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  1. #1
    OneClick's Avatar
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    Solo Hot Tent Test

    First off, what a rabbit hole my friends got me into here! I wanted to test all this gear, totally new to me, before going out with the group. Toboggan, hot tent, stove, chain saw, DIY hammock, on and on. What happened to a quick backpacking trip? Maybe I'll save that for the other 3 months because this is just too much fun.

    I arrived to the trail head just before 10PM. I walked a few yards into the trail and decided to skip the snowshoes since it was 12" packed, so I only sunk in about 3".


    On the trail...this is the only good pull I had. 99% of the time I was attempting to stay between the ruts in the road from logging tucks of the past. It was impossible. Every time I tried it would slide to either side, digging itself into the wall of snow on the side with it's sharp edge. What an absolute PITA!! It went from decent trekking to feeling like the guy pulling a semi on the worlds strongest man competition. I knew I was in for a long night after a few minutes of fighting this trail.



    I got to camp around 11:30pm and started digging out a site for the hot tent. I was all set up and had the stove going by 12:45am. After getting organized and putting the final touches on everything I was in bed watching my hot tent television at 1:24am. Luckily the door and air inlet is within reach. I can sort of work the damper with a short stick but it requires some finesse.


    Eggs and kielbasa for breffus! The no. 5 Wagner (1922-1924) is a perfect match with this stove!


    I made a run for firewood the next day, maple I believe. After slicing it up and splitting into about 1/6ths, I had enough for the whole trip.


    The little stove did well! It wasn't very cold (25-33° entire trip) and I had no problem maintaining a nice temp. Of course it's highly dependent on where you put the thermometer, but where I was sitting on the opposite side of the tent it was a steady 60° most of the time. Got up to 103° at my clothes line!


    Yessir! Cooking a little chowder back there on the stove to go with.


    The folding heat reflector I made for the stove was phenomenal!!! It's all one piece that folds and fits flat into a tote. It protects the tent while also reflecting heat from one side, back and bottom. As a bonus, it gets nice and hot underneath for drying wood...and cooking!


    Warming up


    I knocked it off, but there was a good 3" of heavy sticky snow. "Slight chance of freezing rain or drizzle". As usual, way to hit that NWS.


    Hiking out...I seriously haven't worked this hard in a long time. I thought snowshoes would have helped "blaze" a trail ahead of the toboggan, but after running into a guy day-hiking in, I realized his snowshoe path was of little or no help. You can just make out the tire ruts in the snow; what a miserable chore pulling a 15" wide toboggan thru a 12" U-shape channel.


    But there was a reward waiting 5 minutes from the trailhead...


    That's all for now. I'm thrilled everything worked out as planned except for the trail. My "next time" list contains a modest 3 bullet points, so I won't have much to change. It certainly isn't the furnace I've seen from others with larger steel stoves, but it does the job in this small Smokehouse. When it's colder it may take more work. And anything larger than this tent, forget it, regardless of the weather.

    Last edited by OneClick; 02-03-2020 at 15:13.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cabmanhang's Avatar
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    That's a lot of really good kit. Is that a backpacking chainsaw?
    "If we lose the forests, we lose our only instructors. People must see these forests and wilderness as the greatest educational system that we have on the planet. If we lose all the universities in the world, then we would lose nothing. But If we lose the forests, we lose everything." -- Bill Mollison

  3. #3
    OneClick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabmanhang View Post
    Is that a backpacking chainsaw?
    Ha I believe any decent woodsman would call it that! Or a toy. Sure did a great job though! 4" is the perfect diameter for wood to split, so the 10" bar is plenty.

  4. #4
    michigandave's Avatar
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    Nice report. I think all of us have had issues with tipping pulks and sleds on that trail. Good to hear you had a successful trip and I'm ready for more of that pizza!

    Glad you got sucked into the rabbit hole of winter hot tenting....total 180 for you! The Woodford is a nice touch. I've got a bottle stashed for our GT outing coming up in a little over two weeks.

