The Cost of Winter Camping, Great Winter Gear : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Below is a paste of my response to a previous thread about camping. I think my research sheds some light on the real cost of Y2K camping for those that plan to not go thirsty, hungry, or cold during the winter. I apologize in advance to those who find this kind of redundancy to be annoying, but I think it will help newbies searching in the archives. While I still haven't edited or spell checked the paste, I did improve some of the lay out towards the bottom-- if things didn't make sense.

I was planning on going camping a few times this year (haven't done it for some time) and have been wondering what's essential and what would be nice to have at the camp site. Drinkable water, food/cooking, and shelter/warmth are the most important things, so let's start here:

The Katadyn Pocket Pump seems to be a popular little water filter. It costs about $250. A five gallon plastic jug to keep water at the camp site (instead of going to the water source every time you need a drink or water for cooking/cleaning) is about $5 bucks and it's easy to get.

While I could easily throw some can food in the car, I know what can food tastes like. I've been thinking about trying a three day supply of dehydrated food from Alpen Aire or such. I think this costs about $25 per person at the local outfitter. Cast iron skillet, lard for re-seasoning the cast iron skillet (just in case, I feel like making soup), petromax stove and a 5 gallon can of kerosene comes to $100.

I've been looking at tents (Northface expedition) and think the Guide Tent is suitable. It weighs 10 lbs, 10 ounces, height is 49", floor area is 47.7' square feet, and it sleeps three. It runs about $700.

Keeping warm: Sleeping pad (Cascade Designs LE costs about $100 each), sleeping bag (expedition quality run from $500 to $700 each), parka (North Face Himalayan Parka is about $600 each), snow shoes (Atlas is about $270 each), Gaitors (Crocodiles are about $50 per pair), Gloves (BD GTX Leather about $140 a pair), Northface underwear ($80 for top and bottom per person), Chill Factor Jacket and Wind proof pants ($350 per person), and some great fitting boots ($300 per person).

For light and heat, I thought about the Petromax lantern. It's bright!

Already, the cost for two people is just about $5,585, and don't you forget that this is just the basics. Granted, most of this gear is serious equipment... the kind of stuff that is used on Alaskan mountain treks. On the other hand, the food was pretty cheap and there wasn't a lot of extras considering what you'd need if Y2K is bad.

What about the other things?

Big backpacks (Dana Designs Terraplane Back Pack ($430 each), hat ($25 each), and goggles ($50 each). Expensive? We're just getting started!

MISCELLANEOUS (Winter Expedition):

1 quart water bottles (x 2 per person)

1 quart thermos (1 per person)

Water bottle parkas


Insulated cup

Metal eating bowl (large)

Fork and Spoon


50' Accessory Cord/Rope

Handy Wipes (Baby Wipes)



Foot Powder

Pee Bottle

Estimated Cost of Miscellaneous Items: $120 per person


Small Vise Grip

Repair Tape

Razor Blades

Leather Man

Swiss Army Knife

Pole Repair Sleeves

Dental Floss

Stitch All or Needles

Small role wire

Seam Grip

Duct tape

Zipper Repair Kit

Extra Stove Parts

Extra Lantern Parts

Air Pump

Estimated cost of Repair Kit: $200


First aid tape

Band Aides


Ace bandage

Sterile wipes

Gym Tape




Cavit (temp. filling)

General antibiotic

Broad Spectrum Antibiotics

*Special medicines

Estimated cost of a basic medical kit: $200

Total cost of your most basic hard-winter camping preparation: $7,235. For your Y2K camping scenario (say, six months) plan on spending up to $5,000 more on food, water storage, cooking niceities, seeds, and etc. On the other hand, home preparations can run a lot higher (especially since some of you will be expecting to enjoy more creaturely comforts than the camper). The average mid and upper middle class Y2Ker (whose staying home) would like to spend $20,000 if they were starting from scratch. Many will spend $5,000 or more from what I am hearing from retailers. The less fortunate may have to make do with about $1,000.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

P.S. I can't afford to go camping this year.

-- Stan Faryna (, April 22, 1999


Good Heavens, Where do you shop? A 10x20 tent is 179.00 at Sams Club. A 5lb sleeping bag with fleece liner, good for 25 below, less than 50.00 at K-mart. You must have plenty of money to spend on this y2k thing.

