WMBO: pulk & hot tent

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

Moderator: ZS Global Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
RonnyRonin
* * * * *
Posts: 1670
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 8:11 pm
Location: Front Range, CO

WMBO: pulk & hot tent

Post by RonnyRonin » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:15 pm

If the pulk and hot tent combination is starting to sound like a trend, it is because it works.

The pulk not only allows a high degree of comfort and efficiency, but also lets you really get lazy on trip planning, I got a heads up about this trip less then a week in advance; I was only mildly familiar with the area but really detailed research seemed moot when I could just throw a bunch of "what if" crap in the pulk and have such a huge margin of error that it didn't seem to matter. Forecast was relatively mild, highs in the low 50s, lows in the low 30s, slight chance of nastier weather later in the weekend. Got picked up from work with my gear and our two-man team drove the 1.5 hours to the trail head

Image

We were exploring the Ward Lake area on the Grand Mesa, mostly as a shakedown for our new pulk setups. I had the same Jet Sled Jr. from last years MBO viewtopic.php?f=14&t=115655
but upgraded with a trace setup from Skipulk.com:
http://skipulk.com/index.php/products-a ... ccessories.
I also added some p-cord perimeter lacing for securing cargo, I ran webbing from the lacing to a compression panel that did a much better job the last years bungie cords. Most of the pulk ideas come from guys on the HPG forums, and attendees at last years Rondy.

Image

Image

I did weigh my pack at the trail head, about 25lbs all up with 2+ liters of water, and I estimate the pulk weighed no more then 40lbs. I was fairly surprised by how light it ended up given the carelessness and luxury with which I packed (redundant shovels and sleeping pads, twice as much food as I needed and a 6-pack of beer).

My Team mate had a full pulk set-up from ski pulk, the Snowclipper I believe:

Image

I was pretty impressed with the setup, the integrated cargo cover was very well designed, with a single #10 zipper covered by a pretty good compression panel.

Image

Transportation for the trip was Altai Skis, I borrowed a pair of Hoks while my partner was on Koms

Image

This was my first time on Cross/backcountry skis for any length of time, and the Hoks where a fantastic ski to learn on. I didn't care for the bindings but they did let me use normal boots, and the short length (125CM) made up for the pack and pulk in the learning curve. They where short enough I ended up using them for some camp chores I would normally rely on snowshoes for. The short length made changing directions a cinch and allowed me to save myself from several near face-plants that certainly would have occurred with skis only 4-6" longer. The bindings, despite their shortcomings were very intuitive. The Hoks have a built in partial skin in the middle of the ski which allowed me to climb most anything I wanted to, without the side stepping nonsense I always saw my dad doing which kept me in snowshoes all these years. Even carrying a pack and towing a pulk there was only one hill I think I could have gotten up with my snowshoes that I couldn't march straight up with the hoks.
In the last two pics you can also catch glimpses of my newer hybrid wool pants I build from some cold-war era german knickerbockers and some 500d cordura.


Since we where starting after work on a friday we got a pretty late start, but still found a camp site before the light failed, obligatory pulk selfie:

Image

on the trip in I am using my trusty Pendleton shirt and a PCU Level 4 epic wind shirt. You can see on the top of my pack I have a brimmed wool hat, I keep giving this a try and it has its merits but I am finding I rely too much on hoods to really use a brimmed hat well. My partner ended up living in his pendleton for most of the weekend:

Image

We got the tent set up and only had to switch to head lamps to dig out the tent. Set up time was about an hour for tent, stove, digging foot wells and setting up our beds, for mostly doing it in the dark I was pretty happy with this.

Image

Most of the cooking was done on the wood stove, the first night it was instant potatoes, elk sausage and bacon bits.

Image

Sleep system was a Kelty magma, older Exped Synmat, z-rest and my clothing. First night was fairly mild, with only small floaties of ice in my uninsulated water bottle. I slept fairly poorly but not from cold or discomfort, haven't pin pointed the problem.

