Long nights

Anyone kayak camp in the Northeast at this time of the year? How do you spend the long nights?

We have a hot tent and stove
and yes it does pack in a boat though we are using one kayak and one pack canoe. We will be out on a Maine Island in December. Since the ocean does not usually freeze the limiting factor is launch area parking. Many are not maintained over the winter and its not fun to get your car towed or run over by a plow.

You cut wood, stoke the stove and read or bake on the stove.

And sleep reeally well. The stars are wonderful.

wood stove?
Are you talking about those foldable stoves? Not alot of use for them where I live, but it would be nice for a few months. I got to get one. What do you have?

Ryan L.

feeding the fire.

If I stay out on enough of those long winter nights, I begin to feel like I can sense the movement of the planet around the sun and through space. Its how it always is, of course, but somehow a roof of leaves seems to keep me tied a bit more to the affairs of the planet’s surface.

I used to make snow at a local ski hill and during the course of that job I was out all night every night. I learned to love being out and about on winter nights. Very few are so cold as to be unenjoyable with a decent set of insulated coveralls.

I have an old canvas umbrella tent and a heater of the sort used in ice fishing shacks. With that and a kerosene lantern reading is another fine option.

It does require some changes of habit, though. Last weekend I was reminded of this for the first time this year. I really needed a thermarest, though my usual nylon tent was still fine, and a heater wasn’t necessary. (I usually camp on sand and so don’t use a pad much in summer.)I’ll admit I spent a good part of Friday night tossing and turning as the cold crept up on me from the ground.

But not for so long and only after a bit of stargazing, feeding the fire, and spending time swapping tales with Durangoski. It was a very fine night for camping.

Gon’na spend dis here weekend…

– Last Updated: Nov-10-11 9:16 AM EST –

down in de Joisey Piney Barrens campin' out'ta boats (mostly canoos dis time o' year), settin' around de campfyer tellin' yarns about how de Joisey Devil torments an' then ett's 'yakers wit much glee. Partakin' o' some potent elixirs usually heps it along.


Snowtrekker stove
Its compact but does not fold. The pipe stores inside.


No the stove wont fit into a kayak… But it does fit in a canoe. As there is snow we also use a Paris sled.

long nights
I have yet to kayak camp in the season but used to do a lot of winter backpacking/snowshoeing/ski-touring overnight backcountry camping in the Northeast, even id conditions far below zero.

One key coping stategy is to choose your tent partner wisely, since you will likely be hearing most of their life story when you both awaken in the wee hours after going to sleep by 8 or 9. Even with plenty to do around camp in the evening, the coziest place eventually is within one’s sleeping bag and with a full belly and warm beverages in the bloodstream, the day’s exertions tend to cause an early crash.

If your tent buddy is more than just a friend, I highly recommend zip together sleeping bags, not just for the pleasure and comfort of spooning but because it is a heck of a lot easier to dress and undress in a double bag than a single on a chilly morning.

Stargazing is great if it’s clear (high powered binocs can let you see Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s moons) but that only lasts so long. Having a travel mate who plays flute or harmonica well can be enjoyable, though listening to the muffled sounds of the wintry night is one of the pleasures of the experience.

I always take a book. Besides reading to myself when I can’t sleep or wake up too early, I did find reading aloud to the group was usually a big hit on winter outings. Had a collection of the short stories of Jack London that was a favorite, also “A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush” by Eric Newby. Others were by Terry Tempest Williams, Steven J. Gould, Ed Abbey, Annie Dillard, Sig Olsen and John McPhee (mostly naturalists, travel narratives and non-fiction.)

Not worried at all about the cold
Just the loooong dark night when the sun sets at 4:00.

So you eat, clean up, read a bit . . . and it’s still only 8:00 p.m. That means 10 hours in bed—pretty hard on the joints.

It’s tempting to be camping now when the temperatures are still quite pleasant—50s day, 30s night. Much nicer than summer temperatures.

