Tag Archives: winter camping

Winter Camping and Outdoor Recreation at ‘Base Camp Oswego County’ Feb. 25

WILLIAMSTOWN –Outdoor enthusiasts can learn winter survival skills and the basics of winter camping while exploring the grounds of Camp Zerbe at the second annual Base Camp Oswego County, a winter outdoor expo, Saturday, Feb. 25.

The event is sponsored by Pinnacle Builders USA Inc., Oswego Expeditions, the Oswego County Search and Rescue Team, Oswego County Division of Parks and Recreation, Oswego County Tourism Office, and several volunteers who are experienced in outdoor recreation.

Workshops will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. inside the lodge and on the grounds of the Oswego County Nature Park at Camp Zerbe, 253 State Route 104 East in the town of Williamstown.

Outdoor winter camping on the grounds of Camp Zerbe near Williamstown.

OUTDOOR WINTER CAMPING ADVENTURE – The second annual Base Camp Oswego County will take place Saturday, Feb. 25, on the grounds of Camp Zerbe near Williamstown. A variety of field trips and workshops will be held during the day, with optional overnight camping. For event information visit www.facebook.com/BaseCampOswego or call Oswego Expeditions at 315-561-0223. (Photo by Mary Ellen Barbeau.)

“The purpose of Base Camp Oswego County is to introduce people to the basics of winter camping and Oswego County’s great resources for outdoor recreation,” said event chairman and County Legislator Jake Mulcahey of Oswego.   “We have a full day of field trips and workshops scheduled. Overnight camping will be available Saturday night, Feb. 25, for those who bring their own winter camping gear and register in advance. This year we’ll have designated areas for family camping and adult only sites.”

Workshop topics include cross-country ski and snowshoe hikes, snow shelter building, winter survival skills, GPS and orienteering, working with sled dogs and skijoring, camp cooking techniques , fat bikes, and ice fishing. Admission to the workshops is free. There is a $10 registration fee per tent for overnight camping.

Food vendors will be on site during the day. Participants should dress for the weather and bring their own sleds, skis and snowshoes if they have them. A limited number of snowshoes will be available for loan.

Overnight camping will be available for those who pre-register and bring their own winter camping gear. To register, call Oswego Expeditions at 315-561-0223 or visit http://bit.ly/2kb8TJr

Two clinics will be held prior to the event for first-time winter campers. Jake Mulcahey and Barb Hartman will conduct “Introduction to Winter Camping” clinics at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7 at the Mexico Public Library, 3269 Main St., Mexico; and Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. at Murdock’s Bicycles and Sports, 177 W. First St., Oswego. Those planning to camp overnight should bring all of their own gear and food for Saturday night dinner and Sunday morning breakfast. Overnight campers will be asked to register and sign an insurance waiver.

The Oswego County Nature Park at Camp Zerbe is owned by Oswego County and overseen by the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, Division of Parks and Recreation. Any proceeds from the event will be donated to the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau for youth recreation programming.

For information, visit www.facebook.com/BaseCampOswego or call Oswego Expeditions at 315-561-0223.

Winter Recipes to Keep You Warm

Has winter kept you from enjoying the outdoors? Well, with these winter recipes, you will be ready to face any snowstorm and may even be brave enough to try winter camping or wheeling in the snow! With your state’s Pocket Ranger® app, you can find winter activities that you and you’re family will enjoy!

Crab Cakes

Courtesy of Simply Recipes

Crab cakes on a bed of lettuce is one of our recommended winter recipes

Image: www.ourfamilyeats.com

If you went crabbing or plan on going this fishing season, this is one of our winter recipes that is a must try! This recipe makes 12 crab cakes.


  • 1 lb. crabmeat
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter
  • ½ cup shallots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tarter sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 4 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 2/3 fresh bread crumbs 


  1. Heat one tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallots and half teaspoon of salt. Cook until shallots are translucent then let cool.
  2. Whisk the eggs together with the Worcestershire sauce, the remaining half teaspoon of salt, paprika, freshly ground black pepper, tarter sauce, lemon zest, Tabasco, parsley and the cooked shallots. Gently fold in the crabmeat with the torn bread. Then take the mixture and form into a patty about 2 ¼ inches across and ¾ inches thick. Continue this until you have made 12 crab cake patties.
  3. Line a rimmed tray with a piece of wax paper and sprinkle the bottom of the tray with half of the breadcrumbs. Set the crab cakes in one layer on the top of the layer of breadcrumbs and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs. Cover the crab cakes loosely with another sheet of wax paper and place in the fridge for an hour.
  4. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, place the crab cakes in the pan and cook until golden brown (3 minutes on each side). Then, place in the next batch of crab cakes in the skillet.

