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Bushcraft & Primitive Wilderness Skills The Bushcraft & Primitive Wilderness Skills forum is for discussion (on-site content) that directly relates to ancient and/or primitive style bushcraft/wilderness skills (e.g. firecraft, foraging, natural material construction, modern/primitive tools, long-term wilderness survival,...).


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  #11  
Old 06-27-2011, 09:33 AM
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richwads richwads is offline
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Dragonrider-
I hadn't noticed that your list didn't include a poncho. I've used a poncho as primary rain gear and as a tarp shelter for so long, I've always included it as survival gear as a no-brainer. In a real pinch you can simply wear it over everything and huddle against a tree trunk and wait out a storm. Otherwise, using it as a ground cloth or tarp is a little classier. If it's not looking like rain, snap one end up halfway to make a "pocket" at one end (mine is 6'6" long after doing that), then use your feet (boots on) to keep the bottom in place and pull the top up like a blanket. This would be on top of whatever you can gather for ground insulation. The AMK blanket could be used as a ground cloth to keep your clothes from picking up the duff, but you can sleep right on a leaf pile if you want.
I've heard the AMK blanket is strong enough to use as a tarp if you reinforce the corners with duct tape and stick a large safety pin through for tieing out guy lines (I keep intending to do the duct tape to my 2 person AMK blanket). Then using the AMK blanket as a windbreak would be even more cozy. So having both a poncho and a blanket gives you more options.

The emergency bivy I used worked well enough tho, and can be modified to work as a poncho or tarp in a pinch.

I'm looking forward to what you finally decide on and how your selected gear works in the field.
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  #12  
Old 06-27-2011, 12:43 PM
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dragonrider dragonrider is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richwads
Dragonrider-
I hadn't noticed that your list didn't include a poncho. I've used a poncho as primary rain gear and as a tarp shelter for so long, I've always included it as survival gear as a no-brainer. In a real pinch you can simply wear it over everything and huddle against a tree trunk and wait out a storm. Otherwise, using it as a ground cloth or tarp is a little classier. If it's not looking like rain, snap one end up halfway to make a "pocket" at one end (mine is 6'6" long after doing that), then use your feet (boots on) to keep the bottom in place and pull the top up like a blanket. This would be on top of whatever you can gather for ground insulation. The AMK blanket could be used as a ground cloth to keep your clothes from picking up the duff, but you can sleep right on a leaf pile if you want.
I've heard the AMK blanket is strong enough to use as a tarp if you reinforce the corners with duct tape and stick a large safety pin through for tieing out guy lines (I keep intending to do the duct tape to my 2 person AMK blanket). Then using the AMK blanket as a windbreak would be even more cozy. So having both a poncho and a blanket gives you more options.

The emergency bivy I used worked well enough tho, and can be modified to work as a poncho or tarp in a pinch.

I'm looking forward to what you finally decide on and how your selected gear works in the field.

I've never carried a poncho on regular backpacking trips. I carry a rain shell for a wind and rain garment. I carry a tarp for shelter. And a I carry a separate ground sheet. I certainly don't have room for all that on this trip, so maybe a poncho is the way to go. Any tips on selecting one? Good features to look for?

The space blanket I have is 5x7, thicker than heat sheets, and it has grommets to allow it to be guyed out, so it could be rigged as a tarp tent. It has a shiny space blanket reflector on one side and bright red on the other. I have not weighed it, but I guess it is probably somewhere between 7 - 10 ounces.

On a cold, wet and/or windy night with a poncho and the metailized space blanket tarp I described, what do you think the best configuration would be? Obviously one would be the shelter and the other would be to keep warm, but how would you do it? Seems like rigging the poncho as a tarp shelter and wrapping up in the space blanket would make most sense. Would there be any reason to rig the space blanket as the shelter and use the poncho to sleep in?

I understand a space blanket works by reflecting your body heat back on yourself, and you don't want it too tight or you get condensation problems. Is there any value to setting it up as a lean-to or an A-frame tarp tent setup? Will is still effectively reflect body heat back to you if it is rigged up as a snug shelter and you are pretty close to the reflective surface? Or does it need to be worn more like a garment in order to reflect body heat?

The funny thing is, I've camped at places in California in the summer where the problem is not how to stay warm. The problem is it is too hot to sleep. You could lay flat on the ground in your underwear and still be too hot at midnight. Of course, you never count on something like that. But I can see myself thinking through how to keep warm, and then having it be blazing hot on this trip!
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  #13  
Old 06-27-2011, 01:05 PM
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dragonrider dragonrider is offline
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Another question for you Richwads (or anyone else who cares to chime in).
I see you are from California, so I was wondering where you went for your experimental survival kit trip, and do you have any recommendations?

