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#198402 - 03/19/10 03:37 AM Re: Two Pocket Survival Kit with Field Test -Pic Heavy [Re: SwampDonkey]
Mac Offline

Registered: 02/24/10
Posts: 77
Loc: Alberta, Canada
After trying to use my headlamp to find my way in the dark(in the rain) one time I swore to get a waterproof one. Thats one mistake I won't make again.

The Browing black ice model is the one I use. I never tried submerging it for any extended period but you can wear it over your hood in the rain for hours. It has white, green, red and blue LEDS which are excellent blood tracking aids.
Not much use unless you hunt. I don't know if they make one with all white LED's. The only problem is that it's realtree camo(like everything else these days) Don't drop it or you will never find it again.
I'm here to enquire about your spoons - Salad fingers

#198408 - 03/19/10 04:44 AM Re: Two Pocket Survival Kit with Field Test -Pic Heavy [Re: SwampDonkey]
SwampDonkey Offline

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
I wanted to test the new PSK but did not have an available day. Then a work event cancelled at the last minute, which allowed me to make a quick trip to the bush in early March.

The weather in the late afternoon was unusually warm, around +8*c and I quickly gathered my equipment. It is easy to assemble the gear for one of these trips because you do not take much. I provided my wife with a map of my location and who to contact if I was not back by noon of the next day. The plan was to test the Two Pocket Survival Kit but I also took along communication (Cell Phone, Sat. Phone, PLB) and location devices (GPS, Map, Compass) plus snowshoes to get me into the site. I left the house in a hurry and drove the 25km to the trailhead, I had about an hour of daylight left. When assembling my gear I found I had forgotten a critical item, MY COAT! I was tempted to try the exercise without it but declined and raced back to town to get it. By the time I got back to the trailhead it was 15 minutes after sunset and it was getting dark in a hurry.

I walked the 400m into the lake on an established snowmobile trail. An open creek and thin ice were found where the trail met the lake as seen here, the snow in the bush was about 45cm deep. There was slush on the lake but a lot less snow.

I had never been to this location before and quickly needed to find a campsite with conifer boughs to make an insulated bed and abundant dry firewood.

People had been ice fishing on the lake that afternoon for Rainbow Trout, I found their open holes and the minnows/worms they left were still alive in a watery slush hole.

I crossed the lake and found a spot on the far side, a grove of conifer trees (spruce/jack pine) and a marsh full of standing dry firewood in a bay about 200m away. It was now dark and this would have to do.

By the light of the headlamp I shoveled out a campsite with a snowshoe and used the Gerber Saw to fell some spruce trees. The boughs were used to create a 30cm thick bed and the poles became the frame of my lean-to. I used the Glow-in-the-Dark Nylon Mason Twine to lash the pole to the trees. I then added some thin birch support ribs and tied the AMK Blanket out as the lean-to roof. The blanket was both tougher and larger than I expected.

It had been warm doing this work and I had stripped down to my Polypro undershirt and cargo pants. I did not start a fire first because I knew there was not a lot of firewood close by, and I wanted to save it for later.

After the shelter was done I gathered a couple armloads of wood and lit the fire using the waterproof matches and a paraffin packet in the kit, no problem.

The finished camp can be seen below.

I had a PowerBar and sweet Earl Grey Tea for supper in the late evening.

At around 11.00pm I went to cut some large firewood in the marsh, I found that the surface ice was "hanging" and as I started onto it the upper layer dropped about a foot! I was very reluctant to get wet at this time of night, therefore I had to make do with the limited firewood around the camp. There was lots of material to burn, the trouble was that it was all small diameter conifer, that burned hot but very quickly. It was a familar routine, stoke-up the fire, sleep for 15 minutes, awake to stoke the fire again. I burnt about a pickup truck load of wood through the night! The temperture dropped to app. -5*c and by 2 am I had all my clothing on. Heavy Polypro Underwear, Wool WindStopper Sweater, Cargo Pants, 2 piece Mustang Floater Suit, Neckwarmer, Toque, Hy-Artic Mitts and lined Rubber Nokian Boots.

Dawn came around 6.00am and I tried about an hour of fishing in the holes from the afternoon before, as they had only iced over about an inch. I even used the other fisherman's minnows as they were still alive in the slush hole. No luck fishing so it was instant coffee only for breakfast.

