Category Archives: Tips for the Backcountry

DIY ultralight dog dish


only .6 ounces 70 denier silicone coated nylon

only .6 ounces
70 denier silicone coated nylon

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Half bag/overbag


Using some pre quilted hollow fiber insulation and some Camo surplus nylon, sewed up a half bag. Fits over my down bag and ties to the side loops so it won’t slip off in the night. Allows extra insulation and weather resistance with minimal weight. My down jacket can serve as insulation on the top half.

Weighs 17 ounces.

synthetic half bag

synthetic half bag

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Survive a grizzly attack with Grandma’s advice


“I remembered an article that my grandmother gave me a long time ago that said large animals have bad gag reflexes,” Dellwo said. “So I shoved my right arm down his throat.”

http://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/2015/10/04/chase-dellwo-recounts-saturdays-grizzly-attack/73348328/

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Add a tarp tie out point with just a piece of cord


Make serviceable tarps from just some coated fabric and cord.

 

Clove hitch

http://www.animatedknots.com/cloveend/

Barrel knot

http://www.climbing.com/video/triple-barrel-knot/

 

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Bartack vs ZTack in silnylon


Same weight nylon thread. 42 stitch Bartack vs 42 stitch Ztack. Bartack failed by pulling out of 30 denier silnylon at 30 lbs.Bartack vs ztack OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Same weight nylon thread. 42 stitch Bartack vs 42 stitch Ztack. Bartack failed by pulling out of 30 denier silnylon at 30 lbs.

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Grommet in webbing vs sewn loop for tarp tie out


grommet held while hem tore at stitch line. Unreinforced 1" web tie out with top of stitching past hem stitch held.

grommet held while hem tore at stitch line. Unreinforced 1″ web tie out with top of stitching past hem stitch held.

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Control those tarp cords


A simple coiling method to keep cord untangled until you need them. I learned this at Outward Bound. Firm Cord works best. I like to use 2mm cord on the most used tie outs and carry a bit of 1mm cord for long reaches to distant anchors.

Starting at the bitter end, coil around hand leaving a foot or two  between the hand and tarp attachment point.

Starting at the bitter end, coil around hand leaving a foot or two between the hand and tarp attachment point.

Wrap the remaining cord tightly around the first coil and then pass a loop, close to the tarp attach point, through one end of the now figure eight shape of the coil.

Wrap the remaining cord tightly around the first coil and then pass a loop, close to the tarp attach point, through one end of the now figure eight shape of the coil.

Loop this over the other end of the figure eight and pull. Reverse process when  you need to use the cord to tie up your tarp/tent.

Loop this over the other end of the figure eight and pull. Reverse process when you need to use the cord to tie up your tarp/tent.

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The Packrat Papers by the Signpost


From 1972, collection of backpacking advice.

A photo from the book of “The Lake Wenatchee Trail Helper”

packratpapers 0130151147-00

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Thoughts on Tarp Setups


Some of nylon’s stretch can be mitigated by how the fabric pieces are cut out. Curves etc. in seams and hems can help maintain shape. I far as I know, nylon is still the fabric of choice for shock absorption (parachutes, ropes) and does a good job for shelters suddenly loaded by wind or snow.

It does sag a bit at times from temperature drops or moisture. In something like a pyramid tarp, having a method for adjusting the pole upward to take up slack from within the shelter is nice. If your tarp pole is not adjustable, this could be as simple as having a stone handy to place underneath the pole. If you use outside shear poles, reaching under the hem and pulling the two pole bottoms inward can do the same.

Two wooden poles can be  lasted to hold the tarp up from outside.

Two wooden poles can be lasted to hold the tarp up from outside.

Be sure in any case or fabric type you stake out the hem in the right shape. On a symmetrical 4 sided mid, a diamond shape instead of a perfect square will produce saggy walls with any fabric. Floored shelters are easier to get the stake out pattern correct. On a floorless shelter you could tie tiny cords corner to corner to insure proper and repeatable layouts.

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Classic book -The Arctic year by Peter Freuchen


Before snow machines, the internet and global warming. One chapter for each month of the year,from Peter  Freuchen  Danish explorer, author, journalist and anthropologist. A remarkable man, he wrote several books.

“A famous Arctic explorer and an eminent Danish ornithologist have collaborated to produce a most unusual month-by-month account of how life goes on in the Far North. By tracing the exquisitely adjusted, intergrated relationships that hold climate and currents and living creatures, permafrost and plants, in balance, the authors have documented the great design of arctic ecology and shown how profoundly it is tied to the rest of the world.”

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6353917-the-arctic-year

“In 1910, Knud Rasmussen and Peter Freuchen established the Thule Trading Station at Cape York (Uummannaq), Greenland, as a trading base. The name Thule was chosen because it was the most northerly trading post in the world, literally the “Ultima Thule“.[6] Thule Trading Station became the home base for a series of seven expeditions, known as the Thule Expeditions, between 1912 and 1933.

The First Thule Expedition (1912, Rasmussen and Freuchen) aimed to test Robert Peary‘s claim that a channel divided Peary Land from Greenland. They proved this was not the case in a remarkable 1,000 km (620 mi) journey across the inland ice that almost killed them.[7] Clements Markham, president of the Royal Geographical Society, called the journey the “finest ever performed by dogs.”[8] Freuchen wrote personal accounts of this journey (and others) in ‘Vagrant Viking’ (1953) and ‘I Sailed with Rasmussen’ (1958). He states in ‘Vagrant Viking’ that only one other dogsled trip across Greenland was ever successful.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Freuchen

 

 

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