This past Christmas, I gifted my boyfriend, John, a Backseat Bivy – for selfish reasons? Possibly.
Our friends had an upcoming trip booked to Grand Marais, MN over New Year’s Eve. John and I decided to head up a day early to try our hand at winter car camping, as we were excited about the Bivy and I had just received a new down sleeping bag. We’d long had our eyes on these rustic campsites in the National Forest (first-come, first-served, no water or waste amenities; basically, clearings in the woods). I had a map from a Forest Service employee and we started the ~four hour drive up the North Shore, stopping at the Pizza Luce in Duluth and Castle Danger in Two Harbors (IYKYK).
We turned off the main road heading for the desired campsite at about 11:00 pm (our usual mistake). We neared our destination and realized, to our naïve dismay, that the roads to the rustic campsites are not plowed in the winter. In hindsight: duh. It pains me to admit, but even my Jeep could not conquer the three-foot deep snow back to the campsite.
With our leftover pizza in tow, we drove to the nearest trailhead parking lot and decided to set up camp. Temperatures dipped into single digits that night (Fahrenheit), and we woke up to early-bird cross-country skiers as neighbors. However, our sleeping bags stood the test of the elements, and our heads were not resting on the usual hiking boot, thanks to the Bivy.
We did learn one valuable lesson: if the temperatures are cold enough, you can eat the pizza you left in the passenger seat for breakfast.