Crispy Garlic-Sage Potatoes

Courtesy of Food Network

Crispy garlic sage potatoes in a pan

Image: indulgy.com

This winter recipe will warm you up after your day spent shoveling snow or building snowmen with the kids. The cook time for this delicious potato recipe is 1 hour and 15 minutes.


  • 4 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 6 sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 garlic cloves, smashed


  1. Place a baking sheet on the bottom oven rack and preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Peel the Yukon gold potatoes and cut them into wedges.
  3. Toss potato wedges with olive oil, chopped sage leaves, sprigs of sage, salt and pepper.
  4. Remove baking sheet from oven, and spread wedges on the hot baking sheet. Roast wedges for 30 minutes.
  5. Stir up the wedges and add the smashed garlic cloves. Cook for another 30 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Increase the temperature to 400°F. Cook wedges until crisp for 15 more minutes.
  7. Season with salt and serve.

“Après-Ski” Soup (After-Skiing Soup)

Courtesy of Nancy Hamlin at Taste of Home

After skiing soup with vegetables in a black bowl

Image: skitownsoups.com

This après-ski soup recipe, which is French for “after skiing,” is sure to warm you up after your day of skiing! You can make this at home and take it to go: just warm it up and it’s ready. This recipe serves 6.


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 ¼ cups acorn squash, cubed
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium leek (white portion only), thinly sliced
  • 3 cans reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 small zucchini, halved and sliced
  • ½ cup uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Place butter in a 3-quart microwave safe bowl. Set microwave on high for 15-20 seconds or until butter is melted. Add squash, carrot and leek to bowl and stir to coat them with the butter. Cook covered on high for 6 minutes.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook covered on high for 12-14 minutes or until vegetable and macaroni are tender, stirring twice.
  3. Remove bay leaf. Serve or pour into a thermos for later.

Related articles

The Big Chill: Quick Tips for Winterizing Your RV

While it may be a wee bit depressing having to pack up all of your summer and fall camping gear, and dig out the chunky sweaters and fur-lined boots, we choose to get amped for winter sports rather than sulking over all of the beaches at which we’d rather be this time of year. Most seasonal stashing is easy peasy, but those of us with RVs know that preparing for winter means a whole lot more work than putting lawn chairs in storage. Winterizing your recreational vehicle is a necessary seasonal routine that will help you prepare for the camping off-season, as well ensure that your vehicle is in tip-top shape and ready to go when spring shows its shining face again.

Here are a few tips for winterizing your RV that we learned from the pros and mostly apply to those of us who are paid an annual visit from Old Man Winter himself.

Winter RV

While winter camping is definitely doable, most people retire their RVs for the winter. [Image: www.rvcountry.blogspot.com]

It’s Element-ary, My Dear Watson

Nothing wreaks havoc on a an out-of-commission vehicle like the elements: we’re talking snow, rain, salt, and even sand. Protecting your RV from these conditions is key to prolonging the vehicle’s lifespan, and while it is recommended that it is done so by keeping the vehicle in off-street storage, such as a garage, special tarps and covers are also available by specialty retailers for those without the option of fully storing their RV. A cover may still prove to be beneficial even if you are able to store your RV in a garage or similar facility, and can help regulate the temperature of the vehicle as it gets cold outside.

