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Living in a tent.

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
Hey hows it going everyone?
Well this year is my first real chance to ski a helluva lot and..well I had a couple questions to some of you that have possibly kinda ski bummed it before.
I have been looking into different ways to live near a resort for basically free and the best idea I have come up with is to set up a wall tent (a bigger canvas style tent that many hunting groups use) somewhere slightly near the resort in the national forest probably. I just was wondering if anyone has done this or anything similar..and how it worked out..I also was curious if any of you knew where I could rent a tent of that nature. (I think they are around 500$ and up to buy for a reasonable size)
Even if you haven't done this I would appreciate suggestions about how I could possibly make a 1-2 month stay in the snow a better time. How would YOU do it?
post #2 of 47
I've been contemplating this too, I'm interested in seeing what people say [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #3 of 47
dude u will freeze your arse off...
post #4 of 47
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the vote of confidence..I think I'll be ok though..
*I am positive anyway..*
It kinda comes down to the question. "Do you wanna ski 50+ days or not this year"
Of course the answer is yes. Then comes the question, How!?!? Thats what I am working on now.
You wouldn't happen have any suggestions of how to live on lets say..200$ for a month or two? With abilities to ski everyday? I know I might freeze my ass off..but I think its worth a shot.

[ October 07, 2002, 06:23 PM: Message edited by: Soul ]
post #5 of 47

Here's what you do:

1) Sh**, shower, shave and toss on your best duds. Throw on some great cologne. (Drakkar Noir, perhaps, hmmmm?)

2) Go to the bar nearest the resort you want to ski at all winter.

3) Charm some single woman into letting you "rent" her sofa from 11pm-7am every day (the rest of the time will be spent skiing, provided your ski pass doesn't get revoked and the weather permits the mountain to stay open).

4) Enjoy your winter, skiing daily without hypothermia, frostbite, starvation, and skin rashes from not bathing. Perhaps have some incredible side benefits from your "arrangement".

Just an idea...but it sounds like more fun than freezing your balls off in a lonely old tent for a few MONTHS, doesn't it?
post #6 of 47
I know people who camp all summer to save money for the winter, but no one who camps all winter. If you wanted to do that I think you'd want a yurt, which is kind of what you described. Do a search on the web for someone who sells yurts. It may also be tough to find a place where nobody will mind if you camp permanently. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
post #7 of 47
I have some insight based on experiance but it was slightly different than what you are considering. I spent about three months doing the ski-bum thing with no house. My plan which worked well was a combo of camping and living in my car. Used my car for nights that were extra cold or when we were forcasted to get mroe than a little snow. Other nights I stayed in my tent. I was using single wall, four-season, 2 man tent so there was not a ton of extra room but it was easy to warm it up. I found a spot just off some cross country ski trails to set up and leave my tent and was able to park my car in the trail parking lot and stay in it or leave it there while in my tent. In my car (2 door accord) I had my back seats folded down so I could sleep with my feet in the trunk and my head behind the drivers seat. I would fold the pasenger seat down and had cook station set up on the back of it with my camp stove. In the AM I could crack a window and cook breakfast while heating/defrosting my car with the camp stove. I used two bags a 0 degree and a -20 degree bag. I would put the 0 inside the other with my boots inside just the outer bag to keep them from freezing. Always keep you skis in your car or tent to prevent theft. the only real nussance that I came accross was the mositure level in my car but was able to leave windows cracked on warmer days to try to air it out.
This was the basics of what I did Let me know if you have any questions.
post #8 of 47
Thread Starter 
A yurt huh...From what I just found they are pretty similar to a wall tent..at least the ones i saw. I just thought of walltents first before doing toooo much research on the whole ordeal because i know a family friend that has one that he uses for camping during hunting season in it for 2 or 3 weeks straight and I could possibly talk him into letting me borrow it.*Not completely sure, that is why I am also looking for someone that would rent me one for cheap*
Yurts seem to be round..Teepee ish? i guess a walltent is more whiteman/redneck style..
I might just end up grabbing the beat up old 4 or 5 person canvas tent and wrapping it in a Tarp and calling it good and seeing if i survive..
The camping permanently..I thought of that a little bit too.I have been looking at camp grounds that are in the area but the pricing I found at one (12$ a nite!) almost made me wet myself.
The plan is kinda to set the tent up..and use it to stay friday sat and sun..for awhile.(leaving it set up..but empty when i am not there)then when winter break hits..well. It would become my home for the chunk of december and most of january..But i think i will talk to the forest service about this..or i will just see where my jeep can take me and i will throw the tent out in the trees off the beaten path...eheh
I am getting ready to research propane heaters and all of that jazz so i can kinda stay comfortable. Think this is a do-able plan?
As for Bonni's comment..I will definately try to sleep on as many ladies couches as i can...But i don't wanna rely on them..You know..some food..some bathing..some love..and off i go!
Thanks for all the feedback so far!!
post #9 of 47
Thread Starter 
Oklahoma!! That is awesome!!
Some great stuff there and I might have some questions.
I could easily live out of my Jeep (wagoneer..but looks like the cherokees)..its a 4 door..and the back seat folds down a lot like that. Some great ideas.
I haven't thought too much about food yet..Food seems to be the simple thing..compared to staying warm and decently comfortable..
But it sounds like u had a real good idea there too..the cooking part..
You have given me a lot to think about. I guess some of it depends if one or two of my friends get in on this with me..whether or not i will be living in my jeep, or in a tent..
thanks a ton. I might have some questions for you!
post #10 of 47
As for food I did a lot of pasta with italian dressing and anything with peanut-butter thiswas cheap and had lots of carbs for energy and warmth. this was also easy to buy in bulf for cheap. you can always get free oyster crackers from the mountain!
post #11 of 47
I'm also trying something along the same line. Well, not entirely. My buddy and I bought a snow machine for the next season or two and are just going to do back country--the easy way. The two of us are able to buy a decent sled for about what we'd spend on season passes for two years, and we'll be able to sell it when we're done! I digress...
We built a crude shelter up near Cooke City to store fire wood, well off the beaten track (we have quite a bit of wood in there now). If you can pick a spot early it would be nice for fire wood collecting/protecting (once it's covered with snow, it gets alot harder to find and use).


