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Start of winter and time to hot wax the backcountry skis with glide wax on tip and tails, and to treat the kick zone scales with Easyglide wax.  In this video I show my method of hot waxing skis, but please note I am not a pro ski technician, so this is not a "how-to", it's just the way I do it. For an accurate how-to instructional video, please watch/listen to the pros who do this for a living.

I also show my home-made DIY ski vice, which was designed for narrow track skis and wide backcountry skis, fully adjustable. This is the same ski vice that is pictured in the e-book above under Backcountry Skiing/Waxing and Waxless.

For this type of work and ski base repair jobs, I think it is important to have the skis secured in a vice so that you have hands free to work on the skis efficiently, and the skis don't bounce around.  A ski vice can be purchased from ski stores if you don't want to make your own. Mine is heavy and not portable, so its meant for home base. It was cheap and relatively easy to make with basic tools (drill, electric jigsaw, hand saw, chisel, hand clamps, and common hardware store hardware).

Now if I could pry myself away from my computer and get out of the city, it's time to get out into the backcountry for some skiing!

Hi folks,
We are in the process of changing web hosts, and looking into new IT technical services. The deal is not yet done with the new prospective hosting company, so stand by for news on that.  One of the items on the TO-DO list, by VERY popular demand by you the membership, is to see if this website can host all your posted photos, with a user-friendly upload method directly into a post from your hard drive.  There will be a business cost to absorb for that, if the hosting company can change our software to do that, and we will see how we can raise money to support the new costs of the website. (Working on a "Donate" button).  Stand by for news soon on these developments.

We all know now that Photobucket, a formerly free photo sharing website (no more) that many of us used, cut all the links, and ruined many photo posts.  I was on Photobucket. I am not paying their new $399 USD for an annual membership to get their new service.   >:(

I signed onto, which offers free photo sharing accounts, and uploaded some photos there, and found it easy (once I got used to their screens), to copy-paste the BB code option (they give you 4 options of URL linking codes), into a Notepad screen, separate out the IMG tags wrapped around the actual photo location, and then copy that clean code wrapped in IMG tags and paste into a thread post, without all the rest of the gobbledygook code string. 

Flickr automatically wraps the IMG tags so you don't have to use the little Mona Lisa "insert images" button to wrap the location with IMG tags. 
There are other free photo share websites that offer similar services.   But now we know none of them are a guarantee long term.

I plan to do a screen grab how-to tutorial on that using Flickr, and once that is done, then delete all the old instructions for how to post photos.
The long term goal is to host photos here securely, and not rely on the middleman who can cut our links at any time. 

RECOMMENDATION:  Always compose your photo post thread in a word processing file, insert all the URL's wrapped in IMG tags, and save it to your hard drive.  Also insert a copy of your photo filename location on your hard drive so you can find it again.  Then copy-paste it into the thread post here.  Then delete the hard drive photo filenames in the thread post.  If the share links are cut in the future by the photo-sharing website, you have your document, and can restore the photo posting by replacing the URLs with your new photo location storage site.

Hi folks,
Sleddawg has a big stash of patches and stickers ready to ship, and they make great gifts and stocking stuffers, and that season is fast approaching! (uh...its here!).  All proceeds go to funding the website.

The old "how to purchase" method is disconnected, and I am in the process of creating a new Paypal system. No worries if you don't have a Paypal account, you can use your credit card on the system (if all works out like I am planning).  The system says I have to wait 24-48 hours to confirm the new settings I set (sigh...).
Stand by for an update in a day or two.  In the mean time, feast your eyes on these from the previous batch (stay tuned for confirmation of appearance of the stash Sleddawg has):



Vendor's Forums News / Vendors Forums: Welcome to Snowtrekker Tents!
« on: November 04, 2017, 04:18:21 pm » is proud to announce the addition of Snowtrekker Tents to our Vendors business forums!

Snowtrekker Tents almost needs no introduction to our Forums here, being in the business of manufacturing of one of the most well-used and best-loved range of canvas hot tents on the market for 20 years and counting.  Snowtrekker Tents, stoves and accessories, are owned by many members of the forums here, and are featured in photo trip reports, videos, and increasingly are commonly seen as the hot tent being used in documentary films and videos from winter adventurers around the world. 

Please visit Snowtrekker Tents website at

Welcome to Snowtrekker tents as a Vendor Forums business member!