Snow isn't the old element you need to protect unused RVs from. [Image: www.thefuntimesguide.com]

Snow isn’t the only element you need to protect unused RVs from. [Image: www.thefuntimesguide.com]

Everything Must Go

When it comes to cleaning out your RV, it’s good to adopt the “everything must go” mentality and rid your vehicle of any food, clothing, or clutter, so that come spring or summer you will have a fresh, clean start. It is recommended that even nonperishables are removed from the vehicle before it is placed in storage; extreme temperature changes can lead to spoilage or can explode if frozen, leading to a mess that can attract all kinds of critters and bacteria. It’s also a good idea to remove any valuables or personal non-camping items from the RV, as you aren’t likely to want to dig them out once you’ve put the vehicle into storage. We also suggest removing all linens from the beds and bathroom, giving them a good launder, and keeping them in a safe place until camping season.

Winterizing your RVs plumbing system can be tricky, but it's necessary to maintaining the integrity of your vehicle. [Image: www.rvupgradestore.com]

Winterizing your RVs plumbing system can be tricky, but it’s necessary to maintaining the integrity of your vehicle. [Image: www.rvupgradestore.com]

Drain Game

Plumbing is probably the most important and complicated part of the winterizing process. Neglecting to drain your RV’s water heater can lead to the pipes freezing over, causing system damage that may cost you a pretty penny to fix. After your last visit to a campsite before placing your RV in storage, it is a good idea to empty both the freshwater and wastewater tanks at a nearby dump station. After unlatching tank drains, it’s smart to turn any and all faucets to purge the lines of any remaining fluids. Cleaning out the tanks is also important to keep mold from growing over the winter, holding tanks can be easily scrubbed by hand, while gray and fresh water tanks need to be flushed out using a higher strength cleaning agent, since there isn’t a direct access to the tank itself. Most RV supply stores and companies will sell specialty cleaners for these types of tanks, but if not baking soda or bleach work well in a pinch.

For a more detailed guide to protecting your engine and battery , check out the Complete Idiot’s Guide for How to  Winterize and Store Your RV.

Cold-Weather Camping Survival Guide: 7 Tips for Keeping your Tent Toasty

As any nature lover will tell you, fall is as good a time as any to head out on a camping excursion. Colder temperatures can sometimes discourage less avid campers from taking advantage of the lower rates and thinner crowds found at the campgrounds this time of year, but crisp autumn weather doesn’t mean you have to spend your outing feeling like this:

This tree is obviously very cold.

On the contrary, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can employ to ensure that you spend more time comfortably enjoying the outdoors and less time chipping snot icicles off your nose.

1. Get a Proper Sleeping Bag

It’s better to be safe than sorry, or in this case, cold, so err on the side of caution and get your mittened paws on a sleeping bag rated at least 15 degrees colder than the forecasted temperature at your campsite.

This is NOT an ideal sleeping bag.

Amazon.com has a great selection of winter bags for a wide array of budgets. We think it’s wiser to invest in a solid sleeping bag than break the bank later on restoring life to your frost-bitten toes.

2. While You’re at it, Get a Proper Tent Too…

We love being efficient and simplifying our camping gear, but the light, breezy tent we use during the summer just won’t fly once the cooler seasons roll around.

Bad choice, dorks.

For maximum warmth, your cold-weather tent should feature nylon walls and minimal mesh. Make double sure it has close-able vents and a full-coverage fly.

3. …Preferably One that is Small

Smaller tents and spaces are much better than large ones for trapping and storing heat. You and your fellow campers can huddle together in the snug confines of your petite tent and enjoy a warm and cozy slumber, just like these newborn puppies:

Puppies enjoying some autumn camping.

4. Dress for Warmth

As much as you probably want to show them off and impress the campground, this is not the time for wearing your super awesome silk pajamas. If you can bear it, wool is an excellent material for holding in warmth. You’ll feel like you’re sleeping in a snug little oven made of sheep.

Make a cocoon, like this guy.

Layer up, and keep your head covered, even if it means looking like a dweeb in a sleeping cap. This will help you retain body heat. The more layers you have on, and the more parts you have covered, the warmer you will be.

5. Take a Hot Water Bottle to Bed

Apologize to your spouse or partner, and then tell them you’re replacing them with a hot water bottle for the duration of your camping trip.

Who wouldn’t want to spoon with this babe all night?

Snuggling up with a bottle of hot water will keep you and your sleeping bag extra warm. If you want to get real fancy and show everyone else how cool and crafty you are, you can even heat a fire brick and wrap it in flannel and use it the same way.

