merino wool shirt that transfers moisture and feels nice. Cotton tends to chafe when wet. If it’s not too cold, the middle layer should be thin but loose enough to form its own insulation, topped with your wind/waterproof outerwear. Regular hiking boots as footwear, with some wool socks.
  7. Break attire: It gets chilly when you’re standing still so you need clothes for that, too. At least a warm jacket and shoes your feet can rest in. This particular trip is fairly short, so I don’t think spare shoes are necessary.
  8. Change of clothes: Something that doubles as a pajama. Spare socks, a spare beanie. I usually take more than one spare pair of gloves or mittens because they get wet.
  9. First aid equipment: Space covers are handy and light. Small first aid kits haven’t been in use yet, thankfully.  And matches! Keep them dry and separate. We’ll be grabbing a waterproof cellphone along to be kept warm underneath the clothes. The battery should last for the entire trip because mobile data is disabled. Headache medicine!
  10. Hygiene equipment: Toilet paper for obvious reasons but also to be used as napkins and cleaning items. Also, trash bags! Since this is a one-night trip and we’ll be home the next day, this shouldn’t be an issue, but in longer Winter hikes: personal hygiene. Washing yourself in the cold, oh my.

You can find specific lists of equipment and travel foods on Google. I was just wondering about dishwashing in the cold…maybe I can rub snow on them or something?

~ Anne

P.S. In case you were wondering why we haven’t introduced the destination yet, it’s because we don’t have any photos of the place yet and refuse to use stock photos. So we’ll get back to Leivonmäki National Park after the trip!

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