Most of the places I go have had fairly strict rules about fires and wood gathering, and usually my group practices LNT. I want to go somewhere where I feel comfortable harvesting some wood, maybe building a primitive shelter, having a fire if it is allowed --- things that would not be appropriate in some of the locations I usually hike. I think your post mentioned the area you went was set to be logged, so it was OK to make your shelters.

I live in the East Bay region of The SF Bay Area. It would be great to find someplace within about 3 hours drive. It doesn't need to be a long hike, and it should have a good water supply. I'm thinking maybe some kind of forest service land where wood gathering is allowed, near a lake or river where we can hike a mile or so --- just enough to get away from the car and other people, but leave an easy bailout if we don't like how it is working out. Know of any good spots like that?
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  #14  
Old 06-27-2011, 05:17 PM
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richwads richwads is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonrider
I understand a space blanket works by reflecting your body heat back on yourself, and you don't want it too tight or you get condensation problems. Is there any value to setting it up as a lean-to or an A-frame tarp tent setup? Will is still effectively reflect body heat back to you if it is rigged up as a snug shelter and you are pretty close to the reflective surface? Or does it need to be worn more like a garment in order to reflect body heat?

I did get condensation problems in the space blanket bivy, and it wanted to stay open around my shoulders as it didn't have enough weight to drape over me. That, unfortunately, let cold air move around my shoulders. It's a trade-off. With clothes on, the outer layer will get damp spots, but if the wind is kept out, evaporative heat loss will be minimized. I did this using a poncho as a blanket over me on a different occasion and had the same problem. Once in a while I would lift it up and let it down for a humid air exchange. There is no real solution for the condensation problem when it is used as a blanket or bivy.

If it was really cold and stormy and opportunities for shelter building were limited, I would pitch the poncho as a tarp (for wind and rain protection) and wrap up burrito style in the blanket. Under more moderate conditions, I think building a branch-framed structure with the blanket pulled over it (reflective side down), and using my poncho as a blanket would be more cozy.

Under a reflective lean-to using a fire, you will be in a reflector oven .

For me, it was more about knowing what I would be getting into ahead of time, so that in a real survival experience, my expectations would be more realistic and I wouldn't be as paralyzed about what to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonrider
I see you are from California, so I was wondering where you went for your experimental survival kit trip, and do you have any recommendations?

I was in Santa Cruz County on Big Creek Lumber property, where I've obtained permission to deer hunt and operate amateur radio in the past. Right now I'm also considering stealth camping in Nisene Marks State Park, hiking in with my day pack and spending the night (without a fire). My other experiments, one of which allowed a fire, were on private property in a skills class setting. Otherwise, I'm trying to find answers to the same questions as you - where can I go on public lands and make a shelter and have a fire without feeling like an outlaw?

Giving up the fire option opens up many other options.
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  #15  
Old 06-27-2011, 05:20 PM
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SSDD SSDD is offline
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I lived in the east Bay for 35 years so as you know there is not a lot of hiking close

The Ohlone trail from (Livermore) Del Valle to Sunol park or keep going to Ohlone college in (Fremont) now fires are a no go but over there are the nights that gets down to 80deg and I don't miss that at all

Or go up to the foot hills by grass valley or out by Shaver Lake or go out to the Santa Cruz area like Castle rock.

Now you can use your survival blanket as a lean to reflect the heat from a fire, or pitch it low with 3 sides to the ground if it gets cold and cover up with your poncho but those two are big and bulky so I would only pick one.

Oh if you are making a fire use a dakota fire ring/hole they work great
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  #16  
Old 06-27-2011, 05:44 PM
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dragonrider dragonrider is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richwads
If it was really cold and stormy and opportunities for shelter building were limited, I would pitch the poncho as a tarp (for wind and rain protection) and wrap up burrito style in the blanket. Under more moderate conditions, I think building a branch-framed structure with the blanket pulled over it (reflective side down), and using my poncho as a blanket would be more cozy.

That was sort of my theory too --- wrapped in foil and using the poncho as a tarp in severe conditions, other away around if it were more moderate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by richwads
Under a reflective lean-to using a fire, you will be in a reflector oven .

I think that would be interesting to try.

Quote:
Originally Posted by richwads
For me, it was more about knowing what I would be getting into ahead of time, so that in a real survival experience, my expectations would be more realistic and I wouldn't be as paralyzed about what to do.