-- (, April 22, 1999.


Thanks for bringing up the possibility of more affordable gear. If you have time, print out my post and get pricing for every thing on the list. Then, report back here with an update for us. I'm sure we would all appreciate that kind of effort. Aside: my only concern about the more affordable gear is whether it will stand up to the challenge. On the one hand, anyone can say that a sleeping bag is good for 20 below. It's not likely you'd be writing them a letter after Y2K. But the gear I listed has been tested on real expeditions and the gear got good marks from experienced mountain climbers and guides around the world.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, April 22, 1999.

E Gads Stan!

 Are you going to go camping on top of a mountain? If you are going to buy a sleeping bag may I recommend a Holifill (sp?) bag which is what I have used and a 5lb will keep you comfy in anything short of the top of a mountain :o) Scrap the water filter and get purifying tablets or bleach. Stanfields makes good underwear and you had better bring wool clothes (sweaters and socks at least). Goggles? If you are going to expect cold, Army gear is great and relatively cheap. They also have surplus gear that matches much of what you need and a vastly reduced price
Think about what you are doing and where you are going. For the money you are suggesting here a small camperized van and a trailer would be more reasonable. Rent the vehicles. This high tech stuff is not practical and is made for expeditions. You are thinking along the lines of Y2K and that means living with what you have. The idea is to make your self a home away from home camping even if it is a bit shabby. The Bears don't care about the tags on your gear while they rip it up.

Here is  a link that may be able to help you out a bit

 RV and Camping FAQ

And if you want to get really rustic here is the type of site that will give you ideas on surviving with a minimal amount of resources.

 Primitive Skills Group  (this server seems to be having a problem but a must see site if it comes back up)*y/afb/priskar1.htm

And with the above note with bears, today I was out in the mountains doing a bit of surveying and we landed right beside a cougar. We left. But  always note that you understand that animals will rip your gear up if you have anything that smells. We had our lunches with us and that made me a bit edgy. Hang all your food and smelly stuff (soap included) up on a line over a log tied between two trees. This has to be one of the first and major things to remember in the toolies. I have seen bears come in campsites and dig through tents when people are around. And they don't go through the door,  but the side of the tent or what ever way they feel like entering. So keep your 'bear bait' in a safe place and keep your site clean. Safety in the bush is more important that safety at the job site. Don't think you are safe because you have a gun cause if you wound the animal then you have an even more dangerous situation than without the gun. More often than not the animals will leave you alone. They just want the food. The best plan to avoid them is just to practice prevention.

Good luck

The site below is my site with some thoughts on surviving in the cold (If you dare)

Chop wood haul water

-- Brian (, April 22, 1999.

I love threads like this. Thanks to all the contributors.

I had planned to buy a water filter, but now I am leaning toward a distiller.

Has anyone else given thought to this?

-- GA Russell (, April 22, 1999.

1) Boilerman: The tent you are discussing, (I sold em as graded/IR for years) is as similar to the NF Expedition as an old style VW Beetle to a Ford Explorer. Yours is not and can not be made winter OK. If you are looking for a tent you can stand up in, you go to either Eureka Space III modified umbrella or Lake Placid ( I think, might be an Adirondak, but it'll be polyester with serious poles and will be a cabin type). There is a very different set of requirements for winter and summer, and NO NO NO there is NO SUCH THING as a WARM tent. that's why you spend 200-500 on the sleeping bag.

2) Stan: Cascade Designs DOES sell their thermarests as IR to certain outfitters. They tend to be 40-60% cheaper. Just ask if they have any IR or "Graded" T-rests.

3) You can do as well as the Hymalayian (i,a,i,e,a use 'em whnere they go) for half the price. Seriously consider other manufacturers. For the longies, I think that Pataguci (er patagonia for those out of the industry) does it a bit less than $40 per piece. failing that, trust me, with "polypro" or whatever the "polyester du jure" is, the outfitter should be able to cut the prices by 50% and still deliver suitable and effective garments. Always assuming that you presented them with the variables and the limits on budget. We were almost ALWAYS able to outfit peoiple with the things that they NEEDED within a sane budget. We sold teh top dollar stuff to the yuppies who were going to use it for going to the SUV and back because they had to have the label, or to the guys who really WERE doing Denali, or the Greens or Whites in winter, or treking in Nepal, etc.

