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Author Topic: tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?  (Read 8863 times)

Offline katekate

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tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?
« on: March 02, 2009, 09:42:52 PM »
hmmm, having just returned from 8 days of winter camping in Algonquin, I had lots of time to ponder the finer points of making oneself comfortable

for 7 nights, we made camp at a different location

each offered a slightly different mix of evergreens

I personally like white spruce but some thought they smelled like cat piss when the tent warmed up

which species make the best 'beds'? balsam fir? hemlock? one of the pines?

dreaming of snow falling on ...

Offline Pathfinder

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Re: tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2009, 10:33:43 PM »
hmmm, having just returned from 8 days of winter camping in Algonquin, I had lots of time to ponder the finer points of making oneself comfortable

for 7 nights, we made camp at a different location

each offered a slightly different mix of evergreens

I personally like white spruce but some thought they smelled like cat piss when the tent warmed up

which species make the best 'beds'? balsam fir? hemlock? one of the pines?

dreaming of snow falling on ...

"Algonquin" as in Algonquin Provincial Park?

Hmmm...if it were me and I knew I was going to stay at 7 different campsites in APP and thought i may have to cut a fistful of pine boughs from several different trees at several different locations, i think i would chose one of these...

http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_listing.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302701679&bmUID=1236050747285

I have the Prolite 4 and find it woks very well in all 4 seasons.  It insulates extremely well against the cold ground.  That and a good quality sleep system and you're good to go.  And then you don't need to cut all those pine boughs for a week of camping in the Park.  ;)

But that's just me.  :)

Cheers
Shawn




Offline jaunty

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Re: tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2009, 10:48:05 PM »
Shawn, the boughs may have been left over from the trimming of tent poles. 



Offline Opa

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Re: tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2009, 06:53:36 AM »
Balsam makes the best boughs as they are softer than most. The needles are flat ,so they lie flat and don't poke into things.
 Bill

Offline wilderness gal

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Re: tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2009, 12:17:30 PM »
I would have to go with the insulated pad rather than taking from the environment.  I just recently went on a Winter Survival Course and they mentioned there not to use green stuff for sleeping or sitting on, it contains mositure and will make you damp and cold.  It should be from dead trees, starting with larger sticks on the bottom to keep you up off the ground, then going with smaller in the middle, then fine branches on the top and might I say a good load of them.  It made a fine nest!  I was surprised to find out that this was not all that uncomfortable!  I would be hard pressed myself unless it was a survival situation to use live trees.  Just my feelings only!
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 12:19:12 PM by wilderness gal »
Is a frogs arse water tight?

Offline fisherman

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Re: tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2009, 05:20:45 PM »
I too like the Balsam fir. Its very aromatic as well. Not sure how it compares to the other conifers. Iam sure quantity might be a factor. I use the boughs, pad and one of those survival type blankets.

Offline kinguq

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Re: tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2009, 06:39:10 PM »
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.

Daniel.

Offline katekate

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Re: tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2009, 08:32:51 PM »




yes, Algonquin was Algonquin park

tree boughs were useful not only for as additional sleeping insulation but also insulated the snow from the hot stove

I'm kind of surprised that it was recommended not to use boughs as they contain moisture - it seemed to be the opposite to me - when -20C those tips snap off clean from the tree, seeming to be dry of any surface moisture and even the internal saps frozen or withdrawn to the core of the tree

tent used on this trip was a snow trekker hybrid thus no poles cut - I have cut green trees for poles before before and felt more than a little guilty hacking down 7 to 9 live trees for 12 hrs use

PS now, I just say a little prayer to each tree, thanking it for 'donating' bough tips to keep me warm  :)

Offline Oldand Fat

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Re: tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2009, 08:42:41 PM »
At DF09 Smokey said; "Use the forest, with respect. "
Good advice.
Stay safe
OAF
“ We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful.” Stephen Hawking. 1942 - 2018

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Mark Twain

Offline Pathfinder

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Re: tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2009, 10:04:33 PM »
Hi katekate,

I'm a little under the weather these days as I am battling a touch of the flue.  This has worn me down a tad, but I assure you there is no poison in my ink.

Having said that I want you to know that my intention was merely to suggest an alternative to cutting  a large number of boughs for bedding. 

However, after reading your last post I can only assume you are baiting those of us that demonstrate respect for Algonquin Provincial Park, or you simply have not learned to respect your environment.

If not, then my only and best suggestion to you katekate is to perhaps invest in a more suitable sleep system that will keep you warm and dry, rather than “hacking down 7 to 9 live trees for 12 hours use”  for 7 out of 8 days while in APP.

