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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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  #21  
Old 06-28-2011, 08:13 AM
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richwads richwads is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonrider
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.
Ah-ha! A chance for more themed trips. Our little group did some extended (8-12 days) trips without stoves. We had all the other amenities, but got much practice fire building and cooking with fire. On a different theme, one trip we took a stove, but committed to building warming fires only if we could light them with flint and steel, gathering our tinder while hiking, rain or shine. We had a fire every night, tho we didn't expect such success. We had no fire starting shortcuts, and had to gather dry kindling after heavy rain. I find that one is more committed to learning new things when he has no choice . One new thing one learns is that it isn't so bad as expected when things go wrong, i.e. eating trail mix for dinner if a fire can't be built, or sleeping under a poncho (not pitched as a tarp) in a thunderstorm in a down bag that gets wet .
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  #22  
Old 06-28-2011, 08:55 AM
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tonto tonto is offline
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Really Spaced Out

It sounds like your "space blanket" is the heavy duty tarp job.
It's kind of a shiny metalized version of the cheap blue tarp only slightly more expensive.
Am I right?
I had one just like it back in 1968 when I was backpacking with the Sea Scouts.
Back then they where a consumer spin-off of the NASA space program.
They where a slightly bulky but light cutting edge product for back woods adventures.
From what I've seen in the stores they haven't changed in 40+ years.
It's a durable, usable and solid workhorse and that's just why it's been around for so long.

I'll relate my 1968 experience because it sound just like what you intend to do with your sleeping arrangement.
My first backpack with the Sea Scouts was a weekend assault on Mt Katadyn and a section of the AT.
I was a 16 year old kid with more balls then brains and not much outdoor savvy back then.
But I got an education on that trip!!!

To save weight I chose not to bring a tent or sleeping bag for mid October in Maine.
Instead, I brought a wool army blanket, a rubberized nylon poncho/tarp and my wonder toy space blanket tarp for double duty ground cloth/ burrito blanket enhancer.

The first night at camp was damp and chilly in the woods by a lake at the base of the mountain.
The temperature dropped to about the mid thirties after the sun went down.
I set up the poncho as a lean-to and bedded down on a 3/8" ensolite sleeping pad (another new cutting edge product at the time).
It was 3/4 length so I propped my wool sock clad feet off the ground on my empty pack.
The bed roll was the wool blanket spread on top of the the space blanket.
Fully clothed I lay on top of one half of the set up.
I threw the other half over me, tucked it in on the side to cut out any drafts and snugged down for the night.
My unshod feet got cold right away.
This is when I learned the "keep your feet in your boots" trick for warmth.
I' ve used it ever since 'cause it works.
My bed roll rig kept me fairly cozy until I woke in the gray hours of dawn the next day.

That's when I got my education.
My wool blanket was soggy and wet but not quite to the point where you could wring the dampness out of it.
It weighed a TON!!!
I suffered lugging that weight to the summit of Katadyn and 15 miles of the AT.
A second miserable night was spent rolled up in the damp blanket and metalized plastic tarp.
Long hours passed shivering in my dank tomb.
Eventually the ordeal was interrupted by a few hours sleep after passing out from shear exhaustion.
The next day I hiked out under the burden of that sodden woolen mistake.
On subsequent hikes with the Sea Scouts I never repeated that mistake again.

Undaunted, I experimented with different gear permutations to solve the condensation/heat conundrum
I went back to using a sleeping bag, in conjunction with the poncho and space blanket tarp.
My first experiment was using the poncho as a ground cloth and the space blanket as a tarp shelter.
My thinking was to benefit from the reflective properties of the shelter and avoid the condensation problem.
The conclusion: no condensation problem but, because of convective heat loss, there is no benefit gained from body heat.
The reflective surface is just too far away from a weak heat source.
Moving air around the sleeper takes away any heat before it can be reflected.

A fire, being a stronger radiant heat source, will provide warmth reflected off the space blanket.
But there' s a down sides to the scenario.

1. The heat source must be tended periodically.
2. sparks can damage the plastic and nylon gear set up.

Solutions are a mixed bag in themselves.

1. A small fire must be closer to the gear set up and requires the use of low sparking, very dry wood and frequent fire tending due to quicker fuel consumption.
The plus is the heat source is closer for easier tending.

2. A larger fire farther from the gear set up may reduce gear spark damage and requires less tending but more fuel is consumed and must be tended by getting up to tend it.

I also reversed the set up using the space blanket as the ground cloth and the poncho as tarp.
Body heat is reflecting back because the heat source is closer to the reflective surface and it can be felt.
There is no air space (other then in the sleeping bag insulation) where convection can rob body heat reflected off the metalized surface.
This set up is closer to the original function of the product: to reflect body heat inside a space suit.
The problem is a space suit is a closed climate controlled system that can't be duplicate in the wild.
Thus, a space blanket has limitations and draw backs in back country use.

