Blanket of snow: Minnesota teen sleeping outside for a year


It's been dipping below zero for several weeks in Hermantown, just west of Duluth, where 17-year-old Rudy Hummel has been dozing peacefully at night ... outdoors.

The teen is on a personal quest to sleep outside for a year, which wasn't so bad when he started June 7. “Originally, it was just going to be for the summer,” Hummel told the Duluth News Tribune. Then September arrived, and Hummel set his goal a little higher – by staying outdoors as the mercury dropped lower.

Hummel shows the News Tribune around his snow house, which he carved out of a mound of snow in his yard. Inside, he laid layers of bedding – two foam pads, 3 inches of straw, a Therma-Rest foam pad, a foam pad and an empty sleeping bag – on a snow shelf, the News Tribune reports. He sleeps in three pairs of pants, four shirts and four sleeping bags.

Hummel snoozes blissfully, even weathering a night of minus-17 degrees. He's in for another chilly evening Monday night: minus-16 degrees. Hummel's parents support his year-long pursuit. They are an outdoorsy family, and they've checked his snow house to make sure it is safe, the News Tribune reports.

“I’ve always liked setting goals and making them, challenging myself,” Hummel told the newspaper. The teen is working toward earning his rank as Eagle Scout. “Another part is, I really like sunrises.”

Want to give it a try? Winter camping enthusiasts say sleeping outside in cold weather is just a matter of the right equipment – a high-tech winter sleeping bag with a liner, good padding, the right clothes, a hot water bottle, a warm pre-slumber meal, a protected camping site – and warm thoughts.

Does the whole thing seem crazy? It's actually not unheard of for kids to snooze outside in winter. In Stockholm, some parents even let their warmly-wrapped babies nap outside in strollers – even as mom ducks into the coffee shop – the BBC reported earlier this year.

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