i’m not trying to go mid winter in minnesota or anything - more like PNW in march/april. And once i’m in my sleeping bag at night I’m good, but how tolerable is it go camping and when its pretty frigid when its cold outside
I have camped in the Grand Canyon when it was in the 20s and it was pretty chilly crawling into that sleeping area but by the time I got cozy it was fine. My suggestion is to take layers!! Remember your body loses most of its heat through your extremities so bring a beanie, gloves and good thick socks. For added comfort think of packing hand warmers to put in your layers to keep your heat more centralized. You might even consider packing a water bottle which you can heat water and put into your bag when it comes bedtime if it is super chilly. The weather up there can change pretty rapidly in spring so better over pack than under pack in those cases. Also don’t be like me and forget your sleeping pad… HUGE mistake…
I usually eat an early dinner and crawl into my bag when it’s still daylight. It’s still cold, but I can read or write in my bag and start warming up my space.
Tips for cold weather camping: Pack more food than you think you need. Your body burns a lot of calories when trying to keep warm! I always go for seconds and/or dessert when it’s cold out. Also, make sure to pee before bed. If you wake up in the middle of the night and have to go, GO! You’ll be warmer once you get rid of all that extra liquid, and your body isn’t trying to keep it at body temperature, too.
I’ve snow camped in Ohio, Michigan, Vermont, Pennsylvania, WV, Montana and Wyoming (Yellowstone in February)…as low as -30 windchill with 30 mph winds on crusty ice (bring earplugs). I believe a large part is mindset, well, and good winter gear. I prefer the NorthFace VE-24 tent (mine has snow tunnels), a minimum of a -5 bag (large so I can keep my boots and clothes in the foot area so they don’t ice up), reputable insulation pad. I use a white gas Optimus stove for winter cooking over propane or canned gas. With today’s Merino wool selections you can layer, keep toasty and keep from stinkin’. The rewards are innumerable depending where you go. Fewer to no people, No bugs, quiet solitude.