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Messages - kinguq

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General Winter Camping Discussion / Re: Greetings from snowy UK!
« on: January 12, 2010, 11:09:27 AM »
Have fun. Bardufoss is a beautiful area, but they have been getting warm and rainy weather there too for the past few days. Not unusual for Norway, even north of the Arctic Circle. This area is a bit inland however and does tend to be somewhat cooler than the coast. But be prepared for anything, from deep cold to rain.


Winter Camping Clothing / Re: Inuit made anoraks
« on: January 11, 2010, 04:46:52 PM »
This thread has inspired me to start sewing again. This weekend I cut up a duffel anorak I made over 20 years ago and made 2 pairs of mitts. Should get a pair of duffel socks out of it too. A shame to cut it up but I never wear it and it was just gathering dust.

 I also used the hood to line my skiing anorak. It has a nice fur ruff. The liner is just pinned in with safety pins and so is removable so I can wash the anorak.


My first love is skiing but I have to admit that in the type of country I live in now snowshoes are superior for some purposes.

Here the forest can be very dense, with a lot of downed trees. Also sharp hilly terrain. Small hills but steep. Skis are nearly hopeless in this type of terrain. Snowshoeing is tough too but at least can be done, most of the time.

Skiing is good for the canoe routes, which are mostly on lakes with portages between them. Slush on the lakes is a problem but it is for snowshoeing too.


Other Homemade Gear / Re: What about a tipi?
« on: January 08, 2010, 08:52:03 AM »
Well, I have used canvas wall tents, and I have used my conical lavvu. The lavvu is better in most but not all ways.

It is easy to set up because it is so simple. I have not had the pegging difficulties Hoop mentions but I have big aluminum snow pegs. I just pack down the snow, wait a while for it to scinter, then set up. Also my lavvu has an ample snow flap so that can be used to guy it out. Also it has many guyline points to make it more stable if necessary.

I find the cone shape to be efficient for heating. While it is high, the volume up high is quite low. So I find that it heats up well for a person sitting, standing or lying down. I also find that the shape sheds snow so well that I have no need for a tarp, which seems to be the norm for canvas wall tents in snow country.

I use a 3 inch chimney out the top with no spark arrester, and I have never had a spark hole. The smoke does not have to travel far to be well away from the tent. I have had one when using an open fire in the tent, not surprisingly.

I agree that it is not as space efficient as a rectangular tent, because people lying down are basically rectangular. However the lavvu is quite a bit lighter so one can bring a larger tent. I also find the conical shape to be much better looking and somehow more "natural" than the wall tent, certainly a matter of taste I realize.

Snowwalker, the Vennor is a very good product and very well made. However there is one very good Swedish brand, I think called Moskoselkatan, but now Tentipi. They had the internal adjustable smokehat which I found fascinating but a bit too complicated for my taste. But they are very expensive...


Winter Camping Clothing / Re: Inuit made anoraks
« on: January 07, 2010, 12:26:19 PM »

Ja, jag är svensk, boende  i Jämtland ("Yes, I'm Swedish, living in Jämtland" for those following at home).

Jeg bodde i Tromso i atte aar. Fin turterreng der! Jeg har gjort en klassisk skitur fra Kilpisjarvi i Finland til Abisko i Sverige 2 ganger!. (I lived in Tromso for 8 years. Great touring country there! I have done a ski tour from Kilpisjarvi in Finland to Abisko in Sweden 2 times. OK I'll stop doing this now. It's just so much fun to use my Norwegian once in a while!)

I guess I have seen a rya, in fact it seems I have one being used as a wall hanging right now!

I know exactly what you mean about having a warm jacket for tea breaks etc. Sometimes I bring along the hunting parka I showed earlier in this thread for that purpose. It is great to be able to take a prolonged lunch break and not get cold.

When I was doing long multiday ski tours in Norway I used to bring a very large fleece jacket and a waterproof rain jacket. On breaks I would put on the fleece and the rain jacket right over top of my anorak. This was quite warm and windproof, and easy because you did not have to take off your outer layer to put on extra layers. I hate doing that because you get chilled right away, before you even start your tea break.

As to skin clothing, I once made a pair of caribou skin pants under the tutelage of 2 lovely Inuit women. We started from the raw bloody skin, went through the washing, softening and drying processes, right to the finished pants. It was fun but too much work for me. Also they don't actually tan the skins, so they are prone to rot if they are not kept in a cool place. Normally I think they would make a new pair every year, so this was not such an issue. They always use fall skins, as that is after the moult and the hair is not too thick. Winter skins are just too thick and stiff.