We figure that we can also stay in there if need be. We have been thinking about a wall tent, but we'll have to take it down between trips (I don't think they'll be able to hold all of the snow that might fall--you'll have to be there to clear the roof). Also, it might sound far fetched, but snow shelters can be pretty accomodating with a little work, and actually stay warm with little effort (with time, the walls ice up and O2 exchange is limited, and when it is snowing, someone will have to wake up occasionally to clear the vent hole). Or you could just use one for gear storage. Staying in a four season tent can be problematic b/c of the amount of condensation--things get damp, and night after night w/o proper drying can get pretty uncomfortable. Sleeping in a jeep cherokee-style would probably end up being your best choice.

I lived out of a tent while travelling one year, and found that ramen was my main staple. You will be amazed at how many ways you can beef it up (vegetables, fish/chicken/beef, etc added). Or just noodles with a bit of wine/oil/parmasian sauce. Also, I used to add smoked oysters or clams (or whatever you find canned) b/c it is a cheap, simple way to add protien that is easy to keep. Real meat for me was reserved for special occasions! Also, some of those pay campgrounds have warm showers that you can take for a couple of quarters (I don't know if they stay open in the winter). This will help you to meet/keep company.

I like the idea about charming some lucky lady, but you might not be any more chamring than me, and if you are stuck out in the cold (as I certainly would be if I depended on charm alone!) hopefully some of this will help! If you have any specific questions (or if you just want to come do some back country in MT) let me know--maybe I'll have a suggestion that's helpful.

Good Luck,
Mike Albrecht
post #12 of 47
Oklahoma:: You're awsome. How does a kid from Okky with 300 feet of vertical pass his Alpine level III is seven years???? May be living in my CRV is how I can now quit my job!!!! See you soon.

: Whtmt :
post #13 of 47

Try this, I may be way off base, but it makes senset to me.

We wrap ourselves in layers right?

Why not get an inexpensive 1 or 2 man tent with an excoskeleton type frame and pitch that bad boy inside a wall tent?

Wouldn't you create that "air space" that makes good thermal underwear work?

