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Hi folks!  This is a video of a scouting day-trip ("recce") to an old winter campsite of mine, to prepare resources for a future winter base camp.  Nothing exciting, the "usual" mundane stuff:  trail pack, firewood collection, and spruce bough collection. This site was hit by a windstorm and there are several blown down black spruce with green limbs, which are going to die anyways, so might as well use them.

Some narration on my clothing system, which has not changed for many years - I find it works  ;)

My former firewood cache was knocked down and pinned under blowdown, so I collected more poles and stacked them to stay dry and shed snow and rain. I hope to get out to use this site soon.

Food and Cooking / Bacon Prep:
« on: February 11, 2018, 07:51:02 PM »
Just cooked up a pile of bacon for winter camping!
Cast your eyes upon this bacony goodness...

Can you smell it.  Oh ya!

Individual breakfast portions are packed in these foil packets, and then frozen, to pop on the woodstove or by the open fire.

Heat and eat, no muss no fuss ... although it takes several hours of prep work in the kitchen at home, its all worth it!

The ideal parking spot often does not exist.  Often we have to shovel out our own parking spot to get off the highway or logging road. Its illegal and unsafe to park on the side of an active road around here, and a snow plow can accidentally destroy your vehicle.  So parking off the main road is essential. 

In the following video on a scouting day trip, I show solo shoveling out of a parking spot on the entrance of an unplowed logging road, early February. The snow bank is already well established over 2 months, and is big and frozen.

I discuss the no-lifting snow moving method I use that saves my back, and prevents an over-exertion heart far, so good anyways!  :)

I use a sliding snow scoop and slide snow up and away on ramps. The work is mostly pushing with legs and whole body, which is much easier than lifting and tossing heavy snow with upper body. I also show using a flat faced snow shovel to hack and shave the frozen bank into pieces in order to scoop and slide it away.

Last year I acquired a new "Arctic Anorak", made by Empire Wool & Canvas Co, but never had a chance to use it last winter.  I am now using it this winter and starting to put it through the paces, and I have to say:  This is my new favourite anorak! 

The fabric is a beautiful lightweight 6 oz organic cotton canvas. Yes, I said 6 oz!  Where Kevin found this amazing fabric no one knows, but its one of those perfect traditional winter camping cottons. It is a very tight weave that is totally windproof, but its luxuriously light and flexible, and of course totally silent, with that natural soft hand of a fine and tight weave pure cotton. It packs down significantly smaller than my older heavier fabric anoraks.

EW&C link is here for all the manufacturer's details:

First a couple of EW&C images, then I will follow with my version below:

I shot a video recently but botched the narration and production, and the lighting exposure was not good, so I am going to re-shoot the video. But I grabbed some screens from that for the following images (apologize for the poor focus from the video). I plan to re-shoot the video, but this will get us started.

For sizing context, in the images below underneath I am wearing my standard cold weather gear: On top, base layer, 100 weight fleece sweater, and EW&C Camp Coat which is heavy wool. I still have plenty of room to add more layers inside, and free ability to reach anywhere with no binding of the sleeves.  For hip area I have my standard Codet 28 oz heavy wool trousers and a belt knife, and there is plenty of room to spare under the anorak.

Without waist cinched – on me this means the anorak rides about half a foot longer:

For sizing, note that Kevin makes the Arctic Anorak for fitting over your woollies and fleece, and the sizing is GENEROUS, and that is a good thing.  It has that functional bagginess for the bellows effect for pumping out hot air and moisture when you want to, but with all the cinch areas available for variable cinching down to seal in heat. The fabric is very light and does not bind or bulk up when it folds with the loose fitting design.
I am only 5'4", but size-wise I usually wear a size medium in almost everything, but Kevin fitted me with a small, and at first I was doubting that size would work for me because small is always too small and too tight for me. But of course Kevin was correct, and the size small is perfect for my frame and internal layering system – it is made oversized for winter layers underneath.  Suffice to say that no matter how big you are, Kevin has a size designed for you. 

