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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:

Hi folks, part 5 in the "mid February 2016" trip series in this series is now uploaded, title: "The Firewood Chores".   I posted it in a new thread in the "Saws and Axes" topic for a little axe instruction topic on how I split sawed wood, end-on style, on deep snow. 

The start is a yawn fest of being on snowshoes collecting standing dead trees, sawing them into stove wood pieces, and splitting them.  I know I know, like, who wants to watch the chores, eh!?    :)  Hang in past that part and the axe wood splitting starts about time 1:44.

I spend some time showing how I split wood, end-on style, floating on deep packed snow using a stop log to protect the axe blade.  On deep snow the stop log is not absolutely needed, but just in case there are rocks below, its there to prevent the blade from going too far into the snow.  Once snow is packed, it will amazingly support the block, unless you are too tentative with the swing.  The inertia of the wood block will keep it from post holing, IF you strike hard and fast. 

I show where I did not strike hard and fast enough, and the wood block started to post hole.  Re-pack the hole with snow, and strike fast, hard and accurate, and you can split wood on deep snow.  There are other methods such as side-on splitting style using an anvil log.   

I know many folks here are extremely skilled with an axe, this is all common knowledge, and so I'll say no more.   ;)

For the newbies on axe splitting safety:  Note that I am very short in stature, and use a 25 inch axe length, (which is a short axe for winter), but still I have a very deep knee bend stance when splitting wood to get me and axe angle close to the ground, and use my wrists so that the arc of the swing is always down and into the snow and stop log, and not anywhere near my feet.  You can see that in the above screen photo - that axe is going down, not into me.  Look where my hands are - that axe is going down.  Some people feel more safe by kneeling when splitting wood, and this is good.  Certainly as the axe handle becomes shorter and the arc of the swing is closer to your body, you may need to kneel and use an anvil stop log to split against.  I recommend a long axe handle in winter to allow a 2-hand grip with alot of space out in front of you.   Whatever method you choose for splitting wood, be safe and please make sure your stance directs the arc of the swing down and into the snow/ground/stop log, well away from your feet/legs.  Add a firm 2-handed grip to arrest the inevitable axe bounce, practice safety on every swing, and you will be fine.   :)

Winter Camping Photos and Videos / VIDEO: Wind and Campsite Selection:
« on: March 19, 2016, 12:38:38 am »
Hi folks,

A short 2 minute video with a discussion on wind and campsite selection.  This winter I was camping with my Snowtrekker, and selected what I thought was a campsite tucked into the bush, and sheltered by 3 sides from the wind.  I would have gone into the bush deeper from the lake shoreline, but this was the only flat open spot I could find along about 1km of lake shoreline that I could get to by avoiding slush.

When on a lake, the north shore facing south is my preferred location I try to get for a campsite, in order to be in the sun for most of the day.  The south shore facing north can remain in perpetual shadow all day, due to the low angle of the sun and tall trees behind.  The prevailing winter winds here are from the north to west, so the north shore tucked inside the bush is usually a good bet.

Although this particular wind speed was of no real consequence for my Snowtrekker hot tent, it could have been more intense, and its always worth considering alternate locations for better wind protection.  For cold camping its essential to consider wind exposure.  Had I been cold camping using a big open fire, it would have been far less comfortable in the wind and blowing snow, and I would have had to use a larger fire, and spend more time collecting firewood, and maybe rig some sort of wind shelter.  This location would not be the best for a comfortable cold camp location.

Wind is always a factor to consider. 

Hi folks,
I uploaded a video of my first hot tent trip of the season, Part 1:

In Part 1 of my first hot tent trip of 2016, I show hauling in my toboggan, and a brief "map" of the packing system.  I hauled in to a site I scouted a few days before, and had some preps already done, but more to do.  I show my standard initial set up of the camp, wood collection in poles, up to putting in the spruce boughs on the packed snow floor.  Due to the video length to show the step-by-step set-up, I split it into this Part 1, and the complete camp set-up will be uploaded very soon, plus some other parts maybe.  Veteran hot tenters might find this ho-hum, same-old, but I wanted to record a step-wise series with details to maybe serve as a how-to video for beginners, especially budding solo winter trekkers to see what's involved.  The next in the series will talk about how I like to set up my stove and pipes, water acquisition, and yet more thoughts on slush.   :)

Hi folks, this is the 2nd YT video in my recent campsite scouting series.