Vendor's Forums News / Vendors Forums: Welcome to Bothwell Voyageur!
« on: November 04, 2017, 01:26:32 pm » is proud to announce the addition of Bothwell Voyageur to the Vendors Forums business membership!  Based in Manitoba, BV is well known to the forums here, being an avid and accomplished winter trekker who has posted many trip reports and videos, including showing his finely made gear in action.  BV's company is CanoePaddler, website link here:  Check out his website store for not only the fine winter camping gear, but year-round gear for back packers, hikers and paddlers. 

Welcome Bothwell Voyageur to the Vendors Forums!

Vendor's Forums News / Vendors Forums: Welcome to Lure of the North!
« on: November 02, 2017, 09:54:55 pm » is proud to announce that "Lure of the North" has joined our vendor business forums. 

Lure of the North is owned and operated by Dave and Kielyn Marrone, and their company specializes in guided traditional winter travel, crafts and skills, as well as summer guided canoe trips, and other custom outdoor activities that take customers into the back country. Please check out their website for detailed information on the spectacular outdoor adventures they take customers on into the back country of northern Ontario and beyond, plus courses and craft workshops they conduct in not just where they live, but in planned traveling workshops in various locations. Plus their store with featured products, DIY kits, clothing, equipment, craft supplies, books and maps, etc.

Their website is beautifully set up to see everything they have to offer for guided trips, gear, workshops, videos and goes on and on.  Dave and Kie have given several presentations at several the Annual Winter Camping Symposiums, and are symposium favourites - we all wish we were along on their guided trips when watching their videos and photography.

Please feel free to start a conversation with Dave and Kie in the LOTN Forum, or off line using the PM function.  I know Dave and Kie are extremely busy now at the beginning of the winter season.  Moccasins and mukluks and other clothing have to be made, gear tuned up, routes scouted and researched, tripping food prepared, snowshoes laced, logistics planned, etc.  So please be understanding if Dave and Kie cannot get back to you right away.   ;)

7 is proud to welcome our first Vendor's Forum business member:  Empire Wool and Canvas Company,   

Owner of EW&CC, Kevin Kinney, will be moderating the forum. You can talk directly to Kevin who designs and manufactures a superb line of outdoor clothing, ideally suited to winter camping and traditional winter trekking, as well as the shoulder seasons. Many members here on own and use EW&CC clothing, and its commonly seen in photos and videos being used on winter treks.  The clothing has proven itself in the toughest of winter conditions, and many of the designs are at home in the city as well.  We encourage you to visit the EW&CC website to learn more about the clothing they offer, and please feel free to start a conversion with Kevin here in the EW&CC forum, , or off-line using the PM function.

8 is proud to announce that we have created a new space in our community for  Vendor’s Forums.  This was long overdue.  All of us here are focused on gear and clothing, for the essentials of staying warm, sheltered, traveling across the snow and ice landscape, and staying safe.  We talk about it, think about it, dream about it constantly, and it makes sense to have the manufacturers and outfitters of gear here in the community to chat with everyone about and promote their products that serve everyone in the community.

Vendors forums, if we can grow them across a diversity of businesses, will allow us to interact directly with the real people in the outdoor gear and outfitting industry who design and make the gear, and who outfit and lead winter trips, and who produce films and books about our shared passion of being outside and living well in the winter back country.  The Vendors forums will facilitate the conducting of business deals between the membership and the vendors, which is a win for everyone.  Its also a very cool way to stay up to date on what's going on in the winter camping and outdoor industry.

The PM (personal messaging) function is a way to take detailed discussions and finalizing business deals off line, and we encourage membership to use this function.

Vendors are very busy running their businesses, and its one more thing in their busy day to take the time to participate here, so it is a privilege to have them here.  As with all our forums, the Management asks that all discourse is respectful, polite, and constructive, adhering to the language guidelines suitable for a family website.

It was another great Winter Camping Symposium!  I think the symposiums get better every year. Congratulations once again to the organizers, volunteers, key note speakers, workshop presenters, seminar presenters, volunteers, presenters, and Camp Miller staff. 

For the first time, the WCS got really snowed on. We received a good 4 inches of heavy wet snow Friday night and it stayed for the weekend.  There was a good wood supply available of pine and oak to split with your axe, and all hot tenters, and the activity areas, had fire to stay warm and dry with.  For those who have never attended, the location YMCA Camp Miller at Sturgeon Lake MN, is a big camp with many heated buildings to stay warm in should you not be hot tenting, so its no worries if you cold camp or day visit the event. 

A few photos I snapped while walking around the "tent city" after the big snowfall, and while attending seminars, or dropping in for a quick look at others, and some evening activities.  These do not do justice to all the seminar and workshop presenters. Apologies that I missed photographing many of the vendor’s booths and tents, and it was impossible to photo everything going on all the time, so this in no way represents anywhere near the full spectrum of activities that were going on.

