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#147079 - 02/27/11 02:20 AM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: BrianLe]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Brian, one of the reasons I carry a shovel is just because I really like it. I like having it and like using it. Sounds silly, but that is really the reason. I feel like having it makes doing a few things easier and I know I could use a snowshoe or ski to accomplish some the same tasks, but I learned long ago when I used to do real work that having the right tool (not for camping necessarily) makes work a lot easier.

Without it, I probably wouldn't have gone to the trouble to dig out my kitchen area like I did, but when I can say "hey, I brought a shovel, what can I do with it?" that's an incentive to spend some time doing stuff to make the campsite a bit more comfortable.

If you look closely, you can see the footwell I dug in front of my tent in the vestibule. In the first picture, a water bottle and piece of blue pad are in it. In the second, I put the blue pad down and could sit and stretch my legs like sitting in a chair. Learned that on my first winter trip from Jim Shaw and it makes putting on boots and cooking way more comfortable than crouching down or just sitting cross-legged on a flat surface.

Kind of like having the right computer program-I spent a bunch of dough to get Adobe Acrobat and I can do some seemingly simple things with it I can't do with Word or Word Perfect.

All of the other suggestions people have made make sense as well under the right circumstances and since many of the posters have far more experience than me, I am no position to argue that my way is the "best."


Edited by TomD (02/27/11 02:29 AM)
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#147080 - 02/27/11 07:59 AM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: TomD]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I like your attitude, or perhaps I should say, I dig your position on this topic.

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#147081 - 02/27/11 11:37 AM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: TomD]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
Quote:
"...I learned long ago when I used to do real work that having the right tool (not for camping necessarily) makes work a lot easier."


No question. It just comes down to the same sort of weight trade-off issue that light and ultralight backpackers make differently than folks that follow a more traditional path, regardless of season --- no "rights" or "wrongs" here. I like to err more on the side of a lighter pack, so long as I can do so without too much compromise to comfort or safety. We each set this "how much is too much" slider bar to the point that best suits our individual preferences.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#147089 - 02/27/11 03:55 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: BrianLe]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
One thing to keep in mind. I have been towing a sled, so weight hasn't been a factor. Even without the sled, I'd still take the shovel. I've even taken it on day hikes.
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#147091 - 02/27/11 04:56 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: TomD]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
If you're in avalanche territory, a shovel is one of the essentials! So is, among other things, training in how to evaluate the snowpack.
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#147095 - 02/27/11 07:33 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: TomD]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
Quote:
"I've even taken it on day hikes."


I would be more inclined to take a shovel on dayhikes --- on backpacking trips I'm carrying what I need to survive most situations, and I'm a bit less weight conscious on day trips.

But as OM says, it's in part about avalanche risk assessment as well making it easier to build shelters.

I tend to not carry a shovel as I tend to avoid avalanche zones for the most part when snowshoeing and XC/backcountry skiing. I hope to be doing some winter scrambles soon, however, which is the main reason I anticipate buying a (light, metal scoop) shovel.
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Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#147099 - 02/27/11 07:54 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: BrianLe]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I never used a shovel or had one until I started doing trips with a highly experienced group here in N CA. Now, the shovel is used to dig a kitchen area, which I never did before, but is neat at meal time and for being comfortable. Yesterday, all three of us had shovels for our Sierra overnighter. Don, the oldest at 63 dug a pit I guess you could call it and said you can use ski poles to support the tarp roof he added. He rigged up deadman anchors from 6" or so dowels or sticks would substitute I guess, at each grommet, using cording and said they will support fresh snowfall and someone walking on it. He dug it over four feet deep, but I imagine in a emergency, you could just do the trench. He also compacted the snow, out a foot from the edges.

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#147107 - 02/28/11 12:42 AM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: hikerduane]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
this kind of stuff (a pit under my shangri-la tent) is what I really like a shovel for. But to be fair, I ususally take that when going heavy in the winter (read that as, I'm taking a sled).

