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The post about being homeless in the winter prompted me to do a little research and present a challenge for those who wish to participate.

First, take time to read a few of the articles below. Please note that the last four are nearly 100 years old, yet still a worthwhile read.

Now put yourself in a situation where you'd have to survive a winter in the wilderness. There's no relatives to stay with, your vehicle just ran out of gas and you're facing a week of zero degree weather. Consider that all of your belongings are in the vehicle.

Now tell us how you would survive.

I've been pondering this for a few days and hope that we all can learn something that may save our lives one day.

Maggie

http://www.backpacking.net/wintertips.html

http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/winter/wintcamp.shtml

http://www.macscouter.com/KeepWarm/

http://www.survivaltopics.com/survival/winter-survival-shelter-de-constructed/

http://www.consciouschoice.com/2002/cc1501/wintersurvival1501.html

www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/Outing/Volume_63/outLXIII03/outLXIII03j.pdf

www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/Outing/Volume_63/outLXIII04/outLXIII04m.pdf

www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/Outing/Volume_65/outLXV05/outLXV05o.pdf

www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/Outing/Volume_59/outLIX05/outLIX05p.pdf
 

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I run a remote trapline in Alaska and have spent many nights out in double digit negative temperatures. For my money the last four links have more practical information on improvising than most of prior links.

If you are stuck out for what ever reason you probably won't have a lot of the hi tech stuff they talk about in the first links. If you are going to survive and thrive you have to learn what you have at hand and how to use it. One of the best books I've seen on using what is at hand is Naked in the Wilderness by John & Jeri McPherson. It doesn't have a lot of winter information as such but has tons of general survival information. The McPherson's have trained Army Special Forces in improvised survival techniques.
 

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If all my belongings are in the car then I have my -35ºC sleeping bag, my two man tent, several tarps, some rope, my coleman stove with fuel, my coleman lantern, several flashlights that do not need batteries, a windup radio, and several days of food and water. I'm pretty well set equipment wise.

The first step would be setting up emergency flags on the vehicle. Then I would find a grove of trees and set up camp with tent and tarps somewhere where I could easily be found during a search and close enough to the road I can walk out and flag down traffic.
 

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Well, I'm going to assume that we have broken down someplace where there are trees and snow, not out in the middle of the windswept sagebrush flats. Someplace, in fact, like where the Kim family got lost and stuck a couple of years ago (and the father died trying to walk out, while his wife and children were rescued).

I have a tent, too, but in those temperatures, a tent isn't going to be much use if you can't build a fire inside of it. It wouldn't be safe to have a fire inside my nylon tent. So I would build a brush shelter and insulate it with snow, then build a tiny little fire at the opening of the shelter. Lay out the foam pads and the sleeping bags, heat some water for tea and soup, and go back out in the cold to make a similar shelter for my goats, who are patiently waiting in the back of the truck! Gather some browse for them, and either melt snow or carry water from a creek nearby to give them water (I have an axe to chop a hole in the ice). Milk the does, and go out and set snares to try to catch some meat. We could survive for quite a while on goat milk and small game, plus tea made from the buds of spruce and fir trees for Vit. C.

Kathleen
 

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Well, I'm going to assume that we have broken down someplace where there are trees and snow, not out in the middle of the windswept sagebrush flats. Someplace, in fact, like where the Kim family got lost and stuck a couple of years ago (and the father died trying to walk out, while his wife and children were rescued).

I have a tent, too, but in those temperatures, a tent isn't going to be much use if you can't build a fire inside of it. It wouldn't be safe to have a fire inside my nylon tent. So I would build a brush shelter and insulate it with snow, then build a tiny little fire at the opening of the shelter. Lay out the foam pads and the sleeping bags, heat some water for tea and soup, and go back out in the cold to make a similar shelter for my goats, who are patiently waiting in the back of the truck! Gather some browse for them, and either melt snow or carry water from a creek nearby to give them water (I have an axe to chop a hole in the ice). Milk the does, and go out and set snares to try to catch some meat. We could survive for quite a while on goat milk and small game, plus tea made from the buds of spruce and fir trees for Vit. C.

Kathleen
I have to ask...I know how cold a three dog night is. How cold does it have to get before you are willing to have a three goat night?

Kayleigh
 

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I have to ask...I know how cold a three dog night is. How cold does it have to get before you are willing to have a three goat night?

Kayleigh
LOL! VERY cold! Colder than I've ever seen, and I've seen cold! Goats will stand up in the night and pee, then lie back down -- not going to let that anywhere near my sleeping bag! I do have two large dogs, though, who would be sharing the shelter with us.

Kathleen
 

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One of my net-friends, Cody Lundin, has two books that address survival for those of us who didn't grow up knowing these things. Most of my information on the subject comes from him, and his website is codylundin.com. His 1st book, "98.6 The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive" is well worth the price. The 2nd, "When All Hell Breaks Loose" is more geared toward city life, but still a very down-to-earth awesome book. I base my bag (which is wherever I am) on the stuff I've learned from them.

All that said, my first priority is a fire - I carry a firestarter on my keychain, and have lighters in my purse, with firestarter in my bag. My second priority is shelter out of the weather, and the car could do that. I'd probably insolate it outside if I felt it needed it with downed branches or whatever else I could find. I'd insolate me with my clothes, a hat, and my sleeping bag with the mylar nearer me inside the car. The third priority is water, because without it you cannot maintain core temp. So, creek stream, or melted snow, then SODIS, bleach, or boil it.

Food would be nice, but you can actually not eat for a month and survive (my stomach is plenty fat, thanks), so while I'd be irritated, grumpy, and peeved, I'd live given the warmth, and water. For your five days, anyway.

Now, in training they played us a calltape of a drugged up couple who froze to death because they had no idea where they were - please remember that some cell phones don't GPS your location, and if they're disconnected, they still call 911 but 911 cannot call you back if you hang up. Know where you are, even when traveling.

As Cody says, Party On.
 
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