Back view, waist not yet cinched, and you can see the waist cinch tube that will sit above your hips if its cinched, raising the lower half up:

As you can see, the hip and thigh area is made purposely long for wind protection, and for sitting down and protecting the wool trousers, but it can be hitched up if you want via the integral waist shock cord system. I prefer wearing my voyageur sash, which is in the next photos.  But you don't need a sash because you have the shock cord waist tube. The shock cord ends are nicely designed to be accessed inside the front chest pocket, so there are no outer cord ends to snag on anything.

With Voyageur sash on, which raises the lower half, and showing the generous chest pocket. Inside the chest pocket is a zip opening to reach inside to your inside layers:

Back view:

Arms raised, showing the diagonal cut of extra fabric from waist to shoulder (mini "bat wings", or perhaps flying squirrel gliding membranes...but I digress), which provides free movement, and the important bellows effect for moving hot air and moisture out when you want. 

The hood is huge and can be nicely cinched down for a custom fit, more on the hood later.  The neck gusset is zipped open, and the black colour inside is the black fleece lining in the gusset, neck and forward face area for comfort. Note the wrists are cinched down here, but they open up huge - see next photo.

Wrist openings with Velcro cuffs:  very big for those who wear mitts inside, and can cinch down for gauntlets worn outside.



This shows the neck gusset with a full wind cover over the zip when closed.  The various colour zipper pull cords are my custom addition. Empire makes this full winter stealth with all white/natural cotton fabric and hardware.  Note the two D-rings below each arm - these are for channeling a mitten harness, which is a great idea and keeps the harness out of the way.

This shows the fleece liner around the face and neck area. Note the white visor cord tube for the hood opening. I really like this feature. It helps shape the hood opening without need for a wire, and it is somewhat independent of the hood for a more comfortable fit without crushing the heavier hood fabric around your face. 

This is the hood fur ruff zipper attachment that comes standard with the Arctic Anorak.  The fabric tape on the removable side is generous for sewing on your own custom ruff. I plan to install a fur ruff.

Back of the hood, showing the front/back adjustment ladder lock on top, and the side to side cord lock adjustment.  This is very handy for a quick no-hassle adjustment as head gear changes, and they say the hood is big enough for helmets.

I really like the new Arctic Anorak: great fit, features, and that wonderful 6 oz fabric! 

Check out EW&C website for more info. Well done Kevin! 

General Winter Camping Discussion / Happy New Year 2018!
« on: January 01, 2018, 11:12:32 AM »
Happy New Year Winter trekkers! 

Wish I was out in the bush right now celebrating the new year, tucked into the bush out of the wind, in a cozy hot tent camp out on a back lake somewhere....but I am stuck in the city at the moment.  Oh well, family obligations and visits, ho ho ho, Auld Lang Syne, etc,....
I bet some of our members are at this very moment out in the bush, celebrating in this deep cold snap we are having, living large by fire and woodstove in their winter camps.  It has been hitting -30C and below in much of central Canada where I live. 

Here is a screen grab of the upper North American jet stream, showing the extreme cold snap we are having.  Its wrong for many of the temperatures at ground level - its much colder than they are showing. This is about as "good" as it gets continental-wise!  Ice is being made on the lakes for sure.  Beautiful sunny high pressure system for much of it.  Don't forget your extreme UV sunglasses!

News & Events /'s 2017-18 Fund Raising Drive!
« on: December 21, 2017, 12:15:30 PM »
Hi folks.  The membership on the forums is amazing.  It is you participating in the Forums that makes this website what it is. I think of the forums and this website as one big virtual outdoors winter trekking family.  I have a favour to ask of the family: 

For the first time ever, is doing $ donations fund-raising drive. Now under a new business model and ownership, with new funding realities, I will say humbly:  we need a cash injection to help fund the new costs for hosting and new IT services to upgrade and fix several technical issues of the website.  There is a long list of stuff to fix and upgrade to keep us on the air and running.   

I hope to have a website PayPal "Donate" button set up on the website soon for easy donations at any time.  But that will require IT services to set this up, which are not yet on board.  In the interim I am asking those members who would like to donate, to please send a donation via either E-transfer (within Canada), or via PayPal from anywhere. I have set up a new gmail account (see below) linked to PayPal for this purpose.
For Canadians either method works.  For members who use a bank outside of Canada, our E-transfer will not work.  However PayPal works and so I would ask members from outside of Canada, please use the PayPal "send money" function for a donation.

