Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Great Winter Sleep-Out

It's been sort of balmy here in Wisconsin, lately. On Friday, I saw two kids walking to school wearing no coats. (It was 18 degrees.) That's a common sight, once temperatures rise to about 32, but that seemed odd to me.  Maybe kids just don't know how to act since we haven't really had super-cold weather yet this winter.

People in Wisconsin do a lot of things other people wouldn't do. Take Mr.4444, for example. While we have always been a family that likes camping in the summer, it might surprise you that Mr.4444 likes winter camping! (Yes, he's a little different.)  Mr.4444 has this thing about sleeping outside in a sleeping bag in the winter; he's always trying to get someone to join him on his once or twice per winter "camp-out".  It's probably due to the fact that his dad used to take him and his brother winter camping; he has fond memories of that, even the time that they had a small, portable heater in the tent and their little poodle knocked it over and caught on fire. Talk about a hotdog!lol (What?! The dog was fine!!)

Back when our kids lived at home, Mr.4444 got them to sleep outside with him at least once per winter, usually in a tent. On Friday night, though Kendall and I were here, we weren't up for it. I have to admit that I think I'd enjoy the crisp, cool air, but I'm still recovering from my shoulder surgery, and I don't sleep comfortably as it is; it'll be a while before I'm sleeping on a cot.

The weather Friday night was dry and cool, but nothing major; it was a balmy 18 degrees, so it was far from Mr.4444's record of something-below-zero. That said, he enjoyed his solo, nine-hour cozy sleep very much. He had planned to just sleep for an hour or so and come inside, but at 5am, I found him still out there.

In fact, he slept until 8:00am!!

By the way, Mr.4444 says that the secret to a comfortable sleep (in a tent or out) is a warm sleeping bag, of course (This one's a Gander Mountain Guide Series.), but also a warm hat that you can tie on. The hat keeps your heat contained, and the ties keep it from falling off during the night, which invariably results in a cold, restless sleep. (In the photo, you're looking at the back of Mr.4444's head, which is cozily coiffed in a fake-fur-lined hat.)

Mr.4444 did mention that his pillow (memory foam) got kind of stiff during the night, but he still says it was a very comfortable night. Sadly, although it's cold out, many birds still wake up chirping in the morning; Mr.4444 had a hard time sleeping past eight, especially when Steve and Milo came outside and licked him on his face!

So, I'm thinking of starting a Facebook group/event to encourage people to sleep outside this winter at least once and share their photos and experiences. Obviously, not everyone lives in a cold area, but even Floridians complain about some of their winter temps and need sweaters for 50 degrees; we could set a temperature limit, haha. What do you think? Would you participate? Just pressure...

.....and if you can't find anyone to do it with you, I'm certain Mr.4444 would welcome you for a sleepover at our house!

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