Live Minnows (the worms were frozen solid)

By 7.30am I had pulled my lines and taken down the camp, it was nice to jump in the truck and head back to a warm house and big breakfast in town.

I will review the equipment that worked and what did not later, along with the lessons learned.

Take Care,


#198411 - 03/19/10 05:04 AM Re: Two Pocket Survival Kit with Field Test -Pic Heavy [Re: fasteer]
SwampDonkey Offline

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Concerning Waterproof/Windproof Safety Matches.

I started out using Coughlins Waterproof/Windproof Safety Matches, they were kind of short but all I could find locally. Then even that type got scarce so I constructed the kits using Coughlins small waterproof matches (as seen in the field test pictures).

Since then I found UCO Long (2.75") Waterproof/Windproof Safety Matches at the Toronto Mountain Equipment Coop store (they are not on the website, probably due to shipping concerns). These seem like terrific matches and state that they will even burn underwater? I paid around $4.00 for 2 boxes of 25 each. Even the packaging is good with plastic wrapping on the inside of the boxes and extra plastic wrapped striker strips included. These matches can be seen here on the UCO website. I have not done much testing of these matches other that putting them in glass of water for a few minutes, they then had no problem lighting up on the first strike.

I agree that waterproofed strike-anywhere matches are better for use in the field, but I sometimes travel by small aircraft where strike anywhere matches are prohibited.


#198412 - 03/19/10 05:08 AM Re: Two Pocket Survival Kit with Field Test -Pic Heavy [Re: Mac]
SwampDonkey Offline

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
I hear you about the need for a waterproof headlamp, I will have to check the Princeton Tec one out. Unfortunately I just ordered 2 new knives so the play money is a little short this month. I am sure we all can relate?


#198413 - 03/19/10 05:20 AM Re: Two Pocket Survival Kit with Field Test -Pic Heavy [Re: SwampDonkey]
sybert777 Offline

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 300
Loc: 62208
A cool thing i found out about the new coleman waterproof match container at walmart for $1, the striker approx. 2"x3" is an adhesive backed one so it can be cut up and stuck on the inside of the lid or the top of a PSK tin! just an idea!

#198416 - 03/19/10 06:03 AM Re: Two Pocket Survival Kit with Field Test -Pic Heavy [Re: sybert777]
Todd W Offline
Product Tester

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 1928
Loc: Mountains of CA
Nice write-up thanks for sharing!
Private or public property?
Self Sufficient Home - Our journey to self sufficiency.

#198427 - 03/19/10 11:28 AM Re: Two Pocket Survival Kit with Field Test -Pic Heavy [Re: Todd W]
SwampDonkey Offline

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Public, locally referred to as Crown Land, a very small part of the 937,000 square kilometers in Ontario.


#198446 - 03/19/10 02:52 PM Re: Two Pocket Survival Kit with Field Test -Pic Heavy [Re: SwampDonkey]

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1853
Great!!!..the shelter looks like something right out of the old "how to camp" books.i look forward to your report,i'll look around for that masons line,i did not know about the stuff that glows.

#198462 - 03/19/10 04:22 PM Re: Two Pocket Survival Kit with Field Test -Pic Heavy [Re: CANOEDOGS]
RobertRogers Offline

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 198
In cold weather climates (but in reality all climates), fire is so important that I recommend carrying at least 3 methods of starting a fire. Matches, firesteel, and a lighter. Should one or two methods fail, you are going to be very glad you have the third.

Also a good supply of tinder (cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly - vaseline - are excellent).

#198470 - 03/19/10 08:59 PM Re: Two Pocket Survival Kit with Field Test -Pic Heavy [Re: SwampDonkey]
Leigh_Ratcliffe Offline

Registered: 03/31/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: United Kingdom.
Wrap the lighter in a freezer bag to waterproof it. Add another powerbar or some boiled sweets for quick energy.

One point about wind/waterproof matches: They are really to drop on to prepared tinder like your paraffin.

In those situations you cannot have enough tinder or matches. Firelighting is critical under those conditions.

No fire, no life.
I don't do dumb & helpless.

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