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#287430 - 12/19/17 09:46 PM Voluntarily Testing Your Theoritical Plan
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3600
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Last night, I spent an hour and a half in the backyard in the freezing rain. It was a "Spend 3 Hours in the Rain" challenge on Bushcraft USA. It sounds crazy but it was a great test of my rain gear and the theory of my worst-case contingency plans. Hypothermia comes on subtly and this thought was foremost in my mind.

Here's a copy of my after action report:

I hated camping in the rain when I first did it. Then I learned how to hang a tarp and build a fire in wet conditions, and then I didn't mid the rain. I hated my first winter camping experience. Then I learned how to dress for the weather, how to make a good shelter and sleep warm, and then I really liked it. The same thing will hopefully be said of combining the two and enjoying rain in freezing conditions. smile

Yesterday I learned that:

*My cold weather rain gear is good, I just need to work on my layering.

*I need to practice my taut-line hitch. I didn't need it yesterday, but it's come to my attention recently that I've forgotten how to tie it and it's required for tarp hanging.

*I can't just sit on the ground, even with my ThermARest Z-seat. A stool or chair make me much happier.

*If I overnight, my bed has to be well insulated from the ground too.

*My body hates cold & damp. I need more thermal layers if I'm going to be sitting still, and I need to do less sitting still. Layering is key! Adding more warm stuff to my kits, including chemical hand and body warmers.

*Boredom is a factor for me. Being in the forest or at a lake, instead of the backyard, would probably have helped. I could have carved or cooked, but didn't because my hands were cold.

*I need to protect my hands more. I need more functional gloves. My mitts are awesome but bulky and my leather gloves aren't warm enough.

*I prefer to have overhead cover. If I have a little dry area to hang out in, especially with a fire, and also where I can cook/brew comfortably, I am generally a happy camper.

*I love looking for tinder when everything's soaked. LOL! It's a good skill to practice. If I was truly in a situation, I couldn't have enough. I should have done that yesterday instead of just sitting and watching the tree.

*I'd rather learn to love the weather than hide from it inside. wink

Have you voluntarily tested your theoretical plans against reality? How did it go?
Mom & Adventurer

You can find me on YouTube here:

#287435 - 12/19/17 11:53 PM Re: Voluntarily Testing Your Theoritical Plan [Re: bacpacjac]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6648
Loc: southern Cal
Volunteer with your local SAR outfit. You will venture forth at unpredictable times, in conditions when sane people are staying put. Sooner or later, you and your gear will be tested significantly.

The good news is that you will (or should)be functioning as part of a coordinated group effort, and your whereabouts and condition will be known to other team members. Cherish your successes and learn from the other kind of operations....

I believe I have made this pitch before on this forum, but it is Christmas time, and this is made very much in the spirit of the season...

Edited by hikermor (12/19/17 11:55 PM)
Geezer in Chief

#287439 - 12/20/17 05:53 AM Re: Voluntarily Testing Your Theoritical Plan [Re: bacpacjac]
Pete Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1360
camping in freezing rain?

NOT much fun.
Did it in the country of Chile last year.
It's pretty brutal. it might be bearable if you practice a lot.

Our biggest problem was fire starting, which was miserable with wood that just would ** not ** burn. the wood appeared to be ok, but actually absorbed the cold moisture. you don't realize how much a warm drink cheers the human spirit, until you are in a situation where you cant get a fire started.

Good luck. I admire your fortitude.
In retrospect, I would probably keep a container handy with an flammable liquid for fire starting. it's just not worth the hassles.

Edited by Pete (12/20/17 05:54 AM)

#287445 - 12/20/17 01:57 PM Re: Voluntarily Testing Your Theoritical Plan [Re: bacpacjac]
LesSnyder Offline

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1539
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
on the other end of the heat spectrum, and I guess voluntary as I chose not to evacuate for hurricane Irma...my real lessons learned came from the 2004/2005 season with 4 storms, which really impacted my preparations for Irma...my plan is to shelter in place for anything 110mph or less, and a short move to a relative's post Andrew code house for greater winds... I do not have a storm surge threat, and live at about 32' above sea level, 3 miles inland from the Gulf.... with the changing landfall forecast was faced with a fiat accompli as the major arteries north were grid locked by the time of actual landfall on the west coast... another 50miles westward movement before the track north east, and the outcome might have been different...the two generators, a 3500W Honda and smaller 2200 Inverter worked well... food prep was uneventful. sleeping aided by the battery powered ceiling fan..

