rudy snow cave

Minnesota Boy Scout halfway to goal of sleeping outside for an entire year

Update (Jan. 8): Read Rudy’s blog to learn more about the conditions he faces on a nightly basis during his quest to spend an entire year sleeping outside his Minnesota home.


His sister and his friends call him crazy, but you and I call Rudy Hummel a typical Boy Scout.

Rudy, a 17-year-old Life Scout from the northern Minnesota city of Hermantown, is nearly 200 nights in to his quest to sleep outside for 365 nights in a row.

Any Boy Scout living in Miami or Maui could pull off that feat, but Rudy lives in Hermantown, a suburb of Duluth, where tomorrow’s high temperature is 5 degrees. By the weekend, it could get down to minus-18. Consider that as you sip your hot cocoa by the fire this week.

Rudy’s original plan was to camp outside all summer, he told the Duluth News Tribune. “I thought it would be cool to spend the whole summer sleeping outside.”

rudy age 5

Rudy was 5 years old when he first slept alone in his own tent.

His first night away from the climate-controlled confines of his house was June 7. When September arrived, however, Rudy wasn’t ready to pack it in. So he stayed out there through October. Then November. December’s cold weather didn’t faze him. That’s when he built a snow house, a skill he acquired as a Boy Scout. He finished the structure on Dec. 10 and has been sleeping in it ever since.

“I’ve always liked setting goals and making them, challenging myself,” the aspiring Eagle Scout told the newspaper. “Another part is, I really like sunrises.”

Rudy’s parents, big outdoors folks themselves, are on board with his plan and inspected the snow house for safety. Some of his friends, however, have called his plan “pointless and stupid.”

His sister isn’t convinced, either.

“He’s crazy,” she told the newspaper. “I think what he’s doing is great, but I like my bed too much.”

rudy motel campingThat’s fine with Rudy, who has other things to worry about. Like how he’ll get through the frigid winter. Not all his challenges have been weather-related, though.

One night over the summer, his family couldn’t find an open campsite near Salt Lake City and got a motel room instead. Rather than giving up the streak, Rudy just set up his sleeping bag on the grass outside (see Rudy’s setup, if you can call it that, in the photo at right).

Read the entire article, which has several positive Scouting mentions, and see more photos of Rudy at this link. Good luck, Rudy!


Top photo by Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com

H/T to Voyageurs Area Council Scout Executive Dave Nolle for the post idea

20 thoughts on “Minnesota Boy Scout halfway to goal of sleeping outside for an entire year

  1. Way to go, Rudy! Laugh at the cold and wet! Once during a rainstorm at Gilwell Park Betty Clay [Lord Baden-Powell's daughter] remarked, “My father used to say ‘Anyone can be a Scout in fine weather.’ “

  2. I hope he does not listen to the naysayers. I like what this scout is doing. It is something that can be brought up at a scout meeting and open a discussion. I do not have any doubt that he will reach his goal.
    Rudy, Rudy, Rudy!

  3. Cool story – literally! For safety sake, I sure hope those blue Christmas lights are either battery powered, or plugged into a GFI protected outlet.

  4. I love it! Any teen that can set a goal and stick to it, especially a long-term one that is truly challenging, deserves respect from all. He may be “crazy”, but sometimes it takes crazy to see through a goal like this. Go Rudy!

  5. Reblogged this on BSA Troop 45 and commented:
    I was excited to have met my goal of camping at least one night for each month of 2013. However, Rudy Hummel makes me feel like a fair weather amateur!

  6. My first thought was, that photo looks like the weird perspective Frodo Baggins sees when he slips on the Ring of Power in the “Lord of the Rings” movies…

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