If I'm just on my back, then I have a quasi real tent, and at that point I don't take it.
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#147121 - 02/28/11 12:11 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: hikerduane]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
Quote:
"Now, the shovel is used to dig a kitchen area, which I never did before, but is neat at meal time and for being comfortable."


I have to say that I'm ambivalent at best about this whole "dig a kitchen area" thing. The group I was with did that on our snow camping trip, and some folks on my 3-day snowshoe (same overall group) did one near their tent with the idea of a communal meal.

Now, I certainly enjoy the fellowship of other hikers, but apart from needless work it strikes me as a great way to get cold feet (literally). Sitting around eating with folks on the camping excursion, many/most had cold feet, jumping up and down and things to try to maintain feeling.

My normal process is to just crawl into my sleeping bag and cook just outside my shelter. Much warmer, and no extra work.

To be clear, I'm not putting folks down who do this; I would just prefer get my human interaction type done by talking while walking during the day and not gather for meals in a more exposed and sedentary way that invites a chilly experience.

Tough to be alone, however, while others are enjoying each others company. Maybe I need to get electrically heated footwear or something to adjust to this different style ...
Or just be the "loner" ! :-)
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Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#147135 - 02/28/11 01:17 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: BrianLe]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I understand. It is a great way for everyone, even me, to socialize and see what others are eating, talk gear, so forth. In larger groups, we really have a great time, the biggest thing I look forward to, gets me outta my shell. We use sit pads, at least I do, others drag over there closed cell type sleeping pad to sit on and place their feet on in the trench. I don't like that because some are messy and I don't have a second sit pad for my feet. You need extra, dry inserts for your boots or use down booties, with fresh, dry socks, which I have done both and on the same trip even (stupid me), and I use those chemical packs placed on the bottom of my socks, under my tootsies, opened up half an hour or more before needing, as they seem slow to activate the last few years. I also believe the kitchen gives everyone an excuse to stay up a little later as at this time of year, the nights are long enough. Gotta come prepared also. Don was cold Saturday night, I believe he did not bring enough insulating layers, he had a Goretex parka which is only good for a storm, not for staying warm.

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#147170 - 02/28/11 11:30 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: hikerduane]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I go out by myself, so socializing isn't why I made my area in front of my tent. It is just for my own comfort.

Brian-I came across this saw-looks a lot like mine, but different materials and probably heavier, but basically the same design-
http://www.sportsimportsltd.com/ulfoousaw.html
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#147171 - 02/28/11 11:36 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: BrianLe]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Brianle
I was gonna PM you but then I decided it should be a post. smile Please try adding another layer of insulation to your legs, sit on a foam pad and put you feet on a small foam pad. Then tell me if you were enough warmer to allow you to socialise with the people who came properly prepared. smile
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#147181 - 03/01/11 11:56 AM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: TomD]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
Thanks, Tom. The key piece of data for me missing on that saw is a listed weight ...
FWIW, what I have on order is the Coghlan's Pocket Sierra Saw, listed weight of 2.4 oz, but the first review on that (Amazon.com) site claims it weighs just 1.4 oz. For day hikes, I can live with either.

It's quite similar to the one you've pointed out, albeit with about half the blade length (3.7"). While of course not nearly as nice to use as a 7" blade, it seems to me that should be enough for sawing through the kind of stuff I'm thinking about in an emergency situation.
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Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#147182 - 03/01/11 12:13 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: Jimshaw]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
Quote:
":-) Please try adding another layer of insulation to your legs, sit on a foam pad and put you feet on a small foam pad. Then tell me if you were enough warmer to allow you to socialise with the people who came properly prepared. :-)"

Hi Jim. In fact I was sitting on a ccf foam pad. I can't imagine changing footwear and pants to add an additional layer of leg insulation only to have to change again to take same off later, nor do I think that would have helped --- I had silk long johns, pants, and rain pants on.

These folks were sedentary for long enough that I fetched my Feathered Friends down booties and swapped my boots for those and propped my feet up so only the ccf outer bootie heel was on the packed snow, but still cold feet. To be clear, it was in the single digits Farenheit, so relatively cold for my area. Also to be clear, it wasn't just me with cold feet --- several people were talking about or exhibiting clear signs of cold feet.