the biggest take away was the usefulness of the inverter generator, the ability to transport the heavier generator in a utility trailer behind the lawn mower to supply intermittent power to neighbor's, and the need to be able to charge more Eneloops when running the generators....I've since obtained a dedicated power strip and additional Nitecore charger... the LED headlamp and task light were used almost continuously... one surprising and simple addition was a double insulated plastic mug to hold the chilled ice tea that made the daytime temps more bearable... regards Les

#287446 - 12/20/17 02:35 PM Re: Voluntarily Testing Your Theoritical Plan [Re: bacpacjac]
Doug_Ritter Offline


Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 1961
There's an old military maxim, "train like you fight." It is as true with survival as it is for war. Congrats on doing just that. The time to learn survival skills and to figure out what works and what doesn't with your preps is before your life and those of loved ones depend upon it. You cannot do that in the comfort of your kitchen, office or living room.
Doug Ritter
Equipped To Survive®
Chairman & Executive Director
Equipped To Survive Foundation

#287447 - 12/20/17 05:33 PM Re: Voluntarily Testing Your Theoritical Plan [Re: bacpacjac]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1066
Loc: Channeled Scablands
When you are in it for the long haul. Say several weeks outdoors in Western Oregon, camping and snowshoeing in rain with snow, you start to appreciate rubber garments layered over Goretex. Either one by themselves will leave you damp.

I agree with using tarps whenever stopped too. Especially if you can get a fire going to dry out.

The old bunny boots work great for dry feet. I like two pair of wool socks inside. Dry them in the sleeping bag at night. Plastic double boots work too.

This last weekend our Scout troop had a fire building contest in the snow. The matches of today are not up to the old Boy Scout requirement of building a fire with two matches.

Ferro Rods worked, but only with ready made tinder. Pine pitch was key in wet snow conditions. A hatchet was fastest in getting larger amounts of dry wood from stumps. Pocket knives, sheath knives, machetes and saws were slow.

Edited by clearwater (12/20/17 05:35 PM)

#287448 - 12/20/17 06:24 PM Re: Voluntarily Testing Your Theoritical Plan [Re: bacpacjac]
Montanero Offline

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1430
Loc: North Carolina
It changes dramatically when you are out in it for a long period. It is a great learning experience.

Clearwater, have you tried the Uco stormproof matches? They have a larger size as well.

#287449 - 12/20/17 07:03 PM Re: Voluntarily Testing Your Theoritical Plan [Re: Montanero]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1066
Loc: Channeled Scablands
I haven't tried the UCO. I thought they had gone thru the same reformulation process of the other match brands due to methheads and terrorists. REI website lists mediocre reviews.

Is there a version that works better than others? The strikers seem to be the weakest spot, since they don't work wet.

"broken matches – March 3, 2016
– March 3, 2016
During a snow camping class I tried using these matches to start a fire in place of my stove. The matches broke and were unreliable."

"I used a few matches on my most recent camping trip. I like the container it comes in, and the matches definitely stay lit during rain or wind! The only reason I gave it four stars is because the matches were difficult to light on the containers strike face."

"I have used the UCO Stormproof Match Kit REI sells with no issues but these were a completely different experience. The matches would not light on the striker, matches repeatedly broke and the striker was used up within 1-2 failed match attempts. Very glad I had a pack of 50 cheapie strike anywhere matches to get my stove going. Get a different kit from UCO."

Edited by clearwater (12/20/17 07:13 PM)

#287456 - 12/21/17 02:19 PM Re: Voluntarily Testing Your Theoritical Plan [Re: bacpacjac]
Montanero Offline

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1430
Loc: North Carolina
I have had no such issues. They are a little more difficult to strike, you push forward instead of pull back. The strikers must be kept dry. Trying to strike them in the normal way will result in breakage without successful lighting.

Maybe I need to get some newer ones and see if they have reduced their quality.

#287457 - 12/21/17 02:39 PM Re: Voluntarily Testing Your Theoritical Plan [Re: clearwater]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4964
I usually use a Bic lighter. Match heads make good tinder wink Better if they are still attached.

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