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#113363 - 11/24/07 12:23 AM Re: Testing winter survival gear. By surviving winter! [Re: Stu]
Hacksaw
Unregistered


I just came back from Mountain Equipment Coop...the one place that can single handedly keep my bank account in the black.

I checked out their sleep pads. The RidgeRest is huge. MEC makes some house brand self inflating pads which are around the $40-$50 mark...pretty good.

When I came home I talked to a friend and I managed to inherit a self inflating pad for free! I'm not sure what brand it is but it knowing this friend I'm sure it cost a bundle when it was new. When I do my little test I'm going to try each by itself and both together.

I also inherited an Optimus Crux. He bought it for lightweight backpacking and immediately went back to his Omnifuel type stove...I need more friends like that!

With the fold flat design it should be a perfect swap out winter replacement for the Vargo Triad in my cooking kit. I'm looking forward to putting it head to head with the Triad on the patio in the sub zero.

One other thing that caught my eye in regards to anchoring the tarp/tent to ice....climbing ice screws. So far the ones I've found are expensive but if I can find some cheap ones, it might be a good addition when going out on the lake this winter.

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#113369 - 11/24/07 01:27 AM Re: Testing winter survival gear. By surviving win [Re: ]
Sherpadog
Unregistered


Originally Posted By: Hacksaw


I'm planning on a bit of a simulation soon now that it's south of freezing here every day but before it snows too much. I want to test my survival gear in sort of worst case scenario so I know what works and what won't. Here's what I have planned. Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts as I don't want to have to do this too many times hehehe.

The scenario is that I'm ice fishing and have pulled a small sled out onto the ice. .


A couple of guys I know went through a very similar but real life situation a few years back in the northwest Chilcotin area of British Columbia Canada. They fortunately made it out ok, but it is quite the story. I'll see if I can dig up a copy to post here of their story that one of them put in his family records for prosperity.

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#113383 - 11/24/07 03:09 AM Re: Testing winter survival gear. By surviving winter! [Re: ]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas
If you want to go the super cheap route (other then getting great stuff from your awesome friend) find a carpet store near you and get a remnent of some thick carpet padding (the foam stuff that gets placed under the carpet to make it softer). The stuff weighs a ton, but it's dirt cheap, maybe even free if you talk to the right person. A double layer of this padding will give you very nice insulation.

-Blast
_________________________
Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

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#113390 - 11/24/07 03:50 AM Re: Testing winter survival gear. By surviving winter! [Re: PackRat]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
What do you think provides the insulation in your pad? It isn't the stuff, but the air between the stuff.
_________________________
-IronRaven

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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#113393 - 11/24/07 03:59 AM Re: Testing winter survival gear. By surviving winter! [Re: ]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
So the above, plus a real sleeping bag, a Bivy, and a ground pad? Anything else you are planning on having?

Add in shovel (metal bladed snow shovel is best, but an E-tool or cut down garden shovel or spade is your best compromise) or coffee can/storage cannister (snow scoop/pot), some water bottles, a light stick or two, and you should be OKish. I usually go the later route, and add an esbit stove and some tea lights for warming and melting water.

The two variables you haven't given is (a) are you off the ice, and (b) how deep is the snow? On the ice, until it is VERY thick, I wouldn't risk an esbit stove, just candles. The other concern is if the snow isn't deep enough to dig a trench, you've got almost nothing to block the wind if you can't pile the snow up. If you've got the snow, trench in, and put the sled on top as a roof. But sleep light- most of them can't take a lot of weight. Whenever I build a snow trench, I put a light stick on a pole outside- keeps snowmobiliers from running me over in my sleep.

This is why you always carry something like the PSP or SOL with compass packed on top, or just a small compass, IN your jacket with you. You'd want to get to land ASAP, so you can get some windbreaks.
_________________________
-IronRaven

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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#113397 - 11/24/07 04:17 AM Re: Testing winter survival gear. By surviving winter! [Re: ironraven]
Hacksaw
Unregistered


I'm assuming that I'd be on the lake for those two nights and that there is little snow (but it is snowing to ruin visibility). I normally carry a Gerber Gorge shovel...not great for moving a lot of snow but a good portable shovel none the less. I'll also be testing a '120 hour candle' I ordered from Best Glide.