We spruced up the tent a little in the morning, pulling on guy-lines and doing a little more excavation but we had done a surprisingly good job in the dark.

Image

You can see the ski used for guyouts, and if you look closely you can see a disassembled ski pole for a stake-out or two. We used a pretty wide array of stakes, from an ice axe to REI snow stakes to mil-surplus aluminum monsters to tough stakes. All performed fairly well and set on the first try. All things being equal I think the REIs will be my go-toos.

Image

I slept in pretty late and it was warm enough we didn't bother to fire up the stove, you can the excavations and my modified Wiggy's camp booties which have been quite good to me. With the addition of felt insoles and some retention straps they work quite well as long as the snow is firm. Also notice the shovel placed right above the head of my sleeping bag to keep the tent out of my face.

My puffy suit on the trip was a modified USGI liner set, I added button closures and a collar to the jacket and a better closure to the pants. Delicate to be sure but lighter and cheaper then my patagoina micro-puff set and layers more easily:

Image

Late morning we headed off for a ski-tour of the trail system. we made no real attempt to hide our camp but it was far enough off the trail it really wasn't all that noticeable:

Image

One of the big advantages of the short skis was how easily they stowed when we had to walk:

Image

You can see most of my gear stand-bys here, I've been wearing a PCU level 2 grid fleece hoodie next to skin and a First lite Chama merino hoody over that for most winter activities, moves moisture well and keeps just enough wind off. I've found that while moving I can use this combo down into the 20s with a stiff wind, the dual hoods, chest zips and sleeves that can be pushed up offer a huge range of temperature adjustment. Trusty HPG kit bag as always, and cordura fronted wool pants, enough snow protection to not need a shell or gaiters and warm enough to not need base layer pants. Nomex gloves aren't awesome when it gets wet, but in dry cold they offer just the right amount of warmth and wind protection to be great during movement.

A better view of the skis and my pack, its actually a 100+ liter pack I built the weekend before, but it spent most of the weekend compressed for day pack use. the extra capacity makes a great catch-all in the tent to keep organized:

Image

The trail system was suspiciously empty for a weekend, we commonly heard snowmobiles in the distance but never actually saw another person on the trail. quick standing lunch brake of sausage cheese and crackers, much harder when you are too lazy to take your skis off and find a place to sit:

Image

One of my main take aways from the trip is DUMMY CORD ALL THE THINGS. From the first few times I pulled my compass out of my kit bag I started getting paranoid about dropping it and busted out the glow-cord. For winter use I can really see the merit of tying a pice of reflective something to anything that could possibly get dropped or left behind, combined with a headlamp it can make finding things in your pack or the snow much faster.

Image

Something I took out for the first time was my experimental overwhites. 3XL tyvek bunny suit chopped off at crotch level. Heavy mods to the hood with liberal use of one of the legs and tyvek tape, loose enough to fit over static layers and at $8 a new set every season would still be pretty economical:

Image

combined with some chaps I think this has some real merit, makes a good wind shell and was surprisingly cool in the direct sun despite the warmer temps, I'd like to devote a whole thread to this project.

after covering quite a bit of ground we got back to camp in the late afternoon. I ate the last of my sausage and cheese, which is a heck of a lot easier sitting down with a cutting board. This folding bowl is one of my all-time favorite pieces of gear, and I was super bummed to find out the company disappeared:

Image

The opinel is being demoed as a potential food-knife and did pretty well. Being able to cut easily though a cold brick of cheese is my one fairly specific requirements, and the thin blade met this.

Our camp with pulks leaned up while we scrounge for wood:

Image

The cordura knees of my pants proved invaluable for breaking smaller branches, not having a good platform to use an axe proved a nuisance but a minor one, since I couldn't find my 25" bow saw we where a little undergunned.


Image

more to follow....
share your tobacco and your kindling, but never your sauna or your woman.

AK, Glock, Pie.

User avatar
modustollens
* * *
Posts: 550
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:51 am

Re: WMBO: pulk & hot tent

Post by modustollens » Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:39 am

Nice narrative and pictures. You are correct to say the puIk is a great investment for moving about in the winter and snow.

