Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
catfish hunter

Surviving the night in cold weather

38 posts in this topic

catfish, you have obviously put some thought and practice into your plan. Surviving in temperatures below freezing is difficult. Surviving in temperatures below zero is only for the highly skilled. Zero temperatures also means zero mistakes. It is incredibly hard to be outside for two or three days in those conditions.

 

 

Amen to that Rod. I went camping with a survival class in november and I actually made a copy of my BoB to test its effectiveness. That night it got to 14 below with the wind chill. I wish I had the knowledge I have now. Would have made the night a whooooole lot easier to bear. about half the class ended up camped out in the suburbans, but a few of us made it the whole night. If I would have had the extra materials I think I would have made a wind break (20 to 30 mph winds that night) and packed a few extra warmth goodies. Im going to be buying a slightly bigger tent now, to give me, my gf and our gear enough room store our gear. looking into the tents that have that wind break/porch type area built in front of the tent. Maybe a small wood stove (hopefully the biolight) would be enough to keep us warm and the condensation out.

 

This scenario alone is enough to really make me want to get a camper shell for my truck! (again)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good thread! The boys and me will probably be spending new years eve in the rough, they have been asking to do a cold weather camp and Santa filled some holes in their cold weather gear( that Santas pretty smart) so they don't know it yet but I plan to get up new years eve and tell them they have 1 hour to be in the truck. We will be testing if they have been listening to that annoying old man who keeps say things like " see that clump of cedars there in the low spot there's a place to get out of the wind, get good kindling and hide a fire" and " someday soon your going to wish you'd kept your gear together better because one of these days I'm going to get up in the morning and give you 1 hour to be in the truck and your going to wish that you had time to grab breakfast"

 

 

DonDon I like your thinking! Having EVERYTHING together is one of my pitfalls. Its all near eachother, but not tucked into the same bag. When I get this new tent and compression bag for my sleeping bag, I may just give my woman an hour to get all her stuff together and Bug Out. We need to start drilling for it once in a while.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure you all know this, but a lot of the younger folk may not. When I'm camping I've found that two trees close together, say a foot apart, is real handy for snapping larger pieces of dead wood. Doesn't take long to build a big pile of short lengths.

I spent quite a bit of time in the boonies near Fairbanks Alaska in the 70s. Once found it doesn't take long for fingers to get too cold to light a lighter or strike a match, especially one of the book matches. In cold weather have one of the trigger lighters handy.

Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Problem with being between the two trees are dead branches up high...

 

Old timers used to call em 'widow makers'.

 

On the tent with the porch area, I just use a three man tent (7'x9') works for two people and their gear. While the porch is a nice touch to me it means a larger footprint for where I could pitch my tent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm sure you all know this, but a lot of the younger folk may not. When I'm camping I've found that two trees close together, say a foot apart, is real handy for snapping larger pieces of dead wood. Doesn't take long to build a big pile of short lengths.

I spent quite a bit of time in the boonies near Fairbanks Alaska in the 70s. Once found it doesn't take long for fingers to get too cold to light a lighter or strike a match, especially one of the book matches. In cold weather have one of the trigger lighters handy.

Terry

 

Were you actually camping under the two trees, or just using them to get firewood?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm currently r and d on a sub5 lb, 4 season  sleep/shelter kit, supplemented by 2 lbs of "extra" clothing (beyond normal summer wear) Starting with polypro longjohns, (buttons and loops to keep them from separating at the waist in back) polypro socks, balaclava, neck gaiter, and gloves.  Goretex cammies,  wool socks, shemaugh. A highly modified SOL escape bivvy (mummy shape, velcro seams, removable hood with drawstring, a foot wider at the shoulders, a foot longer and a drawstring at the neck. Next, a polypro bag, snaps all down the seam, next a "heavy duty" space blanket bag,  7x8 ft when unfolded, snaps all down the seam. Then the bugnetting bag (just to have a place to put it, really, in cold weather) snaps all down the side, and then the clear plastic (well, with fiberglass threads reinforcing it) bag., 8x7 feet when opened up. It of course is present in case I need a super shelter with a fire in front of the clear plastic. 

 

The Leval II A soft armor boxer shorts (made from 2 vests) and II vest offer a lot of insulation and padding if I have to sleep on the ground, but normally, i prefer to sleep in the hammock, made of 3" monofilament fish netting,  6 x 100 ft of it, folded back on itself 3x.  A roll of heavy-duty aluminum wrap is part of the kit, to front a stick wall (2x4 ft) on the  far side of the fire. The super shelter can handle any temps at which you can handle getting the firewood. 

This setup can all be worn like a poncho, if need be. It's modifiable to handle any sort of weather/terrain. None of it is harmed by geting wet, and there's no zippers to jam or break, no stuffings to fall out, either.  The armor adds 5 lbs, but considering that it is likely  to save your life if shtf, it's worth having along.

