Thank you Cannibal. Well said. Looking forward to reading the expieriences of others.
Thank you Cannibal. Well said. Looking forward to reading the expieriences of others.
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn."
— John Muir
Boy, that Cannibal is a wuss.
I'm set to hang on my deck a few feet from the warm, to learn as I go as the temps go lower. I'll test and tweak and find my limits as well as the gear.
I'd like to be able to join the frozen butt hang, but not until I've gained experience enough to know if it is safe. Seeing Shug test his gear in the back yard is all the advice I need be smart about it. Also seeing the wisdom of many to sleep indoors on last winters FBH wasn't lost on me. Safety first!
(reply to Ursa Majors post)
We have had people die at 50+ with a brisk steady wind to drop thier wet bodies temps here in the panhandle of FL.
Last edited by Alan Burd; 10-03-2012 at 20:27. Reason: Hit send by accident before finished
I really don't think a person can test, plan, thinkout, test, plan, and keep testing enough to adapt his gear to cold. Cold weather and mother nature throws so many different things at you and every experience is never the same. You just have to be prepared for the worse conditions possible and if your not, your going to have that "bad experience". This is a good thread that I am going to keep up on as we need to keep this going as the weather turns colder especially for the new hangers as well as those that are thinking of hanging in the cold. This much I do know and have come to respect, is with age, you have to work alot harder at keeping yourself warmer and climatized moreso for the cold elements and as I spend alot of days from a couple of hrs before daylite to a hour or so after sunset (very long days outdoors) hunting in wet, miserable conditions, I have to find more ways to stay warmer. Sitting in a tree stand sometimes 25 ft off the ground in inclimate weather is alot like hanging in a hammock off the ground. Age is a butt kicker for sure when your trying to keep your core temp up.
Not much new to add to the advice given, besides to be another voice to confirm it. I've been cold, dangerously so, and its not at all fun. Poor planning has caused most of my wilderness troubles. I nearly got into a hypothermia situation while in a cave, the cave was icier than the "guide" expected and colder, so the physical exertion of the squeezes quickly burned out all my energy. plus wet denim sucks heat from you faster than being naked (of course you'd bleed to death in that cave if you tried it naked) I pulled the pin, got myself and my partner out (the six of us were buddied up, at least the guide got that right) and didn't warm up even sitting on a rock in the afternoon sun. if we had taken longer, or had a problem and come out of the cave after dark it would have been a cold miserable hike down.
Point two, don't trust other people to make good decisions on your behalf. The "guide" had done a wilderness "leadership" course (which seems to only have trained him that no matter what, he is right) and he made several poor choices which led to several minor injuries (but could have been worse)
A few other things I've learned, frostbite doesn't hurt for most people. you'd think it would, but most times you don't know until you look. Also most times restricted blood flow is to blame. tight clothes, boots, gloves, might feel good at the start, but can sneak up to bite you. It should be obvious, but never never sleep with your boots on, no matter what you think, they are not warm, and it is a huge cause of frostbite in rookie winter-campers (my Mom is a nurse, did lots of ER, saw it frequently)
Something else that people don't tend to consider is that insulation works both ways. holds heat in, keeps heat out. I've watched people shivering in big thick parkas in front of a fire, because the heat couldn't get to their core. If you've gotten to the point that you have the fire (or stove) going to get warm, open your jacket to reflect the heat towards your sides and back.
Stay dry, no matter what. An hour of lost sleep to get everything dried out before going to sleep is well worth it. For quite a while I lived in a wood heated house, so I was conditioned to wake up when I got a bit cold as that meant the fire out or something. However, some folks just keep sleeping, to the point where once they get up, they are not able to function anymore. Do you know which side you fall on (especially all comfy in your hammock? not one back twinge away from awake while on the ground?)
Part of the learning process in winter camping is learning how your body reacts, I'm a pretty small guy, 5'10 155 and I've never been all that cold tolerant. I can stay pretty warm until my body runs out of spare calories to burn, then I go cold. takes less than ten minutes sometimes. Then I need food, anything will do, Mr.Big bars or anything chocolate and nuts will get things going again. Seems simple enough, but I had to learn it the hard way. Its kind of like how they condition pilots to recognize the symptoms of hypoxia, everyone is a bit different. (just don't go giving yourself hypothermia by yourself in the wilderness, do it at home)
If you are camping with others here is a simple mnemonic to remember the symptoms of hypothermia:
Shivers- shivering is the first sign, just as thirst is the first sign of dehydration, fix it now, getting the person moving may be enough at this stage.
Shakes- Second stage is when the person can no longer suppress the shivering at will. makes basic tasks difficult. At this point just movement is not enough, more/dry clothing and shelter are important, as well as food/warm drink. Person should be monitored from this point on to ensure they recover fully, and not just "warm up a bit"
Stumbles- Shivering stops leading most observers to think the person has warmed up. However at this point most gross and all fine motor control is gone. If they were walking before, this is the point where they no longer can, or if they were sitting, they cannot stand. The person may not want help but it is critical that they get it. medical attention would be good at the very least by an experienced first aider with cold weather training.
Mumbles- while rationality starts going at the end of the second stage, by this point the person in no longer rational at all. sentences make no sense, even if they can still speak. Some people may be combative (as much as thats possible) or just keep saying they are fine. At this point intervention is critical, unconsciousness and death are soon to follow.
Its a continuum, and not everyone behaves the same, but its handy to know these things no matter where you live. Generally the rule for warming someone up is slow cool, slow warm, quick cool (immersion or similar) quick warm.
Funny thing is, I'm getting ready here for the hot weather!
Its not a toughness contest, stay safe out there.
OK, it's been said many times through out this thread, eat before going to bed. Out of curiosity, what are YOU eating to keep warm?
I'm a member of PETA!!!!
Great tips to read, thanks all.
Just to chime in that i) it doesn't have to freeze water to be dangerous, especially with the added element of wind, and ii) it can get cold even though you'd think you're seasonally safe.
In late June, I was out. In the night, it got to 5 or so degrees (c). This is not at all uncommon where I'm from and where I do most of my hanging, even lower temps are reported every now and then. I never got close to freezing, was in fact very snug, but that's mainly because I erred on the side of caution in terms of gear. During the day it had been raining on and off, luckily it didn't in the night. If it had, it could have been a different ball game.
Just to underscore that just because it may be summer in your mind, doesn't mean nature agrees with you.
Just so it's said: hypothermia isn't specific to freezing temps. I've said it here before and I'll say it again, I sweat, a lot, and can't seem to help it. Been that way since puberty, ergo: I may be damp and not even notice it really. As I dropped into camp during a winter hike a couple years ago, I was warm and feeling great. It was a breezy 40 deg or so. As the "bite was on" (as we say) I immediately started fishing, wandering a ways away from camp and my pack. Quite literally from one minute to the next I realized I was having a TON of trouble tying a basic knot (no shivering). That caused me to look "big picture" at the last ten minutes or so. I realized I'd been very lethargic, tunnel-visioned and a little unsteady on my feet. THEN I realized I was damp and pretty cold. I did a couple jumping jacks in place and carefully made My way back to my pack and some dry clothes. All the difference in the world and the fishing stayed great.
Summary: no icicles to be seen, only sunshine. I had no concept I was damp or cold. Although it kinda snuck up on me, it took an "A-ha moment" to see what was going on. I was far enough from insulation that it could have been a real issue if I hadn't caught it. Behavior modification: unless it is LEGIT hot / warm out: I ALWAYS change clothes after dropping into camp, almost right away.
I am NOT going out like that.
Great thread. Thanks!
"...the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog."
-LTC D. Grossman