Its no worse than kayak camping in
the Everglades. Sundown at 7. Sunup at 7. Now there IS a difference. At six thirty the bugs drive you into the tent in Florida.

No wonder when I paddle there I break camp before sunup.

How is the long day different from at home? Sundown is still at four and sunup at 7 and it does not matter whether I am at home or camping.

There are many fine headlamps available, especially those with separable battery packs that can be placed inside your shell for warmth so the batteries last longer. And the nights with fuller moons make them unnecessary. Its fine to keep hiking, snowshoeing after dark.

Easier at home
"How is the long day different from at home? Sundown is still at four and sunup at 7 and it does not matter whether I am at home or camping."

Yeah, I hate short days at home too. But at home it’s easier to find meaningful ways to pass the time.

or paddling for that matter…

Related question
Anybody like the disposable heat packs intended for hands and feet?

I tried them a couple times when truck-camping in the winter. Did not like them because it felt like they gave off moisture in the process of heating. I don’t know if they actually did but it felt like the fabrics near them got slightly damp.

In a pinch
I don’t usually use them and still more rarely use them as intended. I carry them mostly for dire circumstances in my day pack along with a first aid kit and such. I’ve given them to folks who’s boots or gloves weren’t up to snuff and they were quite grateful.

I used a couple chem packs two weeks ago. As I said earlier, the cold was creeping into my sleeping bag from below. I used a couple in the feet of the bag. It’ll make your bag good for about 15 deg below its rated value. Sometimes I’ll use them in my Chota mukluks if I’m frequently stepping in cold water and my feet get cold. I’ve never noticed excessive moisture release using them, though I always get a little moisture in the Chotas and, in the bag or used in coat pockets, they aren’t really confined enough to make it noticeable if they did.

If having a campfire we take stones and
heat them and then put them in the bottom of the bag/bed etc… good for rustic camping also. wrap them in an old hand towel or they can scorch and dirty up things. Last a long time also. Heating water and putting it in you Nalgene bottle and throwing it in the bottom of the bag works well also. Although the heat from the Rocks are longer lasting and just a neat thing to do. We love hanging on to them while sitting around in the evening , they just warm you up great. If you have a wood stove at camp or home keep a rock on it and scent with pure essential oils…a great natural way to make your place smell wonderful.Okay…enough Martha stuff. Going to bed now with my rock :slight_smile:

I love that Martha idea

– Last Updated: Nov-17-11 8:21 PM EST –

We have a small wood stove that serves as auxiliary heater or backup when the power goes out at home.

I LOVE the idea of wafting pleasant scents from oils on heated rocks!

Here's one that you might like: When I was home alone during an epic snowstorm, the power and phone line went out for almost 5 days, no roads got plowed, and snow taller than my head kept me confined to the house, other than the skinny paths I laboriously kept shoveled between house and garage and dog kennel. Food in the fridge got stashed in the snow to keep it from spoiling immediately. I began cooking all the frozen foods first, in or on the woodstove.

Frozen Mexican snacks such as taquitos and mini tacos etc., when wrapped in foil and placed on TOP of the stove, sizzled and filled the house with enticing aromas! I did it with them in the coals also, but the stovetop method announced the food's readiness by sound and scent. Yum...never would have dreamed those frozen things would taste so good, with the slight charring on tortillas as opposed to the steamed or leathery effect from microwaving them.

Y'know, they'd make a good first-night meal for a camping trip, now that I think of it. Just wrap the hard-frozen taquitos in foil and keep them in the cooler on the drive to the launch.

Wow. Talk about off-topic!

The post about holding hot rocks
made me think about one of our favorite cold weather breakfast items. Drop a whole orange in the fire, turn it frequently (welding gloves help). You want it black but not charred till it cracks. Then cut the top off and eat with a spoon. It’ll warm your hands and your innards.

Of course as discussed ad nauseum on other posts carry the orange peels out with your trash.