Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

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

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Se7en707
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Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by Se7en707 » Wed May 09, 2012 11:15 am

Hi all,

Im new to these forums and have been looking a lot at the Bug out bags and equipment.
Many of the posts have been helpful to me and i will also be posting my set up when its complete.
I have noticed many of the BoBs would not work in extreme cold weather.
I live in Montreal Quebec, and my escape route would be in the great north, where its gets to -40 celcius and its is cold and snowy from late October to late march.

So i would like to see people post their winter BoBS if they have any and also share their knowledge for cold winter survival
( Gear related ).

What i have so far:

- 3 piece military sleep system ( rated -20 )
- Eureka 4 season tent
- military pant liners and parka liners( very warm! ) Most of cloths are for cold weather
- Many tools for wood processing
-Nice fishing kit (including ice fishing tools)

I have a lot more things but these are the ones in relation to cold weather.

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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by DJH » Wed May 09, 2012 11:20 am

If it gets to -40 in your area, I'd plan on replacing the sleep system with something rated down to -50 or better if possible. I'd add a magnesium fire starter or the like if it's not one of the things you already have but didn't list.
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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by Se7en707 » Wed May 09, 2012 11:35 am

Yeah, i was wondering if i could just get things to add into my sleep system to make it warmer or get a whole new one.
For the fire starters i probably have to many as it is :P

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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by Woods Walker » Wed May 09, 2012 12:13 pm

Se7en707 wrote:
- 3 piece military sleep system ( rated -20 )
- Eureka 4 season tent
- military pant liners and parka liners( very warm! ) Most of cloths are for cold weather
- Many tools for wood processing
-Nice fishing kit (including ice fishing tools)

I have a lot more things but these are the ones in relation to cold weather.
You need a ground pad. Get a closed cell pad and maybe an insulated inflatable as well.
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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by Se7en707 » Wed May 09, 2012 9:56 pm

So true !
So i just bought a therma rest ridgerest floor mat... for a better sleping bag / system...... i cant find anything in the minus 30 or 40 range .., any suggestions

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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by Woods Walker » Wed May 09, 2012 11:51 pm

I have done -30 C with my Exped Downmat 9 DLX.

Image

Exped also sells a ¾ length but never had the chance to test that the cold.
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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by Wheeljack » Thu May 10, 2012 12:11 pm

Hey Man,

I've spent some time in the Montreal area and I've also done my fair share of winter camping so I feel that I can chime in here with my 2 cents. First off, do you have a destination? how long will it take to get there? Are you alone? Will you be on foot? You need to take these factors into consideration because if you are just heading out into the bush in -40 without a plan and only the gear on your back, you will not last very long.
1st tip. formulate a plan. I'm in Alberta and it gets down to -40 but for us, its a higher altitude with a dry cold and much of the cold comes from the wind. So for me, protection form the wind is a priority. When I lived in Montreal, -10 felt like -25 in Calgary due to the moisture, I didn't even own a scarf until I moved out east. Your snow is wetter on average and I'd suggest that you pack some water proof outer layers/ gaiters, several layers of insulation and spares to change out of so you can stay dry. Wet clothes will kill you. The point is you will need tailor your gear for the worst case bug out scenario for your AO. Do some research and practice. Also , talk to some people who lived through the last ice storm. They all have very interesting stories about how they coped and you might pick up a few tricks.

Ditch the 3 season bag and only keep the Bivy Bag, Go out and buy the best sleeping bag you can afford rated for cold weather. Don't cheap out on this and make sure it is properly rated. My wife bought a bag for me that says rated for -40 C but it also says -40 F! Big difference and I can tell you that it did not work at -25! If budget is a problem but weight isn't, get some old school Army Down bags from army surplus stores, there are a bunch down on St. Laurent. They are heavy and suck when wet but they are warm. There are tricks to sleeping comfortably in the winter and its more than just a good bag, what you wear, your body temp getting into the bag, how many people in your shelter etc etc. There are many factors to consider and you'll be surprised at how much a difference small variables will make. Go out and practice and test your gear.

Fire starters: Ever try starting a fire at 30 below? in the winter, nearly all the local material is wet and your hands will get cold very fast, that and getting out of your warm bag and into cold boots will suck the heat from your body real quick. Pack lots of cheap bic lighters, a good magnesium fire starter ( test it out first) and learn how to collect and pack tinder. If you can afford it, get a portable stove as it will make life for you so much more comfortable. Check woods walkers posts on his winter trips and learn from him. Dont' pack an Axe and a saw and a hatchet and a knife etc. Try to keep the tools at a minimum, a small hand saw and hatchet will suffice. When I go out with a group, I pack a take down aluminum saw which works well but froze on my last trip and I couldn't assemble it. Luckily we had redundancies.

Clothes: You'll need more than liners. You need lots of thin layers so you can dress up and dress down as you move so you don't sweat too much. Again this is only something you can learn by practice and experimenting. I've gone hunting in -25 and basically sat in a snow drift for 3 hours and in that instance I bulked up and wore lots of layers and did not have a problem. Conversely, I once wore nearly the same configuration to winter hunt but I made the mistake of hiking halfway up a mountain to my buddies blind ( don't ask). Anyways, I was sweating so much that we had to turn back as I knew I'd freeze to death from all the moisture that built up next to my skin if I had to sit in the blind for a couple of hours. By the time I got back to the vehicle, I had a layer of ice next to my skin. Really bad news! Tip.Start cold and adjust after 10-20 minutes. Layer up when you stop for breaks and bring extra layers for sitting around the fire in the evening. Dress down before you go to bed because you do not want to sweat in your bag. The moisture will freeze and could kill you.

