I once asked someone I met in an elevator if they wanted to go winter camping with me. It was winter, I was carrying two panniers and still had my helmet on when a guy in the elevator told me he commuted by bike all winter too but wished there were more fun rides to do. This was years ago before there were fat bike races every weekend. I told him I had plans to go winter camping that weekend and invited him along.
He laughed a little nervously, said he had other plans and got off at the next floor.
As a way to introduce more people to winter camping without scaring strangers in elevators, I decided to organize a three-day weekend of winter camping and general Northwoods tomfoolery February 8th, 9th, and 10th at our inaugural Chequamegon Winter Rendezvous. This family-friendly weekend will be held at ROAM Adventure Basecamp in Seeley, in the heart of the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association Trails and next to the American Birkebeiner Association trail. So you can ski or bike right from your campsite!
For those who are not sure they want to camp in a tent, ROAM has four amazing heated cabins. The cabins are Danish Modern style, sleep up to six, and have both electricity and heated floors. All you have to bring is a sleeping bag! ROAM also has heated showers and flush toilet bathrooms, to add a bit of glamping style even if you are camping outside in a tent.
In addition to the four cabins, ROAM has 30 campsites, all with fire rings, and firewood available for purchase. There is no cost to join us for the weekend, except for the fee to reserve a campsite or cabin. This is all on a first come, first serve basis, so reserve a spot soon if you are interested. You can come for all three days or just part of the weekend. The general itinerary for the weekend will be as listed below, but subject to change.
Friday, February 8, 2019:
- 2 PM to 4 PM, Set up camp at ROAM
- 4 PM 5-mile bike ride from ROAM to the Sawmill Saloon in downtown Seeley for happy hour and dinner (Old Fashioneds and fish fry!).
- 8 PM ride back to ROAM
- 8:30 PM to 10 PM, Campfires and BYOB back at ROAM
Saturday, February 9, 2019:
- 8 AM to 10 AM, Breakfast and coffee on your own at ROAM or back at the Sawmill.
- 10 AM to Noon, Group ride on CAMBA trails leaving from ROAM
- Noon to 1:30 PM Lunch on your own or back at the Sawmill
- 2 PM to 4 PM Ride CAMBA trails leaving from the Urenholdt Trailhead
- 4:30 PM to 7 PM Dinner at Sawmill or ride back to ROAM for dinner at camp
- 7:30 PM to 9 PM Optional night trail ride (bring good lights!)
Sunday, February 10, 2019:
- 8 AM to 10 AM, Breakfast and coffee on your own at ROAM, break camp
- 10:30 AM to 1 PM, Group ride on CAMBA trails leaving from a different trailhead TBD
Those who want to ski or do something else are welcome to skip any of the planned activities. This weekend is all about having fun, so feel free to ski or make your own plans. The group rides will be slow, no drop rides. The CAMBA volunteers groom 75 miles of trails, so we have plenty of options for rides. Skiers have access to the 90 miles of Nordic trails groomed by the American Birkebeiner Association.
This weekend should be fun for winter camping newbies and experienced cold-weather adventurers alike. Because of the comforting amenities at ROAM, the weekend is a great chance to for newbies to try winter camping for the first time. For more experienced campers, this is a chance to see other people’s set-ups, trade winter camping tricks, or even test new gear or clothing.
Thanks to one of our Wisconsin expat pals who now works at Hyperlite Mountain Gear, we will even have a bomber Ultamid 2 demo shelter set up for people to try! When it comes to portable shelters, few designs have been as thoroughly time-tested and proven as the pyramid-style Ultamid. Despite the fact that the Ultamid 2 only weighs a tad over a pound, the 100% waterproof Dyneema® Composite Fabric used to make it is incredibly strong.
Don’t miss out on this chance to be part of the first inaugural Chequamegon Winter Rendezvous!
What to bring:
- A tent or shelter
- A sleeping bag rated for the forecasted temperature
- A sleeping mattress (cabin campers don’t need these as the cabins have mattresses)
- A camp stove, cookware, utensils, and coffee making system
- Food you can prepare for any meals you plan to eat at ROAM (you can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Sawmill if you prefer)
- Beverages such as hydration mix, hot chocolate, or alcoholic beverages of your choice for around the campfire
- Snack food
- Cold weather clothing for riding and sitting around camp
- Cold weather footwear for riding and sitting around camp
- A fat bike and/or cross country skies
- Bikepacking bags, panniers, or small backpack to carry spares or ditch a layer of clothing after you warm up on the group rides.
- Spare tube, multi-tool, and mini pump in case of a rare flat tire on the group rides.
- One or two insulated water bottles
- Cash for hot showers (there is a change machine)
- Money or credit card for the Sawmill