6. Get off the Ground

The ground is pretty cold, so it goes without saying that you probably shouldn’t sleep directly on it. Put as much space as possible between you and the cold earth.

This should be your view of the ground from your sleeping bag.

Prop up on a mattress, stuff some blankets under there, do whatever it takes to get your sleeping bag as far off the ground as you can.

7. Pig Out!

This is obviously the most fun of all the tricks to staying warm, because who doesn’t love stuffing their face like it’s their last day on Earth? The more you chow down, the more calories your body will have to burn all night, helping you to stay toasty and warm.

Getting ready to burn some serious calories.

Throw your diet out the window for the weekend and feast for the sake of your comfort. Plus, you’ll need the fuel when you wake up in the morning and have to unwrap your 37 layers of wool clothing and disassemble your sturdy winter tent.

A Fire Inside: Four Belly-Warmer Recipes for the Homesick Camper

Brrrr!  It’s cold out there! While we are toasty and warm inside today, we know it’s always a bit colder out on the trails without the heat of a hundred humans burning up the path. Even in the warmer months it can get a little chilly after dark, especially when all that stands between you and the elements is a little bit of nylon and fleece. Needless to say, we could all use a little warming up after a long day of hiking or upon waking up to a dewy campsite, so we’ve cooked up some belly-warming campfire recipes to banish goosebumps and give chattering teeth something to bite into.

Sweet and Spicy Oatmeal

Whether you’re pent up in the office or rising and shining outdoors, oatmeal is great way to start the day off on a tasty note. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day even if you’re waking up in a sleeping bag, so a hearty bowl of oatmeal is sure to warm you from the inside out, while giving you the sustenance you need to continue on your trek. Here’s a recipe for campfire oatmeal that can be enjoyed just about anywhere, just as long as you have a spoon and appetite handy! Jazz up these wild oats up with fresh or dried fruits for a natural indulgence few can resist.


3 cups rolled oats

3 cups whole grain cereal flakes

1 cup dried dates, raisins or cranberries

1 cup dried apples

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon each of ground ginger, turmeric and cloves


In a 3 quart container with a lid, combine all ingredients. For a single serving, bring 1 cup of water to a boil over campfire. Stir in 3/4 cup of oatmeal mixture until well-combined and thoroughly heated, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat and cover, allowing to stand for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened. Serve warm, topped with fresh fruit or apple sauce.

Bangin’ Breakfast Bowl

We can’t stress enough how important a good, hearty breakfast is, which is why we’re including more early morning eats for the campfire. If you’re more of a meat and potatoes kind of mountain man or ma’am, and fruits and grains don’t really get you going, then this next dish is for you. Packed with all sorts of breakfasty goodies, these Egg Bowls pack a mean, morning punch.


6 large eggs

1/3 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon each of salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped

4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

4 links brown-and-serve sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 green onions, chopped


On a small skillet, brown sausage pieces, set aside. In a small bowl whisk together eggs, milk, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Pour mixture into greased disposable foil tart pans and top with cheese, bell pepper, sausage, bacon and onions. Cover pans with aluminum foil and place over heat for 20 minutes more until eggs are firm.

Killer Kabocha Squash Soup

Don’t put away your bowl just yet, ’cause lunchtime brings even more gut-warming meals like this recipe for squash soup. Don’t be fooled, this is no weak broth. Kabocha squash lends its full-bodied flavors and rich texture to this creamy soup, making it a meal all on its own.


1 medium kabocha squash

14 ounce can white beans

1 small onion

1/2 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 teaspoons vegetable bouillon

1 tablespoon harissa spice mix

1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced

Red pepper flakes, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste


Wrap the squash in aluminum foil and place directly on the fire.  Allow squash to roast until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Carefully remove with tongs and set aside.

Cut onion in half, setting one half aside for later use, and fry in 3 tablespoons of olive oil until brown and crispy. Remove from heat and set to the side. Fry mushrooms in 3 more tablespoons of olive oil.

Once squash has cooled unwrap, slice in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Note: seeds can be saved and roasted for a quick and tasty snack. Scoop the squash’s flesh out into a small bowl and set aside.

