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post #1 of (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
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Default Winter survival shelter / gear

I have a question about necessary winter survival shelter and gear / methods of staying warm overnight vs excess weight in the back pack when out day hiking roadless terrain.

If one has NO intention for staying out overnight is west coast torrential rain / sleet / snow, what would you consider necessary shelter / gear for surviving the night? I consider the possibility of an injury as one reason I may be kept out.

I'm thinking about shelter such as a tent, tarp, carrying a sleeping bag vs carrying extra clothing and using it to sleep in, possibly a candle lantern for heat, or a pocket warmer for external heat, and such. A tent and sleeping bag will add another 8-9 lbs at least to my pack. 9lbs doesn't sound like much extra weight until you carry it 20kms up and down slippery draws, scramble ledges, and over blow-downs all day. I'm considering an UL tent like a Big Agnes Seedhouse or similar. Is the tent useless with out a sleeping bag? Would I be better served with a fire and my small sil tarp? Of course getting a fire going and keeping it going all night is no easy task on the wet coast.....

I already have and take fire starter, headlamp, gps, PLB, rope, 5 x 8 sil tarp, pop can stove, fuel and food, extra base layer, socks, hat, first aid etc.

Thoughts?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 01:02 PM
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As long as you have the extra base layer and one more jacket-type item that you would overheat in, and expect to not really sleep, but just nap, shiver and suffer, the list you gave will keep you alive. Unless you are in major sub-zero temperatures!
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Spokerider
I already have and take fire starter, headlamp, gps, PLB, rope, 5 x 8 sil tarp, pop can stove, fuel and food, extra base layer, socks, hat, first aid etc.

Thoughts?
I assume you have a synthetic (or down) jacket, if so, seems to me you are good to go. I would probably dump the base layer, add a neck tube. Take a spare pair of gloves, dump the rope.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 01:27 PM
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I also usually carry a large clear or orange garbage bag - make arm and neck holes and it helps keep moisture out and heat in. Real light and comes in real handy in wet conditions.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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I have a goretex jacket with merino top and either another 320 weight top or fleece vest in the pack. I have a down vest, but seldom take it due to the wet winter conditions I can expect.

Wouldn't the plastic garbage bag cause me to get soaked from the lack of moisture evapoaration, even while at rest?

Neck tube is a good idea.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 02:21 PM
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It's for when you're wet.

Moisture is bad since it pushes out air (insulating layers work by trapping air) and heat loss from latent heat of vaporization.

The bag will trap air and prevent vaporization, so would insulate and prevent latent heat loss.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 02:21 PM
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I can't see shelter from wind and rain being useless. As well the added thermal break of a double wall tent system.

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Spokerider

I'm considering an UL tent like a Big Agnes Seedhouse or similar. Is the tent useless with out a sleeping bag?
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 12:27 AM
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If you're hiking at or below tree line in the very wet/sleety wet coast of BC (i.e. near Sooke in Winter). I would bring 5'x8' siltarp, some paracord, full tang knife you can baton with (doesn't have to be too long or big -- I highly recommend Falkniven F1), flint, fire starter (cardboard egg carton section filled with lint and melted wax), couple OB tampons (fire starter plus bandage), goretex socks, primaloft belay jacket with hood (no down), first aid kit, headlamp, wool toque, wool gloves, wool socks, wear wool wherever you can, small pot / wide-mouth singe-walled stainless steel water bottle and 1 extra meal. Lots of deep snow -- add snow shovel. Most of this gear would be either on my person or in my outdoor EDC bag regardless (except belay jacket and potential snow shovel).

I consider at or around zero degrees when its a mix between rain / snow / sleet to be the most dangerous for hypothermia -- highest likelihood for being wet and cold. Down can be lethal under those conditions.

Above tree line/significantly sub-zero -- different story.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 12:47 AM
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To survive a night or two my day pack contains a dry base t-shirt, long-sleeve mid weight fleece and fleece vest in addition to rain shell with hood, rain pants, fleece gloves and toque. There's also a large orange garbage bag and a space blanket, some cord, a substantial knife and fire starting materials. If snow is in the picture I will also take a shovel and a tiny canister stove and pot.

