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Hi everybody! I recently found this place (yay!), and I have a question for you all. I searched all over the board to save the aggravation of a repeat questions, but I couldn't really find what I was looking for. I have 2 siberian huskies, and I mush them. Urban style with a scooter (dirt trails, etc) most of the time, and a few times a year our mushing group goes up to Mammoth to do some proper snow sledding. It's awesome, addictive, and both my dogs and I have a blast.
So here's my question. I have to miss out on some of the trips because I can't afford the hotel prices. I wouldn't mind sleeping in my element, but I need to find a mattress that would be comfy, yet wouldn't be punctured accidentally by doggy paws. Any suggestions? On another note, has anyone slept in their element in snowy weather? Was it absolute torture? My huskies like to snuggle up with me, so I was hoping maybe with a killer sleeping bag and the warmth of two snow dogs piled on me, I might be okay. What do you guys think?

If anyone's curious, here's me and my dogs:

and "urban mushing"
 

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Sorry, I couldn't Resist this:
Three Dog Night got their name from Australians, in which it was explained that on cold nights they would customarily sleep in a hole in the ground whilst embracing a dingo, a native species of wild dog.
On colder nights they would sleep with two dogs and if a night was especially cold, it was a "three dog night".
Welcome, I'm new here, and there is alot of information for you on this forum, and I have found searching to be difficult as well.
Hopefully all of the hard core E owners will give you info for your situation.

Well, after getting all set up, you might add another dog to your team..:)
 

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Your pups are gorgeous! Coincidentally, I camp a lot and also enjoy bikejoring/scootering with my Samoyed.

If you wade through some of these camping gear threads you'll find quite a bit on cold weather camping and camping in the Element. I recall there was some guy in California who slept in his E at Mammoth Lakes on snowboard trips. I've camped in my E down to the 30s and in an unheated teardrop trailer down to 19 degrees (that was c-c-c-c-old). Here's what I'd recommend:

Zero-degree sleeping bag

Thick Thermarest or a Thermarest on top of foam. Others have used Aerobeds but you need something besides air beneath you when it's cold.

Reflectix insulation cut to fit all the side windows and back window. Use your usual sun shade in the windshield and perhaps augment with Reflectix. Reflectix will keep your Element significantly warmer as well as provide privacy. If you have a sunroof, also cut Reflectix for that. Reflectix is cheap (around $20 for a roll), you can find it at Home Depot. Find a roll wide enough to cover the windows and that will probably be plenty. Cut it with scissors, a little bigger than your windows because you're going to press it in to fit so you want it to have to squeeze a bit. Search "Reflectix" in this forum and you'll find many mentions of it.

Fleece head-to-toe including down booties and balaclava and down mittens.

I'd also have a sleeping bag for your pups to curl up in. My Samoyed, Gidget, has an exceptionally thick coat. At 19 degrees, she was climbing on top of my sleeping bag. Worked for me but I grabbed another bag to put over her.

If you have extra sleeping bags, or can borrow some, I'd take three in addition to your zero-degree bag. One that can go under you and the pups. One for your pups to curl up in and one to go over you as a blanket. Even if the extra sleeping bags are just summer-weight 40-degree bags, they could add a lot of comfort for you and the pups.

I keep four sleeping bags in my teardrop trailer.

Top off the gas tank and you'll have plenty to get the car heater going in the morning so dressing won't be miserable.

Keep a window cracked so the condensation doesn't get too bad.

If it doesn't get much below 20 I think you could be okay.

:)

 

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Do you have a Diggler scooter?

I started out with Blauwerk's "The Willy." 20" wheels and terrific on fairly smooth paths and grass. For the past few years, we've used mountain bikes but I keep the scooters (I have two of The Willy) for friends to try out with their pups. We now have three other Sammies scootering.

Gidget loves the competition.

Some videos of running along the Mall.

http://www.viddler.com/explore/Gidgmom/videos/3/

http://www.viddler.com/explore/Gidgmom/videos/1/

http://www.viddler.com/explore/Gidgmom/videos/2/

:)
 

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I've camped a lot in my Element, though the coldest (outside) has been about 26F. I find that the interior temperatures are about 10F warmer than outside - that is with two adults and a small dog. These are the readings on waking up in the morning.

In cold weather stay away from the thick air mattresses. They allow too much air circulation. The warmest thing under you in cold weather is an inch or so of good closed cell foam, the kind sold at backpacking stores. Self inflating mattresses (Thermarests) are almost as good, but need to be thicker. Various companies also make tube-type air mattresses aimed at backpackers, which have some insulation inside. The best actually have some down inside the tubes.

Exped, a European company used to make a really nice cold weather air mattress - a simple tube mattress encased in an envelope made from thin closed cell foam. Those are great in cold weather, and should be dog-claw proof. Unfortunately they aren't on the market anymore.

I find that popping one of the side vent windows gives enough ventilation during cold nights.
 

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We have used a twin sized memory foam mattress topper before. It was less than forty bucks and was easy to trim to fit the floor of the E and it rolled up into a about a foot wide roll by four feet long. I wish we still had it but I had a welding accident and it didn't survive.
Get the biggest warmest synthetic fill sleeping bag you can afford. Down is really better but it is more difficult to care for and store and is much more expensive. Remember to unpack and hang up the bag when you are not using it so the insulation does not lose it's loft.
Paulj is 100% correct about using the side vent window. When it gets below freezing the inside of the E will get extremely soggy with condensation from warm doggy and people breath. You can use the moon roof too but it is harder to reach when you are zipped up to your neck.
Another item that makes it cozy in the E when it's below zero is a small catalytic heater. We have a Coleman Sportcat that takes the little green one pound propane cylinders and puts out about 4,500 BTU for over 20 hours per bottle. It is just enough to keep it warm enough to not see your breath. It is catalytic so it has no open flame and is fairly safe as long as you don't come into direct contact with the heat element. It does use oxygen to support combustion though so an open side window or moon roof is a must or you will be overcome by CO.
Also remember to bring a suitable receptacle to uh...go potty in, unless there is a restroom really close, because it sucks crawling out of a nice toasty sleeping bag and running a quarter mile in the snow to go pee!
 