Properly prepared: It's true. I wasn't properly prepared to literally stand or sit around in single digit temps for long periods. Next time I'll bring a big metal barrel and lots of fire wood for that "hobos staying warm in winter" look. smile

Or, just go on trips with folks that are inclined to move a bit more and stand around and drink coffee a bit less. <insert rim shot here> I never have cold feet on normal (for me) snow trips.

Certainly there are cases where a person wants to be able to be sedentary (and not in a sleeping bag) in very cold weather; ice fishing, for example (never done it).
For winter backpacking trips, I think it makes a lot more sense to adjust camp "style" rather than bring electrically heated socks or boots, or chemical heat packs or whatever.

Each to their own!
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#147213 - 03/01/11 10:06 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: BrianLe]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
I've spent many many nights camping in extreme mountain winter weather, chasing storms, and sitting out in the storms. If you have the right clothes your feet do not get cold. If you're from Washington and it was single digits, why were you wearing silk underwear and "pants" instead of midweight long underwear and down pants?

And don't forget the old adage about putting your hat on if your feet get cold. What kind of head insulation do you wear? Just because people camp where its cold doesn't mean they are wet and miserable.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#147226 - 03/01/11 11:13 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: Jimshaw]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I saw an article recently that said that the whole "put a hat on" theory wasn't true, except maybe for babies-has to to with surface area compared to overall body mass. I like hats anyway, so I'd be wearing one.

I have a pair of insulated pants. Mine are not down, not sure what they are. Got them from GoLite a few years ago on a closeout. Full side zip and pretty warm. Those plus my big parka and I can sit around in +15-20F and not get cold at all. As you can see from my pics, I use pieces of a blue pad for sitting or standing on. Plus I have a pair of down booties. I might get one of those rabbit fur trooper hats too.
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#147227 - 03/01/11 11:23 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: Jimshaw]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I do all I can to keep my feet and hands warm. Down booties or dry boot liners and wool socks alone don't cut it for me. The charcoal/salt/ferrous chemical packs come as close as I can to having warm feet. I need to try a pad to rest my feet on when we are sitting around the kitchen. I even put some guaranteed to keep feet warm insoles in my down booties, helps for a bit. At least this last weekend, my feet stayed warm most of the time. My feet have always been that way. If I am snowmobiling, I can move enough to keep my feet warm even in my old Sorels.

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#147228 - 03/01/11 11:32 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: TomD]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2752
Loc: California
I think it is trendy now to discount older sayings. The head heat loss stuff is significant. But it is not just the hat, it is loss from head and neck (think balaclava) and heat loss and inhaled cold from breathing. When I was seriously winter backpacking (-20 to -40)the minute we got to camp we stompped the tent platform, then immediately took off wet clothing and put on insulating clothes- parkas with tunnel fur lined hoods to pre-warm the air before breathing, insulated pants, Micky Mouse boots, big mits and a face mask. Then we melted water, cooked dinner, and went to bed. No sitting around socializing! When we got to our base camp, we spent an entire day building a huge snow cave that we lived in for more than a week. In the snow cave we could sit around and socialize since it was about 30 degrees inside. In fact we had to be careful not to get it too warm. We would light one little candle and it would be enough light. The snow cave was not an emergency shelter, but a planned structure. It was downright luxurious compared to tent camping.

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#147229 - 03/01/11 11:39 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: Jimshaw]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
Quote:
"I've spent many many nights camping in extreme mountain winter weather, chasing storms, and sitting out in the storms. If you have the right clothes your feet do not get cold. If you're from Washington and it was single digits, why were you wearing silk underwear and "pants" instead of midweight long underwear and down pants?"


I think we might be talking past each other a bit here --- if I read this right, you're trying to help me figure out the right additional clothing to wear so I can sit around (out of a sleeping bag) in low temps and stay comfy.

I'm saying that I don't want to carry all of those heavy clothes when a style shift allows me to be plenty warm; I'm not normally geared up to "sit around a lot" comfortably in camp, because it's not my usual style.