I wish I had such nice hardware for my homemade pulk when I first made it. I looked at ordering something online but it would have arrived too late for my planned trip so I just whipped something up using what I could find in the hardware store. Pulks save the knees and back and removes the necessity of backpack tetris when trying to get everything to fit inside.

I just wished I had as much snow as you did.

Save for your skis and my radio, we are almost dopplegangers.

I should look into getting some skis again, but the last few winters have not warranted much ability to use them. Hoks are made by Altai Skis. The Altai mountain range is not far from where I am working in Eastern Kazakhstan (the Irtish river has its headwaters in the Altai mountains; this river splits the town I work in).

MT
Last edited by modustollens on Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
My homemade stove:Homemade Backpack Stove
Radio Page: VE3EFQ

JW80
*
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:27 pm
Location: Southern MN

Re: WMBO: pulk & hot tent

Post by JW80 » Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:48 am

Awesome entry. Looks like you had a good time.

User avatar
Maeklos
* * * * *
Posts: 2185
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:00 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead (the original), Resident Evil
Contact:

Re: WMBO: pulk & hot tent

Post by Maeklos » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:37 pm

Awesome post, mate!

A couple of things:

1. I think it's fantastic that you make your own kit. The idea that you can find out exactly what you want/need and then modify or straight-up make it is one that I really hope catches on more with folks.

2. I've lost enough things in the snow over the years (especially arrows) to have figured out that a two-step marking process for important/easily lost items is best - my arrows usually have day-glo green nocks, but I always put a strip of bright orange marking tape on them, too, just ahead of the nock. I do the same thing with small, easily-lost items like compasses, lighters, small flashlights. The day-glo green might be able to show up against snow during the day, but really lights up at night. And the orange will make it almost impossible to lose something during the day.

Anyways, rock on! Looking forward to seeing what you've got upcoming.
Politics is like having two handfuls of shit - one that smells bad and one that looks bad - and having to decide which one to put in your mouth.

"If the Russian flag were accurate, it would depict half a cabbage, a bottle of vodka, and a cold man dying for the Motherland."

User avatar
RonnyRonin
* * * * *
Posts: 1670
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 8:11 pm
Location: Front Range, CO

Re: WMBO: pulk & hot tent

Post by RonnyRonin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:11 pm

Image

One of the things I was testing on the trip was a few new glove systems. On the right is my standard waxed leather roper+wool liners, tried and true for wood prep and stove use, but not terribly warm or great in the wet.
The middle pair is the new First Lite Grizzly mitt, a leather palmed WPB backed trigger finger mitt. Articulation is impressive, much better then the OR firebrands I used on last years WMBO. The liner is a high loft wool, kind of like sheepskin without the skin, it didn't warm up as fast as a primaloft mitt but was very comfortable and handled the occasional snow leakage with aplomb. The leather palm was fairly confidence inspiring for wood prep, and they had enough dexterity to tie simple knots in guy out lines. The idiot cords are perfect in my mind, relying on an elastic cuff with a short leash rather then the usual toggle-adjustable setup, very fast and easy to put on and stayed in place well. The cuffs are on the short side so they don't overlap much for really foul weather but for what they are it is a great length.
Far left is my new british surplus goretex mitts, very large and simple shell mitts with great coverage, decent dexterity and an impressively small pack size. They aren't really chore mitts as they only have grippy dots over the goretex on the palms but the gore does have an impressive face fabric (200d?) that is confidence inspiring. For such a simple cut they are surprisingly articulated and the simple adjustment hardware is much more functional then one would guess. In one shell I have a liner made from USGI liner pants (5oz polarguard?) doubled up over the back of the hand. The other side is 6oz lamilite from Wiggy's and as warm as that implies. The Wiggy's liner has enough loft that you can actually use the compression caused by your hand as a kind of passive retention which lets you leave the adjustments loose enough that it makes a very effective plunge mitt. The elbow length cuff can seal over almost anything, and the long liners worked great with the short, open sleeves on my liner jacket.