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Hey there,

Ok, I'm not going to be of much help, and already many great suggestions, but here's what I can offer.

I haven't slept in my e in *snowy* weather, but in clear sierra nights (but not lower than 28-29 degrees), it was surprisingly comfortable!

Let me state upfront that I'm cheap, lazy, and uncomfortable with a CO risk. Hence...

WARMTH
Before turning in I *cranked* the car engine/heater and overheated the interior (probably wouldn't work for your fuzzy pups). I kept the windows closed and indeed in the morning with one person and one medium (55#) dog, the windows were dripping). My dog is very short haired and was smothered in blankets once it cooled down. (She wakes me when she needs to be re-covered).

It didn't get uncomfortably cold in the early morning, but my plan -- should it happen -- is to just scootch forward (w/o getting out of my bag) and restart the car to rebuild the inside heat level.

This maybe isn't such a good plan if your exhaust pipe could be blocked with serious nighttime snows.

My bag (I also go w/ synthetic) is good, not great. I think officially 20degrees but that seems generous! But long johns, good socks, and a warm cap are essential for me. I agree: lots of bedding for the pups (under and over).

BEDDING
You've got an second dog and likely a lot more gear to store inside, but I sleep on the seats (plus a thick cotton pad to smooth out the bends under my bag). I'm on the driver's side, fold only the back seat down for the pup. The remaining spaces are stuffed with supplies (which can extend the dog's sleeping 'platform' forward to the back of the front passenger seat, which I slide all the way forward for the trip).

I sleep on the drivers side cause: (1) I can easily start up the car for more heat, (2) I'm quickly ready to roll in the morning...just put the seat back up and move one of the boxes that blocks the passenger side mirror, and (3) I like the peace of mind knowing I can quickly drive away if a hungry bear shows up to peel open my car and steal my beer!
 

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(3) I like the peace of mind knowing I can quickly drive away if a hungry bear shows up to peel open my car and steal my beer!
:lol:
Hey Booboo looky what's in this pic-a-nic basket!
Yogi lets shotgun those tasty brews before the ranger sees us!

I've never had a bear steal my beer but I had a raccoon bogart some Tequila once. Never ever, I repeat never try to get your hot dogs back from a drunk raccoon!

All kidding aside this is very good advise, especially for a young lady traveling alone, although the two rather large sturdy dogs would most likely keep both bear and creep away. Our Min-pin and Chihuahua, not so good guard dogs but they will keep your feet warm in a sleeping bag.:)
 

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You guys are terrific. That looks like so much fun.
 

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Such helpful and quick advise. My meager addition is that I have a medium nylon bag good for 25 degrees plus that I put inside a large cotton bag when it gets really cold. The versatility of the two options makes it very convenient to alter in the night as temps vary.
 

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I've have some steal my Dr. Pepper, got it out of the ice chest and opened it.

Do raccoons drink cold soda in the woods? Yes, yes they do:)
I wonder if you put Texas and Minnesota raccoons together could they learn how to mix drinks?
 

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Surprisingly, I have several. ;-)


Do you have several storage sheds throughout the city for all this stuff?:roll:
Basements and closets were wonderful inventions. Not having children frees up a lot of space (and money).

My teardrop trailer, and a lot of my other camping gear, is in storage near the mountains. It is very convenient.

I'm an unabashed, unapologetic consumer-patriot.

Someone has to keep REI, Cabelas and Bean afloat.

:)


 

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I'm an unabashed, unapologetic consumer-patriot.
I salute you, patriot. :holflag:

I've looked through the REI specials twice this week for a 2/3 person tent for next summer, but haven't yet made the decision. :hol022: There are several good options so some day I'll just order one.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi Hikerchick! I'm sorry for the long absence, I had finals and life got a little bit crazy. Actually, yes! I do have a diggler! The Dirt Daw model, though I'd give my right arm for the alpha dog or the DS. That's so fantastic, you bikejor and scooter! Your sammy is so beautiful. I love reading your posts, and how active you are with your dog. Warms my heart! Thank you so much for the info and replies, and I look forward to being more active on here. :D


Do you have a Diggler scooter?

I started out with Blauwerk's "The Willy." 20" wheels and terrific on fairly smooth paths and grass. For the past few years, we've used mountain bikes but I keep the scooters (I have two of The Willy) for friends to try out with their pups. We now have three other Sammies scootering.

Gidget loves the competition.

Some videos of running along the Mall.

http://www.viddler.com/explore/Gidgmom/videos/3/

http://www.viddler.com/explore/Gidgmom/videos/1/

http://www.viddler.com/explore/Gidgmom/videos/2/

:)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you everybody for the input! I think I'm going to have to get some foam pads or something, regardless of the space they'll take up. I knew an air mattress wouldn't be the best, as they do have a way of leaking eventually. Nothing's worse than waking up with a flat air mattress. The sleeping bag thing shouldn't be too much of a problem, I don't think. My boyfriend is a marine and we have a lot of cra....uh, I mean, very useful gear everywhere. This includes sleeping bags that he says are HOT even when it's freezing out.
I can't wait until I can put all of this into practice! I'm also a shameless consumer, and any excuse to buy cool gear is okay by me. :D
 
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