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Deep snow - do you dig out, pack down? Tricks to not slip and slide as snow melts.

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  • Deep snow - do you dig out, pack down? Tricks to not slip and slide as snow melts.

    Curious about how others approach establishing sleep spots when using a hot tent on top of snow, in an area where it's not permitted to cut boughs for the floor. Do you excavate or simply pack down the snow? We are new to hot tent camping on deeper snow (2 feet or deeper) and have found that despite doing our best to pack down snow before setup, we end up sliding off our sleeping spots as the exposed snow in the rest of the tent is heated and further packed as we go about our cooking, etc.

    I suspect we could have probably spent more time stomping the area with our snowshoes, but wonder if it might be good to excavate instead, using snow only to level what we find beneath. Or maybe it's a daily maintenance kind of thing where we should be re-leveling snow under our sleep mats with the shovel?

  • #2
    I set up up in top after packing down.
    Slipping around is a problem for me too. I sculpt the snow a bit so my sleeping setup is in a small pocket and that helps a lot. When I stay at the same place for more than one night I always need to add snow to build back up the floor and improve the grip.

    I will do some light excavation sometimes to add head room. I avoid completely digging out where I go because I often don’t set up on flat ground, I use the snow to set the grade.
    Last edited by timdaman; 01-31-2023, 11:19 AM. Reason: Fixing typo


    • #3
      I have done both. Most times it is so cold the snow never really compacts so I prefer to clear the area with a portable shovel before I set up the tent. I find this gives me the best results.


      • #4
        generally if the snow is deep enough, I'll damp it down, erect the tent, then shovel it flatter, and use the snow to make an elevated bench. A couple of poles jammed lengthwise into the edge keep it from collapsing. I also use the 3x5' piece of waxed canvas that I wrap my stove in as a mat in front of the bench.


        • #5
          I also pack the snow instead of dig out. If you have the time pack it and let it set up as long as possible before setting up the tent. Use a floor tarp, reflectors and positioned fire wood to keep the heat of the stove from melting the edge of the sleeping area. If the snow is the real sugary kind that doesn’t pack, I’ll dig out but leaves 6” cushion on the ice.


          • #6
            Thanks to all of you for the responses. What you say makes sense. Now I just need to get back out there and try again!