Chuck, who worked in the store that chased Paul Newman into acting.

-- chuck, a Night Driver (, April 22, 1999.

For many years we've found very reasonable prices on camping gear ar Campmor, in Paramus, NJ. I see no they have a website, we only had their mailorder catalogs. Equipment grades run from moderate to top-drawer.

-- Tom Carey (, April 22, 1999.

Brian: I visited your web site and found your various essays to be of interest. Myself, I'd like to hear more about your experiences in the frontier. There was also some mention of parents as reason you are not going into the woods. I know the feeling; I have a similar situation.

Tom Carey: I checked out the camping store and bookmarked it. They have some decent hot deals including a North Face VE-25 tent (which is similar to THE GUIDE)for $499.96. I've seen the VE-25 go for more. They also offer a Eureka Tetragon 9 tent (3 Season, 4-5 person) for $149. In terms of sleeping bags, one of their hot deals is The North Face Tundra 3D Long Sleeping Bag for $189.97 (Mummy Type, -20, weighs 5#). Campmor also has Tubbs Recreational Hiking/Walking Snowshoes for $140 per pair. Underwear such as SilkSkins(tm) Men's Filament Silk top and bottoms run about $44.00 for the pair, The North Face Denali Polartec Jacket (For Men) is $99.97, Fox River Ragg Wool Gripper Full Finger Gloves are $8.00 or Outdoor Research Dryloft Mazama Mitts for $30.00 per pair. Anyway, that's just some of the things I noticed.

Chuck: You know your stuff when comes to outfitting! Of course, you know other things too. What outfitters do you recommend? If you get a chance, maybe you could go through my list and set a dollar amount range to spend on good stuff that will help carry one through three months in the outdoors during winter. I'm sure it would help to know where, but a good guess is enough. Now, let's hear about Newman.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, April 23, 1999.

for bears...get some bear repellant peppar spray,unless you are a bear hunter and know how to put a bear down,you don't want to kill it,you want it to leave,and peppar spray should be more effective with large critters,most even have money back guarantees,ROTFLMAO!!also,unneeded gun fire might attract two legged predators(much more dangerous)

-- zoobie (, April 23, 1999.

For the best parkas, bags, etc. type in

-- BB (, April 23, 1999.

Dear Mr. Faryna,

As a life long outdoorsman, it takes time to find the gear you really like. I spend a week every fall in a high camp with my brothers and father. At the end of seven days of primitive camping, you really sort out the good stuff from the bad. If I might offer a few suggestions:

1. My favorite universal "tool" is the Leatherman "Wave." I guess it is a redesign of the classic leatherman... it was a gift. The tools is far more comfortable... and it is incredibly handy for the inevitable odd jobs like repairing a broken packboard.

2. I cannot sleep well in a "mummy" bag. As a former rubgy player well over six feet tall, the mummy bags are just too constricting. While they weigh more, I like a extra-long rectangular bag. If you have a nylon shell bag, buy a fleece insert. It makes getting in the bag less painful when the weather's below freezing.

3. Cabela's is a favorite mail order catalog. The prices are better than the local stores, no sales tax and the goods have always been top drawer. I finally killed a pair of boots... and just ordered a new pair. (The "outfitter" boots with the air bob sole. I can provide a full report in a few months.)

4. In addition to matches, I carry a super lighter. I bought it a little "gas and go" in Montana. It is really a small blowtorch... and it can start a fire in inhuman conditions. Of course, if you live in timber country you already know about collecting pines knots.

5. Call me a Luddite, but I like good wool clothes for serious winter work. The wool bib overalls are super warm, with poly/thermax long handles beneath. With good boots and a light overcoat, I can stand most cold weather. My favorite hat is a newer invention... a polarfleece "stovepipe." You can pull it up or down as needed, and it doesn't create the vicious aching hat head syndrome.

6. Tents... only for bug country. In the dead of winter, I prefer a primitive shelter or a partial rock cave if one can be found. The other posters are correct... you can find a serviceable tent for a reasonable price. When it's a really buggy summer night, there is no substitute for mesh.

