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Cold Weather Survival Evaluation

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Published on Feb 1, 2011

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Are you ready to bug out in cold weather? What gear would you need? How would you stay clean?

I thought I was ready until I actually tried winter camping for ten days. I had a lot to learn, the hard, cold way.

Sot and I arrived on Sunday and were stoked to get on the trail to find a place to set up camp. The snow wasn't deep enough to need snowshoes, which also meant we wouldn't be making any snow shelters like a quinzee or snow cave.

After some scouting we found an open area ideal for setting up the 11 foot diameter tipi and outside fire pit. The hike in only took about 15 minutes with our over packed sleds, and we're both sadly out of shape. Each sled was loaded with about 60 pounds of gear.

After we caught our breath we started to set up. The woodstove and teepee didn't take long, and within a couple of hours we had a working campsite complete with an outside firepit and lean-to.

We froze for the first three nights as I just couldn't get the stove in the tepee to work. Even with our mountains of wool blankets. In fact, we spent much of the first three nights hanging out in the truck with the heater on waiting for the sun to rise so we could drive to town and have a hot breakfast.

Sot had enough of the cold, hard living by Thursday, so I drove him home. While driving him home I got more supplies and the keys for my friend's cabin that's on the land we were camping on.

I thought it would be great to recover with some easier living in the cabin but I was in for a rude awakening. Since the cabin was in the middle of being renovated there was no source of heat and the walls and floors had many small holes that made it just as cold inside as outside.

There was a propane stove, a bed and level floors though, so it was easier in some ways than living in the great outdoors. It took me a couple of hours to make the mental shift from camper to squatter, but I eventually got the hang of it.

My heart goes out to homeless people, especially in cold climates. I was lucky to have an escape plan from my ten day experiment and still I found it challenging.

mice
bed blankets
hygiene-cleaning, pee, poo
cooking
tools
water
always cold, parka on

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