The big thing about winter camping is that there is very little margin for error so practice and don't try to bite off more than you can chew.

I hope that this is useful for you.
Cheers

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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by ghost792 » Thu May 10, 2012 12:27 pm

Wheeljack,

Your post was right on, with two little nitpicks. -40 C is the same temperature as -40 F. That's just how the conversion works out. The other thing is I wouldn't leave the knife at home. A small saw, small axe or hatchet, and a good camping utility knife should let you cover just about any wood related task. There are certain things that are very difficult or dangerous to do with the axe that the knife can do just fine. The knife also gives you more options with cooking and game.

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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by ninja-elbow » Thu May 10, 2012 1:41 pm

***
(-40C = -40F) + doing some math = mind blown :shock: :P

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I totally did not know that. :!:
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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by ancient_serpent » Thu May 10, 2012 3:44 pm

Others in the forum will be better sources for equipment specs and recommendations; I use mostly military kit including sleeping bag system and the like. Works for me. What I'll leave is an acronym that will help you choose the things you need:
Clean. Clean clothing will retain heat better.
Overheating. Avoid it.
Layers. Strip off outer layers of clothing while performing strenuous work.
Dry. Wet clothes will kill you.

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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by ninja-elbow » Thu May 10, 2012 6:27 pm

Gear-wise? I'm still figuring it out. I've only been winter camping for the last 4 years. Woods Walker, Black Dog and them have a ton more experience under their belts. Here is some concepts I have learned:

1) Sleeping cold = no sleep = lack of function the following day. You need to sleep. This is a priority up there with water, food, shelter... all that. It is better to have too much shelter and warmth in winter than too little.
2) Wool. All the other stuff is good but wool is great... wool still wins.
3) Do not rely on a good fire to be your cooking and heating source. Sometimes fire will just reject you. Get a good stove that works all the time everytime 100%. This is true all 4 seasons but almost critical in the 4th season.
4) Whatever shelter you have make sure it is secure, like freak windstorms and stuff can't randomly blow it down. A tornado is a tornado and will blow your stuff up but a 40 MPH gust ought not wreck your shelter. A few pounds of snow and ice on it should not cause it to collapse.
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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by 111t » Sat May 19, 2012 9:43 pm

A real liquid petroleum campstove is a good idea. If you're stocking a Bol at least two and a bulk supply of fuel.

My current favorite portable model is the primus omnifuel.
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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by Exploriment » Sat May 19, 2012 10:29 pm

So, out of curiosity, how much have you practiced with this gear? Tools to process wood are great, but can you burn wood inside your tent? If not, stuff you need to do, many important tasks either become awkward done inside the tent or need to be done outside - washing, changing, cooking, snow melting for water, etc. outside. A proper arctic tent, one meant to go down to -40 should have a wood stove inside. Or some kind of fuel, ie gas stove is required. Which requires carrying that fuel. Can that be operated in the tent? Travel in -40 requires much more clothing, space to store layers once you shuck them and then get them out again when you need to put them back on again. Arctic gear is bulkier and heavier. Often a pulk is needed, or snowmobiles, or dogs to carry the extra fuel, the extra clothing, the extra bulk and weight of sleep gear, the extra weight and bulk of tents that can actually be lived in for period of time, the extra weight and bulk of all that extra food you need to carry for all the calories you're burning.

Surviving for weeks on end in those conditions is not for the inexperienced or faint of heart or the solo survivor.

If you have no where really to go, if the realities of living in really cold conditions in a small space and the required housekeeping are new to you, you need to be doing more than asking on a forum what you need to survive on your own tramping around the wilds of boreal Quebec by yourself.

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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by 111t » Sun May 20, 2012 12:49 am

Yeah that's all very true.

I was watching a program about the us Antarctic program and they were interviewing a scientist stationed on the tundra far away from mcmurdo. The protocol in place called for the scientists to report in at regular intervals. A missed check in automatically resulted in a rescue operation. The guy whips out a sat phone which of course didn't work because of the cold. What does he do? He lights up the coleman two burner white gas stove and proceeds to warm the phone up over it till it works.

All of this inside one of their nylon basecamp tents.

The point is this guy knew what he could get away with. There are plenty of folks who say never ever light an unvented camp stove inside a tent. I'm not advocating it but people do it on a fairly regular basis and manage to not die. What those people have is experience.
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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by Ducky » Sun May 20, 2012 8:31 am

One trick that can be used that we have learened (via Gunny) Is the hot nalgene trick.
Get some water hot and pour it into your Nalgeen. Throw it into you cleeping bag before you get in and it will preeheat it a bit. Then througout the night you can move it around to any spots that may get cold.

On the topic of sleeping pads.
Thermarest has a model called the Thermarest Ridgerest Solite. It has a reflective covering to reflect your body heat back to you. Put it inside your bivy (not inside the sleeping bag) and it well help to reflect a bit more heat back and it will keep you from sliding off in the night.

Also consider a silk sleeping bag liner. Very lightweight, silk is very warm, and its really comphy.
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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by bacpacjac » Sun May 20, 2012 8:48 am

Think about hydration and calories. Don't underestimate the power of hot, high calorie food and drink. Getting your fire/stove situation figured out is key, but so too is carrying calories and pot to heat them up in. Melting snowing will be be an option but I always carry a bunch too.
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Re: Winter Bug Out Bag (Equipment)

Post by Mags » Mon May 21, 2012 8:32 pm

Get out there, push & test yourself. Although you need to tread lightly. Maybe starting out with day trips leading to overnighters progressing to multi day/night ops. Work smart not hard in the winter. Do not overheat! Once you start going down it is very difficult to comeback while out in the backcountry. Good Luck man!!
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