7. You may want to rethink the iron skillet if you plan to use expensive backpacks. Cast iron does not weigh any less on the finest pack made. A good "pack frame" can be had at a reasonable price, and is versatile in handling odd loads. Cast iron, if well cared for, is the original teflon.

I think all of my gear probably could be replaced for under $1,500... and there's quite a bit of it. Remember, some of the items, if well cared for, will last for years.


-- Mr. Decker (, April 23, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

In my brief absence, I see quite a number of new posts. Is anything interesting? I had a nice drive in Amish country (Lancaster County, Pennsylvania) and noticed that Alladin lamps and other non-electric supplies are nearly impossible to find in those parts. I am glad to see your post here and welcome the recommendations and thoughts. I have a Cuban Monetcristo with your name on it-- if you find yourself in these parts. I especially appreciate the insight of outdoorsmen like Chuck and you as my outdoors experience is entirely lost to me.

I see you did take my advice on laughter. Laughter, cigars, a good drink-- these are the only "alternative medicines" that I recommend. That reminds me that I have some cases of things to order: brandies, wines, cognac, and scotch to be sure. And the ingredients for fish house punch, an old hand me down recipe for keeping a crew happy (or your neighbors) that comes to me from my girl friend's ancestors.


Cabella's has a web site (, but the best deals seem to be advertised in their frequent mailings. The online store features several categories including fishing, automotive/ATV, fly fishing, hunting, marine, archery, camping, footwear, and clothing. Under camping, for example, several more sub-categories are listed including camping accessories, camping furniture, coolers, smokers, cookers, stoves, knives, sharpeners & multi-Tools, outfitters luggage, bags & packs, lights, sleeping equipment, G.P.S. (may or may not work after GPS rollover), tents, food processing, and cooking accessories.

Camping Things

Luggage: I liked Cabella's EAGLE CREEK EXPEDITION TRUNK. Anyone have experience with this luggage mover? It seems ideal for bringing back the junk I pick up at the Flea market in Rome or as a giant bug out bag for the car. Roll it or convert it into a hands free back pack. 30 x 15 x 14, Capacity is 6,300 cu. in. and weighs 8 lbs., 4 oz.

Multi-tools: Mr. Deckert's LEATHERMAN WAVE MULTI-TOOL ($80.00) with leather sheath looks pretty handy: needle-nose pliers; regular pliers; wire cutters; diamond-coated file/sharpener; wood saw; scissors; extra-small, small, medium and large standard screwdrivers; Phillips screwdriver; can and bottle opener, wire stripper, and lanyard att.

Cots: CABELA'S HEAVY-DUTY ARMY COT ($90.00) looks very comfortable.

Blankets: SPORTSMAN SPACE BLANKET ($10.00) is more rugged than most of the one layer aluminum foil/ space blanket types out on the market.

If any of you haven't been to the Cabela's web site, check it out. You are sure to come up with all sorts of ideas on how you might want to rought it in the hills, mountains, and anywhere else that's not home. It's alot easier to check things out on the web than go sniffing around actual stores where things get hidden or are out of your view.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, April 24, 1999.

Mr. Decker (or anyone)

i have been looking for a 'pack frame' suitable for loading out firewood or deer for some time. what is a good source? so far, going to local sporting goods stores and some catalogs, i have found only one version. is there more?

thanx very much.

-- Cowardly Lion (, April 24, 1999.


Alot of my experiance in the remote areas was on boats as a fisherman in the arctic. This is not the kind of info that will be relevant in most peoples preps. Setting up camp and camping are totally differant ways of surviving in the bush. As I am a water addict and not so much land focused individual the "bush" stuff is somewhat differant. The one thing I can recommend though without hesitation is the fact that the body can acclimatize to the extreemes in nature and no matter how much gear you have you must be able to take the extreemes and adapt to them. It is suprizing how cold you can get your hands and they are still functional. Also, there is nothing like working to adapt to the pains of the natural order. It is something like "getting your second wind" by working past the pain of the cold till the body ajusts to the enviorment it is in.

Mr. Decker nice to see you like wool also, once while on the boat I got a full wave coming into a fish pocket while I was coming out. Didn't have my slickers on but did have a wool coat on and lasted the day at near freezing temps. feeling quite toasty. Remarkable material.