Doesn't solve the personal hygiene proble,m, but there are plenty of truck stops around. maybe not too convient to the hill, but hey, this is not suppossed to be easy right? Just cheap.

post #14 of 47
What about a snow cave? I had a friend spend most of december and half of January in a snowcave waiting for our ski school cabin. Towards the end he had quite the snow cave. He had different rooms and evelavated beds to sleep on. The best thing about it was that he did not have to spend a penny on it. Just a few hours of work. Might be an option
post #15 of 47
As someone else said already a snow cave is an option but any time it is snowing during the night a vent hole is a concern, so you must keep getting up and tending one or more holes depending on the size of the structure and the # of people in it. As for showers and stuff there are always people that will let you use their place, you can brush your teeth with snow melt from breakfast, and most ski towns have some kind of rec center or gym that has locker-rooms with showers, you can either get a day pass or talk your way in for free. If you want more insight on types of shelters you might look at "Mountaineering The Freedom of the Hills" it is the bible of mountaineering and talk about the pros and cons of different types of structures.
Best of luck!
post #16 of 47
Ahhh Soul, this really takes me back. I couldn't resist posting. I kept an 8 x 10 wall tent in a wilderness area for 3 winters running in southwestern montana in the late seventies. How to do it? Well to do it on the cheap, which is what I did, go to a pawn shop or second hand store and find an el cheapo 8x10 family style wall tent. Probably get one pretty cheap. Make sure it has a floor. Next got to hardware and by clear window vinyl. You can get it by the yard, just make sure it is fairly heavy, 6 or 8 mil. Sew the vinyl over the screen in the windows, for light without draft. You can do this by hand. Use a curved upholstry needle. Next by a wood stove chimney jack for the ceiling. Sew this in just off center on one side, and just back of center. Gotta leave room to get in and out of tent without crowding the stove. Just don't put it to close to the rear wall. Next buy a cheap green woven tarp somewhere around 10x14. Put a stove gasket in it to line up with the one coming out of the tent. You can do this at the last minute after the tent is up to help in lining it up.

Hope fully you can find some staight trees to use for poles to erect all this. It's not hard but you will need a lot of rope. Doesn't need to be heavy. Make two A frames to support the ridge. Place a ridge pole over these two A frames. spread them at the bottom so the ridge is low enough to reach. Tie the tent ridge to the ridge pole with nylon cord or rope. Raise the ridge by moving the A frame bottoms closer together, until it is the right height for the tent. Find lighter poles for each side eave of the tent. If the A frame legs aren't high enough to support these at the eave, find some short poles to do this. Get every thing nice and straight and square and staked down. Now throw the tarp over the top of the ridge pole and the eave poles. Line up the two stove holes, and tie down very securley. This tarp will take the weight of the snow, and because it's slppery it will shed the snow much better than canvas. Find a little tin stove, a coleman lantern, a 3' bow saw, an axe, and a nice foam mattress, and you're all set. If you're persistent, you will probably find most of what you need in second hand stores.

Keep 5 gal. plastic buckets with lids for storage, keeps mice out of your food. Enjoy your winter, and good luck.
post #17 of 47

While I wouldn't want to try it myself (I've done enough winter camping to know that about 4-5 nights is enough for me), I give you great kudos for passion.

You've received a lot of good advice already, I just want to add two items of caution. I'm not trying to talk you out of it, just trying to help you anticipate problems ahead of time.

You mentioned setting up your tent in a National Forest near the ski area. You may want to check the Forest Service rules in your area. Many National Forests have regulations about how long you can camp in one spot. I believe it's around 14 to 20 nights. I know that rule is actually enforced in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Just be aware of it as a possibility. Having to move a semi-permanent tent home would be a major inconvenience.

The second thing is the propane heater. I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable about tents and combustibles, but please make certain that any heat source you consider using is totally safe for a small, enclosed space. Carbon monoxide poisoning would *not* be fun.

Good luck if you get it done and report back to us on your experience.

post #18 of 47
Forest service allows only 2 weeks stay at camp sights.
There are tents that have wood stoves in them, around a grand.
post #19 of 47
Setting up a tent for the winter in the wilderness without proper permission is illegal. So remember some of the above advise can get you in trouble.

[ October 08, 2002, 07:41 AM: Message edited by: pyramid ]
post #20 of 47
Both Pyramid and Bob are right. 14 days is the allowable length of stay. My camp in the south fork was illegal. What can I say. I also lived and worked out of permanenet camps a number of times in the seventies. some in established campgrounds, where I stayed over two months at a time with no hassles. The difference was I always had a real home to go to, well most of the time. Be quite about it and keep a tidy camp.

Do these things when you are young and footloose. Why not live a little. I wouldn't trade my memories of those years for anything.

Bob, there is winter camping where you carry on your back all you need, and the permanent type that Soul is proposing. It's really two different issues. I don't know how much of either I could do anymore, but I have stayed out carrying on my back up to 10 days.

