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Arctic Survival Question

Posted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:32 pm
by 204
So, say I need to take off in the middle of the arctic when it's 60 degrees below zero outside. What apparel would be best to wear, and which tent would be ideal?

I can already take care of my food and water needs, and I can build a fire. My main concern is staying warm at night when I'm asleep; worried about the fire going out in the middle of the night, or otherwise not producing enough heat to warm the inside of my tent; for all I know though, there could be a special tent out there that would eliminate that worry; like an insulated tent that reflects body heat back in on itself.

Yeah, I know; you'd think I'd know the answer to this because I live in the middle of Alaska. Sorry to say, but we don't just take off on a miles long foot journey here when it's 60 below outside; it'd be stupid. I want to learn how to do it though with as few supplies as possible. I like to travel light and rely primarily on my wits and the environment. In certain extreme regions however, I'll make exceptions for a few special pieces of equipment, (Anti-Malaria Tablets while traveling through Central and South America, for example).

Hope to hear from you, and thank you for your time.

Stay true. Stay free. Stay safe.


Re: Arctic Survival Question

Posted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:02 pm
by The Twizzler
Welcome to the forum! I can't contribute much real life experience since I have lived in the South my whole life but....
1. Wool- it keeps you warm, and doesn't water log as much as a lot of materials, non flammable in case you roll into the fire( welders use it for that reason)
2. Dogs- you really don't need much of a shelter if you lay with the huskies, body warmth and fur
3. Snow forts- snow is actually a great insulator, there are several videos on youtube showing how to make them. It seems a fire isn't even necessary if you make one correctly.


Re: Arctic Survival Question

Posted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:14 pm
by Zembecowicz
I'm actually about 3/4 of the way through reading Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know by Ranulph Fiennes.
He stated that he wore animal fur parkas for his first trip to the North Pole, but not what the fur was. He also slept in tents on most of his trips, but no mention was made of what they were made from. He did say that they had gasoline powered cookstoves in the tents.

Re: Arctic Survival Question

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:30 am
by 204
Thanks for the tips; a snow cave is a good idea; just got a flashback of my childhood when dad took my sister and I out on the river in the middle of winter to dig a cave into a snow drift. It was pretty toasty in there and all bundled up; almost got a little too warm to the point you'd have to either step outside or start stripping. The body heat generated seems to turn the walls of the cave into ice; it can be a little spooky waking up in one after a long nap, because the wind from outside has built up snow against the chunk of snow used as a door for the little hole you crawl into, making the cave airtight, thus keeping in the warmth more effectively; you kinda have to kick down the door to get out though if you've been in it a while. Though it may result in some lost heat, I think it might be a good idea to make an air hole or two for circulation; wouldn't want to risk suffocating, and I'm sure it would still be warm enough.

PS: Dogs are out of the question; I wouldn't want to have to worry about feeding any other mouths aside from my own; a pack of dogs just complicates things way too much. ...Maybe one dog; that could be good. A highly trained dog preferably; one that could serve as a guard dog, rescue dog, and therapeutic companion. If it's been trained to hunt down it's own food and return to base, even better haha.

Re: Arctic Survival Question

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:28 am
by woodsghost
You are talking about a very bad idea. But l sympathize with you. So really learn about moisture management for base layers. Then get good down outer garments. Have NO exposed skin. Not even your eyes. Wear goggles. You are talking about body parts getting frost bit in minutes flat. Especially if there is any wind.

Snow cave all the way. It gets you up to roughly 32 degrees, and that is practically T-shirt weather.

You know about air holes. Good. And look up stuff about constructing those snow caves. There is a right way and a lot of wrong ways.

Food. You will need a LOT of it. And understand dehydration will be a real danger. You will work and the dry air will pull the moisture from you. And don't EVER work up a sweat. Move slow and steady.

Snowshoes or skis and carrying a sled behind you will be your movement.

Practice practice practice. At -20. Then -30. Then -40. And you may decide at that point it sucks and be done. Or you may keep pushing. Always let people know where you are and where you are going and when to expect to hear from you.

Look up stuff written about the Iditarod. If they do something different from what I said, listen to them. They have more real world knowledge and experience than I ever hope to.

Good luck and good to see you around!