A successful solo scout to find a new winter campsite on a lake with slush overflow shore to shore.  I lucked out at the start when digging out a parking spot with an "unexpected helper".  I travel along the shoreline, and got really close to a "spider hole" location of overflow along the shoreline, which causes slush problems in large area of the lake ice.  For those not familiar with the overflow phenomenon and "spider holes", you might find this overflow segment interesting.  (The lake will have hundreds of spider holes with the current heavy snow load, the bane of winter travel, and the reason I cannot get to my old favourite campsite).  I prep a new excellent site for a return hot tent camp and cache a pile of black spruce boughs for floatation on the deep snow packed tent floor.  I did not have the energy or time to set in a wood supply, but I laid down a packed trail system to many standing dead snags so when I return the wood gathering will go faster.   

Hi folks,
I posted a new YT video of a snowshoeing solo scouting trip to find a potential new campsite on a new lake I have never camped on.

I used my 16x30 monoline bearpaws.  The fresh heavy snow is deep, about 2 ½ feet (half meter) of dense powder snow that makes for slow going - no one to trade turns trail breaking.  I brought the bearpaws (1) because I thought I would be bushwhacking; and (2) I had intended to cut out a campsite site in the thick bush if I found a suitable site.  Otherwise I would have brought the big trail breakers. 

I show lake ice slush, which turned out to be a barrier for further progress – shore to shore evil slush.  The ice thickness (unknown, but I am guessing about a foot), I thought was safe, but its impossible to travel with that depth of slush. 

Nothing much happens  ;D  which is the way it is in real life on bush scouting in winter!  Not filmed was the 2 km ski in and out on a packed bush road, before I switched to snowshoes, so I was wearing my old ski boots the whole time. 

Hey folks, check out this cool video from Norway, by Youtubers UTE avdelingen - kajaq7

Video is in Norwegian, but no worries, the images and sounds speak in universal language for us winter trekkers!  Snow is thin and packed, and the women travel by kick sled and skijor with a dog, and wear a big backpack and haul a pulk, all at the same time!   Its modular, so for tough hills they could do stages efficiently.   Hot tent is a lavvu, with an interesting upright top feeding stove I have never seen before.  It looks somewhat like the design that Chimpac uses.   I left a PM with them asking what type of stove it is.  I will report back if I find out.

Winter Camping Safety / Shoreline Spider Hole
« on: February 12, 2016, 01:52:35 pm »

Its slush season on the lakes around here since we received close to 2 feet of powder over a 2 week period.  The entire view of lake ice you see is deep slush covered and not passable on snowshoes.  I was out yesterday and took this photo standing on the shoreline.  I was able to scoot around part of the lake I was exploring by hugging the shoreline.  Spider holes can be any shape, but this one is missing the "legs" on the bottom of the image because I guess its about half a meter from the edge of shore.  I have seen full slush and spider holes "on" the shoreline itself right where the ice meets shore.  So I was lucky here to be able to travel.  There were times I was likely walking on slush, but the shoreline snow is often twice as deep as the lake snow because wind blows it up in a ramp of snow.  I am standing on that deep shoreline snow as I took the photo.  The powder is still so recent that many of the spider holes have not fully melted up through to reveal themselves, but they are there. 


Photos wider than 640 this would not display well on small screens, like my old 15 inch screen.  It causes the thread to truncate on the right side, and throws the rest of the formatting off for the entire page, and our software only has the sliding cursor at the very bottom of the post.  It was a pain to read threads where the photos were too wide for the box, and have to go to the bottom, slide the cursor bar, then slide back up to look at the right side of the photos.  The text would then truncate on the left side.

However these days its seems the monitor norm is to go bigger.  I just upgraded my home monitor screen to a 24 inch screen.  While I noticed that our software still confines the images considerably, I did see some recent photos posted at 1024 pixels wide that displayed fine on my new 24 inch screen without any lateral truncating, and room to spare.  I also realize that some folks will still be using smaller screen on laptops and retaining perfectly good smaller screens at their home desktop (15 inch, 19 inch, 20 inch are common desktop screen sizes).  So I don't want to discriminate against those people. 

Some people are also still on dial-up.  I am on high speed, so I have no idea if larger images cause the reading experience to slow down and stick for those still on dial-up. 

