The Chainlink

I was wondering if anyone wanted to or has experience in camping during winter. 

i want to ride 100 miles from the city to a place where i can camp for a night. 

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First check the dates the camping area is open.  Many Illinois sites close in winter. I do not know any places to camp (legally) in free camping forest, so you are limited to state parks etc.  Days are shorter and winter gear is bigger so cycling 100 miles and camp would be more than I would attempt.  

  I have camped a few times at Indiana Dunes State Park in December. I think they stay open through January.  Not exactly 100 miles or what I would call out in the woods, but it was authentically cold last time I went.

   Good link to basic winter camping technique,  http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/winter/wintcamp.shtml

If you stay dry you will stay warm.

it will be 100 miles coming back so i guess that works too.  and thanks i didn't know indiana dunes was open during winter. 

Elwood Gruschow said:

First check the dates the camping area is open.  Many Illinois sites close in winter. I do not know any places to camp (legally) in free camping forest, so you are limited to state parks etc.  Days are shorter and winter gear is bigger so cycling 100 miles and camp would be more than I would attempt.  

  I have camped a few times at Indiana Dunes State Park in December. I think they stay open through January.  Not exactly 100 miles or what I would call out in the woods, but it was authentically cold last time I went.

   Good link to basic winter camping technique,  http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/winter/wintcamp.shtml

If you stay dry you will stay warm.

I went outdoor camping once in the winter, probably ten years ago.  Off hand I think it was probably a state forest in New York.

Depends on what you want to spend.  You can get all the high-tech, light-weight gear and spend easily a grand on just a tent and sleeping bag.  Otherwise you'd have to go semi-bulky but a down sleeping bag, 2 military grade wool blankets, fire starting tools, small camping stove, stove fuel, layers for clothing, a spare blanket, ground cloth (aka tarp), some sort of bed roll or short cot, and a small tent and you are set.  If you have friends that camp there is a good chance they'll have a lot of stuff you can borrow for a weekend.

I haven't winter camped in several years but I used to a lot, basically every month, growing up in Boy Scouts.  It is all about preparation and having the right gear.  A large tent with a summer sleeping bag means you'll never stay warm.  A small pup tent, like a short "A" style tent means your body heat will warm it up and you won't have to expend energy needless as you sleep, and the ground cloth will keep you better insulated, the bed roll even more, the wool blankets will make things softer and you can throw one around your head unless you have a mummy bag.  And a spare blanket to drape as you sit around a fire at night before bed.

Personally I'd rather camp in the winter or late fall since it is easier to stay warm (IMO) than it is to get cool in the summer.  One of these winters I'll get back out, I almost did this back in February of this year.  Was going to drive to a state park in Wisconsin, park the car and bike for a few miles with a buddy.  Maybe next year....

Hi Miguel. If you'd like advice and practice winter camping with a group before you try it solo, check out Chicago Backpackers Meetup group. They host free beginner bootcamps and winter camping trips ranging from setting up near cars to hiking a few miles into interior sites. Many state parks, including those in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, have sites that are open all winter. There's not a lot of competition for them except perhaps from hunters during hunting season. Best of luck! Nadia

A few years ago, I camped in the beginning of November at Illinois State Beach Park...It's not 100 miles away, only 50. I would recommend checking with them for later dates in the year. Online, you can only book with them May 1st to September 30th. Obviously, camping on the lakefront will be colder than inland, so be sure to take that into consideration. The Metra stop is only a few miles from the State park too, in case you need it. 

If I remember correct, they had shut off the water already and firewood wasn't available unless you went to the store about a mile up the street. 

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