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Messages - kinguq

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Geez, is the snow really all gone in the Kawarthas? I was thinking of heading down there over the school holiday...

Camped in lots of cold wet weather in Norway, and if you can maintain a drying fire it can be OK. But it is certainly the most difficult condition to camp in, in my view. Intense cold is much easier.

As Rick said the key is to stay dry, and to be able to get dry if you become wet.

Best of luck,


Algonquin is basically a tree farm, so why not harvest a few boughs? But seriously I see nothing wrong with a few people taking a few boughs in an area where no one will likely go in the summer in any case. They are a renewable resource, and the lower branches on conifers generally die eventually regardless.


Winter Camping Clothing / Re: Why white cotton for Anoraks?
« on: March 02, 2009, 12:20:32 PM »
White tents are a different matter. When I lived in Nunavut, virtually all Inuit used white tents. When I lived in Arctic Norway, virtually everyone used dark coloured (usually green) tents, in this case lavvu's.

The difference was striking. Inuit use white tents because canvas is typically white, but also because they like the brightness inside the tent the white colour gives in the 24 hr daylight of summer. With similar light conditions, Norwegians prefer dark tents so they can relax and sleep in the 24 hr light. Maybe this points to a difference in mentality between Inuit and Norwegians!

I prefer white tents as I like the light. However at the moment I am using a green lavvu because that is what I have. I find it very dark and even using a lantern at night does not make it light enough. I would much rather it were white but so it goes...



Other Winter Camping Gear / Re: Hot Tent and Stove
« on: February 28, 2009, 07:28:56 PM »
For the pot holes I have the following suggestion. Pot lids make really good covers for your pot holes. Go to Rebuilt Resources and buy a couple of pot lids of the right size for 50 cents each or whatever. When I was there the other day they had all kinds. Then cut the holes to fit the lids (and your pots of course).

I will warn you that sheet metal is really nasty stuff to work with, in my experience. Be careful and wear gloves when you can. A jigsaw with the proper blade will work but it is sometimes hard to keep the stove from "oilcanning" and vibrating excessively, unless you can brace it properly. Someone told me that a Dremel tool works well for doing precise cuts but I have never tried it. Don't use tin snips as they just make a mess.


Other Winter Camping Gear / Re: Hot Tent and Stove
« on: February 28, 2009, 09:54:39 AM »
Hey Shawn

Where is Sproule Lake. I can't find it, or rather I have found a few!


Other Winter Camping Gear / Re: 5' Toboggan on Sale at Canadian Tire
« on: February 28, 2009, 09:42:12 AM »
Hey Shawn

What are the poles made of? I made a set from old ski poles for my pulk but broke them.

Seems we are both in North Bay, by the way.


Hi all:

Thanks for the interesting replies. I guess the consensus is that it is viable with a specialized lightweight tent and a fairly light stove.

I note that my lavvu and the stove I made are actually lighter than the Snowtrekker models, so I am in the right ballpark. I guess seeing the rather heavy gear used by most of the folks at DeepFreeze led me to think that that was the norm. That being said, it does seem that most of the people using hot tents are setting up base camps, or at least not travelling very much.

The heated tent is certainly welcome. I think I will stick with it and try to streamline my gear some more. My ambition is to make this viable for me to travel reasonable distances, which will take some more innovation.

Expecting a big snow storm here this evening, should be fun.


Winter Camping Clothing / Re: Possum fur ruff?
« on: February 25, 2009, 03:25:14 PM »
Suggest you patrol the second hand stores. I picked up a beautiful coyote scarf for 10 dollars that I am using for a fur ruff. Also picked up a mink coat for 15 dollars but I am not sure what to do with that!



Here is what I mean: party of say 3 or less, using one tent and travelling by ski or snowshoe over rough country, breaking camp and moving on a daily basis.

In the past I have been a cold camper, and it is definitely viable even solo. But it seems to me that the weight and time penalties with hot tenting make travel quite a chore. The stove itself weighs a minimum of, say 7 kg. The tent itself will weigh about 8 kg and usually a fly is needed, adding another 1 kg at least. A good amount of wood must be cut, so a good saw and an axe are required, say another 5 kg. That alone is over 20 kg of equipment. And you still need all the other stuff you would normally take cold or warm tenting.

Then there is time. The setup for these tents tends to be time consuming, often requiring a lot of digging, cutting bush poles etc. Then you have to cut an awful lot of wood, which also takes time. I have heard that about 2 hrs are required, minimum, to set up camp, and my limited experience confirms this. Days are short in the winter as it is, and if we are using that much time just setting up and breaking camp, it doesn't leave much time for travel.

I just got back from DeepFreeze, and this is what got me thinking about all this. I used a woodstove and tent, and I think I had by far the lightest rig there. But I would still not want to pull it any distance over rough country, or set it up and break it on a daily basis.

So I am wondering how others feel about this, and whether others have different experience. It seems like most hot tenters establish a base camp and do day trips, which is fun and a great thing to do. But if one wants to travel on a daily basis, is hot tenting really viable?


