As I adjust my gear list for the current and upcoming cold weather season, I thought I would post a couple of the adjustments that I make besides adding cold weather clothes etc…
First off, for my alcohol stove I carry an extra little fuel container – actually an old camp soap container. This 2 ounce bottle stays in my pocket and keeps relatively warm. I find that the fuel lights better when it is not freezing cold. It also has a handy dispenser cap that makes filling the stove much easier. I will probably consider carrying it next year as well regardless of temperature.
The other adjustment that comes immediately to mind is going back to my trusty Nalgene bottles. This has multiple benefits over Smartwater and other disposable bottles that are lighter. First, they don’t freeze very quickly and once they do, the wide mouth allows you to chip away at the ice if needed. Even better, they are tough enough to lay near the stove and help thaw out….in the photo above I am cooking bannock and also thawing my water bottle.
This is not all you must do to “winterize” your kit, but its a start. See the links section for several sites with excellent winter backpacking advice.