My 8x9 Snowtrekker Friday morning after the big snow.


How much snow did we get?  This is a cross section from the hood of my truck.


My buddy Jim waves, signalling he survived and thrived.


Bill always sets up and lives in his big tipi and dresses in fur trade period clothing, and is always happy to provide tipi tours and explain how the open fire works inside.


Trevor and Mike's big Snowtrekkers, always welcoming for a drop in visit.

Shovelling out.  Snow shovels were in high demand! 


All shovelled out and ready for visitors.

Some of the big tents brought by the well-prepared vendors. Shopping was dry and out of the wet snow.

Long time supporter of this site, AWBrown, weathering the storm just fine in his Snowtrekker.


A forest gnome wandered out of the bush and visited us after breakfast.

Rob (Kaycee) and Lilani's awesome canvas camp.  Beautifully set up large hot tent with awning and wind breaks.  Very generous folks, always welcoming to visitors.

No matter what the weather, R&L live large under canvas, and always have the grill fired up with ongoing delicious hot meals and water for hot drinks.   

Touring the tent city, there are many designs, including several tipi hot tents. 

Don's unique DIY tent, that is incredibly ultra light for this size of hot tent. Don has also made a unique stove for this tent. Next time he is there, check it out, he is happy to show you the designs.

The cold tenters were well prepared, and weathered the storm. 

The main camp lodge is always open for warming up and chatting with folks, with hot coffee and water for tea throughout the day, and of course the meal plan for 3 square per day. And of course, the camp's comfort stations are heated. In addition, there is usually a big open fire going somewhere in the activity areas to warm up by.  For those wanting indoor accommodations, the Camp has several cabins and rooms available.

For the Do-It-Yourselfer's, the Tent City always has a wide assortment of tents designed and made from scratch, as well as commercial family type tents like this one modified for winter use.  Use what you have and get out there!


Karamat Wilderness Ways had an outdoor skills area set up with a parachute shelter and huge fire going in the center, which was a common gathering and warming place all weekend.

The big central fire is sunk inside the steel container, and the steel also radiates heat. I took advantage of the warming opportunity several times throughout the weekend.


Kevin from Empire Wool and Canvas has a centrally located hot yurt, and it was always open for visitors, and to sit down and do a deal on Kevin's fantastic outdoor clothing selection.

I attended the activity that Dave and Kielyn Marrone, of Lure of the North, presented, on "Efficient Portaging Techniques, or How to get those big brutes up and down hills without killing someone!"  This was a thorough seminar on hill safety, ergonomics and efficiencies with multiple people and toboggans, and various rope techniques including brakes and mechanical advantage hauls.

Kie and Dave on the intro, on a borrowed toboggan, showing the front haul line and rear brake and safety line.


Starting simple with the brute force team haul method, using a munter hitch safety brake on the tree anchor. Kie is simulating sled top load, and two gravity helpers on the back pull line are simulating the downward gravitational force.

A more complex method of a 4 times mechanical advantage haul utilizing carabiners and pulleys. Dave and Kie emphasized safety throughout this demonstration. All new skills for me, so I was taking notes and plan to improve my kit by adding the rope and hardware that Dave and Kie showed, and I need to practice these hauls in the bush. 

Jason of Lester River Bushcraft, demonstrating safe and efficient methods of splitting down rounds into kindling, using axe, hatchet, big and small knives. 

....end of Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2 shortly!  :)

The Annual Winter Camping Symposium is here again Oct 26-29, 2017, Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota, at Camp Miller.  Website with all the program information and registration info here:

Hope to see old friends there, and make new ones.  Its always a great event with learning in seminars and workshops, gear for sale by many of our favourite vendors, workshops to make your own gear, evening presentations by entertaining speakers, and of course the networking and socializing, capped off with a big party with live band Saturday night.   

If you have never been, the camping space for tents is abundant on the Camp Miller grounds, and there is a full meal plan for purchase if you don't want to bother with your own food prep. This has to be one of the biggest, if not THE biggest display on the Planet of the widest range of hot tent designs imaginable, with commercially made tents and DIY home made tents of all shapes and sizes, and stoves.  There are many cold camping tent designs too, and several hammockers.  The tenting grounds are open for walking tours all day to check out the various tent and stove rigs, and most people are happy to show off their shelter systems.  And of course there is the traditional scheduled tent tour activity.   

