Story: In a tent in winter

In the last weekend I spent a night in a tent in a winter time. The first time to me. That happened in Patvinsuo National Park.

Last Saturday was one of four “The day of Finnish nature” or “Luonnon päivä 2017.” They are the days that try to encourage people to enjoy and celebrate Finnish nature. For example, by spending time outdoors.

One event was in Patvinsuo Nature Park, where there was guided opportunity to train how to spend a night outdoors in the winter time.

This was a new experience for us, so we decided to try. The opportunity and the place were excellent: On the shore of (frozen) lake Suomunjärvi. With opportunity to escape indoors if it would be too cold or if something else unwanted would happen.

We arrived to Suomunjärvi at noon on Saturday. The place is located almost exactly 100 km from our home, but along roads it takes about 2 hours. The place is in quite eastern part of Finland between Lieksa and Ilomantsi. Which means in the middle of wilderness.

The weather was excellent: On Saturday temperature wad -3 deg C and no wind. During the night temperature droped to -6 deg, which was still okay.

We used borrowed Fjällräven Akka Endurance tent – our own is basic Akka. However, the weather was not too hard and our own tent would have been suitable.

Since there was about 40 cm quite soft snow, it was trampled to make the ground harder. With snowshoes not too difficult. After trampling and couple of hours waiting, the snow was hard enough.

The place is for camping, so there were some facilities: Toilets and oven for cooking outdoors. We used oven for cooking except that we heated sausages on open fire. And made coffee also there.

In winter time it is nice to have fire at whole time. It is warm, and one can also dry shoes, cloathes, and socks there.

We had only some small activities, like snowshoeing. We did about 2.5 km walk, and check “karsikko” that is an old tree dedicated for dead people. There are some old carving on it for that.

I used also the opportunity to train my skills on reading maps. I had the map of that region, scale 1:25000 printed from Also I have laminated it, and thus it can sustain in good condition. I feel that it is always good to practise the map reading.

Also I tested my new Garmin Gpsmap 64s. There seemed to be a good agreement between the map an the device. And a funny detail: I marked that Karsikko tree to my device in advance. And when I reached it, the location was 4 meters incorrect. Not too bad; this difference really doesn’t matter.

The nice surprise was that there was a possibility go to sauna in the evening. One might think that it is not a good idea before sleeping outside, but it is not true. Sauna enhances blood circulation and makes it feel warmer. But, of course, one needs to dry carefully the skin and the hair. Otherwise it will be cold afterwards.

Sleeping was quite comfortable and warm thanks to good sleeping bags. The only major disturbance was when our dog heard something and started to bark like crazy in the middle of the night.

In the winter time the inner tent ceiling will become wet. Thank to the moisture we make. It will be condensed to the cold ceiling – simple physics. But it does not harm too much until you touch the ceiling. And it is better that it condenses to the ceiling and not in the sleeping bag.

After all, we enjoyed the experience. Our daughters thought that they could do it again. And we get also some good advices from other people there.