Tag Archives: search and rescue

Setting up a Pyramid Tarp, Printable Directions

Pyramid SetUp

PDF on directions to set up Pyramid and to lash two trekking poles together with provided web straps to make tall tent pole.

Buy pyramids here.

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Filed under Oware Backpacking Gear, pyramid tarp, Tips for the Backcountry

Dyneema Thread Knot Test, The Flat Overhand Knot

Will 3 flat overhand knots in Dyneema thread stop a loop from untying under force?

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Filed under Do It Yourself, Fabric, Oware Backpacking Gear, Tips for the Backcountry

Avalanche Dog lowering uniform

Prototype for the Squaw Valley Avi Dogs. Brook the coonhound gives a questioning look.




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Foam Pads back in stock

I just received a large shipment of closed cell foam pads.

One set is 3/16″ thick and a density of 29. This denser version makes a thin pad tear resistant. Sizes include full length versions for one (20×76″) or two (40×76″) as
well as a torso size (19×40″). The double wide version is often used by hammock campers
for insulation that wraps around the sides where the hammock fabric pushes the sleeping bag insulation flat. This thin foam, while not warm enough for a sleeping pad by itself in cold conditions, is nice to use under an inflatable pad to protect it from punctures and to add some warmth. The torso length pad is good in a day pack for emergencies, as a waterproof sit pad, to add stiffness to a frameless pack and can be cut up for splints or added as cushioning in side the shoes.


The second set of foam is 1/2″ thick with a density of 24. A touch warmer for the
weight, this foam is Waterproof to a Hydrostatic Head of 3500 mm. R value of 2.
Some have found this to be adequate for winter camping. Others double it up for
bitter cold. Sizes 40×60″, 20×60″ and 20×40″.

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Filed under Oware Backpacking Gear, Tips for the Backcountry

Make a Tough Avalanche Shovel from a Hardware Store Version

I bought this aluminum shovel, True Temper Brand, from the Truckee Hardware Store. With
a very sturdy blade and handle, (more so than the majority of avalanche specific shovels)
it can be used to chop ice, push with your feet and lever out blocks. Things that break
plastic and the thinner versions of metal shovels.

To make it transportable in a pack, I drilled out the rivet holding the blade to the shovel and replaced it with a removable pin.

AVI Shovel


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Filed under Do It Yourself, Oware Backpacking Gear, Tips for the Backcountry

Cleats for your running and hiking shoes

Old school mountaineers used metal nails, hobnails, in the leather soles of their boots for
added traction on ice.

Here is a method to do something similar with your running or hiking shoes. You could even
carry this lightweight kit with you into the backcountry for icy trails.

1. Small 1/4″ bit driver. The one shown is mostly plastic and the rest aluminum so
weighs very little. Some multi-tools have this on them as well. A tiny wrench could work.
Chuck one in a drill for quick at home attachments.

2. 1/4″ hex head sheet metal screws. Use the shortest ones you can buy so it won’t go
through the sole to your feet.


Just twist them in. You can remove them for the summer season or when you need to walk
across someone’s hardwood floor.

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Filed under Do It Yourself, Oware Backpacking Gear, Tips for the Backcountry

Ten Essentials

Develop your own “Ten Essentials” for your trips.

Here are my categories.

Clothing and Shelter
Light Source
Knife and Tools
Sun Protection
Fire Making
First Aid

Each time I head out, I take a quick look at my list and match
categories with items suitable for the activities expected.


Half Day Hike in Know Territory:
Water– Pop bottle with water in pack or back pocket
Food – eat before I go
Clothing and Shelter – Fleece hat and garbage bag in pocket or pack.
Navigation – known terrain, not needed
Light Source – button flashlight “Fauxton
Knife and Toolspocket knife
Sun Protection – sunscreen before I go
Fire Making – bic lighter or firesteel, toilet paper
First Aid – (Very small), bit of tape, aspirin, large dressing
Communication – cell phone, whistle

All day or night ski tour, new territory:
Water – Quart and 1/2 of water, metal cup to melt more or for hot drinks

food – lunch, extra energy bars, energy drink or juice in one of the water bottles (also makes “bread crumbs” in the snow for navigating back), tea bags, (fruit and water in car for return)

Clothing and Shelter – Layered clothes of synthetic and wool, gloves and spare mittens,
hat, waterproof parka and pants, spare socks, ski boots, gaiters, vbl socks silnylon tarp and foam sit pad for stops and emergencies.

Navigation – Gps, compass, topo map in plastic.

Light – LED headlamp with fully charged batteries, spare batteries, couple of “Fauxtons”

Knife and Tools Pocket Knife, Screw driver that fits ski bindings, Duct Tape,
Wire, Spare binding screws, Steel wool for filling loose binding screw holes,
Cord (for emergency rope climbers, towing, building a rescue sled or shelter building,) pocket wood saw for trail maintenance
and fire/shelter building,
avalanche shovel, avalanche beacon, avalanche Probe, ski Skins and skin wax, ski poles, red wax, wax scraper

Sun Protection – Sunscreen, brimmed hat, sunglasses, Clown White for extreme ‘sun on snow’ days.

Fire Making – Matches, bic lighter, Fire Steel, cotton balls rubbed with Vaselene, toilet paper, maybe a pop can alcohol stove

First Aid – Tape, Bandaids, 2nd Skin, Super Glue, dressings, aspirin and Ibuprofen, hand warmers.

Communication – Cell Phone, Two Way Radios, Signal Mirror, Whistle, Paper and Pencil

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Filed under flattarp, Oware Backpacking Gear, oware tarps, Tips for the Backcountry

Alphamini Photos

Alphamini Photos

Take a pyramid tarp, cut it in half and add an A Frame door and you have the Alphamid TM. Half Pyramid floorless shelter 4×8 by 5′ feet tall. 30d silnylon Weighs 13.5 oz A floorless tarp which is quick to set up, light and inexpensive. A favorite for winter campers, it can be set up over a snow pit for extra roominess. It includes a stuff sack. Use your ski probe poles, hang it from a tree limb or order the separate shock corded pole to set it up. Just clip the buckle at the bottom of the door, zip up the zipper, stake out the four corners evenly and put up the pole. Additional tie outs are on the center seams. The apex is reinforced , the zipper is a #5 coil. The taller steeper pitch sheds snow and rain much better than the competitors shelters as well a providing more headroom. Includes 1 oz. pole connector (3 webbing straps) so you can use two trekking or ski poles to make a height adjustable pole. Fabric is not flame retardant and will burn and melt when in contact with high heat or flame. Keep away from camp stoves, gas lanterns, campfires etc.
Great shelter for Search and Rescue-very light and you can set it up over a prone victom without
moving them. Current color is grey.


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Filed under alphamid, backpacking tarps, Oware Backpacking Gear, oware tarps, pyramid tarp

Neo Bivy Now available

Now here. New bivy with side zip and room for a Neo Air pad along with a thick down bag and you.

Various fabrics.




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Filed under backpacking tarps, bivysack, Oware Backpacking Gear

Loved your Pyramid on the JMT.


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Filed under Customer Quotes and Photos, Oware Backpacking Gear, pyramid tarp