Indeed, if I went out with the intent of winter "sit around a lot" type of camping, I'd bring a separate ccf pad to put under my down booties and bring my BPL cocoon pants, maybe chemical heat units to put in the booties. I don't care to bring those things, but instead prefer a hiking style that minimizes "sit around and chew the fat" time in cold weather. Much less time in camp equates for me (in all four seasons) to more comfort and more miles or easier miles while walking (or skiing) on the trail.

I'm not looking to convert anyone here (!). I do think this sort of conversation is helpful for folks to think about alternative styles of hiking (or camping). Definitely no one and only one "right" way !
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#147272 - 03/02/11 07:17 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: BrianLe]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
I never understood how you could enjoy the great outdoors in a group...

But maybe I'm just antisocial!

I vote with BrianLe - more hiking, less sitting!

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#147276 - 03/02/11 07:53 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: Heather-ak]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Some trips are like last weekend, only a few of us. Then there was Winterfest a month ago where over 20 at one time or another gathered, it was more of a trip we all looked forward to, as mtnsteve is pretty popular. A annual thing. Time and place for everything. If there isn't enough to keep me interested, I'll go for a jaunt by myself, which I did at Winterfest while most still socialized or go fishing on summer trips. I couldn't do the large groups all the time. Most of my trips are solo, so it gives me a chance to catch up with people I only see once in a great while and to meet new folks who might want to go on a trip, with fewer people. At Winterfest, I got to see people I had not seen for over a year or more and one couple showed their new family member to us all.:)

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#147277 - 03/02/11 08:05 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: hikerduane]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
HikerDuane,

I hope you didn't take what I said in a negative way! 'cuz I didn't mean it to be negative, just kinda fun seeing how many different ways there are to hike.

It is a personality thing for me - when I hike with others I get anxious - am I hiking too fast, too slow, taking too many breaks or too few and gee I can't hear them because I'm hard of hearing and do they think I'm ignorning them and gee I wish they'd shut-up so I can listen to that bird.

Not to say I don't talk on the trail - mostly it goes like this:
"No Moose on the loose - hey moosey moose"... and well you get the picture wink

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#147280 - 03/02/11 08:27 PM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: BrianLe]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
I said earlier:
Quote:
"I just ordered a "Coghlans Pocket Sierra Saw" for $9 from Amazon.com, listed weight is 2.4 oz. I reckon I can cut branches at need with that."

Since this thread turned in part to a discussion on such ancillary gear, I thought I would follow up as that pocket saw just showed up in the mail today. It is in fact 1.4 oz, 41 grams, so I'm pleased about that. Not a super robust unit, has plastic handle, pretty thin metal blade, but seems like a good choice for a piece of gear that's for emergencies or at most infrequent use --- I'm sure it will hold up fine so long as I take reasonable care and don't try to force it to act like it has a bombproof saw blade.

Blade is 3.5" long --- slightly longer in fact, but 3.5" is the effective, serrated length.

It locks open and feels quite secure that way.

I'll have to test it out sometime, but on first inspection I'm pleased with it, nice to have something that light that can do the job at need.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#147295 - 03/03/11 12:27 AM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: Heather-ak]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Heather, did not take it badly, just had to state my position a little bit more. I'm flexible. I have bped so many years solo and now really solo the last seven years since my dog, Pooch passed away that if a trip sounds interesting I will go with others. I turn down trips to the coast, north and south of San Francisco, they are just too far and I prefer my mountains. Not many of the group trips are large, just annual ones, like what I call our "mtnsteve-less Winterfest" as mtnsteve put his own on for years in the Lassen Volcanic Nat'l Park so many years, but had not the last three years due to body repairs until this last month. When they do some coastal trips, they get a good turn out at times as those are closer for the group I bp with. I'm the only one from the mountains in our small group. Come bp with us/me. I go all the time with women, I'm too safe.

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#147296 - 03/03/11 12:29 AM Re: Best emergency shelter in snow? [Re: BrianLe]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
You are gonna be short stroking that thing. smile

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