Another option is sheepskin. I have seen some beautiful warm clothing made from that. Might be more available to you. Although it was easy to pick up reindeer skins fairly cheaply in north Norway, if you went right to the source in Sami country at the right time of year. Most of them were discarded after butchering.

Good luck with your projects, let us know how it goes!


Winter Camping Clothing / Re: Inuit made anoraks
« on: January 06, 2010, 05:39:27 PM »
Er du Svensk da? Jeg bodde en period i Norge men kan ikke svensk, dessverre.

I have to recommend polarfleece and/or thinsulate, these are the warmest and easiest to sew materials I have used. I do not enjoy hand sewing however. I have never run across a rya, looks interesting.

Med vennlig hilsen,


Winter Camping Clothing / Cattail fluff
« on: January 04, 2010, 09:14:00 PM »
So I was looking at all those dried cattail heads in the swamp, thinking what great insulation they might make. When you pull them apart they seem just like down.

So I looked it up on the old interweb and of course I am not the first to whom this idea has occurred. Cattail fluff has been widely used as insulation, for baby diapers and many other uses I guess. It was used for stuffing life preservers during WW2!

I have an older parka I got about 10 years back, insulated with some synthetic, probably thinsulate or something. In any case whatever it is no longer does the trick, so either the parka goes or it had to be "improved". With not much to lose, I decided to try to improve it.

I went to the local swamp and picked up some cattail heads in a bag. It is very easy to get as many as you could possibly want. I took them home and stripped off the fluff while they were still in the bag. This is a potentially messy job as they are very hard to handle. The stuff is springy and tends to fly away, just like down. But it is just amazing how light and fluffy it really is.

The jacket has a liner sewn in channels, so I slit the channels and started stuffing in the fluff. This is hard to do without some escapage so it is best done outdoors if possible. I then patched the slits with adhesive tape, this being just an experiment.

The difference is amazing and the parka is now much warmer than it was. I have no idea how long this stuff will last or whether it would stand up to repeated compressions. But it certainly is a fine insulator.

I have been thinking of ways it could be used in an emergency. The main problem is to keep it contained somehow. One could stuff it between two shirts to make an insulated jacket of a sort. Or maybe one could make a sleeping quilt of a sort by containing it between layers of spruce boughs. In any case it is something to keep in mind should the need arise.

Also make good tinder, and probably a good pillow if stuffed in a spare bag.


Winter Camping Clothing / Re: Inuit made anoraks
« on: December 24, 2009, 12:09:32 PM »
Well I am not an Inuk but here are a couple of the parkas I have made over the years.

This one was made for my son when he was about 5 or 6. Insulation is 2 layers of polarfleece, outer is Commander, lined with slippery nylon. Also a reflective strip. Trim is coyote. I have no use for this now but I can't bear to part with it. My son was so cute in it.

This was my hunting parka. Inner is a layer of polarfleece and a layer of thinsulate. Outer is Commander I think. Has an internal drawstring sash. Trim is coyote. This is the warmest parka I have ever used.

Finally, I didn't make this, but it is my wife's gorgeous sealskin anorak. Young ringed seal, lined with a light stroud, white fox trim. This is just a beautiful coat. She wears it all winter long in North Bay and it gets a lot of comments, always positive.

Happy Christmas to all, good trekking.


Other Homemade Gear / Re: DIY Canvas tent
« on: December 24, 2009, 11:35:08 AM »
Hi Chimpac

I for one would love to try your supporting chimney idea but without further information on how they are made it is out of the question for me. Are you planning on marketing them or something?


Winter Camping Clothing / Re: Inuit made anoraks
« on: December 21, 2009, 07:37:11 PM »
As Jimmy said what the Inuit in the communities use to make their parkas depends to a large extent on what is available at the Northern Store, and that can be fairly limiting. I never liked working with duffel cloth, because it is heavy for the insulation it gives and tough to sew because it has absolutely no give. So I tended to mail-order my materials.

As to what is worn under the parka, that of course depends on the conditions. But I bet people would be amazed at the sheer amount of clothing that is worn in very cold conditions. Keep in mind that most hunters these days use snowmobiles so travel is a fairly sedentary activity, not active like running a dog team. There is absolutely no place colder than sitting on a qamutiq (sled) running at 70 kliks across the ice at -35 C.