Soul I agree with Bob about the propane issue. I would heat with wood. More Btu's, and I certainly wouldn't sleep with a propane heater going. Besides, who wants to lug bottles back and forth. Cutting wood is much more satisfying.
post #21 of 47
Thread Starter 
Hey all! Thanks for all the great advice!! I go to bed for a couple hours and there is a million posts i gotta catch up on!!
I have been thinking about how to do this a lot lately..and its looking more and more like i might just live out of my jeep..If i do the tent thing i will definately go talk to the forest service and see what they have to say..Might just end up hiding in the bushes all winter..
I didn't think much about snow caves..i figure spending all day in the snow and then going home to sleep in it wouldn't be quite as much fun..but i guess you can't judge something until you try it...The air hole thing does scare me..ski all day a couple days straight and i probably wouldn't wake up if i had to throughout the nite!
Going to a second hand store was also a really great idea! I never even thought of that..definately might havta make the drive to a bigger town so i can see what kinda materials i can come up with!!
I am planning on going up to the area and checking everything out to potentially find an area to set up a shelter (if i go against living in my jeep)
You have all given some great ideas and now i am really stoked about doing it!!
I never thought about the propane thing..definately a thanks for pointing that out to me..I never planned on sleeping with it on but at least you all kept me in check and informed!!
I will always have my home to go back to..its only about 3 hours away or so.Who wants to do tons of driving in the winter when you can just live there? I just don't really have any reason to come home, if the whole situation sucks i will definately be heading back..but if I can stomach it then I guess I will live it..
Thanks everyone for all the info! I am looking forward to hearing more about people doing this! definately got me thinking i can pull it off with some preparation

[ October 08, 2002, 09:21 AM: Message edited by: Soul ]
post #22 of 47
Hey Soul; I think it's a great idea. Lots of hunters, miners, and others use them as a base camp year round. They are quite comfortable, and are basically canvas cabins. There are a few things to consider though:

1) Where to set up. As others have said, this can be a problem. Try to make an arrangement with a private property owner, and perhaps trade some work for rent, or even board.

2) Firewood. Wall tents have a hole in the side for a chimney used with an airtight wood stove. You'll need a good supply, and maybe a small kerosene heater as a back up.

3) Heavy snow. Snow removal is a big concern, and a good dump will bring tour tent down. On powder days (*cringe*) you might have to go back to your tent a couple times during the day to clean off the roof.

4) Security; unless you're on private property, there isn't any.

Overcome these obstacles, and you should have a fabulous winter! I would also recommend a second tent to keep your gear out of the way of your living space. Good luck!
post #23 of 47
Soul, man best of luck with this. It was always something that I have been curious about, but never gutsy enough to try. I've been kicked out of numerious ski area parking lots sleeping in my car, and have learned a few things along the way.

1. When sleeping in your car, park as close to the employee area as possible. This makes your car look like it belongs there if there is not hotel parking in the area. Tint your windows.

2. You may be able to avoid the 14 day campground restrictions if you become a campground host. Not sure how this works, or how much you need to be there, but if you can pull it off and still ski, it will be a more perminant home.

I've had friends go on spring breaks during college without a hotel. Whored themselves out to young women for a place to stay. Don't know your ethics, and that could make for a long winter. But you will be skiing!

Where are you planning on going? I'd head south, warmer nights. Good luck!
post #24 of 47
Sweet Jesus Soul!!
Maybe you can wait tables, bar back, or valet at night. That way you could afford a place with a bed and maybe some hot water. You'll surely have a better chance of meeting indeginous fems that way. Do it at a Resort owned property and you'll be making turns for free all season...... Although the camping and living free is a great idea it could get old....but that's just me. Do it in the jeep, sounds a lot drier.I've read all the reply posts and it sounds like people are stoked for ya. Maybe you could find a caboose and live like a king.....remember A-hole Extreme
post #25 of 47
I think a good four season expedition tent would be able to handle snow weight just fine. That pretty much kills any extra space you might have, but how much time do you really wanna spend in a tent anyway?
post #26 of 47
Thread Starter 
Well, all the responses I have received are amazing!!
JR: I am glad you kinda know what i am seeing in my head. I think a lot of people (least ones i have tried to get advice from in real) don't really have a clue about what a wall tent is like atal. I think you might be right about finding a land owner up there..But i don't know anyone i don't think. I think to solve the powder on the roof problem I could maybe use a tarp and make it a little steeper than the real roof of it..if that makes any sense. (by putting some sort of hook in the middle perhaps..throwing a rope over a branch and then pulling it a little higher?)