If I was going to step it up from there I might substitute a basic bivy bag for the garbage bag and space blanket. I've seen some intended for emergency use that weigh in around 8 oz
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by BCBoy

If you're hiking at or below tree line in the very wet/sleety wet coast of BC (i.e. near Sooke in Winter). I would bring 5'x8' siltarp, some paracord, full tang knife you can baton with (doesn't have to be too long or big -- I highly recommend Falkniven F1), flint, fire starter (cardboard egg carton section filled with lint and melted wax), couple OB tampons (fire starter plus bandage), goretex socks, primaloft belay jacket with hood (no down), first aid kit, headlamp, wool toque, wool gloves, wool socks, wear wool wherever you can, small pot / wide-mouth singe-walled stainless steel water bottle and 1 extra meal. Lots of deep snow -- add snow shovel. Most of this gear would be either on my person or in my outdoor EDC bag regardless (except belay jacket and potential snow shovel).

I consider at or around zero degrees when its a mix between rain / snow / sleet to be the most dangerous for hypothermia -- highest likelihood for being wet and cold. Down can be lethal under those conditions.

Above tree line/significantly sub-zero -- different story.



Good post BC boy, thanks.
I have been caught out in those "sooke", "at zero deg" conditions before, soaked, cold, and luckily not too far from my vehicle. I have thought about having to stay out all night, ill-prepared in such conditions, would be nasty life threateng event at best. I'll look into a primaloft jacket as an option.

I guess I'm trying to figure out the best bang-for-my-buck so to speak, on the weight penalties between the extra clothes / sil tarp combo vs an UL tent / sleeping bag combo.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 11:50 PM
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Another option between a full-on tent and a tarp is one of these 'bothy bags', which is essentially a large orange plastic bag. http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Tents/...on-shelter.jsp

They weigh about the same as a tarp, but offer full enclosure from the wind/rain without requiring guy outs. Add a couple of guy lines and or treking poles and you basically have a small floorless tent. An emergency candle/lantern should do a good job of supplementing your insulation.

here's a video to give you an idea of the set up:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGJM9...eature=related
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 11-07-2012, 12:05 AM
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I used to carry an emergency bivy bag:
http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Hiking...rmal-bivvy.jsp

But now I have replaced it and carry this:
http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Hiking...eeping-bag.jsp

-Ryan
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 11-07-2012, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Spokerider

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by BCBoy

If you're hiking at or below tree line in the very wet/sleety wet coast of BC (i.e. near Sooke in Winter). I would bring 5'x8' siltarp, some paracord, full tang knife you can baton with (doesn't have to be too long or big -- I highly recommend Falkniven F1), flint, fire starter (cardboard egg carton section filled with lint and melted wax), couple OB tampons (fire starter plus bandage), goretex socks, primaloft belay jacket with hood (no down), first aid kit, headlamp, wool toque, wool gloves, wool socks, wear wool wherever you can, small pot / wide-mouth singe-walled stainless steel water bottle and 1 extra meal. Lots of deep snow -- add snow shovel. Most of this gear would be either on my person or in my outdoor EDC bag regardless (except belay jacket and potential snow shovel).

I consider at or around zero degrees when its a mix between rain / snow / sleet to be the most dangerous for hypothermia -- highest likelihood for being wet and cold. Down can be lethal under those conditions.

Above tree line/significantly sub-zero -- different story.



Good post BC boy, thanks.
I have been caught out in those "sooke", "at zero deg" conditions before, soaked, cold, and luckily not too far from my vehicle. I have thought about having to stay out all night, ill-prepared in such conditions, would be nasty life threateng event at best. I'll look into a primaloft jacket as an option.

I guess I'm trying to figure out the best bang-for-my-buck so to speak, on the weight penalties between the extra clothes / sil tarp combo vs an UL tent / sleeping bag combo.
I wouldn't bother with an extra change of clothes unless it can be integrated into your existing layering system -- don't bring it if it all can't be worn at once. Always bring at least one extra pair of wool socks (they can be used as mitts as well).

I would recommend carrying the 5'x8' sil tarp no matter what. The weight penalty is minor, its super versatile and it can also be used as a poncho with a little para-chord around your waist.