For those who are new to traditional winter camping, this is an amazing event to attend and learn some of the basics, and make many contacts.  Need some winter camping clothing?  Vendors are there who can outfit you from head to toe.  Need a toboggan?  Toboggans for sale! Stove? Yep.  Knives, saws, axes, sharpeners, ice chisels? Yep. Buy and sell, silent auction, used gear bargains, etc.  And much more. 

Winter Camping Photos and Videos / Cranberries are Ripe!
« on: October 17, 2017, 09:42:32 pm »
I was out in the bush for work yesterday, on one of my increasingly rare field days (office bound mostly in the day job these days).

We have had our first frosts, and the cranberries in the spruce-sphagnum wetlands are perfectly ripe now.  The frost softens the fruit and makes them much sweeter, less tart.  Some cranberries have not yet been touched by frost, and the flesh is firmer and still somewhat tart, but very refreshing.  If you have never eaten fresh cranberries off the vine in a bog or conifer swamp, the fruit is very much like a micro apple, with firm white fruit on the inside. 

Typical habitat with the cranberries on top of the sphagnum moss. 


Zoomed in a little closer. You can see the berry on the right is frosted, and this one will be the sweetest.


Frosted cranberry – mmmmmm!


The typical habitat at a larger scale:  open black spruce-sphagnum swamp / bog. The low shrub with the closed leaves dominating the wetland growing on top of the sphagnum is Labrador tea.


Winter Camping Photos and Videos / Evil snowmen car commercial - Funny
« on: January 21, 2017, 12:18:43 pm »
Not advertising for Nissan here, (although I owned a fine Nissan truck many years ago).  I saw this video ad for the first time and thought it was very funny.  "Return of the snowman"

Geez, they make winter look so evil. These ad people are definitely winter haters, not our type.   ;)
Warning: Snowmen are harmed in the making of this video....

Hi folks,
I posted a new video on YouTube (filmed Feb 2016), where I explain and show my winter clothing system of wool, cotton canvas, leather, fleece and acrylic that works for me when doing high exertion activities such as sled hauling, firewood collecting, snowshoeing and back country skiing.  This system for me, allows the moisture and excess heat to be vented efficiently to the outside. (The only exception is my pac boots which do not breathe, where the liner does get soaked but I switch out the liners every night and dry them).

Web links Links to various clothing items are in the description under the video when you run it. All of the items and brands I am wearing will be familiar to the regulars here on Wintertrekking, and many of you will have similar gear.  For newbies, you may get some ideas for outfitting your layers.
Note for newbies:  You don't need all the name brands I mentioned.  You can search army surplus stores for less expensive gear, and make your own, or modify existing gear.  I will say that the brand name gear I have I believe has saved me money in the long run because it lasts and lasts, and serves the purpose it was intended for. 

Staying comfortable in deep cold in winter when working hard means staying cool, not hot. In the video I show that I am wearing no outer shell (except for boots and mitts), and all my wool and fleece layers have no membrane to block moisture movement. Excess moisture and heat can quickly escape outside, and I like to have the wind move through the un-shelled fabrics to pull away heat and moisture.  So-called "breathable membrane" outer shells do not work below freezing because the moisture frosts and plugs the membrane. If I need a shell for high abrasion activities in the bush, or for sedentary activities like ice fishing, I carry my traditional oversized cotton anorak/parka shell that has capacity for adding more insulating layers underneath. For ice fishing I carry some gortex rain pants that are OK for sedentary time out on the ice, but otherwise I an wearing my un-shelled Codets. 

I think everyone will be interested in the latest video by Mors Kochanski on "Eating Snow".  He debunks some myths, and provides some numbers on energetics of "eating"  snow, which you actually drink when you melt it (energy needed to melt snow, compared to food energy requirements).  He also re-emphasizes the need for consuming plenty of water in winter.  Well worth watching:


Fire and Woodstoves / VIDEO: My Waxed Jute Tinder Tube Mini Kit
« on: March 27, 2016, 01:02:08 pm »
Hi folks,
I uploaded a 2 minute video showing a demo of my waxed jute tinder tube mini kit with my ferro rod, lighting my woodstove on a winter hot tent camp.

The jute is 3-strand braided, and dipped in hot wax so its waterproof and the wax provides fuel.  To light, fluff up the wick so that the fine fibers are exposed and free of most of the wax, and then hold against the striker and strike with a ferro rod.

This is a downsized version from my original prototype.  This mini tin kit fits into my inner chest pocket, or anywhere in a pack or pocket, and my ferro rod is always on a quick release lanyard on my belt loop, so this fire making kit is always on me.

Original video with prototype and waterproofing test:

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