So my hunting parkas were made oversized so I could fit lots of clothing underneath. In deep cold I would wear a lots of wool underwear, wool shirt, a fleece or two, then a "southern" winter jacket of the type I might wear all winter in North Bay, then the parka. This has the advantage that you can wear the jacket in the tent or iglu, or if you are working and generating a lot of heat, and still have a barrier against wind or snow. In warmer conditions we would wear less of course. But the clothing is always loose and non-constricting.

I also made insulated bib pants for use with the parka. Some people wear a full 'snowmobile suit' coverall under the parka and this is a good combo for some conditions.

The absolute best clothing for deep cold is, in my opinion, made of fall-killed caribou skin. There is just nothing like it. It seems to somehow adjust to your level of activity so that you are at a perfect temperature over a wide range of activity level. There is no doubt in my mind that the Arctic would have been basically uninhabitable without this material. It is still fairly widely used but of course less so than it used to be. It is all hand sewn and requires a fair bit of maintenance. I made a pair of pants once and it was a lot of work. Another thing: if you wear caribou skin you get caribou hair in absolutely everything you eat or drink. Just have to accept it...

I still have all this clothing and I just can't bear to get rid of it, even though I hardly ever use it now. O well...


Well, I have personally drilled and chiselled through lake ice over 2 m (7 ft) thick in the Canadian Arctic. Believe me it is not easy...

Another factor, freezing is an exothermic process (releases heat), so the process of the state change from liquid to solid actually adds some heat to the lake or river. Also, most salts are pushed out into the water during freezing, which is why black lake ice is almost like distilled water. So lakes become more salty during the winter and their freezing point therefore drops slightly. This is only significant in small, low volume ponds or very shallow lakes however.

There is a lot going on in our lakes...


Winter Camping Clothing / Re: Inuit made anoraks
« on: December 19, 2009, 09:33:04 PM »

I lived in the Canadian Arctic for about 15 years and in that time I made several parkas for myself and my kids, some of which we still use here in North Bay when its real cold.

The most common 'modern' parka has 3 layers so you basically have to make 3 parkas. The innermost layer is a slippery liner so the parka is easy to get on and off. This is sewn into the inside of a heavy wool duffel layer. This cloth is typically about 1 cm thick, quite stiff and fairly hard to sew. The next layer is the windproof outer parka. Most commonly this is made from a poly-cotton blend, often something called Commander cloth. In all my time there I only saw one parka made with a pure cotton outer. The outer layer is attached to the duffel layer using safety pins or such so that it can be removed easily for washing.

The fur ruff is sewn onto the duffel layer because it is seldom or never washed.

The outer layer is often decorated with braiding, fur, beads or whatever, people can get quite fancy. But a hunting parka is often undecorated.

Some parkas are made without zippers as pullovers (anoraks- anorak means wind in Inuktitut- Anoraktuk='it is windy'). But many are made with front zippers, particularly womens parkas.

I varied the 3 layer theme quite a bit. My best parka was made with an insulating layer of thinsulate and polar fleece. This was much warmer and lighter than duffel. Also 2 layers of polarfleece was a winner. However these required making 4 parkas rather than 3!

If you are interested MacPhee Workshop has what you need to make a parka or anorak. Their 'Parkover' pattern is very versatile and I have used it a lot.

Hope this helps,


Moving water generates heat through friction. If you run a blender for a while the water heats up. The water in the moving stream is kept warmer than 0 by this friction. If the rate of heat loss exceeds the heat generated, the stream will freeze.



Other Winter Camping Gear / Re: WeatherMax Fabric
« on: November 06, 2009, 04:38:17 PM »
Well, I've made many Arctic parkas, all anoraks, and always used a polycotton blend like Commander. In fact everyone in Arctic Canada uses polycottons. In all my time there I saw only one parka made with cotton canvas. The polycottons breath well, are windproof and don't absorb as much moisture as a pure cotton.

However, it is true that the spark problem is not so much of an issue in the Arctic, as there is no wood for fires.

The tent I use for winter hot camping, a Norwegian lavvo, is also made with a polycotton blend that is treated in some way to make it fire retardent. It is common to have open wood fires in these tents, just like a teepee. So far, no spark holes in mine.

So this fabric does look interesting to me, and I will try to find out more about it.


Other Winter Camping Gear / Re: WeatherMax Fabric
« on: November 05, 2009, 03:47:26 PM »
Hmm, looks interesting. I am thinking of making myself a new anorak so this might be the stuff.


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