While not the most comfortable or durable combination, I think the thin nomex gloves and the British mitts will get the nod for living in my BOB as they offer the most versatility at the lowest weight.
share your tobacco and your kindling, but never your sauna or your woman.

AK, Glock, Pie.

User avatar
Woods Walker
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 9404
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2006 5:15 pm
Location: CT

Re: WMBO: pulk & hot tent

Post by Woods Walker » Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:03 am

Pulk sleds are very useful during the winter. I like to use mine for trips away from camp as well to gather wood. Nice gear, photos and write-up. You did the community proud!
Image

"There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing"
"Do not mess with the forces of Nature, for thou art small and biodegradable!"

Best of Woods Walker's posts.

User avatar
RonnyRonin
* * * * *
Posts: 1670
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 8:11 pm
Location: Front Range, CO

Re: WMBO: pulk & hot tent

Post by RonnyRonin » Sat Mar 19, 2016 11:12 pm

The second night we realized it was probably going to be much colder, we stocked up more wood then the first night and I wore my puffies to bed. I still slept very poorly for no very good reason and had to get up a few times to shuffle my sleeping arrangements around (my puffies were supposed to be my pillow so it too me a few tires to replace it). Keeping my face warm is still the challenge for sub freezing temps, I found tucking a mitten liner between my face and the mummy hood and draping it across my face (leaving my mouth exposed) worked pretty well, but I think a fur ruff is in my future. My tent mate's theory is that a bit of bug netting draped over your face is just enough heat retention to keep you face warm enough to fall asleep, might give it a try.
I used a new pair of boots on the trip, a pair of leather-lined Alico Summits. despite the one piece leather letting in very little moisture from snow and drying them out by the stove, it turns out they absorbed enough foot moisture to freeze solid by morning. Even the thin leather tongue gussets were solid enough I couldn't bend them, it took a good 20-30 minutes of wearing them around camp to soften them up enough to tie them. I usually wear fabric/leather hybrid boots in the snow so this was a new experience for me. Firing up the stove in the morning would have solved my problem but we decided to just pack it up so we could get back home.


Several take-aways and lessons learned:

-When harvesting dead branches from the bottoms of trees, break the branch AWAY from the tree. I pulled toward the tree and managed to bruise my hand pretty good on one of the pointy stubs left behind from one of the previous branches. Just an inch closer to my knuckles and I would have seen a purpose to the knuckle padding on the Grizzly mitts.

-As I am usually reminded when I do wood prep, eyepro or carefully looking away is a good idea, I had way too many bits of wood bounce off my eyelids for comfort when breaking branches.

-For some time I have been in need of a much larger pot for snow melting. The need remains.

-Flavored tuna packs was not a hit in the tuna surprise, will stick with plain tuna in the future.

-Very fond of my new Klean Kanteen Swing-Lok lid, even more fond of it when I found out it can't freeze shut like the threads on my tentmate's hydroflask. Highly recommend.

-Half a fifth of Jamison is far too small a ration for two men for two nights. Disaster ensued.

-It took a good 8 hours of practice before I was ready to admit there might be something to this whole skiing thing. I'm not quite ready to hang up the snowshoes but it was starting to feel pretty natural by the ski out.

-Going through my BOB the other day I found my wool cap and neck gaiter, and realized I haven't really used either since I found an adequate hood system like what I used on this trip. I'll probably save something like 8 oz omitting them from my kit.

-Like the larger pot, a dedicated pillow has been on my list for awhile and the need remains.

-While the standard ball cap has served me well under my hoods I would like to try something like a Stormy Kromer hat for a little ear protection when I need to vent heat from my neck.

-New trekking poles are in order if I intend to pursue skis as a transportation option, my X-REI rental fleet black diamond poles flexed alarmingly most of the time. I would like to try cutting down carbon XC ski poles to trekking pole height.