Other Winter Camping Gear / Re: reducing dampness in sleeping bags
« on: February 21, 2009, 10:12:21 AM »
I use a VBL on multi night trips. I wear my woolies in the VBL and they do not get noticeably damp. I think the body produces much less insensitive perspiration when the humidity level is high as it is in a VBL. Otherwise it is very difficult to keep your bag dry if you are cold camping.

In my younger days I used to sleep in a set of ultralight Helly Hansen rain gear, which worked as a VB. Haven't tried that lately but as I recall it worked rather well and was not uncomfortable.


Other Winter Camping Gear / Re: Long skis
« on: February 21, 2009, 10:04:31 AM »
Hi Abu

2 weeks from Kilpisjarvi to Abisko means that you are far from the beginner. That area is practically treeless which makes it potentially dangerous in winter. In nice weather it’s beautiful but in winter storm like hell. Good thing is that snow is usually packed by winds, so it’s easy to ski.

To clarify, I mean that I did the trip twice, one week each time. You are right about the weather, we had very bad storms both times. Quite a challenging area to ski.

I don't agree with that point. It's possible that snow here differs from the snow there, but I think (know) that long skis flotate considerable more than the short ones. The problem is that it's not easy to find long ENOUGH skis. I'm considering to purchase 11 foot wooden skis, because they are now available (one young guy started to make them).

No, I think we probably do agree, it is just that your long skis are much longer than any I have used and any that are available here. The difference in flotation between the available backcountry skis is, in my opinion, not substantial enough to make much of a difference. The snow is usually either very soft, in which case you sink, or there is a crust or consolidation so you don't sink. It is a rare day when I will float on one pair of skis and sink with the others. Given that, I will choose the lighter narrower ski every time. But with a huge ski like you are talking about, I am sure it would make a difference under a wider range of conditions.

Around here there is lots of fairly young forest, with very thick brush. To be honest, snowshoes are better in country like that. They are more manoeuvrable and it is easier to handle the hills in thick bush on snowshoes than on skis. It causes me pain to say that because I very much prefer skiing. Given the choice I will still ski under conditions where snowshoes would be better, just because I enjoy it more. But in thick bush like that, where it is necessary to zigzag all over the place just to get through, I think very long skis would be nearly impossible. Short and very fat skis might work but then they begin to look a lot like snowshoes, don't they?

Well, except the treeless areas, we have soft powder snow from about December to March that covers most of the skiing here. But in spring, April and May, snow becomes hard and icy, therefore shorter metal edge skis are essential.

It is the same here, although spring comes a bit earlier. We have had lots of lovely snow this winter.

Happy skiing,


Other Winter Camping Gear / Re: Long skis
« on: February 16, 2009, 05:22:37 PM »

Great to hear from Finland! I used to live in northern Norway and have travelled quite a bit in Finland by ski and canoe. I have done 2 week long trips from Kilpisjarvi to Abisko in Sweden- really nice country.

Over the years I have become less convinced by the idea of big skis with lots of floatation. I started out with big, wide skis for bush travel. Trouble is, they tend to be heavy. Weight is the real enemy with both skis and snowshoes in my view. You are moving that weight thousands of times per day, and every gram counts.

I am not convinced that high floatation makes much difference under most circumstances. Under most conditions, the difference between a big ski and a smaller ski will not be enough to float the skier; the snow will be too soft regardless. Of course there are exceptions to this, but usually both types of ski will sink.

With skis you are pushing the ski through soft snow, rather than lifting them as you do snowshoes. Therefore the narrow ski actually has an advantage under these conditions because it is easier to push through the snow. In my experience this often gives the narrower, shorter ski the advantage over the bigger ski in very deep snow. And again the weight is very important.

These days I use the narrowest metal edge ski I can find, with Salomon bindings and fairly substantial touring boots. As it happens I am using Asnes Marka skis at present. I really love these skis and find them great for bush travel. Much lighter and easier to use than heavier, wider skis I have had in the past.

I hasten to add that this is just my experience and other will feel differently. It is certainly true that very wide, long skis will have a substantial floatation advantage under some conditions. I just think those conditions are too rare to worry about.

By the way it was about -20 here this morning too. The country around here is much like parts of Finland- lots of lakes and mixed forest.



General Winter Camping Discussion / Re: deepfreeze 2009
« on: February 13, 2009, 05:41:53 PM »
See you there on Tuesday. I did my packing today...


Winter Camping Safety / Re: Galvanized Elbow Failed
« on: February 09, 2009, 09:34:42 AM »
Well, maybe I shouldn't even suggest this but has anyone ever thought of using aluminum for the upper stages of the stovepipe? Beyond the first pipe section from the stove I very much doubt that the aluminum would get hot enough to melt or burn. Aluminum is much lighter than steel of course and is readily available in several diameters at the local big box store.

I would give it extensive yard testing before taking it into the field, but I may give it a try. I have a tent in which a pipe failure is not so serious an issue.


Winter Camping Clothing / Re: Conover's Anoraks
« on: February 07, 2009, 10:33:42 AM »
Personally when I make an anorak I like to have a slippery inner lining so it is easier to put on and take off. Makes a big difference for me. A lightweight nylon or similar works well. It doesn't produce condensation because it is kept warm by the outer layer.


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