View Full Version : Keeping water un-frozen

09-26-2012, 08:53 PM
Just got back from Idaho, we usually go in Mid September and the weather is pretty mild. We spike camp in. This year we had one night when it got really cold, relatively speaking due to the smoke in the air. Brought up an issue I haven't had to deal with before. We woke up and all of our water and filters were frozen. Question is, when it is cold all the time, any suggestions on how you keep your water from freezing. I put my filter in my sleeping bag. That morning when our water bottles and camp water was frozen, we got by, but what if it was below 30 during the day and 20's at night. Do you just keep a short ration of water? We usually make 5 gallons to keep in camp to fill out bottles and hydration bags with in the morning and cooking so we don't have to make water everyday. Any help appreciated.

09-27-2012, 12:02 AM
I was on a elk hunt for a week and the temps never got over +30 and averaged -10, -20 for the first 3 mornings. We had a lot of freezing issues. We tried to keep the water bottles close to our body as possible to keep from freezing while we were out hunting but didn't work very well. We ate a lot of snow. I wouldn't recommend that but we had no choice. I wonder if there is a type of battery powered thingy a guy could fill with water or put a water bottle in and it would keep it warm enough so it wouldn't freeze. As far as water filters I've learned the hard wat to get all of the water out before you put it back in the pack. On the Elk hunt there was no water that wasn't froze solid so no water to get but what we brought with us.

09-27-2012, 06:06 AM
i have used a couple handwarmer packs in my camel backs. I do this when I am coyote hunting and the temps are usually below 30. they seem to keep it warm enough so i have water all day. Just a thought don;t know if it will help you though.

09-27-2012, 05:35 PM
I guess if there is running water and it's not too cold, you could place the jug or water bottle in the running water or creek. If it's really cold it would freeze in a hurry once you got it out. Never tried it.

09-27-2012, 05:51 PM
As far as filters, I'd suggest keeping them in your bag with you or wrapped up in your spare socks and stuffed in your ruck - lots of insulation.

As far as the water, just leave some space in the bottles so they don't burst and (courtesy of my neighbor) fill up your pot/canteen cup with whatever amount of water you need in the morning. Then just put on the stove or over the fire in the morning.

Highcountry Dreams
09-28-2012, 06:27 PM
I fought with this problem for years also, hunting and trapping in bone chilling North Dakota/Montana/Canada Novembers and Decembers. I have had good luck using camelbacks by wearing the bladder under my insulating layers during the day and blowing the tube out after each time I drink (very important, because your tube will freeze first even with insulation). If it is really cold I add a good amount of Gatorade powder to the my drinking water- the little added salt seems to help. At night I add about a liter of water from my camelback to my cook pot and put the lid on. It will freeze at night but you just fire up the stove in the morning and heat it up, then add back into your camelback. Make sure you add it back into your camelback and don't use it. Wait for it to thaw the water in your camelback, then use the water from your camelback once thawed. This system was used in -30 temps growing up and I showed it to a bunch of folks during winter survival training in the military- that school now teaches this system:)

Muleys 24/7
09-29-2012, 08:07 PM
Good info, I've had my camelback hose freeze a few times.

10-04-2012, 04:30 PM
Camp= Insulted coolers. Get a cheap $10 sleeping bag and wrap the cooler. It will keep the cold air off the container.
Personal water containers. +1, blow out the tube between sips. Also empty your filter body after use, and add a touch of salt. One teaspoon will only slightly alter the flavor on the next use but wont hurt you.
Water bottles, keep em in the truck or under a blanket at night or when its going to be really cold.

10-30-2012, 10:32 PM
+1 for a cooler.

10-31-2012, 07:08 PM
I do a lot of backcountry skiing and the system that has worked for me goes a bit like this. two or three nalgenes depending on type of trip. I keep them in a OR nalgene insulator and keep the bottle upside-down. the reason for this is the top will tend to freeze first because of the entrance to the insulator this leaving the lid end free of ice. at the end of day I will try to go to bed with one warm or hot water bottle and the other ones empty. this leaves u with water to sip on at night and water for cooking. then use some water to start melting snow if there is no moving water to be found. I will start my day with warm or hot water in all my bottles in the insulator pouches should be good for the day. I use iodine if the water did not get boiled instead of the maintenance of frozen filters. this has worked for me in solo and groups as big as ten people for extended negative temps. one thing to be careful of tightning the cap when there is ice on the threads. it will feel tight then when it warms up in your sleeping bag it will start leaking. this will happen on the nights when you're too cold or tired to heat the water before you climb into your bag. This really sucks especially for us down bag guys.
if the water bottle isn't full it will allow the water to slosh helping to slow freezing and when melting snow. it is best to start with a little water in the pot or the water will taste burnt and or the pot will get damaged.
blowing air back into the hose of a bladder is a must and I do use this system with a bladder too. Its a lot of work but ehttp://http://www.outdoorresearch.com/en/or-gear/storage-systems.html?product_highlights=23ffective.

10-31-2012, 08:58 PM
If you are in deep snow, or if the ground is not frozen, you can bury your water. I've buried water in a snow bank (it was deeper than 18 inches) over night in a pot w/lid and woke up with just a skiff of ice on the top. I've never done it in the ground, but I've got to believe it would work in that as well assuming you can dig down two feet or so.

Elk Hunter
11-12-2012, 10:07 PM
Backpacking may be a little different then your camp. Using the cooler previously mentioned is not a bad idea if you have one. It can insulate both ways. Be careful about filters freezing as they can be damaged. If there is any question I sleep with mine. If it is to cold, boiling is better than risking the filter IMO, and its nice to put the boiling water in the water bottle, which goes into a sock, and then into my sleeping bag. With my small one man tent it has to get significantly below freezing for the inside of the tent to get below freezing. Depending on temperature I sometimes have all kinds of things in my bag. Water, water filter, fuel bottle, batteries, camera, GPS, clothing, etc. I did have my boots freeze solid one night. Left them in the vestibule, slightly damp inside from perspiration and outside from walking in snow all day. That was fun.