Our first stop on our way down to Baja, Mexico started a little on the chilly side. Temps took an unexpected turn, swinging from nearly 60 degrees a few days before we arrived to single digits when we set up camp. Bend, OR has long been boasted as a four-seasons wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts. All year round people head to Bend to rock climb, mountain bike, ski, and fly fish on one of the many incredible rivers in the area. When we pulled into town we also made sure to visit a few of our favorite spots for a bit of liquid courage and good food before heading to the river.
Making the most out of a cold snap when you’re camping is something we all like to be prepared for, and this trip was no different. We brought fly rods and plenty of firewood to keep the smiles going both at camp and on the river. Below are some of the tips and tricks you can use to enjoy being at camp, even when the forecast includes seeing your breath.
Our Favorite Spots In Bend:
Rock Climbing - Smith Rock
Mountain Biking - Phil’s Trails
Skiing - Mt Bachelor
Fishing - Deschutes & Crooked River
Coffee - Spoken Moto
Beer - Crux Fermentation Project
Food - Spork
Our Favorite Gear For Bend
X-Cover 2.0 - When you want to bring along some extra gear, taking advantage of the cross bars and king-sized bed of the X-Cover 2.0 is a perfect combo.
Disco Series - Staying warm around the fire is even easier with the Disco Series. Cooking over an open flame lets you stay warm while also keeping an eye on dinner.
Aioks - The ease of having everything in one place makes all the difference when you’re winter camping. The Aioks does it all and sits at the perfect height for most packable camp chairs.
Tips For Packing:
Having easy access to what you need in the order you need it makes all the difference when it's cold. Packing things like jackets, gloves, fire-making supplies, and cooking equipment in easy-to-grab places will cut down on clutter and let you focus on enjoying whatever winter wonderland you find yourself in.
Bring more firewood and fuel than your average trip to keep your hands and toes warm. The sun goes down much earlier in the winter months. One camping hack is to bring along a few “Duralogs” that have longer burn times to keep the warmth coming and smoke to a minimum.
If you don’t already store your sleeping gear (sleeping bag, pillow, blanket) in your RTT, packing those items in your tent before heading out will make your setup a breeze. Not only will it save space in your car, but it will also save your fingers from fumbling in the cold.
Tips For Setting Up Camp:
Wind chill can be a big factor in how cold it feels outside, so finding a sheltered area will really improve your winter camping experience. Look for a valley or a grove of trees that could act as a windbreak.
You don't want your tent to catch the wind like a kite, especially in cold weather. Orienting the hard shell of your Skycamp toward the wind will make for a much warmer, and much more comfortable night in your RTT.
Expand your basecamp. Setting up an awning or annex will keep you and your gear dry, take away the stress of any wintry mix you might encounter, and reduce condensation that might accumulate overnight.
Tips For Cooking in the Cold:
A cast iron skillet is a great item to use as your main cooking surface as it will keep food warm long after it’s been taken off of the heat.
Smaller appetizers spread out over a longer amount of time will keep you smiling and enjoying the brisk weather. Grilled cheese and tomato soup are a great option to warm up with throughout the night for a quick pick me up.
If you have left overs and have a lid for your cast iron, simply put the lid on and save the rest for tomorrow. Our favorite move is to use left over fajita fixings for a breakfast burrito the next morning. 10/10 would recommend!