TZ, you should tell Shug about your similar solution for frost from your breath...
"We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." - Ben Franklin
This is in response to your request for an alternative point of view on winter clothing. I did not plan on putting out a list of what I did, because I find that each person approaches same problem with different equipment, experience, and techniques, and different conditions. These lists are sometimes an OK starting point, but each person needs to figure out what works for them under different conditions. No one set of gear is going to cover all persons or all conditions, and he need to understand principles of cold weather camping to make your equipment perform optimally.
I cannot disagree with any of 4 dogs statements or techniques, and he offers a lot of advice based on experience in these conditions. I believe I understand his principles, and on this trip they proved to work perfectly. Under extreme cold conditions, the snow and atmosphere is very dry and almost desert-like, and cotton outer garments worked very well, and are superior to synthetics such as Gore-Tex.
My clothing strategy has evolved to become almost the polar (inadvertent pun) opposite of Four Dogs simply by the nature of the types of trips I have done the past, and weather conditions during those trips. I have been winter camping for 30 years, but do not yet consider myself close to an expert. Most of my trips have been between 5 and 8 days long, and the coldest temperatures I had to endure was a Boundary Waters trip over New Years, where the first nights low temp was -36°F! (The temperature on that trip never rose above -15° , and after 5 days we had to call it quits.) Most of my winter excursions to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and central/northern Wisconsin have been solo excursions. My extended trips out west in the mountains of California and Oregon were group trips in the spring (March through April) (mind you, there is still 8-10 feet of snow on the ground). During quite a few of these trips I have encountered wet conditions from either melting snow or rain. A waterproof outer shell is absolutely essential. As always, moisture management is key to survival in extreme climates. It is just as important not to overdress and become sweaty, as it is to be under dressed and risk hypothermia from inadequate insulation.
As for building fires to stay warm and dry clothes, it is just my personal preference to avoid building fires and to stay warm by dressing appropriately, maintaining a certain level of activity, avoid dehydration, and consuming foods that generate heat from within. I detest smokey clothes, and in fact last night I had to wash some of my items for the second time. On the other hand, fire building skills are paramount to survival in these conditions if the need arises. One could argue that always building a fire helps keep up those skills, and I cannot argue with that, but I try to maintain a fire building skills whenever I can.
I think it is important to be open-minded to others differences and techniques and learn as much as possible from them. I certainly respect Four Dogs attitude, skills, and competency in regards to Winter survival techniques. I hope that some day I would be able to spend more time learning his ways.
Having said that here is my clothing list from this trip:
REI MTS synthetic boxer briefs
Navano polyester midweight longjohns
REI MTS midweight zip T-neck undershirt
SPORTIF polyester heavyweight thermal zip-neck underwear top (to use this is a light sweater all year round )
L.L. Bean wind shirt nylon (one of my most prized layers)
Kmart insulated windshell pants.(Quick dry nylon on the outside, and a very thin polyester lining for insulation)
Patagonia Puffball half zip vest (light weight polyester fiberfill insulation)
Patagonia MicroPuff jacket (light to medium weight polyester fiberfill insulation)(this was much warmer than I expected)
Marmot Ama Dablam down jacket (did not even come close to consider using this)
Ultimax calf high sock liner
Gander Mountian calf high wool sock
Sorrell felt lined boots (with a rubber bottom and nylon uppers, and calf high felt liner)
Cooke Custom Sewing mukluks(nylon shell with polyester insulation, and removal felt boot liner)
Down booties (for sleeping) and nylon over cover(for when he have to get up)
REI polyester balaclava and a Smart Wool balaclava
Turtle Fur Windtech hat
JRB down hood (more comfortable and useful than I anticipated)(worn almost exclusively at night)
Synthetic glove liner combined with wool fingerless gloves.
Alpine Low midweight polyester/nylon glove liner
Marmot shell gloves (full-length), lightly insulated
Chounard pile insulated mittens
Columbia Omnitech shell (XL to accomidate all above layers)(has a fine mesh liner)
I did have a few other items in my pack that I kept in reserve so that I could swap them out with similar items if needed . On almost every trip I'm trying out some new gear, or some new combination of old gear .
I hope this answered some of your questions , but I'm sure they will probably raise a few more.
HYOH or FYOB (Freeze Your Own Butt)
Not all who wander are lost.
I especially like the "return trip" with the 1920's multirouter duplicator.
We all need to thank you for the gifts that each one received: a Browning headlamp for a baseball cap visor that work well on knit caps too. Thanks! ( got to try out the Browning headlamp too; boy is that thing powerful! I especially liked the red LED for night vision.
Not all who wander are lost.
However I had forgotten about it, and usually just use a snthetic, 200 fleece Frost Cloth over my face and to protect the top of my sleeping bag.
Having forgot the frost cloth, I improvised by using an extra pair of GI field pant synthetic liners, like the poncho liner quilted material.
I clipped the legs to the ridgeline and stuck my head inside the waist area of the pants. It would have made a great photo.
The sleep system was protected from moisture, and I was able to breath somewhat pre heated air. It worked very well.
I will probably make something more specialized with a longer bibb in front for more coverage.
You look toasty warm in your Anorak. You look like a "north woodsman" Paul Bunyan type
Seriously, was was the preferred method of you guys taking a dump? I know "fast" was first priority..........did you just use your boot to scoop out snow, take care of buisiness and then cover with snow?fourdog
Originally Posted by Stovemandan View Post
What was the reason for cutting the three live trees in the foreground?
I thought that was a no no in the scheme of Leave No Trace.
Was there a community latrine pit or just individual cat holes in the frozen ground? How was the disposal of wastes handled in this type of environment?
There not live trees they are snow stakes cut from dead laying wood.
The human manure was disperesed in the envoriment to help things grow in the future.
This was not a established camp site, this was done on MN state forest land in area of 96,270 acres where the trees are harvested in a 20-30 years cycle. In that forest you have the right to camp as we did.
No live trees where killed or mutilated in this hang.
If the average person went to that spot this spring they will not even know we where there.
We took a much larger dump on mother earth on the petrol we used to get there then we did there. At worse we left it the same, at best we left it better.
heel in a spot in the snow
only unbuckle your suspenders, keeping parka in place for coverage
Buisness as usual
Since I forgot the TP, Snowballs were used. Cold, but Very effective.
No paper trace, when all is melted.
Since most animals in the wild don't cover their job, I only used snow as a cover after. Mark the spot with a stick to warn others.
If TP is used burning, on the spot is an option, if you can't get it burried below ground, or blue bag and carry out, if the regulations apply.
I find if an area is used only occasionally no harm will be done. (I Know some will disagree).
For a longer duration or larger group I would have prefered a latrine, actually dug into the ground, if possible to bury
Have to admit, I actually enjoyed using the snowballs. I know, I need help
" Wiggs "
I think that at least four of five of the participants were at other Northern hangs that I have been to. I have followed the planning and trip reports with great interest. I not sure if I will ever try for these kinds of low temperatures. My wife says I can't go on anything that cold. However, a lot of the things that were shown can be used at much warmer temperatures.
Thanks for all the great trip planning tips and great trip reports, they were great.
I would venture to say your method was the preferred choice of all that attended. Accept for the snowballs.
I would have pulked in a 5 gal. bucket and used a product that goes by the name of "double-doodi" and would have had my toilet right at my site. The product has a very durable double zip lock system to secure the contents so it can be carried out safely.
Those MN temperatures are brutal. Not for me, thank you very much!!!
Thanks for your reply.