March 26-27, 2023: Hot Tent Winter Camping (34 Photos)
Over a year ago, Mark French and I bought and modified our ice shelter hot tents, an effort met by the mildest winter in recent history last year. We’ve used them on day trips this year but my goal has always been to do Chuck Porter, (fantastic Labrador based YouTuber and outdoor enthusiast) inspired winter campouts which I finally accomplished this weekend!
I originally planned to camp Saturday into Sunday, but a big snowstorm and very high winds delayed plans by one day. Mark and I also wanted to try this last weekend, but Sunday morning brought 5mm of rain so we did a day trip instead with his shelter.
I couldn't fit everything I wanted/needed/desired to bring in just the Argo aka Project 6x6. To solve that problem I picked up a 60" Pelican sled to tow items that were ok to get snow covered on the ride in.
Thirty centimetres of fresh dense spring snow made for a great ride in, the tracked Argos really worked great in these conditions.
First on the to do list before all else was to set our lines and get them fishing!
Next we set up my Woods Arctic 4 insulated shelter, turned hot tent. This drill adaptor is a must have for driving the anchor screws, especially since we always have a drill on hand for our 6" Ice Augers.
Now we set up my modified Princess Auto Woodstove, this is my first time running the stove with the new H-shaped cap & gasket on the door. I also chose to add 2 firebricks at the front of the stove to balance the offset chimney pipe & new cap, especially with today's windy conditions.
Once again I placed the stove on a piece of plywood, this provided a sturdy, level surface for the stove, but also prevented snow/ice from melting out from under it. The welding blanket protects the inside of the tent from damage due to radiant heat.
Finally we shovelled snow on the bottom flap of the shelter which eliminated any breeze from coming in under the wall. When setting up the shelter, we positioned the chimney and door downwind to carry smoke and possible embers away from the tent.
I brought some dry wood & kindling from home in a fish pan, but I took my top handle chainsaw and chunked up some standing dead dry firewood, enough to last the whole night.
This wood wasn't green but was damp from recent weather, placing it under the stove dried it out perfectly.
Daytime mode: Lots of room for a couple chairs, table, cooler, action packer and my fish pan of dry wood. My sleeping cot, mattress pad and sleeping bag were kept in the Argo during the day.
CO detector just in case!
One of my newest, most favourite feelings was putting on a warm dry jacket that had been hanging next to the woodstove to go check ice fishing lines!
For supper I prepared a moose sausage, onion, mixed vegetables & tomato sauce concoction I pre-made at home and reheated/simmered it today on the woodstove. I boiled potato to make fresh mashed potatoes on my MSR Superfly ISO Butane stove.
This is a meal I often make at home as it requires a few different seasonings (black pepper, sugar, garlic and Worcestershire sauce). It's unique and delicious, this was my first time making it in the woods.
Mark left just before dark as he had to work Monday morning, I changed the shelter over to night mode just as it was getting dark.
This 7'8" square shelter provided plenty of room for my chair, cot, stove and table. For one person it's no sweat to have it set up this way and cook, fish, sit, etc.
The stove is running much better than my Hot tent Shakedown night January 2022. With the new H-shaped cap and door gasket, no smoke leaks out anymore. I do still get smoke opening the door, but not nearly as much as before.
My 12v LED lighting kit put together with Princess Auto parts still works great. I don't leave it attached permanently to the shelter as these strips can be delicate and damaged while setting up & taking down the tent.
I attached my Gearline Hanging System to the roof poles and it worked great for drying out clothes after a long day outdoors.
This little fella came up and stuck around for a long time Monday morning.
The next morning brought overcast skies and light freezing drizzle. I started to break camp approximately 8:30 and was back to the truck around 10am. I would have stayed longer, but the weather wasn't great, nor was the fishing, and I did have to get some work done in the afternoon so it worked out well.
All in all I'm very pleased with the whole experience, it went as well or even better than I imagined. Its been a long time planning over the last year, testing out pieces of the equipment I would use, and figuring out what I needed and didn't need. All of this lead to a successful adventure! Can't wait to get out again!
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith