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View Full Version : What's the difference? (winter vs. summer survival gear)



StewartB
10-14-2008, 11:36 PM
Between your summer and winter survival gear. Please qualify your location. I'm primarily concerned with the north, but I'm interested in all answers.

My own answer? A -20* down sleeping bag compressed in a waterproof compression sack. (4#) A Hilleberg 2-man self-supporting tent with extra stakes and a matching footprint. (7#) A Gore-Tex bivy bag. (2#) My trusty ammo box preheater with an MSR XGK Expedition stove and two 22 oz bottles of white gas. (Probably 6-7#) I wished I had them all this past weekend. I also add snowshoes. I have an older set of Tubbs shoes that are light and good walkers. This year I'll add collapsible trekking poles, too. I always keep a compact avalanche shovel in the plane in winter. And ice screws, rope, and a packable come-along winch.

I found a source for the Coleman Survival Cat and bought three last year. I haven't used one yet. I think I'll test one once the temps drop. I have a Fluke meter with temp function. That test will be interesting.

I still carry my standard summer pack with a couple of space bags, knife, pot, sewing stuff, food, water, cord, baling wire, etc.

What do you guys ADD for winter use?

Stewart

AntiCub
10-14-2008, 11:46 PM
I add the following:
-40 Wiggy's sleeping bag
small pair of snowshoes
Heavy mittens (can't fly with them on)

I remove the mosquito repellent and head net.

Phil

M1
10-15-2008, 01:48 AM
BC Coast Mountains

Down jacket with hood
wool long underwear
snow boots
wool shirt
wool hat
windproof pants
wing, tail, engine, prop and spinner covers

In addition to the items already mentioned. I go flying equipped to spend the night out and adjust what I take depending on the season, route and destination.

M1

cub_driver
10-15-2008, 02:37 AM
Steward

I assume you also have a saw or ax in your war bag.

Cub_Driver

68Papa
10-15-2008, 04:51 AM
Stewart,

My winter gear isn't too different than yours. My sleeping bag is an old North Face -40* bag. No come-along winch. I also carry my engine cover and wing covers. I put my wing covers in compression sacks, but not my engine cover. In the last 20 years, I've ruined several top of the line -40* sleeping bags because during the summer and fall season, (ex hunting & fishing guide) I would keep them in compression sacks. Although I knew the compression sack would destroy the loft, we needed to do so to conserve as much space as possible. When I completely destroy this North Face, I will replace it with a Wiggy's. You can compress them 365 days a year - no worries. I'm wondering if compressing an engine cover would also destroy the insulation qualities. I assume so, that's why I don't compress it.

I also found a source late last winter for the Coleman Survival Cat. It took a little time to find them and when I did find them, they only had four left and I bought only one. A couple of weeks later, I was wishing I had bought two and when I returned to the site, they were sold out. If you want to sell one or if you know where to get another one, PM me.

R.D.

mvivion
10-15-2008, 06:53 AM
Collapsible water jug--what you need far more than food in cold temps is water....melt snow works okay, but you need somewhere to keep it.

Therma-Rest pad---essential to keep you off the ground, and insulate.

Light of some kind, preferably three. Easy to forget in Alaska summers that you might need a flashlight--the new LED lights are great.

I also carry a couple of "Heater Meals". A quick warm up. Cycle them occassionally as lunch enroute.

Fire starters, though you probably carry them all year, and you should--I like the blast match.

MTV

Fortysix12
10-15-2008, 07:05 AM
Can you leave a Cat heater operating in a completly closed up tent and if so ,how come you don't get gassed.

StewartB
10-15-2008, 08:35 AM
The cat heater is for the plane, not the pilot.

RD, I've never been a Wiggy fan. How small can you compress that -40 bag and how much does it weigh?

Cub-Driver, Yes on the axe. I've never been a saw user, even on snow-gos. I prefer an axe. Besides, there are times you need to beat on things. A saw isn't any good for that. My axe rides in my year-round pack.

M1, It's interesting how you listed clothing. I always wear clothes appropriate to spend time in the weather I'm flying in. I may slip a jacket off but it'll be on my seat back ready to wear quickly. Boots are problematic for me. I hate bunny boots and generally don't prefer to fly in big, heavy boots. I wear insulated/GoreTex hiking boots to fly and carry my White's pac boots in the baggage.

SB

Dough Head
10-15-2008, 08:48 AM
http://campingbee.com/Camping/Camping2535.html

jr.hammack
10-15-2008, 09:28 AM
stewart,
would suggest testing your tubbs snow shoes,i bought a set of 9 1/2'' x32'' modern northern lites several years ago,really didn't get to use them in real conditions till last year,they were sinking 6'' to 12'',my neighboor dennis blankenbaker had old 58'' wooden shoes,he was on top and no problems,i found a set of 58'' to use when on ski's.
went the same route as you and had a -20 bag,test yours before you really need it,used mine in n.m.,got cold,now i carry a ground pad and a wiggies -60 dual system,they'll keep ya warm even if they are wet,agree their a little more bulk,but if your life depends on your equipment,get the best.

IMHO

jr.
:o

StewartB
10-15-2008, 09:51 AM
jr,

Believe it or not I actually enjoy snowshoeing and do it often. My Tubbs shoes are 10x36 and work great, but were de-throned when Kim bought me some Atlas 12x35 shoes. I prefer the Atlas bindings. The only time I've needed snowshoes in an emergency was to un-stick my Cessna that was sunk in overflow. In that case I'll take synthetic shoes hands down. Being able to clear the shoes easily of frozen slush was a lifesaver.

My down bag and GoreTex bivy combo is hard to beat. I'm not concerned about it at all. I can compress the bag to the size of a coffee can but prefer to leave it a little looser. What is the size and weight of a compressed Wiggy's? I'm really curious. I know lots of people like Wiggy's but I don't know a single mountain climber or Iron Dog racer who uses one, and those are the guys I watch for lightweight, effective gear choices. And the warm while wet thing doesn't really apply when we're discussing -20 and -40* bags, does it?

Stewart

68Papa
10-15-2008, 11:34 AM
Stewart,

The North Face -40* bag I can get compressed down to something slightly bigger than a basketball. It probably weighs 3 - 4 lbs. But I seriously doubt it is any good to -40 any more. A couple of years ago, I bought a Wiggy 20* bag for sheep hunting. It's held up good and works well in those temperatures. I love -40* sleeping bags! I have owned several North Face and until I bought the Wiggy 20* bag, I used -40* bags year round. I will also tell you that I am a compression sack freak. I own more compression sacks then any one that I know and I use them for everything. In my former life, I ran 7 day float trips in Western Alaska. Everything went into these sacks and then into river bags. So my -40* bag went into a compression sack on June 8th and pretty much stayed there until Oct. 1st. I would store it during the winter in a box. At the end of every second season and occasionally after the third season, I would send them back to North Face and they would send me a brand new one. They knew I was compressing them, but they stood behind the product anyway. Not only was the North Face bag an awesome piece of equipment, their customer service was second to none. Pretty soon, I will be forced to buy another -40* bag. Unless the technology has changed in the last 4 -5 years, I will probably buy a Wiggy's - simply because I will never quit using compression sacks and these sacks have no effect on a Wiggy. That would be the only reason I would buy a Wiggy over a North Face.

R.D.

BobK
10-15-2008, 11:48 AM
One thing I learned from the guy I bought my Champ from was to remove the seat foam from one of the seat bottom cushions, and stuff your sleeping bag & pad in there instead. Saves room in the back !

Other than that, a -20 synthetic North Face bag, bivy sack, MSR XGK stove in a pot, fuel, a couple of Mtn House meals, Nalgene bottle full of energy snacks, duct tape, axe & saw, tarp, nylon cord, tool kit, LED headlamp, MSR snowshoes, avalanche shovel, heater packs, etc.

I also throw in an extra bag containing 2 extra sets of gloves, fleece pants, fleece head-sock, and fleece jacket. Just in case I have to spend the night...

I still wear my inflatable Stearns vest in the winter that has a minimum of survival gear on my person, including an extra hand-held radio & batteries, a second LED headlamp, blast-match, space bag, a couple granola bars, etc...

And finally, wing/engine/windshield covers, white-gas catalytic heater, & 1 can of white gas.

All of that gear essentially turns the Champ into a 1-person airplane, as if it wasn't really close to that already... :D

With the miserable summer we've had this year, combined with the snow on the ground already, I cant wait for ski-season !!!

Hasta ~

Bob K.

StewartB
10-15-2008, 11:59 AM
Roger,

I understand. I was looking at an $800 down bag a couple of days go and cringed at the thought of taking it home to compress it for the long haul. But there's little choice. I already own the -20* bag so I'll use it as the sacrificial lamb and see how things go.

I went the opposite way for sheep hunting. I retired my synthetic bag and went to a +20* down bag. I loved every minute of hunting season spent in that bag. 1-1/2# and it compresses so small you can't believe it. Greg puts his inside his Mountain Hardware Conduit bivy and still stuffs it in a Sea-to-Summit XS compression sack. Incredible. I can't do that with my GoreTex bivy, though.

Good stuff, guys. Keep it coming.

Stewart

High Country
10-15-2008, 12:02 PM
If we are talking sleeping bags Feathered Friends is the best money can buy in my opinion. I have the Peregrine with the outer shell made from e-vent fabric. It is just plain awesome. I have slept in -40 with the wind howling at over 17,000 ft and have never been cold in that bag and it's only rated to -25. The e-vent fabric is remarkable as well, repels the melted frost in the tent and breaths well also. The downside is cost, I think I paid near $800 to have mine made.

Here's the link to their website:

http://www.featheredfriends.com/

Having said all that I usually carry a North Face or Mt hardware bag in the plane. I don't want to ruin the Feathered Friends bag by leaving it compressed all winter.


Other than that, a -20 synthetic North Face bag, bivy sack, MSR XGK stove in a pot, fuel, a couple of Mtn House meals, Nalgene bottle full of energy snacks, duct tape, axe & saw, tarp, nylon cord, tool kit, LED headlamp, MSR snowshoes, avalanche shovel, heater packs, etc.


Bob you don't need all that stuff to survive at Merrill, because I know that plane never leaves there. :D

Shane

BobK
10-15-2008, 12:04 PM
Ouch... I knew that was coming. :drinking:

Maybe I just didnt want to make you feel bad by racking up lots of hours this summer... Then again, maybe not. :roll:

StewartB
11-16-2008, 12:13 PM
Well, I went ahead and put my -20* down bag and a Gore-Tex bivy in a sil cloth XL stuff sack. It isn't compressed enough to be concerned about. I also tossed in a Cocoon liner. Why not? If I get stuck out I'll probably be damp at least, so this way I can get out of my wet clothes. I also tossed in a Hilleberg 2 man tent and a compact sleeping pad. It all fits easily into a waterproof duffel. There's room in the bag for my snowshoes and an Ortovox compact shovel so they'll go in as well. Yesterday I thought to bring my all-year survival pack home to look through. I'm glad I did. It's been 5 years at least since I went through my gear. I'm way overdue. I need to cull some items, replace some, and add some that didn't exist 5 years ago. I suspect I can reduce the pack's weight and size while making it better equipped at the same time. In fact I know I can. In a few days I'll post a list of what I have for discussion. Mostly I'll look to some other northerners to help me identify what I'm missing, but it should be a thought provoking topic for anyone who carries survival gear.

Stewart

gregory
11-16-2008, 01:00 PM
Good idea. I should go through my survival pack and update. I know I have stuff in it thats been there for years thats probably not any good.
Greg

leon tallman
11-16-2008, 01:38 PM
what no duct tape the 200 mph stuff

behindpropellers
11-16-2008, 02:46 PM
Therma-Rest pad---essential to keep you off the ground, and insulate.


MTV

Keep in mind that if you have a thermarest pad you need to take them out of the bag from time to time. Actually, the same goes for sleeping bags. I do not store ours in the bag.

Tim

aktango58
11-16-2008, 02:58 PM
Leave in the bug juice, it is a great fire starter!

I subscribe to the Wiggys camp. Took one night out when I was fighting overflow, was we to the skin and my stove failed.

Too tired to build a fire, I crawled into the tent wet, into the bag wet and went to sleep.

I was dry the next day. The couple of extra pounds for the Wiggy, and knowing that it will not deconstruct sitting there year after year is worth lots. When I get warmer climate conditions, I only carry the outer shell part of the wiggys -60.

I also have the down light bag that is smaller than a water bottle, but I save it for when I am hunting and backpacking. The two pounds for the Wiggy is less than the snow built up on skis...

Some mountian house is nice for easy food also.

A couple of short 2x4s are nice to block up skis, and an ice scraper for that day you do overflow skis and need to clean them off, (learned the hard way).

I also will carry some garbage bags and an ice axe, depending on what I am doing.

16-bravo
11-16-2008, 03:12 PM
I carry a Wiggy's -60 bag, jet boil stove, survival knife, led head lamp, mittens, snow shoes (tubbs), water bottle, water purifier, extra socks, underwear, a variety of mountain house dried food, energy gel, matches, a fire sparker, a saw, frying pan( jet boil), white bunny boots, down coat, warm hat, a Garmin 60 cs GPS, rope, duct tape, cell phone, and I will soon include a satelite phone. I have weighed all of this survival equipment, and have come up with the following.

Wiggys sleeping bag -60..... 7 lbs

Survival bag..... 12 lbs

Snowshoes.... 2 lbs

extedable poles for walking... 1 lb

bunny boots..... 3 lbs

I have probably forgot something, but this close

TCA
11-17-2008, 11:06 PM
The best way for me to figure out if I've got the right gear is to spend a night outside with just the survival gear from my plane.

Once in a while, during the winter, when it's really cold, I'll go out to the airplane, gather up all my survival gear (which might not be possible in the event of a real crash) and try to spend the night outside. I figure out what gear works and what doesn't, and most importantly, I figure out what I've left out that I really need.

One suggestion: if you do this, do it in the back yard or close to home so you can sneak back in the house if things aren't going well!

NimpoCub
11-17-2008, 11:57 PM
TCA, you're a wise man, you should post more!! :)

Matt 7GCBC
11-18-2008, 02:02 AM
Great topic! While only having two seasons on skis so far, I do tend to stray from the beaten path (not many ski fliers here in Idaho to beat a path!) and have found myself stuck and RON due to snow conditions and weather.
When you get stuck, you are working your tail off and likely to be wet from either snow or sweat, so an extra set of long underwear is great. Not much time for sitting down to prepare food when you are trying to get unstuck before dark sets in, so I like a good "energy bar" as opposed to MREs or Mountain House. These would be great in your camping gear, but I guess I'm thinking more of emergency gear. The power bars get rock hard in the cold - do the gels do the same? Clif Bars or my personal preference Backcountry Bars, made here in Boise, are high calorie (600Kcal/ bar) taste good, as opposed to chewing on cardboard and have good shelf life and packability. On my first adventure getting stuck out, I had an MRE with me, but after non-stop work for 9 hours to pack a runway and unbury the plane (3 times) all I wanted to do was drink another gallon of water and crawl in my bag.
I love my down bag for weight and packability when backpacking, but don't have the guts to depend on the down when my life depends on it in the winter. When I was in Aspen, CO in the 90's there was a group of skiers that got lost in a blizzard and spent I believe nearly a week out. Some of the down bags were ultimately left behind as dead weight. - probably better technology now though? I sweat like crazy if the nylon material is against my skin, so I have a liner. Keeps me from having to wear the long johns to bed, increases the warmth of the bag and having actually lived out of sleeping bags for several years, keeps the stench down and improves the life of the bag.
I prefer white gas to propane, especially in the winter. Propane has never worked well for me in the cold, but maybe there's a trick I don't know about? I also like that I can use the aircraft fuel in my Whisperlite XGK in a pinch - so I only have to carry one fuel bottle of white gas.
I like the idea of using a Nalgene bottle for storing some basic emergency gear. The more water containers you have, the less you are stopping to melt snow. In my survival vest I have several sturdy ziplock bags and some iodine tablets. Has anyone thought of a better packable water container for a vest. Someone mentioned a purifier, but I would think that it would freeze and crack in the conditions I am spending time in.
I have a stiff bristle brush for polishing off the frost on the tail and fuselage. Anyone have further thought for that? Ice scraper for skis is great idea as opposed to chipping away with the ski pole!

Don't know if I have just been getting excited about the ski flying coming up or what, but started to think about flying up to AK to catch part of the Iditarod. Is this something that anyone else from the lower 48 does? Good way to see the race, or do non-race support pilots just get in the way? Thoughts?
Matt

Cubus Maximus
11-18-2008, 09:46 AM
Matt, are you running a 150 hp 7GCBC on Aero Skis (wheel penetration - mechanical retracts)?

The reason for asking is that I've seen this combination struggle a bit. There's another 160 hp Citabria on the field with the same set up that handles everything that gets thrown at it. The difference is:

more power
climb prop
ski rigging

StewartB
11-18-2008, 10:01 AM
I won't get into the down versus synthetic sleeping bag argument. Pick what you prefer. Don't forget the insulated engine blanket, too. Mine rides with me in the plane, I never leave it behind. Wing covers may or may not go depending on the flight and/or how crusted-over they've become.

I re-packed my survival backpack. Heat, shelter, food, and "other" were my categories to address.

Heat- MSR XGK stove w/ 22oz fuel bottle. Esbit pocket stove w/ 9 fuel tabs. Fire starter sticks. Blast Match. 2 Bic lighters. Waterproof matches in a waterproof match container.

Shelter- 2 Eagle Enterprises rescue bags (vacuum packed). 2 small space blankets. Sil tarp.

Rations- 2 Nalgene bottles full of water. Gu. Cliff bars vacuum packed. Jerky. Werther's hard candy.

"Other"- Cutco knife. 18" hatchet. 2mm & 4mm technical cord. Compass. Head lamp. Laser Torch. Strobe. Duct tape. Baling wire. Leatherman tool. Garbage bags. Bug headnets. First Aid kit. Advil. Sewing kit. Reading glasses. All the small items are packed into two MSR stainless steel cook pots with folding handles and latching lids. Collecting snow and water and heating it is covered. The smaller one serves as a drinking utensil as well. I'm sure I've forgotten to list some things.

On the scale the pack weighs 24#. The previously discussed winter "camp gear" pack weighs just under 20# including the snowshoes and shovel. The topic was started as a result of me being stuck and recognizing the weaknesses of my gear. So far all of my "stuck" experience has been weather related and was the result of a decision to sit still to avoid an emergency. That's why I have the 20# camp comfort pack added. Surviving isn't camping but I'd prefer to sit out the weather in something more comfortable than my survival gear. Get home-itis is less an issue if I have an alternative.

Eagle Enterprises is one of my favorite toy stores. Here's a link to the survival bags I referenced. Even you southerners may benefit from one or two of these in your gear.
http://www.ultimategear.com/therprotaid.html


Stewart

behindpropellers
11-18-2008, 10:30 AM
You guys might want to consider a "snowbunje" if you are skis and land on lakes. Very useful if your good at getting your snow machine aka snowmomobile aka sled stuck. I imagine it could be pretty useful if your stuck in overflow or deep snow on skis.

http://www.snobunje.com/

mvivion
11-18-2008, 11:01 AM
behind,

I'm trying to envision how that thing works. I'd welcome any assistance in getting unstuck on skis. To date, the only solution I've found is digging and stamping down a track that will then freeze.

Stewart,

Your collection of tools seems pretty comprehensive. Has anyone else carried any of the "Heater Meals"? I've carried these for camping some, cause I'm lazy. They work in pretty cold temps, but not sure if they would in REALLY cold.

In the Air Force Cold Weather Survival course, the instructor would not permit us to carry hatchets or axes into the field. Hit a log or piece of wood with an axe at -30, and the thing is apt to bounce off and cause some severe injury.

Nevertheless, I too carry a hatchet....I only bring this up to remind people to be REALLY careful with these kinds of tools when it's really cold.

I went through Cool School's outdoor session when it was -38 overnight, so we all built our own shelters and spent the night out.

A properly built one person shelter will provide a LOT of protection, and extract a lot of heat from the earth. In those cases, a REALLY warm sleeping bag is a detriment, not an advantage.

I've seen a few situations where you might have to spend the night out without shelter, but it'd have to be pretty grim for me to do that.

I've slept out at -45 in a one man shelter I built in 30 minutes, and the temperature inside never got below +25 degrees.

I think the combination sleeping bags (a primary bag and an overbag) would be good combinations in these situations. I could have easily slept comfortably in a summer sleeping bag that night. As it was, my heavy winter bag got pretty damp that night.

MTV

behindpropellers
11-18-2008, 11:22 AM
behind,

I'm trying to envision how that thing works. I'd welcome any assistance in getting unstuck on skis. To date, the only solution I've found is digging and stamping down a track that will then freeze.



MTV

Just an idea... Its essentially a bungee cord. It allows you put weight into a pull and use your body mass instead of all muscle. Hard to explain.

StewartB
11-18-2008, 12:34 PM
If you're stuck that means you've failed to move the airplane after applying full power to the prop. If that didn't get you out a Snowbunje will be worthless. My winter tools include ice screws and a Pack Mule come-along. I'll already have static climbing ropes in the plane. Dig and rig, rig and dig. Being stuck in an airplane is no fun. Getting unstuck is very hard work.

http://www.deuer.com/html/page2.htm

Stewart

mvivion
11-18-2008, 06:00 PM
AMEN :x

MTV

aktango58
11-19-2008, 08:11 AM
Mini mule... NICE!

I actually carry my North Face 4 season tent that will hold 3 comfortably. Yes, it is another couple of pounds, (11 actually), but for a cold night out if it is windy... And lighter than my Arctic Oven.

When stuck one of the best things I have had was a couple of friends, a snowmachine (to pack down a strip), and lots of time to get things out :drinking: :drinking:

I won't talk about how to get them to a stuck plane... That is the expensive part :crazyeyes:

When really cold, a couple of cute escorts of the female persuasion can help moral, keep you warm, and take away the desire to hurry, then again, they can go the other way and drive you all night to get home :evil:

Mike, I carry an axe because I use it to cut ice, drive boards under skis, and they work great for banging ice off snowshoes, (don't try it with wood ones) when you are packing overflow strips down and fill them with slush.

One thing is for certian, until you are out there with your gear, mercury falling quickly and alone, you may not know what is really valuable, and what is dead weight!

behindpropellers
11-19-2008, 10:13 AM
AMEN :x

MTV

You guys sure are good at looking down at any new idea.

StewartB
11-19-2008, 10:27 AM
Because you just thought of it does not mean it's a new idea. A friend of mine has made bungee cord pull straps for snowmachines for 20 years. They work okay if you're pulling a snowmachine out with another snowmachine. All they accomplish is to buffer the shock you'd experience with a rope or cable. They don't magically produce more power than the pulling body can exert. A Snowbunje is a human powered gadget. You can't compare with the 160hp that your plane can develop. If you're stuck it's because 160hp wasn't enough. The Snowbunje won't be much help.

I take it you've never been stuck? Take some advice from somebody that has. Have snowshoes, shovel, ropes, and a come-along. Read my story from a couple of years ago. I had a chainsaw winch break when trying to pull out an airplane. It took two manual HD come-alongs to get it done. One wasn't powerful enough. I don't think the Snowbunje will make it into my gear bag!

http://www.supercub.org/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=11772

Stewart

behindpropellers
11-19-2008, 11:01 AM
Because you just thought of it does not mean it's a new idea. A friend of mine has made bungee cord pull straps for snowmachines for 20 years. They work okay if you're pulling a snowmachine out with another snowmachine. All they accomplish is to buffer the shock you'd experience with a rope or cable. They don't magically produce more power than the pulling body can exert. A Snowbunje is a human powered gadget. You can't compare with the 160hp that your plane can develop. If you're stuck it's because 160hp wasn't enough. The Snowbunje won't be much help.

I take it you've never been stuck? Take some advice from somebody that has. Have snowshoes, shovel, ropes, and a come-along. Read my story from a couple of years ago. I had a chainsaw winch break when trying to pull out an airplane. It took two manual HD come-alongs to get it done. One wasn't powerful enough. I don't think the Snowbunje will make it into my gear bag!

http://www.supercub.org/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=11772

Stewart

You win. You are the god of flying. I'm sorry for thinking about a solution to getting stuck.

mvivion
11-19-2008, 11:17 AM
Behind,

Chill out, Dude :lol: . Pun intended.

There might be a situation where one of those things COULD help just a little bit.

But, as Stewart notes, generally when you are stuck on skis, you are REALLY stuck, and it will take a LOT of work and/or force to unstick you.

In those cases, a come along and something to anchor the other end are the only things I've found that will move you.

I carry a come along and a length of cable (rope stretches too much for use with come alongs, in many cases) about 50 feet long.

You can only carry so much stuff, and most folks are going to carry the items that are MOST likely to help in one of these situations. That device might be great for unsticking a snowmachine, but a snowmachine weighs what---a few hundred pounds? Versus an airplane (oh, geeeezzzz here we go again with airplane empty weights) even a light Cub, is going to weigh well over a thousand pounds empty. Different dynamic to getting a snowmachine unstuck...

The bottom line when operating aircraft on skis is that you had BETTER be prepared to spend the night wherever you land, cause sometimes all the gear in the world isn't going to help much.

I've had a C 185 so stuck in overflow I thought I'd never get it out. I've never had any assistance other than my passengers to help, but a snowmachine, or helicopter or???? would have been more than welcome on several occasions.

I got stuck on a recurrent ski checkride in a 185 once, and had to leave the check airman on the ground (snow) to takeoff and come back around to pack down a better runway with the airplane. His comment to me just before I departed was "You do understand that if you DON'T come back to pick me up, you WILL fail the checkride, right?"

After we got back to town, only five hours late, he was doing the paperwork for the checkride. He asked me when my next recurrent ride would be...I said June, on floats.

His response: "I'll bring my swim trunks".

MTV

gpepperd
11-19-2008, 12:49 PM
Good thread! The only way the bungee tool could help would be using it in conjunction with ice screws (which I also carry) & the come-along to apply a pre-load to assist the engine power in moving the plane a short distance at a time. They work great with a snow machine as they extend the amount of travel per pull over just pulling on the front ski alone. I own a -30 down bag(tested in the yard) and a -40 wiggys. I'll take the down bag hands down over the Wiggy's.

Matt 7GCBC
11-19-2008, 01:28 PM
Maximus,
I don't want to hijack the thread, but didn't want to just PM you either, so... I do have the 150 hp 7GCBC on Aeroski 2800 retracts. The things that have made a big difference for me in performance: The newer Axle mount points push the ski further down, pulling the wheels up completely. The old style always had a little remaining penetration = lots o' drag.
The metal "axle" for the wheels on the trailing edge of the ski is mounted to the bottom of the ski. I ground this down so it would mount flush to the tunnels on the top of the ski and have noted significantly less drag. Another potential idea is that someone once told me they forgot to take their float season 80" prop off and this SIGNIFICANTLY improved their capability on skis. Unfortunately I can't do that because it's not approved except when you are on floats. Rigging: I flattened out the original rigging a bit. I found that when I unweighted the skis in deep snow I continued to have about the same drag and just couldn't break free. I attribute this to the springs increasing the angle of attack of the skis as well as this then allowing that dang rear wheel and bar to grab hold. Moving the axle to the top is what tightened up the rear cable, so I couldn't tell you which made the bigger change - I am still within spec for the ski angles, BTW. I have place photos in my gallery to show these changes.
Matt

gpepperd
11-19-2008, 01:44 PM
One other item I carry in winter is highway flares. They will give an intense heat for 15-20 min. that will start wet or frozen wood much better that other starters. Obviously, they could also be used as a signaling device.

aktango58
11-19-2008, 04:21 PM
MTV,

You crack me up!

I actually passed a ride because after the fifth pass to get the snow packed down and I was not comfortable we could get out; I bailed and went back to the airport. The FAA inspectors, (one official one trainee) were happy not to be standing on a gravel bar in their not quite prepared clothing waiting for me to ferry them to civilization.

I sank in front of a friends and got his snow machine one time, took just a bit of pushing after he packed the trail. Easy. Would only have taken about six hours of walking without him. Crust on top with powder under, fell through just as I stopped.

trying to tow wile running an engine is not my idea of safe... but if you have a machine big enough to tow, the bungee would be nice for pulling planes, I would not carry the weight as It is a single use item, and I can substitute with tiedown ropes.

My over flow day.... I don't think that any bungee, come along or anything would have helped. Nothing to hook to, and the overflow was so deep you would have been up to your armpit getting anything into the ice.

after two days walking down a runway and trying to get the plane to fly (ice stuck on the ski pulled the pane to the side and back into the overlfow) I gave up and hitched a ride in the helo. I returned (via helo) after good food, shower and a good sleep with friends to help jack the plane up, clean the skis well, and after preheating was out of there. Yes, it was expensive, but I lived, the plane lived, and we had a good time the day we went as a group.

I think restraint is a great item to have in the plane this time of year. And that SPOT that Steve is going to send me :angel: :angel:

aktango58
11-19-2008, 04:27 PM
Matt,

I have been looking at changing my Aerro skis.

I will copy, and give you credit!

One time I had a huge buildup on the front of the ski, (flying the 7ac) and it was wet snow, held the tips down. I was indicating over 90 miles an hour once airborn!

pwfeenstra
11-19-2008, 09:57 PM
I wish there was a Heavyconstruction.org when I started up business 18 years ago where I could get such good advice. Most of my schooling has been from a master degree in hard knocks. You guys are gems for letting us wannabees in on such good info- life saving info. I trust you guys so much that my plane is always at gross weight, with more crap than you can shake a stick at- BUT have always come back alive. Humbled but alive. Thank you all for taking the time to post. I appreciate it a bunch.

gcgilpin
11-19-2008, 10:20 PM
From experience... a small chainsaw. If you're worried about the weight penalty leave some of your other trinkets at home.

You're first need is going to be warmth, then shelter, then food (depending how long you're stuck).

A chainsaw can give you alot of wood (warmth) in a hurry and efficiently. It'll also help immensely in the shelter department. A handsaw will work but I promise your odds are alot better with a chainsaw, especially in -35 Celcius weather.

Warm clothing is obvious. Plan to spend the night in what you're wearing.

NEVER EVER fly in the winter without at least two ways to pre-heat your plane. I carry a Coleman SportCat and a old gasoline blowtorch (with an appropriate ducting system). Make sure you've tested your pre-heat systems in cold weather before you leave. A good quilted cowling cover like Kennon Covers sells is a must.

StewartB
11-19-2008, 11:25 PM
You win. You are the god of flying. I'm sorry for thinking about a solution to getting stuck.

Nope, I'm not the God of anything. I'm not proud of getting stuck, but I've done it a few times. And if my advice helps one person not get hurt? Good by me. Adios.

Stewart

aktango58
11-20-2008, 06:28 PM
Stewart,

Just re-read the other thread about getting stuck...

sorry, but I was laughing again at the alder patch story. Not at anyone, but my vision had me planted smack dab in the pilot seat doing just such a great move! I need to add my quick hour trip story.

One thing that we all have overlooked, and we should be aware of at all times:

Leaving a flight plan/itinerary with someone so that the search for our lost hide is quick! Putting everyone else in danger because we were stupid is not good.

Having friends that are willing to help when the skis are down is important in getting out sometimes, but makes flying fun.

Look at recreational snowmachine groups. Get stuck, ten guys circle around and help get you out. It is "fun". as pilots we can learn a lot from this!

dstr59
11-21-2008, 12:41 AM
back on the subject of survival gear........
being from the lower 48, i had to go and google "wiggys" to find out where you guys are shopping. neat place.

StewartB
10-17-2010, 02:04 PM
Thread resurrection.


Stewart,

The North Face -40* bag I can get compressed down to something slightly bigger than a basketball. It probably weighs 3 - 4 lbs. But I seriously doubt it is any good to -40 any more. A couple of years ago, I bought a Wiggy 20* bag for sheep hunting. It's held up good and works well in those temperatures. I love -40* sleeping bags! I have owned several North Face and until I bought the Wiggy 20* bag, I used -40* bags year round. I will also tell you that I am a compression sack freak. I own more compression sacks then any one that I know and I use them for everything. In my former life, I ran 7 day float trips in Western Alaska. Everything went into these sacks and then into river bags. So my -40* bag went into a compression sack on June 8th and pretty much stayed there until Oct. 1st. I would store it during the winter in a box. At the end of every second season and occasionally after the third season, I would send them back to North Face and they would send me a brand new one. They knew I was compressing them, but they stood behind the product anyway. Not only was the North Face bag an awesome piece of equipment, their customer service was second to none. Pretty soon, I will be forced to buy another -40* bag. Unless the technology has changed in the last 4 -5 years, I will probably buy a Wiggy's - simply because I will never quit using compression sacks and these sacks have no effect on a Wiggy. That would be the only reason I would buy a Wiggy over a North Face.

R.D.

Since winter is descending on us I've started to put the winter gear on the floor for this year's once-over. The primary change I've made is replacing my down sleeping bags with Wiggy's Ultima Thule -20 bags for long-term compressibility reasons. Instead of buying the Wiggy's over bags I opted for Hilleberg Bivanoraks. And I'll pack a Hilleberg Tarp 2 UL in there, too. This will eliminate the need for a tent, the bivies and tarp are lighter than even my lightest tent, and there's no set-up so they're easier to use in the cold. I'll pull out the old Eagle Enterprises body bags and find a place to stash them on the snowgos. Now to look into this year's snowshoes!

Stewart

cubflier
10-17-2010, 02:37 PM
Answered my own question

schnell49
10-17-2010, 04:03 PM
Gents,

im a PJ here in ANC and born in ANC- I've been on denali 3 times (summitted twice), raced in the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic 7 times (won the last 5 times i've raced) and done MANY other winter/summer adventures so:

someone said, i follow what mtn climbers/iditarod racers use--that's a great start to pick your gear with that;
--down compresses more, weighs less and sucks when wet BUT if you know how to winter camp then that shouldn't be an issue--on two trips to denali i used a -40 synthetic but then decided to go with a -20 Puma bag by western mountaineering (expensive but you get what you pay for) i used to use a -40 darkstar by north face but found i had all these warm clothes i wasn't wearing inside my bag--they made a great pillow but hey, if you can wear clothing inside your bag and carry less bulk/weight then....so as the temps drop i tend to see less and less planes in the air, so for you guys that know how to winter camp i would recommend a -10 or -20 bag, you'll be flying in warmies then two pieces of gear i love in the cold are the Das parka by patagucchi and my favorite piece in the cold--chugach pants by mtn hardwear--you can sleep with these items on and be warm (and if you take a smaller lighter sleeping bag it won't be much of a weight/bulk gain adding these two pieces and they are force multipliers IMHO)-- if cold i also wear a thin balaclava (or a BUFF) around my neck and thin pair of O.R. powerstretch gloves like 100-150 weight---these gloves allow you to start a stove etc without exposing skin.
again, how cold do you really fly in? synthethic outer wear in conjuction with a sleeping bag will suffice for most temps--this will reduce your weight and bulk instead of carrying huge bulky sleeping bags.
summer time my lite bag on most trips is a NF fission-- a 20 synthethic bag that zips only a 1/4 of the way down
leave your bivy's/hammocks or other items at home IF you have a tent

tents, check out black diamonds lite series (i have the litehouse)- the lite series is a bit fragile but packs super small and weighs around 3lbs--four stakes is all you need--i've used this tent in all conditions to include pouring rain this year while climbing/skiing mt. chamberlain then packrafting the hula hula river to the kaktovik---seam seal the outside seams tho, no leaks! and we had some damn big winds and actually had to grab some rocks and use the outer guide line tie downs (this reduces the amount of stress on the poles if used, FYI)--and these tents are super easy to set up--hilleberg are good tents but i am over their tents, bulky and somewhat light and really roomy but a pain to set up and get untangled, most are hoop style so you HAVE to stake down, with all the extra lines, tent stakes etc the weight about equals that of another quality tent, i also found the zippers when set up corretly put a lot of stress on the material and actually blew one out on my sheep hunt this summer--they are just a pain in the ass and when they get wet it takes longer to dry because the fly/tent are connected with a million connectors and once connected i wasn't going to deal with that mess---plus the tent floor leaks water in--we were in pouring rain in a-village and we got soaked--i can't think of another four season tent where this has happened! they just require to much work/maintenance for what it's worth--now deal with all this in the cold, dark/snow and a survival situation-and you have to stake it down, try doing that in the snow, ugh!--just give me a hole protected from the elements!!!--oh, and they are much louder in the wind

bed rolls, i have one of those military green foam pads that i cut in half and the two pieces are folded in half and sit on the floor right behind the passenger seat-( i have a PA-18), they stay there year around-regardless if i am going camping and bring a different bed roll--they are always in the plane--if i need in emergency then both will be under my core to keep me off ground/snow--i rarely ever use a thermarest (only have them because work buys them)--you can get holes in them, bulky, heavier etc, etc, etc--plus if you need to cut one up to pad something or splint something then you can with a bed roll... MEC is a company out of canada makes these yellow bed rolls that are super dense (can't sell in the US) but it's the bed roll i take on denali and other winter trips--and my other bed roll for denali and ANY summer trip/hunt is a long back crazy creek--this goes on EVERY trip with me---if you've ever been tent bound for any amount of time this will save your back or shoulders while reading or counting the squares in the tent fabric etc--again, this turns into an additional bed roll while sleeping-but on hunts etc it's all i bring and it's more than enough to keep the ground cold out-and minus hunting all my summer and denali packs do not have any metal stays in them for support-essentially a duffle, my crazy creek acts as support for the packs (like in Wild Things andinista pack)....and i use my pack or extra clothes at feet to insulate from ground if needed---

fire starter, trioxane tabs work awesome and burn for approx 9 minutes if you use the whole tab and will heat up a 16oz deal of water with a ramen in it....

someone also said they bring two 22oz bottles for preheat-why? bring one and use your avgas to refill....xgk is an awesome stove and is super efficient... for winter, works awesome. careful if you use the isobutane types, you need to warm the canisters but in the summer months the reactor by MSR works better and faster than the jet boil (IMHO) but if you use in the winter a copper wire needs to be routed around the can and extended to the area around the flame as the heat will then transfer to around the can...
--snowshoes, big and solid, and yes, you must have trekking poles to snowshoe--go try it in the deep snow with out poles!!
--a way to go uber light with water, bring a little parachute like material and have the corners rigged with some 550 cord or like, add snow inside the p-material, hang close to fire, poke small hole in the bottom and a way to catch water and shortly thereafter you will start generating more water than you can drink...will reduce the amount of stove fuel you will have to use
-flares etc are kewl to light but if you have a headlamp that has the strobe feature that will suffice for bringing in a helo at night under NVG's--so will a fire--we can see those from pretty far out under NVG's
-maybe have a coozy for your nalgene bottle- because if it's really cold you can boil your water, put in nalgene, put bottle in coozy--place in your groin area and sleep tight!!

- obviously can't bring everything but having the small items to SURVIVE; tent or skills to make shelter, s-bag, axe/hatchet/saw etc, fire starter, head lamp, avi shovel, snow saw-maybe, thin gloves to work the stove-set up tent etc, hat, thin balaclava, water, TP, some food-i carry one MRE --

buy good gear, know how to use/care for it, change your batteries --keep it simple and don't over think it-and all should be good.

PS-bring ear plugs because it's dark, cold and scary out there--bears are sleeping but da boogeyman aint!

68Papa
10-17-2010, 07:06 PM
schnell49,

Beautiful thread, sage advice and thanks for sharing. We all could benefit from reading again!


buy good gear, know how to use/care for it, change your batteries --keep it simple and don't over think it-and all should be good.

I have found there is no excuse for buying cheap, crappy gear. You can't pay too much money for top of the line, expedition quality gear. We all know how much were willing to spend on a set of Bush Wheels. The best sleeping bag, tent & ground pad that money can by will cost you a fraction of that and will last you much longer and save your life when your airplane and all those expensive parts fail you - and at some point, they will fail you.


PS-bring ear plugs because it's dark, cold and scary out there--bears are sleeping but da boogeyman aint!

I was on a solo goat hunt last week. High up in the Chugach, alone, dark and lousy weather. I know there was a boogeyman living in those hills. Didn't sleep a wink - wish I brought ear plugs!


im a PJ here in ANC and born in ANC- I've been on denali 3 times (summitted twice), raced in the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic 7 times (won the last 5 times i've raced) and done MANY other winter/summer adventures so:

Wow - Impressive!! Anybody not familiar with the "Classic" should Google it. We call the Iditarod "The Last Great Race". I'm not sure after you see what these guys do and how they do it - amazing! A PJ in Alaska, 2 Denali Summits and 5 time Classic winner - The Real Deal! Thanks for your service!

Roger

aktango58
10-18-2010, 10:17 AM
Schnell49,

Thank you for the great info.

My only argument would be on the sleeping bags... I was out in very cold weather, soaking wet from fighting with overflow and trying to get unstuck. At the end of the day when my stove tu'ed, :evil: I was so tired I just crawled into my sleeping bag and went to sleep. Had I not had a synthetic bag rated much colder than the outside air, I would have been totally screwed.

Being wet, tired, and hungry may cause your body to need more insulation. Wet clothing will dry inside a good synthetic bag, and you will remain warm. Using the down, or a lighter rating may cause problems in some situations.

StewartB
10-18-2010, 10:26 AM
The season before last I spent a week in the Alaska Range in what had to be near record precipitation. Add perspiration and humidity to falling rain and everything is soggy. I always take dedicated sleeping long johns so I had the ability to shed the wet clothes but after a couple of days everything we had was wet. How to dry it? Put it inside the sleeping bags at night. Wake up with dry garments. My partner and I both were using down bags. Neither of us had a single problem. Long term compression is my only concern with down bags, thus the Wiggys. For survival gear. When I choose to go country for a few days I'll still favor my down bags. But that's just me.

SB

aktango58
10-18-2010, 10:34 AM
SB,

Wow!

I just got out of my last moose camp, and we were getting up to 2 inches of rain a day :crazyeyes: :bad-words:

You can say wet, but we were dripping most of the time. I only worry about weight on the back pack trips... if I fly, Wiggys every time!

schnell49
10-18-2010, 10:43 AM
Aktango--
I am talking survival gear-it's great you were able to just pass out nicely--but a weight and bulk issue with survival in mind and keeping things small/light is what I was suggesting--remember, if a person takes a smaller s-bag with some synthetic pants u should b fine
--also, most winter flyers carry all their covers or at least their engine cover during flight...
--not sure about you but my engine would create some nice insulation...


I am all about using items that can b used for multiple things when called upon--this approach isn't for everyone and I have the ability to take a miniminalist approach but trust me-half the time I forget half the stuff I've talked about at home!!!! At least I got my engine cover with me!!

Peeece, grease and guns!!!

NimpoCub
10-18-2010, 10:50 AM
You can say wet, but we were dripping most of the time.

George, did you get anything besides WET??

Did you find anything small enough to shoot? :)

pa12drvr
10-18-2010, 11:56 AM
Incredible thread and very useful information.

Not much to add, but after one unfortunate forced bivouac (I wouldn't fly in the weather, not a plane problem), I've started adding a "mountaineering" shovel to my winter gear: an aluminum and "plastic" telescoping model I picked up at REI some years back. Works great if a lot of snow must be moved (recognizing that may or may not be necessary in a survival situation).

FWIW, the Estwing axe always goes with the plane, either summer or winter. The 3-4 times I've "had" to start a fire in the winter, it's easier to bash wood than to either chop or cut it and the ax really works better than a saw for bashing.

Grizzley
10-18-2010, 11:56 AM
If you're stuck that means you've failed to move the airplane after applying full power to the prop. If that didn't get you out a Snowbunje will be worthless. My winter tools include ice screws and a Pack Mule come-along. I'll already have static climbing ropes in the plane. Dig and rig, rig and dig. Being stuck in an airplane is no fun. Getting unstuck is very hard work.

http://www.deuer.com/html/page2.htm

Stewart
Hey Steve, I like the idea of a rope come along. On occasion, you can get lucky and have trees or rocks on a shore line you can tie to and winch yourself out. Good rope is a good thing to have along anyway.
http://www.torcarr.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=14
or http://www.gemplers.com/product/125983/3-4-ton-Unlimited-length-Rope-Puller
JD

logjam
10-21-2010, 01:21 AM
nomex flight gloves or lightly insulated leather gloves, Beaver mitts, chemical warmers. If I'm losing dexterity from exposure, chemical warmers turn the beaver mits into little ovens for rapid hand warming. Light gloves for dexterity while working, with the ability to rewarm in a hurry.

aktango58
10-21-2010, 09:03 AM
Aktango--
I am talking survival gear-it's great you were able to just pass out nicely--but a weight and bulk issue with survival in mind and keeping things small/light is what I was suggesting--remember, if a person takes a smaller s-bag with some synthetic pants u should b fine
--also, most winter flyers carry all their covers or at least their engine cover during flight...
--not sure about you but my engine would create some nice insulation...


I am all about using items that can b used for multiple things when called upon--this approach isn't for everyone and I have the ability to take a miniminalist approach but trust me-half the time I forget half the stuff I've talked about at home!!!! At least I got my engine cover with me!!

Peeece, grease and guns!!!


Yea, it makes sense, and sounds logical...

But the difference between my Wiggy Ultimatule bag that rates to -20, and is warm when wet, and a down bag for the same rating, figuring that it WILL be compressed for weeks between use, and when I am to the point of using it everything is wet and has gone wrong...

I will take the Wiggys. Not much bigger, and only a couple pounds heavier, and it WILL be warm inside, even if I am soaking wet.

(soaking wet means that if you leave your clothing and boots outside your sleeping bag over night, they are solid ice, with some pools under them from drips- yes, even in winter)

Logan,

No. I did see a bird or two, but trying to keep quiet for the moose :oops:

Looks like I will be shooting deer this year with the rifle :cry:

N5126H
10-21-2010, 12:51 PM
I too like my Wiggy's bag(s). I place my bag inside my bevy sack (just like I was going to use it) before I stuff it. Also inside the bag I keep a couple of hand warmers, a small mag light, a can of spam, and most important a gallon ziplock bag.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I just gotta pee in the middle of the night and if you have to get out of the bag to do it you loose allot of heat.

If you find yourself in a survival situation as apposed to a camping adventure you will be glad that all you have to do is crawl in the bag and not get out.

Another thing you should do with your bag is to place velcro closures along the outside of the zipper flap. Sometimes those zippers do not work well in the cold or with cold hands. Make sure your bag is big enough to get in with your cloths and boots on.

As for boots, I have a rule in my aircraft. If you don't have Bata Bunny boots you don't ride with me. Same rule for snowmachineing.

AntiCub
10-21-2010, 05:11 PM
Speaking of boots, the Challenger I'll be flying this winter has a reputation for light rudder controls. I'm afraid that with my packs or bunny boots I won't be able to fly very well. So I'm considering a pair of the wiggys muckluk style overboots (http://wiggys.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=41) over regular shoes. Anyone have any experience with them?

Phil

mvivion
10-21-2010, 07:51 PM
Never wore em, but had a person who was supposed to fly with me in a Husky, and the dang things wouldn't fit in the airplane. They also wouldn't work well in the front.

Don't worry about bunny boots. Lots of helicopter pilots wore them, and that's as demanding a pedal work as you'll find.

MTV

Ursa Major
10-21-2010, 10:01 PM
I'm considering a pair of the wiggys muckluk style overboots (http://wiggys.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=41) over regular shoes. Anyone have any experience with them?

Phil

I used them a few times when I lived up north. They're okay for light use to put on over other shoes or boots, but I don't think they would hold up very well to extended rough conditions. Joe Reddington used to wear his over a pair of running shoes during the Iditarod, but I doubt that they lasted for more than one race. Now, I keep mine in the back of the cub in the survival kit since they roll up into a fairly small package and they dont weigh much. However, if I'm gonna be out in serious cold weather for any length of time - it will be in Bunny Boots.

AntiCub
10-22-2010, 01:58 AM
Never wore em, but had a person who was supposed to fly with me in a Husky, and the dang things wouldn't fit in the airplane. They also wouldn't work well in the front.

Don't worry about bunny boots. Lots of helicopter pilots wore them, and that's as demanding a pedal work as you'll find.

MTV

My concern is that my heels rest in cups at the bottom of the pedal, there's no floor under them (that may change by spring). and the pivot for the pedals is about in the arch of feet. So I have to be able to pivot my ankles to work the rudders. That's tough in thick packs or bunny boots.

Phil

StewartB
10-22-2010, 11:26 PM
I hate bunny boots. Always have. 43 years of playing in the frozen north and I've done just fine without them for the last 40. Do you have some good hiking boots? Add gaiters and those will be great for most days you're willing to fly. Lots of companies make good quality pac boots that offer much better "feel" than bunny boots with equivalent warmth. White's, Schnees, Baffin....there are lots of good choices. Wear something moderately good and carry something better in the back. Most guys aren't wearing -60 clothes when they fly so arguing for -60 boots makes little sense. At -60 I'm on a big plane to the islands. Screw little planes! Wear what works for you and go have some fun. Take a good sleeping bag and shelter to spend a night if necessary and don't fret too much about it. Go make some stories of your own.

SB

pa12drvr
10-23-2010, 09:49 AM
Got to agree with Stewart on the bunny boots. Recognize the advantages of them, just don't think they're that necessary.

For me, the Bunny Boots get tossed in the back of the airplane in January & February and in the back of the truck from November through March just for good measure, but what's on my feet is either Meindl or LaCrosse winter boots. (Meindl down to about -10, LaCrosse Ice King's if it's colder than that).

As strictly recreational guy in the winter, I like to read about -50 or colder from my living room, not experience it...although the one time I had to spend two days helping tromp out a runway for a 180 in -55 to -65 weather, I appreciated the bunny boots. Amazing how -30 felt warm after that. NOt that we experienced it for any longer than the hour it took to warm up the plane, throw some gear in, leave other gear behind, and beat feet back to Los Anchorage.

StewartB
10-23-2010, 01:03 PM
Back to the survival thing, in cold temps the biggest danger to me is me. My survival episodes have been the result of being stuck. Stuck means physical exertion. I tend to stay out too long and spend too much energy before quitting. Dehydration and hypothermia are not something I'd want to deal with inside a sleeping bag while alone. Hypothermic people make irrational decisions. Don't push yourselves past being able to recover physically. That said, water and easy to eat calories are really, really important. I'm going to review my own pack in detail today.

SB

AK-HUNT
10-23-2010, 01:41 PM
"wear what you want to crash in"
Had an old timer instructor say that a decade ago and since then I have seen it play out several times in AK. Sometimes all that nice survival gear is burnt in the post impact fire (or at the bottom of the lake, etc)........ then you have what you are wearing.
Just something else to think/talk about.

I personally keep multiple lighters & knives on me (to start a quick fire), wear an extra layer or at least have it between me and the door. I still keep a survival kit in the baggage, but I could live without it. (not comfortably)

55-PA18A
11-08-2010, 09:01 PM
We’re pretty fortunate to have access to modern equipment and materials. Prior to World War II, the noted polar explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson was contracted by the US government ( “Air Corps of the United States Army”) to produce a survival manual that could be used by air crews flying in arctic regions. This eventually was published in 1944 as the book “Arctic Manual”.

If you can find a copy, it’s an interesting read. While the equipment and materials are different, the message is pretty much the same: stay dry, stay hydrated, stay fed, and don’t kill yourself with carbon monoxide. Stefansson’s expeditions in the early 1900’s with the Natives in northern Canada formed his opinions that the best clothing and sleeping gear was made from caribou skins (though for commercial purposes reindeer hides would be much the same). I’ve actually slept on caribou hides on the snow, and they are pretty darn effective. Thank goodness we have better options for our winter clothing.

Stefansson’s opinion about what food to carry for survival was pretty simple: pemmican made from dried lean meat and fat (equal parts of each). Though not necessary for survival, he wasn’t totally against a little variety.


“Although not nearly as rich in calories, pound for pound, chocolate is usually looked upon as good condensed rations. Rice is another. On the third Stefansson expedition, where fuel did not have to be economized because it was secured along the way through killing seals, one of the favorite rations was a stew made by boiling rice in a lot of water to which were added chocolate and lumps of chopped up suet – in that instance caribou fat.”


mmm,..mmm,..good,...just like grandma used to make !! :D


Throughout the book it’s given to understand that you will be living off the land. Hunting provided a lot of the food used by Stefansson during his expeditions. He was explicit about what was worth shooting. You weren’t supposed to shoot anything smaller than a wolf, as anything smaller wouldn’t provide enough food for the amount of effort and weight of ammunition. He had this to say about polar bears.


“Europeans commonly like the taste of bear meat, saying it is like pork. But it is stringy, gets between the teeth, and makes the gums sore. After you have been on bear for a week or two you are likely to begin cutting it in small pieces and swallowing them before you are through chewing. This applies to cooked meat, not to raw. Cooking increases toughness and brings out the stringiness. Chewing frozen raw bear meat is like eating raw oysters; half-frozen it has, like other raw meats, the consistency of hard ice cream.”


And when things really turn bad:

“In discussion of skin boats and skin clothing, we have pointed out that, before the extremity of cannibalism is reached, all articles made out of rawhide or hide not commercially tanned can be used as food. They have considerable food value and there is no substance in them that tends to make you ill.”

:o

Stefansson goes into detail about how to use the equipment he recommends, how to travel, when to travel, and basically how to live in the arctic.

“With the general aviation slant of the Manual, we point out that this is also the emergency outfit that might be carried in an airplane by three men making a flight across the Arctic Sea by any of its diameters. If they make a safe forced landing and can neither fly again nor summon help, if they are in good health at the start, use reasonable judgment, and with reasonable luck, they ought to be able to make their way to some native or white settlement in 2 years, or less, through the use of this equipment.”

,....in two years or less !!!!!!!!! :o

Makes our Wiggy's, PolarGuard, Mountain House, sat phones, SPOT locators, GPS's, ELT, etc sound pretty darn nice.

Jim W

spinner2
11-09-2010, 11:53 AM
I have a book that in part discusses Vilhjalmur Stefansson. He was a controversial individual. I'll have to find it again, don't remember the title now. As I recall he changed his name to Vilhjalmur Stefansson because he thought it sounded more explorer-ish. Regardless he was a knowledgeable arctic survivor. Interesting comments you've gleaned from the manual.

I like my satellite devices too. Two years to find my way to civilization would be troublesome for my wife.

Froggy
11-09-2010, 06:27 PM
Back in the '70's, thanks to USAF, I found myself working outdoors for a winter at Eileson AFB in Alaska. Could have been worse, this was way better than 'Nam.

We wore mukluks. These were cotton uppers and leather bottoms, with a couple thick layers of felt inside. We wore two or three very thick wool socks.

This was good to about -45 or -50. Unfortunately it was frequently at or slightly below -60 F. Being young helped a lot, that and some plentiful chow-hall food. We didn't have to live outdoors, just work there.

Good old USAF. They balanced things out by sending me to Florida for a summer.

StewartB
12-10-2010, 10:13 PM
After some backorder issues I've received my Hilleberg Bivanoraks and Tarp. My initial feedback is that I couldn't be more pleased. The quality is typical Hilleberg and the total weight is feather light. Makes me look forward to sheep season. The bivies will replace the tent in my winter gear for sure. Good stuff. :up:up

I picked up a bunch of Gu and Gu wannabe's at REI. Small and effective nutrition that's always easy to eat and won't go bad in your pack. That's the best addition I could make to my own stuff.

SB

mvivion
12-11-2010, 09:44 AM
It doesn't have to be -60 for bunny boots to be worth their weight in gold. Get stuck in overflow in very cold temperatures (like -20) some day, step out of the plane into water that goes over the tops of those boots you bought at Cabela's, and you'd best be getting those boots and socks off right after you get a roaring fire going, cause those feet are going to be in trouble. Bunny boots will keep your feet from freezing even if they're filled with water.

Bunny boots have a proven track record of keeping feet from frostbite. Not all winter flights turn out in real warm conditions, and we all make mistakes at times.

If you're flying in temperatures colder than -20, on skis, bunny boots will get your feet home without frostbite, even in the most demanding of conditions.

MTV

StewartB
12-11-2010, 10:06 AM
The advantage of Bunny Boots was for extended trips where there's no way to dry your gear out. Bunny boots can be wiped dry on the inside and will even release ice if the insides froze with moisture in them while you slept. You can put them on after being wet and cold and sitting out in the cold all night. Because of that feature your feet will baste in perspiration while wearing them. Everything is a compromise. I've had several occasions to be in water over my boots in very cold temperatures. Bunny boots, Sorels, White's, Ice Mans, and Klim snowgo boots have all performed fine. My wife has some Northern Outfitters boots that are probably the best cold weather boots on the planet. Not convenient to wear, but warm even when wet. In my case my boots have all done fine when wet and I never got cold feet while they were wet. But in each case I had facilities to dry the boots that night. My White's boots are considerably taller than Bunnys so they have the overflow advantage. They offer insulation all the way to the top of the boot so they're warmer on the ankles. They interfere with a knee brace I have to wear when riding so I switched to Klim boots which use a neoprene/memory foam type liner. I'd testify to anyone that those Klims are the warmest boots I've ever used as long as I can warm them to room temps before putting them on. They work great when wet but like all boots with liners you need to dry the liners when you take them off. If you're planning an extended camping trip with no facilities to dry your gear out then Bunny boots have a clear advantage. For day use they really don't have an advantage. They're just boots.

SB

qsmx440
12-11-2010, 10:16 AM
Hey Phil. Don't put your feet down when taxi-ing. You only do it once! Don't ask. Thank goodness your feet are busy when landing :=). Actually I was considering leaving the floor out of the cub project. I like the view down..

StewartB
12-11-2010, 10:47 AM
I'm up too early and have time so I'll share a bunny boot story. Several winters ago my wife, daughter, and I were sitting in our cozy cabin enjoying not being outside in the -20* night time temps. It was a little cold and the day had been quiet with a lack of day riders passing by. Not long before midnight the silence gave way to machine noise. Riders were coming and coming fast. We can see approaching lights from several bends up the river because of ground fog and snowy trees reflecting the light so we watched the lights to see if we recognized who would pass. Four machines rounded the corner and shot into my yard at warp speed. The riders slammed their kill switches and ran for the door before their machines fully stopped. Literally. Up the steps to the door and bang, in come five very wet, very cold riders who essentially collapsed on the cabin floor. Four were good friends and the fifth a friend of one of them. They had been riding the creek down from the lake and had intentions of going home that night. Until they happened upon overflow. Three sleds ridden by the three best riders, who happened to be in the front, made it through the water and slush. The fourth, the only woman in the group, got stuck but the boys were able to extract the sled. Now they were all wet. The final rider stuck it good. No hope of getting it out or even getting to it. He waded through the ice and water that was higher than his waist to get to firm footing. When he got there one of the crew recognized he'd walked out of one of his Bunny Boots. His feet were so cold he din't know his boot was gone. They did find the boot and got him on a sled as a very uncomfortable rider. The situation was critical. They had another 15-20 miles to the nearest cabin where they could hope to find refuge. Mine or my neighbor's. They were all in bad shape when they arrived and after a raging fire in the woodstove, a case of Ramen, blankets,sleeping bags, and every pair of dry socks we could rummage up we got all of them down and warm for the night. The next day we saddled up. I took my Viking and a big cargo sled, a chainsaw, come-alongs, and lots of rope and cut our way cross-country to the now frozen-in sled. We got it out after a couple of hours of intense labor and by that time everyone was wet and cold, including me. At the end of the day there was no advantage or disadvantage between any of our footwear. All five of the riders were wearing Bunny boots. I wore Ice Mans. None of us was comfortable and none was in jeopardy of cold injury. That day. The night before they all had been dangerously close to serious injury. All while wearing Bunny boots with wet feet. For anyone to represent that Bunny boots are adequate in cold temps when wet is irresponsible. Bunny boots have easier service for the next day's use. They are not any better for wading in the water at -20* than comparable boots. Cold and wet are a dangerous combination and are best avoided no matter what you're wearing.

My friends and I modified our sled survival gear after that night.

SB

akavidflyer
12-11-2010, 11:02 AM
My concern is that my heels rest in cups at the bottom of the pedal, there's no floor under them (that may change by spring). and the pivot for the pedals is about in the arch of feet. So I have to be able to pivot my ankles to work the rudders. That's tough in thick packs or bunny boots.

Phil


I hate bunny boots. Always have. 43 years of playing in the frozen north and I've done just fine without them for the last 40. Do you have some good hiking boots? Add gaiters and those will be great for most days you're willing to fly. Lots of companies make good quality pac boots that offer much better "feel" than bunny boots with equivalent warmth. White's, Schnees, Baffin....there are lots of good choices. Wear something moderately good and carry something better in the back. Most guys aren't wearing -60 clothes when they fly so arguing for -60 boots makes little sense. At -60 I'm on a big plane to the islands. Screw little planes! Wear what works for you and go have some fun. Take a good sleeping bag and shelter to spend a night if necessary and don't fret too much about it. Go make some stories of your own.

SB

I have flown and ridden snomachines in about every boot out there. The absolute best bang for the buck, and the only boot I have ever used that my feet did not get cold in are the cabelas Snowy Range boots. I have tromped around in the over flow, fallen in creeks while riding etc, and never had my feet get cold. They are not bulky like the bunny boots of the other boots I have used. The foot well on my Avid is pretty tight and I cant use the brakes with bunnies on do to a cross bar that is over your toes. With the Snowy Range boots I can get on the pedals just fine without hanging up.

A couple years ago I talked a buddy who races the iron dog into using them. Normaly he would only wear bunnies.. He tested them when he went into a river at -50 and got soaked. He swears by the boots now.

68Papa
12-11-2010, 09:02 PM
I must be the odd ball here, because I love Bunny Boots! I've wore them since I moved to Alaska in 1974. Hard to say how many pair I've wore out. I've tried other boots in extreme cold including Northern Outfitters and I always come back to the big white boots. They fit my feet and I find them very comfortable. In high school I was a wrestler and used to cut a lot of weight. It was five miles from my front door to Chugiak High School. I would run it everyday in Bunny Boots. Seemed like a good idea at the time! Walk, run, fly a cub - no problem in Bunny Boots. Plenty warm too!

RD

kevind
12-11-2010, 11:47 PM
There are requirements in Alaska as you probably know (firearm definitely). How do you like the Hilleberg tent, are they the best out there?

kevind
12-11-2010, 11:53 PM
Sat phone, handwarmers or battery powered gloves, and fur hat are great too!

kevind
12-11-2010, 11:55 PM
In a survival situation, you bet use that cat heater, whatever is available, you can always breathe outside air.

AntiCub
12-12-2010, 06:37 AM
Hey Phil. Don't put your feet down when taxi-ing. You only do it once! Don't ask. Thank goodness your feet are busy when landing :=). Actually I was considering leaving the floor out of the cub project. I like the view down..

The challenger has a floor, it's just not structural and there are rudder cables and nose gear stearing under the heal cups that I don't want to get tangled in. What I ended up doing for the first flight was wearing my packs and leaving the tops unlaced. they were loose enough that I had plenty of ankle freedom. I used a pair of the Wiggy's liners too, which are much softer and more flexible than the regular felt ones.

Phil

sierra bravo
05-24-2012, 05:16 PM
Something I kind of knew about but never paid attention to for winter stowed gear is over-the-boot mukluks. Kind of like Neos waders but with insulation. I was in Wiggy's today for other business and walked out with a pair. These will supplement my favorite boots nicely. There's nothing like buying winter gear in May.

http://wiggys.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=41

And since it is summer here's a picture of Neos river Trekkers. AKA Barney's sourdough slippers for the AK crowd (Barney's are a little heavier duty). Very effective and easy to pack.

http://www.overshoesonline.com/rtk8/NEOS-River-Trekker-Overshoe-Hipper-Brown.htm

spinner2
05-25-2012, 03:24 PM
Something I kind of knew about but never paid attention to for winter stowed gear is over-the-boot mukluks. Kind of like Neos waders but with insulation. I was in Wiggy's today for other business and walked out with a pair. These will supplement my favorite boots nicely. There's nothing like buying winter gear in May.

http://wiggys.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=41

And since it is summer here's a picture of Neos river Trekkers. AKA Barney's sourdough slippers for the AK crowd (Barney's are a little heavier duty). Very effective and easy to pack.

http://www.overshoesonline.com/rtk8/NEOS-River-Trekker-Overshoe-Hipper-Brown.htm

Not exactly the same but I toss in a pair of gaters when I put the snowshoes in as part of my winter kit.

docstory
12-11-2013, 04:14 PM
In this article:
http://www.adn.com/2013/12/10/3223914/inventors-meet-demands-of-alaska.html

An inflatable snowshoe is featured from this company:
www.airlitesnowshoe.com (http://www.airlitesnowshoe.com)

They look pretty good for emergencies.

OLDCROWE
12-11-2013, 04:53 PM
I substute the toll free number to the Margaritaville Beach Hotel for my fly-tent :wink:

NunavutPA-12
12-11-2013, 05:12 PM
(North of the arctic circle, tundra, dry snow conditions.)

Fur hat and mitts.

-40 expedition-type sleeping bag (I prefer down).

If you have a source, a piece of caribou hide (fur on), cut to fit your Therma Rest pad will improve your odds of a good night's sleep.

These are great: warm, lightweight, best thing for use with snowshoes. Downside, they can get wet. Carry bunny boots just in case.

http://shop.mukluks.com/Arctic-with-Ribbon-Mukluks-18995/productinfo/AR-R/

A stove that will run on av-gas.

A carpenters handsaw to cut snowblocks for shelter/windbreak.

Ready-to-eat or boil-in-bag military meals.

A good, free-standing tent.

Rescue strobe light and good flashlight with extra (alkaline) batteries.

Good clothing is paramount. Weight is not much of a consideration since you'll be staying with the 'plane (right?). Down parka with fur-trimmed hood, wind-proof over-pants, as much wool as you can stand. Keep the warmer stuff in the baggage compartment and wear the lighter layers while flying.

cubdriver2
12-11-2013, 05:47 PM
Anybody here tested this out in real conditions?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/US-Military-4-Piece-Modular-Sleeping-Bag-Sleep-System-w-GORTEX-Bivy-EXCELLENT-/160843944255?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item25730bd13f

Glenn

Ursa Major
12-11-2013, 08:57 PM
Anybody here tested this out in real conditions?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/US-Military-4-Piece-Modular-Sleeping-Bag-Sleep-System-w-GORTEX-Bivy-EXCELLENT-/160843944255?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item25730bd13f

Glenn
I found the set to be a little short for me and was a bit chilly in colder conditions. It's better than the old poncho and poncho liner sleep system, but insulation is a little too thin for Alaska winter. In more mild climate (if you are average size) the system is not too bad. The price shown looks to be pretty reasonable.

schnell49
12-11-2013, 10:20 PM
Crap in the sense of weight and bulk--$79 is not much money for a sleeping bag-good reason for that. Clothing, sleeping bags and tent I would not go cheap on. I have been fortunate to use and have a seemingly endless amount of top notch clothing, tents and bags for many years and have become accustomed to why companies like ibex, arctetyx, Patagonia, western mountaineering, etc get top dollar. With that I do have a cold WX military sleeping bag with an integrated bivy compressed at the bottom of my work survival bag--but my intentions are not to travel with it--just survive-and I am highly confident in my skills if found in a true survival moment not to die because my bag is not of the highest quality. Meanwhile my many other quality sleeping bags are nicely kept in storage sacks so they don't lose loft and they get used on trips specific to the WX.
I'm sure they will keep you warm though in a survival situation but if you plan on building a collection of bags for a variety of reasons/trips I would stick with quality. Having a quiver of bags is nice specific to the seasons and WX.

Even our arctic sustainment package designed for polar mass causality scenarios, we have high quality civilian made bags-as users of high quality made bags we too want the best chance for those that we are treating.

And when it comes to survival as I've mentioned before--if people are asking specific questions about certain things I will always recommend higher quality---I say that due to an assumption of lack of experience on their part otherwise they probably wouldn't ask--I say that while reading a one dimensional thread on some internet site from someone I don't know, so don't take it personal---just my experience.

IMHO

cubdriver2
12-12-2013, 10:31 AM
Crap in the sense of weight and bulk--$79 is not much money for a sleeping bag-good reason for that. Clothing, sleeping bags and tent I would not go cheap on. I have been fortunate to use and have a seemingly endless amount of top notch clothing, tents and bags for many years and have become accustomed to why companies like ibex, arctetyx, Patagonia, western mountaineering, etc get top dollar. With that I do have a cold WX military sleeping bag with an integrated bivy compressed at the bottom of my work survival bag--but my intentions are not to travel with it--just survive-and I am highly confident in my skills if found in a true survival moment not to die because my bag is not of the highest quality. Meanwhile my many other quality sleeping bags are nicely kept in storage sacks so they don't lose loft and they get used on trips specific to the WX.
I'm sure they will keep you warm though in a survival situation but if you plan on building a collection of bags for a variety of reasons/trips I would stick with quality. Having a quiver of bags is nice specific to the seasons and WX.

Even our arctic sustainment package designed for polar mass causality scenarios, we have high quality civilian made bags-as users of high quality made bags we too want the best chance for those that we are treating.

And when it comes to survival as I've mentioned before--if people are asking specific questions about certain things I will always recommend higher quality---I say that due to an assumption of lack of experience on their part otherwise they probably wouldn't ask--I say that while reading a one dimensional thread on some internet site from someone I don't know, so don't take it personal---just my experience.

IMHO

So........... more money = better bag? How about this one :smile: http://www.ebay.com/itm/US-Military-4-Piece-ECWS-Modular-Sleep-System-/221299566040?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item33867b65d8


Glenn

schnell49
12-12-2013, 11:27 AM
Generally speaking it takes money for quality:)

that said it looks warm but I would bet its heavy and won't compress that well

what temp bag are you looking for? I have a -20 feathered friends bag for sale if interested--been used about 12 times

cubdriver2
12-12-2013, 11:39 AM
Generally speaking it takes money for quality:)

that said it looks warm but I would bet its heavy and won't compress that well

what temp bag are you looking for? I have a -20 feathered friends bag for sale if interested--been used about 12 times

I was teasing you. Same bag. one new, one used.

Glenn

Bill Rusk
12-12-2013, 02:06 PM
Schnell49 - You seem to have a lot of outdoor experience and you have made numerous posts sharing that knowledge. Good stuff, thank you for posting.

Bill

cubflier
12-12-2013, 07:28 PM
Instant Summer Pacs are always in the plane and my pack when I hike out as emergency heat.

I also have a couple of Little Hotties with me at all times in case I need to warm my hands up, especially when I'm away from the plane and there is no warm engine to use.

Jerry

JohnnyR
11-21-2020, 11:40 AM
Stewart,
What did you end up doing for a winter bag in the plane? My old down -20F Marmot bag is done (great bag, but the way) and I’m thinking a Wiggy’s for the “stuff and forget” performance.
J

Roger,

I understand. I was looking at an $800 down bag a couple of days go and cringed at the thought of taking it home to compress it for the long haul. But there's little choice. I already own the -20* bag so I'll use it as the sacrificial lamb and see how things go.

I went the opposite way for sheep hunting. I retired my synthetic bag and went to a +20* down bag. I loved every minute of hunting season spent in that bag. 1-1/2# and it compresses so small you can't believe it. Greg puts his inside his Mountain Hardware Conduit bivy and still stuffs it in a Sea-to-Summit XS compression sack. Incredible. I can't do that with my GoreTex bivy, though.

Good stuff, guys. Keep it coming.

Stewart

stewartb
11-21-2020, 01:27 PM
Wiggy's.

mvivion
11-21-2020, 02:38 PM
I totally agree with the notion that your actual "Survival Gear" should be of excellent quality....this isn't the place to save a few bucks.

Shelter is just as important as good gear. There are places and times where a tent is going to be about the best you can do. If there's snow on the ground, you may be able to construct a one person shelter. Slip into one of those with a decent ~ -20 or greater sleeping bag and you'll be toasty warm for the night. Same goes for a snow cave, though you need quite a lot of snow to make those.

In any case, there's no way I'm going to siwash if there's ANY way to build a shelter of some sort.

When it comes to foot gear, there's a fine line between what works for cold weather survival and what fits on the rudder pedals. I prefer to wear good warm boots while flying. Bunny boots or, in fairly dry country, military style mukluks work well.

Gloves, lots of gloves, including at least one set of serious arctic mittens as over gloves. I like leather gloves for working around camp, then slip the mittens on over. Tie the mittens on a lanyard that loops around your neck.....never lost, or dropped in snow.

Freeze your hands or your feet and you're going to be in trouble.

I also add a couple modes of starting a fire. The more the merrier.

MTV

cubflier
11-21-2020, 03:37 PM
This is the winter pile before it goes in the plane. Amazing what fits in a cub.

Jerry

52490

Kid Durango
11-21-2020, 07:10 PM
Jerry, forgive my ignorance, but what is all the yellow folded stuff to the left?

cubflier
11-21-2020, 07:38 PM
Jerry, forgive my ignorance, but what is all the yellow folded stuff to the left?

z-pad (https://www.amazon.com/Therm-Rest-Ultralight-Backpacking-Mattress/dp/B005I6R0WC/ref=pd_lpo_468_img_0/139-7927476-3592403?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B005I6R0WC&pd_rd_r=529244a6-7c80-497f-ab2f-0ba077d7f747&pd_rd_w=WzHV6&pd_rd_wg=wxZc2&pf_rd_p=7b36d496-f366-4631-94d3-61b87b52511b&pf_rd_r=X6D80JBQ5G94BGJ7ATDF&psc=1&refRID=X6D80JBQ5G94BGJ7ATDF)

It's my tent floor.

Jerry

Scooter7779h
11-21-2020, 10:41 PM
Wiggy's.

Yep, when I checked at Rohn for bicycles and foot travelers for human powered race to McGrath, I would be there 4-5 days and slept in my Wiggies bag at -20 to -45 outside every night. Comfortable not just survivable. Dog straw on snow under a spruce tree. Cabin full of Iditarod pre race volunteers, and had to be ready to get racers cared for inside a small wall tent. Wiggies stuff is the real deal.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

stewartb
11-21-2020, 10:47 PM
A 12 year old thread resurrected. A few things have changed in that time. The basics have not. Stay warm even if you get wet, make water to stay hydrated, consume calories, communicate. I have a high time pilot/low time Alaskan to go with me this year. Good times are coming. Happy Thanksgiving!

