Getting Ready for Winter Smoky Mountain Hike - Uphillhike
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Getting Ready for Winter Smoky Mountain Hike

Picked up a cheap down vest from Lands End and I bought an REI compression sack big enough to barely fit two sleeping bags. The two bags, a -25 degree bag and a 40 degree down bag should help keep me warm. I am also adding my fleece shirt and probably my ski pants. Checking the weather forecast, this might be overkill. Snow has been dropped from the forecast. Need to make up my mind about the ski pants and the 2nd sleeping bag. I’ll be warm while hiking and I should be warm at night with 2 sleeping bags without a lot of extra clothing.
Today, in my backyard, I tested a way to use a campfire to keep my tent warm. My tent is a tarp tent with an open front. Using a coat hanger, I extended the front guideline to a 2-3 foot stick planted in the ground. Using the small clamp type paper clips and a clothesline clip, I draped a reflective foil emergency blanket over the string portion of the guidline and cliped it to the edge of the tent opening and to the guideline itself. This made a vestibule of sorts. Under the coatline portion of the guideline which is not covered by the emergency blanket, I piled rocks in a semicircle and built a small fire. The fire was close, but not close enough to the emergency blanket to worry about it catching fire or melting. The fire was even farther from my much more expensive tarp tent. The tent was on a slope so that the fire was on the downhill side. This allowed radiated heat to travel uphill toward my sleeping area while cooler air tended to rest at the lower end of the tent and emergency blanket vestibule. The reflective vestibule blocked wind, and trapped and radiated heat. A small opening at the fire end of the vestibule and the semicircle rock fireplace prevented too much cold air and wind from finding its way into the enclosed area. Sitting in my tent and in the vestibule area, I could really feel the heat radiate into the tent and travel toward the uphill end of the tent that was away from the fire. Since the fire was outside, there was very little smoke that made its way into the tent. Next test will be the Smokies.