I too have used boughs in Provincial Parks and elsewhere including up north while camping in the Boreal Forest.  However I try to limit my "footprint" as much as possible, and demonstrate respect while enjoying the outdoors.  This include utilizing some of the available choices from a variety of inexpensive outdoor stores to keep my sorry butt off the frozen ground.  But again, this is just my opinion.

However I do encourage you to use Smokey's motto while you are a guest in any of the Provincial Parks.

PS I, too, will say a little prayer.  Not for the trees, but for you to discontinue the practice of killing that many live trees at random to keep you warm.

Nice choice of tent, by the way.

Peace
Shawn


Offline memaquay

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Re: tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2009, 10:32:08 PM »
Ahhhh...the tree thing....I don't know what it's like in those parks down south, but in the north, on Crown Land, a tree is a tree is a tree.  We still use canvas prospector tents, and we cut down nine trees each time we set one.  Except we set two, so that's 18 poles.  When we are finished, we stand the poles up against a good looking tree with a nice canopy, and they will stay good for us for quite a few years of re-use.  Using bows is a fairly standard and traditional way if lining a floor, anmd I see no harm in it whatsoever.  I routinely cut several hundred trees each summer so that canoeists can travel on portages that appear to be magically clear by themselves...which strangely enough, after a year of neglect, they often disappear.  So, lighten up on the tree stuff...they are there to be used. 

Offline lost_patrol

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Re: tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2009, 01:44:32 AM »
Balsam twigs are the best, although black spruce is also good.  If twigs are not available or are inappropriate for some reason, Persian carpets make a reasonable alternative.

« Last Edit: March 04, 2009, 02:39:06 AM by lost_patrol »
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Offline wilderness gal

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Re: tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2009, 12:35:35 PM »
I have to disagree on the tree usage.  Years ago there were not as many folks in the woods as there are today!  Backcountry wilderness travel now seems to be the trend and in fashion, if everyone who camped in the backcountry cut down trees I think we would notice the loss quite quickly.  As with a lot of things that we are now battling with concerning the environment, we will not see the damage until it is too late.  Will there always be wilderness to enjoy for the generations that follow us?  I hardly think so if we continue to use them needlessly.
Is a frogs arse water tight?

Offline Pathfinder

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Re: tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2009, 03:22:28 PM »
Ahhhh...the tree thing....I don't know what it's like in those parks down south, but in the north, on Crown Land, a tree is a tree is a tree.  We still use canvas prospector tents, and we cut down nine trees each time we set one.  Except we set two, so that's 18 poles.  When we are finished, we stand the poles up against a good looking tree with a nice canopy, and they will stay good for us for quite a few years of re-use.  Using bows is a fairly standard and traditional way if lining a floor, anmd I see no harm in it whatsoever.  I routinely cut several hundred trees each summer so that canoeists can travel on portages that appear to be magically clear by themselves...which strangely enough, after a year of neglect, they often disappear.  So, lighten up on the tree stuff...they are there to be used. 

Although I appreciate your candidness about your ignorance to Provincial Parks, I cannot speak intelligently about other peoples camping habits.  I only offer up my own, in hopes of providing alternative ideas and encouraging responsible behavior while a guest in any of the Provincial Parks.

However, I'm concerned this thread may take a turn for the worst, so with that I hope the OP's question has been answered and I will continue on my way...

All the best, to all of you, in the remaining winter season and hope that spring brings many more safe and wonderful days wherever you decide to "pitch your tent."

Peace out.

Shawn

Offline katekate

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Re: tree boughs: which species offer best insulating qualities?
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2009, 03:43:04 PM »
tee hee! Persian carpets, I like that option....how do they smell?? aux de doggie per chance? what a lovely fur ball on that rug - no need for boughs in that case

well, no evergreen died as a result of a few 12" bough tips

the judicious use of resources (be it a tree or other) is not evil - in fact, using a resource wisely actually promotes it conservation as one becomes aware of its scarcity, usefulness and vulnerability

often I have come across old hot camping sites, long poles stacked neatly in trees, waiting to be recycled as tent poles (or firewood if the years have long gone) by the next winter camper

that is a prudent use of the forest and a respectful use

I'm glad to have had both experiences: using traditional tents that need to be set up with cut tree poles and more recently, using smaller modern canvas trekker style tents with included poles

goes back to my original question: which species of evergreen offer the softest, most comfortable, fragrant bough beds?

heck, nothing like a caribou-moose-deer skin on top of that bed of evergreens for real comfort and warmth....look out malamut!!  :D