A very rough equivalent to a space suit is the emergency bivi bag.
It' s a closed system that enhances reflective heat and reduces convective heat loss.
But, unlike a space suit which is climate controlled, it promotes retention of ambient moisture.

I should clarify how I use my Thermo-lite bivi to reduce the condensation problem.
The bag has a slit up the side for venting creating a foot box.
I use the bag just like a quilt with a foot box set up on top of a 3/4 self inflated pad.
My feet are in the foot box with the foot vent open and the slit side down.
The upper part of the bag drapes over my chest.
This set up provides warmth and some venting to reduce the condensation.

I hope my education has enlightened you on the subject.
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  #23  
Old 06-28-2011, 03:00 PM
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richwads richwads is offline
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This is the fanny pack I keep in the car for impromptu day hikes, that I intend to stealth camp with as another experiment.


Bottom row, left to right: 50 ft "para"cord carried in qt freezer bag, lockback knife and compass on top of bandana, sunblock, TP, 2 Clif bars, 2 energy gels with caffeine (coffee addict here)
Middle row, l to r: stainless steel water bottle (full), six items (lighter, wp matches, LED flashlight, Classic Swiss army knife, chapstick, container of aspirin) that actually fit in the AMK first aid kit with bandages, antiseptic, CLO2 tablets, and tic remover; AMK survival blanket, Marmot Ion hooded windshirt stuffed in its own pocket, Equinox silnylon poncho
Top: empty fanny pack

Weight full (including 18 oz water): 4 lb 10 oz

Most of this should be on day hikes anyway - I can't remember how many times I wished I had a windbreaker /poncho /chapstick /water /bandanna /TP /snack . Some is redundant with my everyday carry stuff. But Hey! I might be on my way home from a wedding and want to explore a trail, or some of this stuff will be handy (and has been) while just driving!

It feels cool to hike on the local trails knowing I can duck into the woods and spend the night if I feel like it! And so I will!
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  #24  
Old 06-30-2011, 10:17 AM
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dragonrider dragonrider is offline
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Tonto, yes, you are correct about the kind of space blanket I have --- it's like you 1968 version. Thanks for the details of the different configurations you've used with the space blankets and bivies. You have saved me a few experiments of my own, I think. I was curious how well the space blanket worked as a tarp shelter for reflecting body heat back, and you've answered that one for me --- not so good because of convection. And thanks also for the details about trade-offs using the tarp as a heat reflector for a fire heat source.

Richwads, thanks for posting the pic of your kit. It looks like about what I have typically carried for a normal emergency kit. The main differences so far that I can see in what I am planning are:
* I think I need more water capacity than what you have there. Is an 18-ounce bottle all you usually carry? One Idea I had was to have a small bottle like yours for prepared drinking water, ready to drink. And also carry a larger empty platy rolled up in the kit, ready to purify an overnight quantity of water. I suppose if you needed to, you could purify a quart of water in the ziploc you use for your cord.

* At this point I have a garbage bag instead of the poncho. But I'm going to look into getting a poncho.

* Your food looks about right for an emergency kit, but I'll probably bring more than what you have there.

* Just minor differences in the kinds of fire-starters, lights, knives, etc.
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  #25  
Old 06-30-2011, 05:12 PM
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richwads richwads is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonrider
Richwads, thanks for posting the pic of your kit. It looks like about what I have typically carried for a normal emergency kit. The main differences so far that I can see in what I am planning are:
* I think I need more water capacity than what you have there. Is an 18-ounce bottle all you usually carry? One Idea I had was to have a small bottle like yours for prepared drinking water, ready to drink. And also carry a larger empty platy rolled up in the kit, ready to purify an overnight quantity of water. I suppose if you needed to, you could purify a quart of water in the ziploc you use for your cord.
. . . . . .
* Your food looks about right for an emergency kit, but I'll probably bring more than what you have there.
. . . . . .





I'm glad you noticed . You are right on about both food and water.

Both would be increased if I know ahead of time (i.e. a planned experiment), as I took 16 oz of trail mix on mine (ate most of it in 24 hrs). I think my next trip will limit water and food at the start, forcing me to treat water in the freezer bag (or a pint at a time in the bottle), and to get a little hungry.

BTW, I agree with your prior thoughts about a metal bottle; something to boil water in case of running out of chemicals.

The experience may cause me to carry a bigger bottle and more food in the future !
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  #26  
Old 07-01-2011, 12:21 AM
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MoondogFiftyfive MoondogFiftyfive is offline
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I have talked about this in other threads, what you are doing is both fun and sensible if done correctly ( have your bug-out plan and alternate exits firmly in your head and well mapped out ) but it is my experienced belief that you really really really need a much bigger pot, something that can hold a full 2 liters of boiling water, get a good quality Aluminium billy-can with a lid and pick your carry bag to fit it, then use that to carry your survival kit and other stuff in it.