For those without a PayPal account, no worries.  Simply PM me here stating the amount you would like to donate, and I can email you a PayPal "request money" email, and you can make a donation by credit card via secure PayPal software in the email without a formal PayPal account.  These days sending money securely is very easy.   

Donation ask:
-  For a minimum $10 CAD donation, you will get a "Supporter" title under your name for 2017-18.   
- $10 is great, but if you could spare more, $15, $20, $30, whatever, that would be awesome and help us get the upgrades done faster. 
- Low on cash?  Even a single dollar or two will help out. Whatever you can afford would be great.   

Our modest overall goal:  Raise $2000.  That should cover our upgrade costs for the next while and set us up well.  I know we can do it!   :)

Instructions, should you wish to donate, all totally secure:

The new email for electronic money donations is:  [email protected]

1)  For E-Transfers method from banks inside Canada, please send to the above email, and remember first to PM me with the password (E-transfers require the receiver, me, to enter the password you provided me before you sent the e-transfer).  I will use your PM username to update your "supporter" status.   

2)  For using your PayPal account to "send money" method from anywhere, please use the above email, and please include your username in the notes so that I know to update your "supporter" status.
3)  For those not able to E-transfer and/or without a PayPal account, please PM me with the amount you would like to donate, and I will email you a PayPal "request money" email with the secure online payment system using your credit card, and just follow the instructions on the web link in the received email.

For each method you will receive a forum PM message confirming received your donation.
(If I don't get back to you within one day, it means I am out in the bush winter camping, and will respond when I return  ;) )

OK, we have a plan for the first donation drive!  Please keep strong!   :)

HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE!  (Should be a statutory holiday, eh!)   :)

For many lucky folks on the forums living in the northern hemisphere, they have been experiencing winter for over a month now, and the trip reports are coming in.  But we can definitely say its official now!  Hope everyone is either out winter camping right now, or will be out there soon.  Sure wish right now I was out in the bush, on a lake, skiing, snowshoeing, and living by fire.  Soon.....

(And greetings to our southern hemisphere membership - hang in there, winter is coming in a few months.  :)  Good time with the long days and heat to mend the gear, dry food, and make preparations for the next hard water season!)

Hot off the press and just in time for Christmas time:  Kevin Callan's new book:  "Complete Guide to Winter Camping" !

This of course is a MUST Have for every winter camper, and will make a great holiday season gift.  Get your copy before they sell out!    :)

I have my signed autographed copy (Thanks Kevin  :) ), but have not had a chance to read it yet.  Leafing through it, its chock full of colour photographs on almost every page, a really nice publishing job.  Knowing Kevin's work, its going to be a fun and informative read, and I look forward to reading it through the holidays. 

News & Events / Membership Application Backlog Now Caught Up!
« on: November 29, 2017, 08:30:16 PM »
Hi folks,
Good news!  I finally finished the screening of all of the approximately 16,000 membership application backlog!  All membership applications that passed the spammer and bot screening have finally been approved with an automatic welcome message email.  My apologies to applicants waiting a long time, some of whom have been patiently waiting for up to a year!   :-[ 

There are about 250 newly approved members who need to activate your account.  For those reading who are not yet members and who have applied, please check your email inbox, and your junk mail folders for your welcome message and request for activation (you have to answer a captcha message).  You must activate your account, as this is a necessary step to bypass the bots. 

If you have accidentally deleted your welcome message and request for account activation, please re-apply and I should have you approved with a new welcome message in one to two days.

The issue of having to wait so long sometimes for approval is that we have thousands of spammers and bots swamping the membership applications, and your legit applications get hidden inside these thousands of names and IP addresses.  The screening and deleting process is a tedious manual method.  I am looking into a software upgrade and the IT company hired is working on it. 

Currently we get several dozen to several hundred spammers and bots applying per day.  If these are not manually screened every day in full, the list soon magnifies into the thousands, and its easy to get backlogged. 

Welcome to all new forum members!  :)

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.   ;)

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