JohnnyR
11-22-2020, 07:16 AM
Heh-heh. It seems to be my MO to drag these things up. I think that I enjoy seeing how different people handle the same challenges.
Aren’t we all lucky to have each other to keep us going in the right direction(s)?!


A 12 year old thread resurrected. A few things have changed in that time. The basics have not. Stay warm even if you get wet, make water to stay hydrated, consume calories, communicate. I have a high time pilot/low time Alaskan to go with me this year. Good times are coming. Happy Thanksgiving!

JohnnyR
11-22-2020, 07:24 AM
Offers ‘em compressed now - DOD style.
https://www.wiggys.com/sleeping-bags/sleeping-bag-accessories/vacuum-packaging/

stewartb
11-22-2020, 09:59 AM
I use my bags for more than survival. They stuff nicely in the compression sack they come in.

Make sure your bivy bag is big enough for the Wiggy’s bag. I have a bivy that’s designed for a thin mummy bag. It works great with my sheep hunting bag but wouldn’t fit a Wiggy’s and it would suck to discover that when you needed it. I’m a big fan of my Hilleberg Bivanorak. Lots of room and it has arms. https://youtu.be/PiE0Hz9cAVg

reliableflyer
11-23-2020, 09:45 AM
52520
four tools here. Someone mentioned a saw. I used to carry a Wyoming saw but quit years ago. I’m not a fan of saws either but this one is free with my entrenching tool which I believe to be invaluable. The Eastwing Hudson Bay ax Is as light as a hatchet I think and much more valuable. The two pieces between the entrenching tool and the come-a-along is a rope block and tackle. Use line which you already carry. You can do wonders with a block and tackle. It’s made in Australia and there was a guy in Talkeetna that used to sell them. They work. The rope come-a-long is a wonderful tool. Beats a cable unit by a long shot. Line isn’t stored on a drum so you can use as long a line as you want and is capable of a continuous pull. As with any kind of winch the deadman is the key. I carry a 100 feet of both 1/8” and 3/16” blue steel winch line. The 1/8” line has a breaking strength of over 2000 lbs and the 3/16” is in the 6000 to 7000 pound range. The 1/8” line is about the size of my fist and the weight is about negligible. I suggest that if your buying line of any kind, don’t go yo Walmart or Lowe’s. Go to at least a boat supply place or better yet to a manufacturer or supplier that give testing data for their line. Blue steel line is slick so you need to know how to tie appropriate knots. A person could easily carry three hundred feet of 1/8” blue steel line and fit it in a sock.

mvivion
11-23-2020, 10:12 AM
52520
four tools here. Someone mentioned a saw. I used to carry a Wyoming saw but quit years ago. I’m not a fan of saws either but this one is free with my entrenching tool which I believe to be invaluable. The Eastwing Hudson Bay ax Is as light as a hatchet I think and much more valuable. The two pieces between the entrenching tool and the come-a-along is a rope block and tackle. Use line which you already carry. You can do wonders with a block and tackle. It’s made in Australia and there was a guy in Talkeetna that used to sell them. They work. The rope come-a-long is a wonderful tool. Beats a cable unit by a long shot. Line isn’t stored on a drum so you can use as long a line as you want and is capable of a continuous pull. As with any kind of winch the deadman is the key. I carry a 100 feet of both 1/8” and 3/16” blue steel winch line. The 1/8” line has a breaking strength of over 2000 lbs and the 3/16” is in the 6000 to 7000 pound range. The 1/8” line is about the size of my fist and the weight is about negligible. I suggest that if your buying line of any kind, don’t go yo Walmart or Lowe’s. Go to at least a boat supply place or better yet to a manufacturer or supplier that give testing data for their line. Blue steel line is slick so you need to know how to tie appropriate knots. A person could easily carry three hundred feet of 1/8” blue steel line and fit it in a sock.

Axes are far better than hatchets. That said, at Cool School (Air Force Arctic Survival Training) instructors admonished us to consider carrying saws rather than an axe or hatchet. In fact, they would not permit students to take those to the field for the survival exercises. They pointed out (accurately) that at -20 F or colder, wood becomes VERY hard, and an INEXPERIENCED hand with an axe or especially a hatchet can easily strike a glancing blow, and ricochet that sharp edge into an ankle/leg, etc. If that happens, your chances of survival go from very good to not very good at all.

I realize that you folks are all absolute experts with an axe......but understand that, like the instructors at Cool School, posts here should contain cautions as appropriate.

And, if you’ve ever camped out in cold temps, you likely realize how easy it is to get dehydrated. In fact, in real cold, it’s hard NOT to get dehydrated. When you’re dehydrated, you get goofy, for lack of a better term, and coordination is poor. That’s when swinging a sharp bit on the end of a handle can end badly.....even for the best.

Ive carried a Japanese style folding pruning saw since. These saws cut on the push stroke, and will very quickly cut through a substantial diameter log. Very safe, very light and compact. I’ve never seen a situation where I felt I needed an axe in one of my “unplanned camping” trips.

Be careful out there, don’t turn an “unplanned camping” episode into a no joke survival situation....those helo crews may not be able to get there in time.

MTV

stewartb
11-23-2020, 12:27 PM
FWIW, I prefer a cable come-along because when I've needed a come-along there's been water involved and before long everything I've touched is iced up. My come-along still works. I do plan to test the lateral pull strength of my ice screws. I've never used them to tug a heavy load so I don't know what to expect of them. They're handy as a winch point but for anyone whose dragged a plane mostly out of a hole and watched their rigging fail and the plane slip back in? I think knowing is better than hoping.

reliableflyer
11-23-2020, 01:19 PM
I don’t normally carry the rope come a long but when I need one I find the serve me far better than a cable one. The cable one has limited pull and frequently it barely takes up the slack in the system before the end of its cable is reached and requires re rigging to complete the job. If you try a rope pull I think you’ll be pleased. I’ve used them often in numerous situations including extreme cold, wet and ice and never had one slip. The block and tackle apparatus in the photo above works great and it’s light it. I carry it regularly.

I am familiar with the cool school training. Most people in the class were military pilots who may and may not have been outdoorsmen and not familiar with the use of an ax. That probably accounts for their frowning on axes. I have found in cold weather mostly I would be taking lower branches off spruce trees and they snap off easily with the ax, regardless of which end is used. One can get through thicker ice with an ax than with any saw that I might be inclined to carry. I find that I depend on the flat end of the ax at least as much as I do the blade end.

NunavutPA-12
11-23-2020, 01:31 PM
FWIW, I prefer a cable come-along because when I've needed a come-along there's been water involved and before long everything I've touched is iced up. My come-along still works. I do plan to test the lateral pull strength of my ice screws. I've never used them to tug a heavy load so I don't know what to expect of them. They're handy as a winch point but for anyone whose dragged a plane mostly out of a hole and watched their rigging fail and the plane slip back in? I think knowing is better than hoping.

I'd also be curious as to your findings, Stewart. Keep us posted.

For firewood gathering I prefer a hatchet and a quality folding saw. The hatchet is used to harvest the dry, dead lower branches (twigs) of black spruce. They make excellent kindling IF you're lucky enough to go down near some trees. Not always the case up here, so a stove is essential. I carry a tiny butane stove (the tank sleeps with me) and a multi-fuel stove. A hatchet makes a better hammer. The saw is more efficient at cutting a small log and is less dangerous than an axe, but the saw is a bit fragile if mistreated.

I ditch the two summer sleeping bags and one (of the two) mattress pads. Replaced with a down expedition bag (Western Mountaineering) and a caribou hide sleeping pad. My wife and I would not intentionally camp in winter so we can take turns sleeping in a survival situation.

The Inreach is always with us, as is a handheld VHF radio.

As MTV alludes, a tent is very desirable under the severe winter conditions one might encounter in Alaska, arctic Canada or the high mountains of the west. Getting out of the wind makes a huge difference to your chances of survival.

I replace summer tie-down ropes with winter ones, including the ice screws. Folding snow shovel and a snow knife added, along with "bunny" boots and good down parka with fur ruff (carried in the pod - I wear Steger mukluks, light leather gloves, light down jacket, wool everything else and Carhartts in the 'plane) along with fur hat and beaver mitts (both made by my wife). Rope come-along added. Snowshoes if conditions warrant. Wing and engine covers and (usually) my one kw Yamaha generator. Good headlamp. Candles for light in the tent. Some high energy snacks.

I ditch the summer bug-spray, although it does make good fire starter.

And, for my flying missions at least, we don't intentionally land anywhere that we can't reasonably be assured of a high level of survivability. Typically, we take off from our home airport and travel directly to our destination as per flight plan/flight itinerary. And that destination is normally our own or a friends cabin. So if we land and get stuck in overflow or otherwise damage the airplane, the cabin is right there with all kinds of support mechanisms in place.

It's the un-intentional landings that are most life-threatening.

Of course, if you live anywhere where it's a thirty-minute walk to a 7-11, you can replace most of the above with a cell 'phone. ;-)

mvivion
11-23-2020, 02:24 PM
I don’t normally carry the rope come a long but when I need one I find the serve me far better than a cable one. The cable one has limited pull and frequently it barely takes up the slack in the system before the end of its cable is reached and requires resigning to complete the job. If you try a rope pull I think you’ll be pleased. I’ve used them often in numerous situations including extreme cold, wet and ice and never had one slip. The block and tackle apparatus in the photo above works great and it’s light it. I carry it regularly.

I am familiar with the cool school training. Most people in the class were military pilots who may and may not have been outdoorsmen and not familiar with the use of an ax and that probably accounts for their frowning on axes. I have found in cold weather mostly I would be taking lower branches off spruce trees and they snap off easily with the ax, regardless of which end is used. One can get through thicker ice with an ax than with a saw that I might be inclined to carry. I find that I depend on the flat end of the ax at least as much as I do the blade end.

Yes, the Cool School folks were speaking to the lowest common denominator....which, by the way, so are we here on this forum.

No doubt there are uses for axes, and as you say, not just the sharp part. Hatchets, not so much, but they too can be beneficial, used carefully.

The country I lived and worked in for 20 years made pretty thick ice. The "You'll need an extension for that ice auger bit, BTW" kinda ice. Hacking through that stuff with an axe would certainly keep you busy while awaiting rescue or weather to improve, but....

Anyway, my point was mostly that you need to aim this stuff to that lowest common denominator here as well. Not everyone is a superhuman woodsman, ya know.

And, actually, in Cool School, it was the three Army guys in my class that were the most "entertainment". They came in as self described "woodsmen".....didn't work out quite that way. It was one of them that got clinically dehydrated. We held him down and made him drink water....

MTV

JWE
11-23-2020, 07:11 PM
Some of the guys I went through survival school had never slept outside a night in their life. Not even their own back yard as a kid. And a guy in the class behind me died because he got in his sleeping bag when he was completely wet. Hypothermia. As alluded to above, when you've been deprived of food and are cold and wet, sometimes you don't make the wisest choices.