-I've recently quit using the wrist straps on trekking poles and I think I'm a fan. There was at least once on the trip where being tied to my pole probably would have pulled me off my feet rather then just having to back up a few feet to retrieve it.

-As always, The HPG kit bag and the Zebralite headlamp that lives inside of it are both cornerstones of my gear, and I don't know how I got along without either one. The Kit bag was used constantly to access map and compass, and corrals most of my smaller items like spork, TP, and blister tape.
share your tobacco and your kindling, but never your sauna or your woman.

AK, Glock, Pie.

Robbie in ME
*
Posts: 73
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:31 am
Location: Maine

Re: WMBO: pulk & hot tent

Post by Robbie in ME » Sun Mar 20, 2016 12:01 pm

I would try a dedicated pillow. I got an Exped one as a gift from one of the kids and it is way better than any improvised one. If anybody asks me I always recommend my Schnees boots http://www.schnees.com/product/SCHNEES- ... ting-boots for winter camping/snowshoeing. The removable liners are the key. I think I have the next size up jet sled. I find a full load of wood will last about 24hrs in my 8man with large stove. Makes a good way at least for me to judge when we have enough wood. Thanks for taking the time to post your trip All the Best!

User avatar
Canadian Guy
* * *
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:13 pm
Location: Canada

Re: WMBO: pulk & hot tent

Post by Canadian Guy » Sun Mar 20, 2016 5:19 pm

Great WMBO trip report. I like the pulk set-up you have!

User avatar
modustollens
* * *
Posts: 550
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:51 am

Re: WMBO: pulk & hot tent

Post by modustollens » Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:59 pm

Snowshoes can be useful given enough snow. My trips this year did not have enough snow to require snowshoes. But there would have been enough snow for skis.

Do you think it is faster or more efficient pulling the pulk with the skis?

Maybe I could actually get more use out of skis than snowshoes for seasons when the snow is not deep enough for snowshoes.

How were the universal bindings? One of the things that always stopped me from moving forward with skis was that I don't like the idea of having to haul extra boots.

Were the bindings annoying or uncomfortable?

MT
My homemade stove:Homemade Backpack Stove
Radio Page: VE3EFQ

User avatar
RonnyRonin
* * * * *
Posts: 1670
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 8:11 pm
Location: Front Range, CO

Re: WMBO: pulk & hot tent

Post by RonnyRonin » Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:00 pm

modustollens wrote: Do you think it is faster or more efficient pulling the pulk with the skis?

How were the universal bindings? One of the things that always stopped me from moving forward with skis was that I don't like the idea of having to haul extra boots.

Were the bindings annoying or uncomfortable?

MT

Skis pretty much indisputably are more efficient calorie wise, what they can be is more hassle. I'm kinda in the same boat that I didn't want to buy special boots, learn to deal with skins and/or wax and learn another specialized hobby. The Hoks removed the need for most of that, and are only slightly more hassle then snowshoes. I still like the increased control of snowshoes, especially on hairy down-hills through trees, but there is no doubt you can cover more ground with skis.
The universal bindings weren't uncomfortable per se, they just didn't have enough pivot, which also exacerbated my propensity to blister on my heels. They didn't seem to pinch at all and really stayed put, they did hold your foot pretty solid to the ski so I'll give them good marks on that. I noticed Altai has a "universal pivot" binding on their site that could be a simple fix. I haven't explored binding options much but if there is one with a lot more pivot that works with a normal boot welt (pretty sure there is, I think the guys at HPG have a specific suggestion) that would be the way I'd go.
share your tobacco and your kindling, but never your sauna or your woman.

AK, Glock, Pie.

User avatar
teotwaki
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 4337
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:58 pm
Contact:

Re: WMBO: pulk & hot tent

Post by teotwaki » Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:35 pm

I enjoyed this thread very much, especially the pictures. If I ever get back out for long term trips on the snow I'd love to get one of those Snowclipper Pulks!
https://www.skipulk.com/product/snowclipper-pulk/
My adventures and pictures are on my blog http://suntothenorth.blogspot.com

Post Reply

Return to “Bug Out Gear”