Make it a bare-bones outfit and you can use an empty #10 tin can instead of the manufactured billy-can but having a lid makes a huge difference.
you will be amazed at how much stuff you can stuff in a 2 liter container with a little effort

I found a ex-army gas mask bag that is of 12 liters volume and such small bags make excellent emergency kit holders. This is about as small as I personally would go for a minimal kit, small enough to never leave behind but big enough to carry a good selection of gear and if you strap a poncho on top probably sufficient for a ( albeit uncomfortable ) week-end; if postage wasn't so high I'd be ordering already, water bottle extra as always, in my case my old army canteen as it has the SS cup already

Last edited by GGervin : 07-03-2011 at 06:36 PM.
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  #27  
Old 07-02-2011, 02:36 PM
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richwads richwads is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoondogFiftyfive
. . . . but it is my experienced belief that you really really really need a much bigger pot, something that can hold a full 2 liters of boiling water, . . . . .
I can't disagree with you, you're right on. My little 18 oz SS bottle is a poor excuse for a pot! I'm looking for the right fanny pack with a bottle holder or two, and will have a steel 1 liter bottle and a 1 liter collapsible Platypus or equivalent soon. Not quite the 2 liter pot, but an improvement.

Already, for my top pouch of my backpack, I have a Titan kettle 850 ml plus an Esbit stove and an empty Platy, plus carry a liter Aquafina bottle full, when I leave camp. I didn't have the stove or kettle on my experiment, as no fires were allowed AND I wanted to experiment with a 24 hour diet of trail mix (cold food).

BUT, I'm looking at putting together a nesting ti pot set with a Bushcooker Lt1 stove inside that will burn solid fuel, alcohol or wood. Nesting kettle and cup so I can have a hot drink and boil or cook something else at the same time .

I used to carry a 2 quart pot when I made pasta for my family, but for just me it would be too bulky for my svelte internal frame pack .
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  #28  
Old 07-02-2011, 06:54 PM
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MoondogFiftyfive MoondogFiftyfive is offline
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It's probably an Australian thing

While I take advantage of some of the principles of the "Ultralite movement" personally I think you can get too lite to be functional in extreme circumstances, if you look at the Mors K survival books he took his inspiration from the Australian bushcraft books and in those the big billy is so taken for granted it is mentioned only once.

This is why I like the A10 tin-can hobo stove, because my billy fits inside, even if you had to sew up your own bag to fit your kit.
We are rebuilding the house at the moment but as soon as I can I'll take some pix of what I have set up.

I must say I haven't done a minimal week-end sine I was about 16 or 17YO and I have learned a heck of a lot about being comfortable since then, I have also learned that being uncomfortable is both bearable and not life threatening, where-as being too cold or too hot can kill you quite quickly. So when making comments about peoples plans I almost always assume that the plan includes clothing appropriate to the region and season, and no matter what the weather I always have a wooly hat somewhere ( this means often have 2 or more hats in my bag and an extra hat can make a great big difference)
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  #29  
Old 07-06-2011, 11:02 AM
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dragonrider dragonrider is offline
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Moondog, thanks for the post. I think if I was putting together a kit for an intentional minimalist bushcrafting adventure, or a grab-and-go kit for the car or house, I would definitely include the billy can you mention.

But for this trip, I'm not really settled on what I am trying to do. I started off thinking about what I would normally carry as my emergency kit in my daypack for a day hike, and the trip was intended to test what it would be like if I actually got stranded with that kit. If I stick with that theme, then I'll probably not bring the billy can, because I probably would not put that in my normal emergency kit for day hikes. I'm leaning toward either a metal water bottle that I could boil water in if need be, or a metal cup that would be smaller than the 2-liter billy can you mentioned.

Because my group has sort of set parameters that everything should fit in pockets and a fanny pack, I am actually looking at a military butt pack I saw at a surplus store and a military canteen with stainless cup. The butt pack would give me the capacity to carry everything I've planned on bringing so far, including a few more layers of clothing, and the canteen and cup would solve the issue of having a way to boil water. These are also both pretty affordable.
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  #30  
Old 07-06-2011, 11:26 AM
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richwads richwads is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoondogFiftyfive
So when making comments about peoples plans I almost always assume that the plan includes clothing appropriate to the region and season, and no matter what the weather I always have a wooly hat somewhere ( this means often have 2 or more hats in my bag and an extra hat can make a great big difference)
Ahh yes the wooley hat! Another thing not in my kit that I took with me. You're right - even with an experiment, one should wear or carry appropriate clothes for the season. That begs the question of having that appropriate clothing pre-packed in the survival kit. I always wear a hat, but switch hats at sundown, which if not packed, won't be with me, forcing me to make something with my bandanna (and/or dead leaves?) and the hood of my windbreaker (which IS in my kit). hmm. . .
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