Finely chop the remaining half of onion and add to a large stockpot along with the last two tablespoons of oil and garlic cloves. Sauté until garlic has softened and onions appear translucent.

Stir in beans along with their juices, squash flesh, bouillon, spices, and 4 cups of water. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Using a potato masher or wooden spoon, mash mixture until creamy and well-incorporated. Spoon into bowls and garnish with shiitake mushrooms and fried onions.

Marvelous Mashed Potatoes

Nothing says warmth and comfort quite like a heaping plate of mashed potatoes, and this campfire twist on the American favorite is sure to bring the feeling of home to your tent or cabin. Serve with a hearty meat or veggie side for an extra helping of home.


5 medium Yukon gold potatoes, washed, peeled and quartered

2 medium yams peeled, and quartered

2 turnips, washed and quartered

5 carrots washed, peeled and chopped

1 white onion, quartered

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper, to taste


Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Place all vegetables in a mesh bag and tie shut. Drop bag into water and cover Dutch oven with lid. Bag should not float to top, if you notice it is use a weight such as a rock to keep it fully submerged. Allow to cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until ingredients are thoroughly softened. Remove bag from pot and drain of any excess water. Pour vegetables into foil pans or aluminum pie plates. With a wooden spoon or ricer mash ingredient until desired consistency, season with butter, salt and butter. Serve hot.

Winter Camping: Get Down With Gear

As lovers of the outdoors, purveyors of State Park mobile apps and overall adrenaline junkies, it behooves us to spend quality time with Mother Nature even when the barometer drops below the legal drinking age. (Thank goodness for 21 and not 18, no?) For those of you looking to follow suit, we’ve outlined our must-haves for down winter gear since those fluffy feathers have become our best friend this winter.


  1. Down Travel Pillow
    Who says you can’t bring a little luxury into the great outdoors? This down-filled travel pillow is small enough to fit inside most packs and soft enough to guarantee a good night’s rest just about anywhere you set up camp. Available at Amazon.com, $35.
  2. Women’s Kendale Down Vest
    This insulated vest features zippered, hand-warmer pockets and is machine washable for added convenience. Available at Woolrich.com, $79.99.
  3. Nike Down Bomber 
    Leave it to the ultimate purveyor of athletic sporstwear to design a bomber jacket that’s both fashionable and functional. The jacket features a number of detachable pieces, making it the perfect year round accessory. Need a hood? Add it on. Allergic to faux fur? Remove the trim. Zip it up, and voila!  Available at Nike.com, $143.
  4. Spotty Otter Dungarees 
    Keep your kiddos warm on your family’s outdoor adventure in this ultimate, cold-weather staple. They snap on for secure fit, and come in a variety of fun, kid-friendly colors. Available at Littletrekkers.co.uk, $43.
  5. Down Bag
    Should a pack be too large for your overnight stay, a down bag could be a great alternative. Stuff your essentials in this lightweight tote and rest reasy that they’ll remain toasty all night. Available at Nelly.com, $59.
  6. Timberland Shoreham Tall Fold Down Boots
    These comfortable boots eschew down in favor of shearling, but they’re equally comfortable and cozy. Plus, the fold-down detail lets you show off your secret weapon against frostbite. Available at Asos.com, $145.
  7. Reversible Down Comforter
    Double down on comfort this winter. Take this reversible comforter camping for twice the warmth and half the cleanup. After all, it is reversible! Available at Kohls.com, $95.  
  8. Aedona Down Jacket
    marries the ease a of raincoat with the protection of a down, puffer jacket for a warm, waterproof coat that is lightweight yet functional. Available at Mytheresa.com, $535. 

Some Like It Hot: Five Drink Recipes to Keep You Warm on the Trails

The best part of winter sports (aside from the adventure, exercise, and communing with nature) is that feeling you get when you come in from the cold, and someone places a hot cup of something in front of you. Here at Pocket Ranger®  we know that when out on the trails, slopes or peaks there isn’t always an indoor to escape to, or a hospitable hand to offer a drink—but that doesn’t mean bellies have to freeze over with the rest of the landscape! Here we have five warm and toasty drink recipes to top off any outdoor adventure, and bring some home sweet home to your tent sweet tent.

Click on the image to send these recipes to your phone or print them out to take with you on your travels!