  5. #5
    OneClick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michigandave View Post
    Nice report. I think all of us have had issues with tipping pulks and sleds on that trail. Good to hear you had a successful trip and I'm ready for more of that pizza!

    Glad you got sucked into the rabbit hole of winter hot tenting....total 180 for you! The Woodford is a nice touch. I've got a bottle stashed for our GT outing coming up in a little over two weeks.
    Oh yeah I was going to mention...the 180 for me was getting around all the work and also the smoke smell. Don't care for it on all my gear. After committing to the extra effort, that just left the smoke. I'm happy to say after setting everything up in the basement to dry, there's ZERO smoke smell...maybe just a little kielbasa.

    I think the tall chimney really helps. The smoke (not much since it's so efficient) is already 8' in the air by the time it exits...unlike some people that fill the entire campsite with a thick dense haze 3' off the ground - I'm looking at everyone except Dogger

  6. #6
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Man, does that look like fun! Except of course for all the work of getting the stuff dragged in. I guess no mre wet quilt issues for you, eh?

    Could you transport that gear in a wider pulk? Something that would be wider than the ruts and stay on top?

  7. #7
    TxAggie's Avatar
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    Awesome trip report!
    I think you’ve scattered it here and there they past threads, but would you mind listing the main hot-tent items (stove, tarp/tent, and how you designed your reflector so it would fold?)

    We haven’t had a good snow yet this year on the Chesapeake. Makes me worried for March, last time it did this we had winter temps all the way thru the beginning of June.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    OneClick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    Man, does that look like fun! Except of course for all the work of getting the stuff dragged in. I guess no mre wet quilt issues for you, eh?

    Could you transport that gear in a wider pulk? Something that would be wider than the ruts and stay on top?
    Forgot to mention that too. First morning...SOAKED! Oh well, I stoked up the fire and dried out. But being inside a sealed plastic cabin with snow and 28°, I expected much more condensation. Stove ran for maybe an hour after I went to bed. I got it running at 2am one night, which was really nice.

    Wider = worse. I have a sled and it's a nightmare with small trails. If someone goes in before you with a toboggan, you're screwed. Beforehand, they sort of "dive" downward. You can use something like an ice fisherman's sled (JetSled), but then you're pulling a box and just plowing. Maybe if you had a REALLY wide sled, but really anything practical is going to play gravity and find something to fall into.

    Quote Originally Posted by TxAggie View Post
    Awesome trip report!
    I think you’ve scattered it here and there they past threads, but would you mind listing the main hot-tent items (stove, tarp/tent, and how you designed your reflector so it would fold?)

    We haven’t had a good snow yet this year on the Chesapeake. Makes me worried for March, last time it did this we had winter temps all the way thru the beginning of June.
    This is the Smokehouse Outfitter from member 'Smokehouse' here on the forum. Stove from Luxe. The reflector is a piece of sheet metal I cut in a L shape, so I fold up the side, then back. I also drilled holes in the bottom for the legs to go thru which gives it some stability. But just pressing it into the ground is enough. I would have made it to exceed the top of the stove by a few inches, but I was limited by the 15" tote. Looking back, I'm glad because it worked out perfect. Get any galvanized metal good and hot beforehand so you're not breathing the fumes. But I'm not sure this would even get hot enough to do that.

    p.s. on the night where I didn't run the stove at all past 10pm, it was 30° outside and 41° inside when I woke up. Not bad! Only condensation was pretty much the first 2' from ground on the walls.
    Last edited by OneClick; 02-03-2020 at 12:39.

  9. #9
    OneClick's Avatar
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    Just a quick video of the snow on Saturday


  10. #10
    Chard's Avatar
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    Very nice setup.

    Any gear tweaks or fixes you'd make for your next excursion?
    Survival is about getting out alive, Bushcraft is about going in to live - Chard (aka Forest-Hobo)

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