I just started backpacking last spring, so I don't have any winter experience yet. I am plannning to do some winter backpacking in my local San Jacinto mountains near Palm Springs, CA, where there is often snow on the ground during the winter. So, I have a couple questions:
When setting up my tent (BD Lighthouse), should I clear snow until I get a dirt floor, if possible? And if there is too much snow to make a clearing, should I pack the snow or something before setting up the tent? I am planning on ordering the footprint for protection as well...
And, my sleeping pad is the InsulMat Max-Thermo-Lite (This one: http://www.backcountry.com/store/POE0035/c3/s17/Pacific-Outdoor-Equipment-InsulMat-Max-Thermo-Lite-Sleeping-Pad.html)
It is called a "3 season" and is 1 inch thick inflatable. Should I upgrade to the Therma-Rest 4 (1.5 inch "4 season")? Will it make that much difference? My sleeping bag is a 25 deg. Montbell #2 UL Down...
Thanks so much for your help,