Major tragedy avoided.... narrowly this last weekend.
In preparation for my showshoe into Nunavut trip rapidly approaching, we did a dress-rehearsal weekend trip, using all of the equipment we planned to take.
I set a new personal low for myself in a hammock, fending off -20 deg F, and 20 mph winds, gusting to 25 mph. A poor comparison for what I am going to face, but the best I could do, close to home. Still pretty proud.
To make a long story short. I can say with absolute certainty that:
"JRB Tarp Tensioners WILL fail critically at -20F"
The rubber used in the tensioners stretched out like what can only be described as a "salt water taffy effect" When frozen they do not become brittle and snap, rather they stretch far beyond the usual 8"-10" of maximum tension. I measured one frozen tensioner at over just slightly over 17". All elastic effect is negated and the tensioners will remain in their elongated state until thawed. Miraculously, when I got them home, they returned to usual length and elasticity.
All 4 tensioners on the JRB hammock tent failed in this manner, causing a most serious incident with my Ti-goat stove inside the tent. Wind was gusting in spurts. At a key moment, around 11pm I failed to notice the slack in the walls of my tent. A wind gust took out the chimney pipe which was glowing a fierce orange as it was operating under maximum heat output using optimal firewood. I would estimate the temperature at the base of the chimney pipe well in excess of 1000 deg F.
The stove pipe came dislodged from the stove. (The pipe is secured directly in line, and supported by a single JRB tarp tensioner at the roof line. The stove tipped over and spilled burning embers inside the tent. The stove pipe tipped almost horizontal and was driven through the left hand wall of the tent like a knife through butter. The result was an almost perfect 3.5" hole through the wall of the tent. Far too dangerous to handle the stove pipe. I had to shed my fleece gloves, and find my over mits. This took many precious seconds as the stove pipe melted away the tent fabric. I had an earlier experience with fleece gloves and microfibre towels. Both will burst into flames if they come in contact with the stove during that intensity of burn. Too much lint on those kind of fabrics. Makes great tinder.
Thankfully nobody was seriously hurt, as three of us were lounging in the tent, deep in our cups at the time. I put the fire resistant material the tent is made of to the ultimate test. Had it been silnylon, .. I would have been in a most serious situation, and certainly would have had severe fire damage, if the structure could have been saved at all. This isn't so bad. I still have my tent. I can fix this
I have decided to cease all operation of the stove, while sleeping alone in the tent. Had the stove pipe come dislodged while I was asleep in my hammock, I might have gone up in flames inside my cocoon of underquilts.
Everything happened in the blink of an eye. We learned the hard way just how bad this kind of accident could be. Winter mittens will either burst into flames or melt instantly against hands when trying to quickly handle the pipe. Luckily titanium sheds its heat so quickly. Leather gloves are going into my equipment list of mandatory equipment for safety concerning the stove now.
I have also decided to build a bomb proof guy-out system just for the stove pipe using amsteel supports, and minimal 1/16" aircraft cable.