That is the main reason I want to try it. I want to understand how this equipment works and be prepared if I ever need to use it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by richwads
I'm trying to find answers to the same questions as you - where can I go on public lands and make a shelter and have a fire without feeling like an outlaw?

It seems like it should be easier to find places relatively nearby that allow this kind of activity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by richwads
Giving up the fire option opens up many other options.

That is very true. I haven't had a fire while backpacking for years, except a few times in spring at Castle Rock in designated fire rings, and I don't really miss it. The main reason I think it would be good for this trip is that in a real emergency, I'd like to have a fire. So it's another skill to practice in keeping with the theme of the trip. If we can't find a place that will allow it, we'll just have to do without, I guess.
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  #17  
Old 06-27-2011, 05:57 PM
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dragonrider dragonrider is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSDD
I lived in the east Bay for 35 years so as you know there is not a lot of hiking close

The Ohlone trail from (Livermore) Del Valle to Sunol park or keep going to Ohlone college in (Fremont) now fires are a no go but over there are the nights that gets down to 80deg and I don't miss that at all

Or go up to the foot hills by grass valley or out by Shaver Lake or go out to the Santa Cruz area like Castle rock.

Now you can use your survival blanket as a lean to reflect the heat from a fire, or pitch it low with 3 sides to the ground if it gets cold and cover up with your poncho but those two are big and bulky so I would only pick one.

Oh if you are making a fire use a dakota fire ring/hole they work great

SSDD, thanks for the reply.

I'm pretty familiar with the areas you are talking about, except for Shaver Lake. I've done parts of the Ohlone trail, going in from Livermore and from the Sunol end. You are right, it can get blazing hot. And I've also been to Castle Rock, Butano, Pescadero, Big Basin, etc. in the Santa Cruz mountains. Those are great for convenient overnighters in this area. The problem with those spots for this trip is that they are all a bit overdeveloped for this kind of trip, and they would definitely frown on gathering wood for shelters, let alone a fire.

What is Shaver Lake like? Maybe I'll look that up.
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  #18  
Old 06-27-2011, 07:14 PM
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richwads richwads is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonrider
I've never carried a poncho on regular backpacking trips. I carry a rain shell for a wind and rain garment. I carry a tarp for shelter. And a I carry a separate ground sheet. I certainly don't have room for all that on this trip, so maybe a poncho is the way to go. Any tips on selecting one? Good features to look for?
I use the Equinox extended backpacking poncho. 1.1 oz silnylon, weighs 9+ oz, packs very small, 58" x 104". This poncho plus the AMK blanket don't really weigh much or take much room. I think your choice of the heavier blanket is good, but with the poncho to serve in bad conditions, I think the 3 oz blanket would be fine. I'll post a photo of my day pack and its contents when I have time.
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  #19  
Old 06-27-2011, 07:25 PM
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Ralph Ralph is offline
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"they would definitely frown on gathering wood for shelters, let alone a fire."

Sure, it's much better to leave dead wood laying about to build up fuel for a really good wildfire come a good lightning strike.

In an area where you can expect rain (like here) rain gear is the best. I have rain jacket and pants but usually carry an anorak and chaps. If you don't expect rain - in an arid/semi-arid area the poncho is much more flexible. There are lightweight, compact and inexpensive ones available. If you do wear a pocho, bring along a length of cord or a belt to snug the poncho around the waist - less flapping in the wind that way. The GI versions have the cord attached and are tough, but a bit bulkier and heavier. (I have a GI poncho in the truck kit). The one I tote along with me is one I got from EMS, about the size of a soda can and weighs 8.9 oz in its' bag.

Bring along a few safety pins (Dan Beard recommended pinning a bunch inside the jacket or shirt). If it does get cold pinning up a Heat Sheet or a mylar reflective blanket inside the tarp/poncho will reflect both heat and light from fire, stove or candle lantern.

Reversed (shiny side out) the blanket can be an effective sunshade and heat repeller.
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  #20  
Old 06-27-2011, 08:36 PM
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SSDD SSDD is offline
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Shaver lake is in the foot hills of the Sierra above Fresno there is some nice areas to hike, you said you would like to keep a car/truck near by in case things get ugly all you have to do is take a old logging road or OHV out and park and start hiking.

You could stay on the logging/OHV road and when you want to set up camp hike off trail 200 yards or you can even use a site right there that has been used before and make your fire some times there is left over chopped wood waiting for you.
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