Winter Survival Guide
Guide to Winter Camping at Xanadu
Xanadu weather is never easy. Over the summer we released a camping guide to Xanadu that detailed everything you would need to stay healthy and have a blast at Midsummer Night’s Dream. The seasons have turned and winter is upon us. In this guide we aim to give you the best advice to have a spectacular time at Incandescence.
For tent camping, one of the most important things not having contact with the ground when you are sleeping. This even means through tarps or the bottom of your tent. You can use an insulated bed roll, thermal sleeping bag, or inflatable mattress, but direct contact will cause the heat in your body to go into the ground which will cause at the very least a lot of pain but can result in hypothermia.
If you get an inflatable mattress, the best thing is to put a sleeping bag or other insulation face up on top of it and then a fitted sheet over that. The air in the mattress will get very cold as well, which can be uncomfortable. Putting an open sleeping bag face up on the mattress will keep you separated from that cold. If you have one sleeping bag, then just use it as normal with you inside and on top of the mattress. Also, suggested for an inflatable mattress is an air pump with batteries (rechargeable or not). If the mattress loses air in the middle of the night, it’s usually better to inflate it where it is. If you have access to a generator at the event an electric blanket works great. Use it carefully and don’t leave it on all night as this can result in burns at high temperatures. Most of these blankets have an emergency cut off switch.
If we were in a colder climate, then the choice of tent would be very important. But it’s not that cold so any cheap nylon tent will typically do well. A canvas tent is great for keeping the heat in, but it’s just not necessary.
If you are getting a propane heater for your tent, it’s a good idea to get a carbon monoxide and fire detector as well. No one expects an accident to happen, but heaters can get knocked over in the middle of the night or during other activity and it’s good to have a warning.
Small propane heaters will heat up most small enclosed spaces and can make things a lot more comfortable. They sell these at big box hardware stores and they take the 1lb green canisters. It depends on the heater you get, but one canister usually lasts two nights.
Electric heaters are also an option if you expect to have power. Just remember that it’s you that will be jumping out in the middle of the night to refuel the generator if it runs out of gas.
In the day time, it will be warm enough that food will spoil. A refrigerator is normally kept at 40 degrees, and so for anything perishable you will need a cooler and ice. There will be ways to get ice at the event, but a large cooler should last the whole weekend. One tip for making ice last longer is to keep a towel on top of the food, as it will hold the cold in when you open it to get a drink.
In the day time, it can get pretty warm. Especially if you are coming from up north, the temperature in the day will be comfortable in jeans and t-shirt. But at night, it will dip down, so having a warm coat is a good idea. Layers are always good because theme camps might have different kinds of fire and other heaters going so it’s better to be able to adjust your clothing to your comfort.
As with all camping, it’s good to have a propane stove for cooking. Pretty much any one will do and one green canister will last the weekend. Pots and pans from home should be brought as well.
Some clean water should be brought for washing and drinking. This isn’t That Thing In The Desert, so 1 gallon per person for the weekend should be plenty. There are stalls for camp showers as well, so you may want to bring extra water for that. But even in the day time, this can be pretty cold.
It isn’t expected to rain, but weather people can be wrong and having an umbrella never hurt anyone. I’ve never gone on a trip and said “Man, I really wish I didn’t bring this umbrella.”
To recap, the minimal packing list is
– any basic tent
– insulation from the ground when you are sleeping. If you are bringing an air mattress, extra insulation from the air mattress.
– some kind of warm cover/duvet/sleeping bag
– possibly a personal heater
– food and drinks
– a cooler with ice for your perishable food. Consider laying a towel inside to help keep the cold in.
– a simple camp stove
– some propane canisters
– clothes for temperate weather (70s and 60s) that can be layered to chilly weather (40s and 30s)
– water for washing and drinking
– an umbrella
If you want to have a fire, then please understand that no ground fires are allowed on the property. It should be in a fire pit. If you are under or near trees, it should have a metal screen to catch embers. All fires must have someone present to tend to them, and if one is left alone, DPW or fire safety may put it out without talking to anyone.