Posted by: kimmeroo | March 10, 2013

Cold Camping

Given the probationary status of our hot camping tent (update: we have concluded that our tobaggan is less-than-ideal, so there is still hope for that system), we decided that our second trip of the year should be a cold-camping trip. I.e., a regular tent, no woodstove, gear carried in backpacks, etc. Our destination was Lake Superior Provincial Park, and our friend Craig joined us for this trip.

We met for breakfast on a Saturday morning in February, and then headed up to the park. We made it into Old Woman Lake that day, and decided to set up camp in what used to be an executive lodge.

Not that I say it used to be an executive lodge. As you can see from the above photo, it is looking a little worse for the wear these days. We still can’t decide if it was the right move or the wrong move to stay in there. Se, it is a big,cavernous building, which oddly enough was built in a location where it gets basically zero sun.

The benefit of staying in there was the big fireplace. Just to be clear, the fireplace does nothing to heat up the room – however, it got quite cozy huddled right up next to it.




Photo credit: Conor

(It also got a bit freaky when small chunks of rock fell on our heads. Freeze-thaw cycle anyone? But not quite freaky enough to move away from the heat).

So that was nice. And we’ll call the nighttime hours 6 of one, half a dozen of another. It was freeeeeezing (we’re talking -30C), and it was no warmer inside than outside, but no colder either. As an aside, we did set up the tents inside the building. In the morning, however, the sun came out and it warmed up outside a lot more quickly, so it was actually less pleasant cooking breakfast and getting ready indoors.

See? It’s a toss up.

We did decide to stay there Saturday night as well, as it meant not having to pack up all our stuff and set up camp elsewhere. Saturday we did a nice ski tour around the area, which apparently I didn’t take any pictures of. Oops. That night we shared the lodge with two ice fishermen who had snowshoed in.

Sunday we did pack up, and skied to Mash Lake, roughly midway between Old Woman Lake and the highway. We set up camp before heading out for an afternoon tour. The first step in setting up a winter campsite is stomping down an area for your tent.


We used our 3 person Marmot tent, which has plenty of room for both of us + the dog.


Having having lunch and setting up camp, we headed out for an afternoon tour. There were some cool icicles along the way (pardon the thumb. Apparently getting a good shot wasn’t worth taking my mitts off).

And then back to camp for supper. We cook with the stove on a metal shovel so it doesn’t sink into the snow.


After dinner we were planning to have a ripping fire, but it started to snow a wet, heavy snow that was soaking our down jackets and killing the fire attempts. So instead it was an early night in the tent. Read for a little while, then settled in for a long night’s sleep.

It snowed a lot overnight. Check out our igloo-tent:


Photo credit: Conor

We ate breakfast in the tent (oatmeal, yum), then packed up and skied out in the snow.


Photo credit: Conor

We got back to the trucks in a couple of hours, and headed back to town, with a stop at The Voyageur Restaurant en route for lunch. Chili for me, burger special for Conor and Craig. Hit the spot!

Gotta say, we enjoyed this trip. Definitely missed the hot tent in the evening, but this was counterbalanced by the ability to cover a lot of ground. I think that if we can get the toboggan sorted out a bit better we’ll be keeping our hot camping set-up, but mixing it up with cold camping trips as well.


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