If you're contemplating UL tent / Sleeping bag then you're kind of leaning towards planned night out. I wouldn't want to lug that weight around if I plan to make it out in a day. For multi-day, it makes total sense; however, I would recommend event/gore-text bivy and sil tarp system over UL tent simply because of footprint and versatility -- especially if you're bush whacking. You can always sleep sitting upright against a tree/tree well in a bivy, integrate your sil tarp into a shelter system that you fashion plus its easier to integrate with a fire than a tent. With a UL tent you're pretty much stuck to crashing in open-ish areas and its very hard to find places like that and they are usually very damp/wet. Fire will become your best friend in an unplanned night out -- boost your spirits and keep you warm / dry gear out.

If you do decide to take a sleeping bag, I highly recommend the MEC Phoenix -12 Hybrid sleeping bag -- especially if you're bush whacking or expect a very high probability of being wet/soaked. I can't believe the price and performance you can get out of that bag. Its an insane performance to weight ratio bag. -12C at 1.6kg for reg for under $200. Thats pretty close to exclusive down weights (not including super high end down bags) for that temperature range with the added bonus of actually being semi-warm when wet for a marginal weight hit. Its super cheap too. I think MEC has struck gold with the right combination with that bag. I used to rock expensive but super light Western Mountaineering down bags and they're great for high altitude/ consistently sub-zero conditions (think Rockies, Sierra Nevada or anything over 10,000 feet) -- I still use them for mountaineering; however, after one night in a wet down bag due to gear failure (especially critical with a bivy system) I will never go back to down for the Coastal Ranges in BC for bush whacking and extreme wilderness hiking.

I forgot to mention, I also carry my survival kit with my first aid kit -- my first aid kit is also my survival kit so some key pieces of gear go in there (ex. magnesium stick with extra flint steel, space blanket, etc.) I use a tiny ultralight dry bag for my first aid/survival kit).

Depending on your bushcraft skills you may want to consider upgrading full tang knife to hatchet. You'll be able to process much more wood more efficiently. There are ways to process wood without an axe -- think cave man style -- but your bush craft skills have to be on point and you'll need at least a full tang knife to get your fire started.

There's a cool trick a buddy showed me that he learned off of his Dad to split logs without an axe. This is for making huge person length logs to sustain your fire throughout the night. Its dependent on you being able to make a big hot bed of coals and its kind of limited to certain geographical regions (mainly near lakes and oceans) -- but great for the Coast of BC. Its dangerous so I don't recommend it but I haven't seen it described anywhere yet. I call it cave man splitting. Its amazing but very dangerous so i don't recommend doing this at all unless you are really pinned out. You'll have to find a big heavy rock that you'll be able to lift over your head not very easily but doable several times without completely wiping you out. It should be under shoulder width with a big wedge like shape on one side. Sometimes you have to pry rocks from the ground to find that shape because most rocks near shorelines are smooth and rounded -- you might even have to break rocks open (very dangerous -- do from higher ground/ boulders and close your eyes / turn head away before the rocks hit the other rocks). When raising the rock over your head always do so from a higher position than what you're striking to avoid your rock wedge or any shards from hitting you back. Find long light non-water logged logs (recently fallen logs or slightly rotten logs work best) that are roughly the diameter of your two hands put together and longer than 6 feet. Find three boulders/ large stationary rocks, one of which is significantly higher than the other two from which you will stand on. The other two boulders should be about 2-3 feet or so apart so that you can drag the log over them (distance between boulders contributes to the section lengths you want to split the log). You then stand from the higher boulder and raise your splitting wedge rock over your head and throw it down with full force onto your log in between the two boulders. Keep striking the same spot until the log is split. When you have the right combo of logs, splitting rock and boulders you can process logs way faster than any axe. Its amazing seeing it done in action well -- it blew my mind what you can do with a little bit of ingenuity and the right application of a little muscle.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 11-07-2012, 10:36 AM
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blizzard bag as mentioned above ... its used by UK SAR, the US/UK military ... and is tested by the university of leeds to 8 TOGs

bivy and roughly a 40F comfort rated bag all in one ...

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