One thing that does consern me in this thread is the cost of materials. Most folk do not have the money to be throwing it into something that is pretty much a wim in most peoples lives. You don't need fancy gear to survive in the bush. Just common sense. Keep dry, know your limits, have water and ready to eat food and have the right gear not the most expensive gear.

I just think going out and camping this summer is just a really good experiance for people. The winter stuff should never be attempted except by those with the ability to handle it.

-- Brian (, April 24, 1999.

Mr Faryna,

Perhaps we should rendezvous at the Coleman store in the Lancaster outlet mall... or the Woolrich store just down the row. You'll want a Hudson Bay 5-point wool blanket. It is the ultimate in a great blanket... but a trifle expensive for some.

While I might pass on the over-priced Amish "buffets," I will take a cigar. Ramon Allones, or Partagas (most small shops do not stock the RAs. Drop me an email, and I will check my schedule.

To the gentleman asking about a packframe, I bought an Alaska pack out of Cabela's several years ago. If you get a sturdy, external frame, you can often strip the pack off and just use the frame. Nothing hauls a large awkward load quite as well as the old Army packboard. As I mentioned to Mr. Faryna, I have had good luck with Cabela's. Just make sure the packframe is good and sturdy. A quarter of an elk will bend a weak aluminum frame awfully fast.


-- Mr. Decker (, April 25, 1999.

Disappointed with not bringing home some interesting Amish things, I decided to take my credit card to the web. First stop was Cabella's. I ordered some water proof bags and will test them out in the nearby creek. Not. But I thought these were good prices and a nice variety. The Eagle Crest luggage will have to wait. Also eyed some binoculars. I'm looking in the $200-$400 range. Any recommendations? Wonder what my neighbor's say if they saw me looking at them with binoculars? One is in the Secret Service, another a professor at the War College.

Also did some online shopping at The Sportsman's Guide which even has a Y2K section ( Check out the Deals of the Day: give them your email address and they will email you updates. Also check out the Clearance Section. I got some wind and water proof matches (supposedly NATO-approved), but they are a bit expensive at $US 7.00 for 50 matches (2 tubes with 25 each). I let you know if they can light a cigar. They also carry MREs by the case ($US 60) and half case.

Mr. Decker, would be glad to meet you in Lancaster in a month or so from now. Trying to get an online commodity research project started just now for a client and my weekends will be shot for next four weeks at least. Expect a personal note, shortly. Yes, don't remember which overpriced buffet we stopped at but it was an interesting experience sitting at a table with several strangers. I recommend the cracker pudding. Never had it before, but it was quite good in a grandma way-- if you had such grandmothers. In fact, mine never made cookies, etc.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, April 25, 1999.

A piss bottle... now there's something I hadn't included in my preps. What is this, a way to keep from having to leave the sleeping bag in the middle of the night? I can just see fumbling with that and a Lady J... Got depends?

-- Dancr (, June 25, 1999.

Dancr, there's a good female urinal on the market. It's a little like that Lady J, but is sturdier, bigger, and can be used sitting or laying. Also can be hung on bedside rail, stand, or tree branch. Big enough to use a few times without emptying if absolutely necessary. Sorry, don't have a picture, maybe can find a pic on the Web later. Think it's $9.99. In our line of work this type of thing is the main topic of conversation! ;^)

We have some Depends stored, but they're bulky and have to be changed after 1x. Women are definitely at a disadvantage. The average human has to void @ once every two hours and once at night. Women more frequently than men. That's why there's long lines outside women's bathrooms while nary a peep at the men's.

Sanitation is going to be interesting if the infrastructure goes down. We've heard stories of how other countries handle it -- in India, we've heard, ppl just squat by the road as needed, while the bicycles, cows, rickshaws, cars, buses, monkeys, and masses of ppl walk right on by. They don't have toilet paper either. We are not making this up!

xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, June 25, 1999.

Can't find any pictures on the Web, but here's the info:

Kendall-Futuro, makers,
Division of The Kendall Company
Cincinnati, Ohio 45150
Female Urinal, Futuro 264600
xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, June 25, 1999.

To the top for the Outhouse thread folks :-)

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, November 06, 1999.

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