Rolled up, this assembly is stiff enough to serve as a frame for my daypack, saving  1/2 lb or so. If I'm out on the ice, or if it's really cold and I'm moving, or cold rain/wind is the order of the day, then  the heavy duty space blanket/bag is kept ready, by itself. Then, if I fall thru the ice or get wet in some other way, I can shed the wet clothes, deploy the big bag, and then add the other layers as needed, while inside of the bag. Since it featurs snaps, I can stick out feet or hands as needed, to get a fire going, move to a more sheltered area, etc.

juzcallmesnake likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this setup has proven capable of letting me sleep all night at 20F (with the aid of Ambien, which I have to take anyway)  It handles 30 f if I have to sleep on the ground, too.  If I rig the gear as a sling-chair, I can get by with having just one tree to tie my hammock to.  Use a bow knot to tie my torso upright, with my back to a tree. Use the shemaugh as a neck brace. Put the armored vest under my feet, and the armored boxer shorts under my butt. Pop the ambien and get  5+ hours of sleep in the sitting position. That's enough to keep me going. 

 I had originally wanted this setup to get me down to 10F on the ground and to Zero F  if in the hammock, but I can't achieve that, with acceptable bulk and weight. The odds are very small that it will be less than 20F and above 10f, anyway. and below that, I was going to need the fire and supershelter anyway. So what I have suffices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd much rather have sub zero temps, with no wind, than 34F, with lots of wind and rain. This is especially true if I've got a lot of deep, dry snow to use as insulation. However, the latter requires skis or snowshoes, which are then quite worthless when there's no snow. So you might well have to make a set of the snowshoes in the field as needed. x'd sticks can suffice, if the snow is not too soft/damp. But it takes the better part of a  day to make a set of such snowshoes,  and they really slow down your travel, as  in   1 mph, even if you dont have to fight brush, hills, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I was a younger guy, with better circulation in my legs,  exercised before going to bed, ate some hot soup, and took some hot rocks or hot water in bottles to bed with me, I could probably get by at 10F degrees colder temps, maybe even  a bit more. There's a big difference, tactically, between having a small fire down in a Dakota pit, for 30-60 minutes, heating rocks and /or water,  and then putting it out, as vs having a big  flaming "long fire"  all night, heating a super shelter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm quite unlikely to be found above treeline, in the desert, or anyplace that it stays under 20F at night, doesnt warm up to 30F in daytime, or where there's lots of snow.  A regular sleeping bag will absorb a full 5 gallon bucket of water, 40 lbs, and takes forever to dry out with hot rocks, sun and wind, etc. If it's made of  down, it WONT dry out. Try to wear it as a poncho, and you'll tear it on brush, guaranteed, even if you do have other layers of stuff around it.

 

when you're fleeing from people who shoot at you with autorifles, you'll tear stuff, and you'll get wet, too, as you slam prone to avoid being shot, etc.  I might get small holes burned in my stuff if I use it as a super shelter, but the entire thing wont combust, as most sleeping bags, and a lot of tents and sleeping pads will.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fowler, winner of Alone TV show season 3, has a yt vid testing some little half assed survival kit, to help when you fall thru the ice. He did a full body immersion into water where he'd broken the ice. Then he ran for 10 minutes to someplace that he could start a fire, and took  another 5 minutes to get a fire going and wrap one of those worthless little, tear if you sneeze on them space blankets. .  EFF that bs!   If you  get wet in such conditions, you need to be out of those clothes and inside a REAL space blanket-bag, in 1 minute or less, or you're highly likely to be unable to help yourself, due to shivering and numbing of your hands. THEN worry about getting a fire going, donning dry clothes (IF you have any with you) polypro long johns dont GET wet, so probably either leave those on (if already wearing them, of course)  or don them if not. Might be necessary, tho, to remove them, dry yourself and then don them again. That's one of the reasons why the standard sized space blanket,  5x7ft, is not big enough, unless you're of quite small stature.  I'm 6 ft and 220 lbs and such a blanket, folded lengthwise, is 6" too narrow to close around my arms/shoulders.

with the 7x8 bag, there's room to do crunches, knee lifts, etc, so as to generate metabolic heat, which also helps to dry you, if you didn't have  a bandana to do that job. It's best to not bring water into the mylar bag with you, if you can possibly avoid it.  After a couple of hours, the impermeability of the normal type of  mylar means that you'll have condensation problems.  The "inside" mylar bag of my system is supposedly more "breathable".  My testing so far seems to bear that out,  but the same claim is made for tyvek and I wore tyvek coveralls for many days in S Cal, and they surely do retain body heat and moisture (quite badly). when you are working in such heat and humidity. The full moon suits that i sometimes had to wear (hydroblasting on oil drilling sites) would have a pint of water in each boot at the end of the day.  Sucked really hard.

If it stays cold enough, long enough here, I might get to also test a tyvek coverall for how much additional warmth it provides. I doubt that it will make the grade into my system, tho, cause it's not worth much for the warmer parts of the year, and it's fairly bulky, altho not much weight. Be good to have one in the van, tho.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0