Alta: I gotta be truthful, I have read through some of your other posts and I think you seem like a really great guy. We should ski sometime, I am sure you can give me a great education!! I will think about the sleeping near the employee parking..I was thinking i would probably find a road going off into the forest somewhere and just pull out in there..something a little off the beaten path but not too far away..(would be nice to not havta move ever..)
I still haven't decided on the jeep or if i should come up with a tent..Definately gunna havta go check out some of the area.
Whoring myself for a place to stay..ethics? What are those? [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
I definately have no problem meeting ladies to take care of me..I just don't want to rely on them (i am sure i could survive if it was my skills or me being cold and dead..BUT..
I will be in Northern Idaho. Schweitzer has a deal for 250$ season passes..So Sandpoint, Idaho.

TheXCop: Ahhh I don't know if i want to work. Its only for a month or two. Lotsa 2-3 day skiing on the weekends..then hopefully about everyday in January..I have a job here..and I think i might end up working something out with my boss so i can work like..2 12 hour days on the weekends of jan..and not work at all during the week..5 days of skiing and 2 of work isn't too bad. Not real sure on it..But i can handle not being clean and well fed..I am worried about the cold the most. It would be nice to find a lady and just use her all season.errr.date her, wouldn't it..I will work on that.

Oykie: I have looked a little bit at 4 season tents..just seem so expensive if i havta buy one..now if anyone would like to loan me a 4 seasons tent, or a wall tent..or any sort of outdoor housing unit..please feel free to contact me. Hell, i would even put down a deposit...as for how much time i wanna spend in the tent..i guess that all depends on the ladies that follow me home..
I am just worried about being half comfortable. Mainly being cold as snot. I don't wanna puss out on this and I think you all are really helping to make sure i got all my bases covered when its time for me to do it! I mean, what better do I have to do then pull this off?
Thanks everyone for all the feedback. sorry for makin this so long!

[ October 08, 2002, 06:18 PM: Message edited by: Soul ]
post #27 of 47
I sleep in a tent when using the Oz resorts. I stay in Jindabyne which is below the snow line but can get to around -10c overnight. As long as you have a good 4 season tent, mattress to keep you away from the cold ground and good sleeping bag you could do it for sure.
Dont think you could do it for long periods at some of the Canadian resorts which are mighty cold. But in more mild temps it shoudlnt be a problem. Much safer than sleeping in a car or something.
post #28 of 47
This kid has heart - but why don't we all just send him $1 so that he can have ...

hot water
a bed

If not, I suggest you use hot tubs at the resort to soothe those cold muscles and disinfect and deodorize at the same time.
post #29 of 47
After my experiance I have to say that the combo of a small tent and a car is great! The tent lets you get outside on nice nights but the car can be made comfortable and is eaisly heated, run it for 10 minutes in the pm and or am and use a camp stove with a window for venting and you are good to go! Make sure that you have a good bag and you will be more than comfy! [img]smile.gif[/img] I have my back three back windows tinted dark to keep people from looking in and to make it easy to sleep and it works great! As for where to park employee lots and hotel lots are ok but there is often security that know who drives what so I would vote for a lot that is out of the way often campground lots are large and not overly lit and people dont pay much attention to what cars are there. I would also suggest finding a good bar or coffee shop to become a regular at. This gives you a place to be beside you car or tent which can become boring. Get a good reading list ready to go and have a blast. Once you are there you will find what works best but the logistics are not as bad as they seem they could be. Remember there are always others in ski towns that started the same way and became "lifers" they are often willing to lend a hand or an idea!
Have a blast and make ever run a good one!!!
post #30 of 47

Now that we know where you're going, here's another thought.

The suggestions on wall tents and private property are excellent. Typically a wall tent has a wooden floor (drier, warmer) and a small wood stove (which will heat the space to about four hundred degrees in ten minutes if you really want to).

The Sandpoint area likely has a number of fishing/hunting outfitters. Those guys have wall tents, which will be sitting around idle during the winter, and they probably know of property owners in the area who might be open to your idea (they may even own a suitable property themselves).

Why not try an internet search (or whatever) and identify a few outfitters in the area. Your idea is just out there enough that an outfitter might say "what the hell, I've got a tent I'd rent you for practically nothing and I know a place you could put it".

Who knows, it might work.


It's really cool how many people here are trying to help you get this done.
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