Right now my main obstacle is effective shelter. On the shore where there are usually trees shelter is a no brainer. Things change on the lake where winds are high, and there's no nature to shelter you(unless there's deep snow). At the very least I'll have the AMK bivy and the Siltarp Poncho (which has snaps so it can be put together like a bivy sack. The sleeping bag is a The North Face Aleutian and it swallows me up nicely.

I don't expect to ever be this out of luck but you never know which is why I'm thinking about a worst case setting that I could potentially find myself in. Last week I was geocaching my Search and Rescue colleagues and we all forgot (5 GPSs) to mark the car as a way point. While we were out looking for 4 caches it got dark fast (as is normal this time of year). Had the first cache not been a stones throw away from the car, we could have had some trouble finding it again.

The scenario could also work if you were on a snow machine and broke down/ran out of gas.

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#113399 - 11/24/07 07:16 AM Re: Testing winter survival gear. By surviving winter! [Re: ]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Well, you'll NEED the ground pad. THat is my biggest worry in what you are trying. Those bags aren't going to do squat on ice/snow if there is no insulation under you. From now until April, I might go out without a bag, but never without a pad rolled up and attached to my pack.

In the lake scenario you are describing, I would say that getting to land or finding other kinds of shelter is critical. You need that wind break in winter, IMO. The other reason why you want to do that is becuase you usually don't find "thin earth" but you can find thin ice easily enough. (Personally, having seen holes in the ice were shanties WERE the day before, past tense, you can't get me to go out ice fishing- nuh uh!)
_________________________
-IronRaven

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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#113402 - 11/24/07 09:28 AM Re: Testing winter survival gear. By surviving winter! [Re: ironraven]
Hacksaw
Unregistered


LOL. Thin ice isn't thin for long here. The lakes are already plenty thick to walk on. It won't be long until there are several feet of ice.

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#113406 - 11/24/07 03:17 PM Re: Testing winter survival gear. By surviving winter! [Re: ironraven]
SwampDonkey Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Excellent Advice Ironraven,

I carry a tough telescopic show shovel on both my work and personal snowmobiles, a shovel regularly gets me out of trouble (e.g. shovel your way through lake slush to free the snowmobile).

Two years ago I rolled a very large heavy snowmobile (Ski-doo Scandic Super Wide Track) on a steep hillside and it ended up wedged on it's side against a tree. The snowmobile was heavily loaded with gear which I removed, but even with all my body weight I could not flip it back on to the track. So with a compact metal shovel I dug a large 3 foot deep sloping hole into the snow under the machine and used gravity to drop the machine into the hole, then I drove out. My other option was to use a come-along winch but it was in the underseat compartment and was difficult to access due to the tree.

A shovel is also great for piling up slush to freeze-in anchor points (keeps your mitts dry too).

Good idea about marking your snow trench, it would be awful to survive a bad experience only to be crushed by a resucuers snowmobile.

I agree with you about getting to land and shelter ASAP, surviving on the open ice would be very tough.

Mike


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#113410 - 11/24/07 03:36 PM Re: Testing winter survival gear. By surviving winter! [Re: ironraven]
SwampDonkey Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
HI,

I agree with the need for a ground pad, one that has some type of insulation. I learned this lesson first-hand last year.

I was winter camping with our youth group last February, we were in a small forest opening, -28*c with very little wind. We had all the required gear being; double walled canvas tent, ground sheets on top of the snow, Thermarest pads, 4 layer artic down sleeping bags, but no source of heat generation once the naptha Coleman lantern was turned off.

It took a while to warm the sleeping bag up but soon it was OK and I went to sleep. In the middle of the night I woke up and the lower half of my body was very cold, I then realized that I had partly rolled off the Thermarest pad and the sleeping bag was now on top of the ground sheet with the snow underneath. I was not wet but heat transfer by conduction had me very chilled. Once I got back on the Thermarest pad I warmed up quickly and slept till morning.

Mike

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