Re: Arctic Survival Question

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:48 pm
by Halfapint
I flew to Fairbanks about 9 years ago with a buddy. I've always had good cold weather gear, lots of base, mid, and outer ware. Had some nice gloves that I then covered with mittens, and boots that had replaceable liners. The one thing I forgot? My goggles. I walked outside in the roughly -40 and my eyes started to freeze. I'll never forget that feeling. I walked back inside and nearly left saying eff that.

Snow caves are great for quick and dirty shelters. They generally don't take much time to build and all you need is a shovel.

Snow trenches are better in my opinion. You can build a few together and have a nice little living area.

The best is igloos, they are for long term survival. They take a long time to build properly but once inside they give you a good amount of room and can be pretty warm.

If you're going out in the cold calories are your friend, I remember going up and we would drink hot chocolate with butter. We'd but butter on or in everything. It's easy to pack, calorie/fat dense and drinking the chocolate with butter in it before bed keeps you nice and warm.

Just some thoughts.

Re: Arctic Survival Question

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:12 pm
by 204
@Woodsghost: Thanks; and indeed haha, it is a pretty bad idea. XD I'm just kinda stuck in a shitty situation with a dysfunctional multi-generational family of eight; I'm getting to the point that I'd rather face down extreme sub-zero temperatures and battle against wild animals....than remain in this fucking house a moment longer lmao. XD ....Anyone else know any people like that? XD So yep.....I'm gonna start getting a kit together and planning things out; need to at least be able to survive until I reach a warmer climate; I'm thinking maybe southern California or Florida; someplace that never gets any snow. If I never see snow again for as long as I live, it'll be too soon lmao. #LivingInAlaskaSucksAss. XD

@Halfapint: Thanks for the info; I found some thermal underwear online that is allegedly made out of something called "phase change molecules" that keeps the hot stuff hot and keeps the cool stuff cool; basically a thermo-regulation undergarment that adapts to the environment. Interesting; I'm a little skeptical though. Fairly pricey too.

I would like to find something fairly form-fitting; perhaps a particular type of those skintight champion skier suits that you might see in the Olympics; probably need to have another layer or two. I don't like feeling constricted all bundled up in a snowsuit; I want to be able to fight, run and jump as effectively as possible; not weighed down by a bunch of gear. May or may not be possible with the technology of this time, but I'm thinking there's gotta be some kind of high-end super-material out there that's incredibly insulating as well as flexible and versatile.

PS: My piss freezes before it even touches the ground; that's how fun Alaska is in the winter. XD It's like shooting steam out your dick. XD

Re: Arctic Survival Question

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:39 pm
by woodsghost
I hear airplanes can take you to Florida AND California. It is a pretty cool technology. ;)

But on a serious note, I fully sympathize with your living conditions. The outdoors are a nice hobby and very therapeutic when not lethal. The woods fix a lot of the ugly in our lives.

Re: Arctic Survival Question

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:45 pm
by 204
Indeed. Need a good amount of time alone with my thoughts to reflect on things.

Re: Arctic Survival Question

Posted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:33 am
by Woods Walker
A friend of mine lives in Canada and they do military training in the arctic etc etc etc. He comes down and we all camp in the Dacks. Often it gets down to -20F but he has done in the -50s back home. Overall his gear looks like mine though he uses more white gas than myself often running lanterns and stove in his tipi. I do not recommend this for everyone. Well I do recommend white gas but not using it like him unless you're experienced. I would strongly suggest a packable heated shelter system. I am camping this weekend in sub zero. The person does post on this forum on occasion and you can see his kit along with mine in this video.

If you do what we do then odds are you would be ok. However minus the booze. LOL!

Re: Arctic Survival Question

Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:27 am
by 50 Mission Cap
No personal experience but from what I have seen and read - Caribou skin/fur is superior as cold weather insulation as the hairs are hollow. If Caribou is an option I believe this is the animal fur used by people operating in extreme cold. I'm guess this is what was worn on Arctic expeditions back in the day.

Re: Arctic Survival Question

Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:48 am
by teotwaki
For clothing and gear I would look at what Iditarod sledders and mountain climbers use. That should enable decent movement as well as protection from the cold yet save on weight. Layering is key.

The name brand clothing is pricey but check out your local Craigslist for good used gear in the off season. ... 83563.html ... 57309.html

I've compromised on time versus warmth with digging a snow pit, adding snow block walls and topping it with a Black Diamond Megamid tent.

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You can also use a good 4 season tent and build a snow block wall to minimize wind impacts
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As suggested, snow caves for hasty shelters and igloos for longer stays. A good snow shovel and snow saw are really helpful.