View Full Version : Uke when camping in the cold

11-20-2017, 01:23 AM
Iím a newbie hoping to get a first Uke that I could also take camping even when itís cold outside (30-40F). But I donít want to damage a wood Uke, but Iím not so sure I want the cheap plastic ukes. Advice? Are there ways to help protect a wood Uke in the cold outdoors?

11-20-2017, 01:32 AM
Do you know the Outdoor Ukulele? It is polycarbonate and goes down to -40ļF and up to 240ļF I don’t know anyone who has personally tested either extreme, although I have hauled mine in Minnesota -20ļF weather and 105ļF in the Georgia sun. It isn’t the sound of a wood ukulele...but they are set up well, (IMO) sound good for what they are, and I know some people that use them as their only instrument. The only thing to worry about, potentially, is rusting tuners if they get wet. You are talking about twice the price for an Outdoor over the cost of a Waterman—and Outdoor models only come in Soprano and Tenor. I’d love a Concert...

11-20-2017, 01:59 AM
X2 on the Outdoor Ukulele. My OU tenor and I have a date this weekend playing in the Christmas parade and tree lighting. It is 25 degrees outside as I write this :)

The soprano Martin OXK is another good option for a rugged outdoors uke. I had to crank the screws down on the tuners as they back off in the cold, but it is another good option. I don't leave it in my car, though, as I do for the Outdoor Ukulele.

11-20-2017, 02:07 AM
The last 2 years we headed south in January, which ever uke I take stays in the camper where it gets pretty cold, below freezing during travel days. I took my Luna Tatoo (laminate) with us 2 years ago, and the Fluke last year. Other then needing to be tuned as the temps change I had no adverse effects. Temps in the trailer swing a lot each day, from 40's or so up to 80's during these trips. I'm not going to take the chance with a more $ solid body.

11-20-2017, 02:47 AM
I used a Bonanza HPL concert uke this year for whitewater rafting & sea kayaking trips spring, summer, and fall. I just had to tune it with the temp changes. Very sturdy ukulele for outdoors & travel. I tried a Waterman concert first, but didn't care for the plastic sound. I've switched to a laminate soprano now to get a better fit inside my sea kayak. I'll probably put the Bonanza concert up for sale soon, since I have two other concerts already.

For protection, I carried my Bonanza uke in a hard case for rafting & a well padded gig bag for kayaking. Both were then put inside a dry bag. For general camping a well padded gig bag would probably be ok as long as you are careful not to pile heavy gear on top of it. Keep it inside your tent & protected from moisture.

11-20-2017, 06:07 AM
You might also consider the Enya HPL ukuleles.


I suspect you'd be ok with any laminate though.

11-20-2017, 08:20 AM
I have a waterman which I take camping, kayaking and anywhere else where the elements or loss are potential issue.

It's really a poor substitute for my other instruments. It is hard to play and has poor tone. But if I've absolutely, positively got to have a uke with me when I'm in the great outdoors, that's the one I take. That said, more often than not, I end up taking my uke and not playing it. But if I didn't take one, I probably wouldn't think another thought besides wishing that I had it with me.

11-21-2017, 01:12 AM
Well first of all 30-40F isn’t begun to get cold yet. I live in Northern Alberta and take my Collings uke outdoors all then time , down to -20 C anyway. After that your fingers get to cold to play for long. I wouldn’t worry about damaging your uke, nothing at all has happened to mine.

11-21-2017, 12:57 PM
It's more the humidity changes that I've thought about. The OP didn't specify what camping is in this instance but when it's cold out the humidity level in a tent or trailer is enough where the walls and roof condensate as things are closed up tight. Out and about during the day and cold, it's very dry. Can't ignore a higher possibility for physical damage, more so if this is tent camping.

11-21-2017, 08:40 PM
Hi, LNW! Nice thread in this season!

I often use ukulele outside. We go to park for BBQ and go to camp with my tenor. By my experience, soprano is very quiet outdoor. It is fun to play soprano by myself alone but not good for group outside. Remember that Dave was popular person in campfire with his tenor. No one thought the tenor lazy man's little guitar. People thought it best campfire instrument.

https://s17.postimg.org/cpumkyxqn/image.png (https://postimages.org/)

Once I put fluorocarbon low G string on nylon string set for outdoor tenor. Their response for temperature change are different. I had to tune the uku again and again whenever I went outdoor or indoor. Wound low G has no problem with nylon set, because its inside is nylon.

Graham Greenbag
11-21-2017, 09:01 PM
I’m a newbie hoping to get a first Uke that I could also take camping even when it’s cold outside (30-40F). But I don’t want to damage a wood Uke, but I’m not so sure I want the cheap plastic ukes. Advice? Are there ways to help protect a wood Uke in the cold outdoors?

The Outdoor Uke (https://www.outdoorukulele.com/collections/ukuleles/products/outdoor-ukulele-soprano-brown-1) has been mentioned. From what I read they aren’t expensive (circa $100) and, with reservations and allowances, play just fine for what they are. Basically the OU Uke is a good option for specialist use and it’s affordable. Unless I had something particularly robust (Bruko?) I wouldn’t take a solid Uke camping what ever the weather was, I would take an already owned inexpensive laminate and a light bag for it.

Looking out of my window I notice painted wood that’s exposed to rain, wind, Sun and freezing cold; it’s there year in and year out. OK a Uke is different but in the first instance I suggest taking something like a second hand painted Dolphin and thin bag to see how you get on, you might well find that you need nothing better - at worst (if damaged) you’ll have lost say $20 and gained a better understanding of what the problems actually are.

11-22-2017, 07:24 AM

can only speak from personal experience
my picks for Ukes that can take abuse

Outdoor Uke have a soprano it is well build and can take a beating
second pick
Fluke Flea have a soprano it cost more than the Outdoor uke
almost as sturdy sounds better

out and about / on the road / kicking around
i leave my solid wood ukes at home

yours truly