I totally relate to that. I almost always bring rain ponchos, but have only had to use them a few times. But most of the time half the fun is kicking back on a sandbar around a campfire, telling stories, eating good food, and swimming. Sometimes the difficult parts just turn into stories for the next trip. Thankfully, I have never flipped and we’ve done around 500 miles and 30 something trips. I have lost a canoe because a tornado came though and blew it into the river. That was the most afraid I have ever been on any campout, period.
Alcohol makes you feel warm because it speeds up your heart rate and widens the blood vessels, called vasodilation, allowing more blood to flow, and causing the skin to feel warm and flushed. The last thing you want to do to warm up is drink alcohol. After a good fat meal and when you’re in dry clothes, then, a drink could be a nice way to end a day.
When a friend and I were Scout Masters, the whole troop was caught in a blue norther, sudden wind and rain followed by cold. The boys had spent hours making shelters of palmetto fronds.
We went into manic tent put up mode. By the time we had the boys covered, we were both soaked and cold with mud up to our knees. The storm wasn’t over but we were able to get out soggy clothes off and dry ones on.
We got in our sleeping bags and Dan told me he had something for emergencies; Drambuie.
Never had it before or since but it warmed us and then the storm passed.
P.S. Drambuie is not an approved BSA emergency item.
I once used a clever aluminum panel oven. The lid was like the upside down lid of a shoe box. The sides were crimped to hang from the lid. The end panels were turned 90° to capture the sides. Coat hanger wire had a 22° up bend and a 90° bend on the other to serve as the bottom; the 90° bend hung down to lock in position. Holes along the bottom accepted the wire rods. Window weight chain near the corners of the sides collectd to a ring at the top which suspended the oven from a tripod over a charcoal fire. Food went in from an end. The oven was sized for a bread pan. It made a pineapple upside down cake using a box mix that turned out as moist as any I’ve had in an kitchen oven.
I also used an aluminum foil lined box on a flat top wood burning stove. Aluminum tent pegs kept the box off the stove. Wire rack with a metal plate to distribute the direct heat. Recall that loaf bread seemed to cook in around 30 minutes. Pies took longer. Over the course of the day, it turned out five 9 inch pies and five loaves of bread.
I used to backpack all over the White mountains so I know how to keep gear pretty light. Doing more canoe and kayak base camping in the past few years. The amount of gear is getting greater and the overall weight is getting heavier.
I’m now in the moderate luxury category
I have a nice folding chair with a high back made by klimit, which comes in at about 3 lb… a lot better than many of them.
I switched from a two-man tent to a camping hammock and associated tarp. (Best move I ever made) With the straps and carabiners, and underquilt, it’s definitely more weight than the tent.
I use a platypus 4 l filtration bag which I never used to carry when I was backpacking.
I now have a stainless Primus campfire fry pan, which is excellent and convenient. But it definitely weighs more than my little aluminum Mirro boy scout mess kit. Ditto for the nice stainless MSR cooking pots.
I bring two enamel tin plates and bowls…which I never did when backpacking.
I’ve made small lightweight coffee tables for setting up next to my hammock or for when there’s no picnic table.
I carry a saw and a hatchet.
I have a ice mule cooler bag.
I carry not only a tarp for my hammock but a tarp for kitchen area too.
I usually take a small single-mantle Coleman gas lantern.
I’ve been thinking about binoculars.
I’ve got a backup battery pack for the phone.
I sometimes carry a handheld VHF radio.
Extra lines, pfd, extra paddle, fishing gear, a small dishwashing tub. …all stuff I never took backpacking.
If I’m base camping, I tend to carry my dry food and most of my equipment in two 30 mm ammo cans. They are really heavy but there are several advantages.
Stuff inside is very well protected
Rodents and animals are not a problem.
If I run a cable through the handles bears are not a problem.
They are waterproof with the gasket and even when fully loaded they float.
They look super cool.
They make great tables and stools.
Except for the ammo cans… nothing is THAT excessive…yet if I want to do trips with portages, I’m going to have to cut it back significantly. It’s not going to be easy.
What cavernous kayak are you paddling that holds all that gear?
NOT. Switched to canoe