Survey Question:
What do people think about relaxing the guidelines to a photo upload size of 1024, or other size?  700, 800, 900?  I would especially like to hear from those folks with screens less than 24 inches and on dial-up.   Thanks!

News & Events / 130 Approved Members Need to Activate their Accounts!
« on: January 01, 2016, 09:19:21 pm »
We have 130 members approved who cannot post because they have not activated their accounts!  We want you as members!  Some have been sitting there for months!  Once approved, you will receive an auto-generated email, instructing you to go to the web link provided, where you enter the Captcha code.  There are too many spammers out there, so everyone has to enter the Captcha to pass the test., unless I know who you are by your email.

If you auto-dump your junk email folder, you may have dumped's approval and activation email.  In a few minutes, I will send yet another reminder out.  Check your junk mail for's activation email.

The following members need to activate their accounts.  Sorry the "insert table" function is not working, so the list is a bit messy in the copy-paste, but there are roughly columns in alphabetical order:

3pin                         Cree Trapper     maddog               Rufus181            unmasked1515
abrigger                 Dave Sivanich     Mark Oliver         rwmck                    wendycdrake
ACole                 Decker             MattM                schueller94              WickdWarm_n_Dry
alex2293                 dennis.lanigan      mjam44                 scottr3                wingnut
alexhaney             Donald              Mollyruel           Sean Frawley          wist0025
alexr                 eggs                       mongo1958           Siberianwoodsman    WolvesRising
amik                 emasam               Mort0110           skyking                     Xj23
Andre Ohio State  Eric                        Motabobo           SnowApe                     Yeoman
Andrews                 fallguy1000         Motabobo2           snowdeg                     ytadventure
Arctic                 Foxachu                 mpstoval            Snowshoeing fan       zeekxcd
baibush                 Fred Flintsone          mtntoy            SPCFS    
bainnature         Freenorth20          nancyg             spud    
BenyV                 FrostGiant                  Newfiebullet     SQWIB    
bloomgorge        Gadfly08                  Nightwind              Srobocop0615    
bru-jean                Ghostriver                  nikm101              StaceyHig    
Buttons                ghuczek                  nmakinen                stdjcf    
bvisse                Graybear                  Northfarer                 steve and june
BWCA66                 grc                         NorthSweden           stonyloam
bwcajoe                IDsnowshoes          Old Guide                   Sylvester
Cainsbigland        jazzlynfisher           packsandpaddles    tacomike
camkov94        jbushinger                   pantosketcham    Taiga_north
captaincoupal        JoeannPHR                   patrick smith            tear_knee
captainkf                johnbowen                    Paul van Reesch    The Struggler
cc                        jonnyolson                    rallii                     think snow
cheona                JourneymanOutdoors    Randymw59          Thumper36
coastwatcher42   jpike121                    ratdog                  tishdiamond
ColdAvenger Face Masks  Kdog65           ravenseye          tmanwell
colonel00                KillerBren           Razerface                   tmothy
cos5tea                       Kingd21          ricopan                   twinoaks
CosmicCharlie               LittleFin          rossmallick           Uberman52

Winter Camping Photos and Videos / VIDEO: March Winter Solo Trek, 2015
« on: December 29, 2015, 11:07:28 am »
Hi folks, I just uploaded a YouTube video from late last March 2015, on my last solo of the season.  ( ya I am lazy in getting the editing done!   :) )  Last spring I already posted a photo TR here ,  so you know how it turns out.

YouTube Video link:

This video is day 1 hauling in, in what is fabulous weather (which will change later!).  Its a longer video with me blabbering about sled loads, camp set up, laying in balsam bough beds on a snow floor, woodstove fast fire start up to prevent smoke in the tent, some tent fire safety, etc.  Slightly more exciting than watching paint dry for all the experienced folks here.  :)  More to come in this series.

Its here!  The SOLSTICE!  The shortest longest night of the year, and the official first day of winter end of 2015!  Actual functional winter has been here for many weeks for our lucky northern latitude and high mountain dwelling friends.  Here in the deep south of northwestern Ontario, winter sort of arrived last week (after an extremely mild rainy November and December), but hardly any snow and local lakes are not froze up safe yet.  North of here I hear there is enough snow to haul a sled.   Wish I was way out there roasting beside a big roaring bonfire of crackling dry spruce and pine, looking at the stars, and maybe howling for wolves, and making a toast to the season with a wee nip of fine spirit....

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