Thursday, February 9, 2012

OUT - Trying some "new" wintergear...

Late november 2011

Well, winter's still not here, but I went out and tried some of my winterclothing anyway.
It's all wool or for the most part and its all old armysurplus or for the most part..

First my old Dutch amry wool pants. They're made like the old Canadian/British armypants and date back to 1958. I thought they might be itchy, but it was not bad at all. Nice and warm, but the very high waiste was less comfy... or I got a bit bigger since the last time...
The temperature (in centigrade) was just about freezing, but between the trees it was warmer. The cap is an all-wool replica of the German WW2 M43 fieldcap, which has the advantage of being able to be folded down over the ears in colder or windier weather.
This walk I also tried out my old canvas waterfilter and it took some time for me to understand how to operate it. I have to thoroughly soak it in water first, which means keeping it under water and squeezing it.
In cold conditions that can be very unpleasant, especially if you have some problems with the combination cold/water/fingerjoints....
But I got it to work;

Still wearing a cotton coat;

Even a clear mountainstream leaves this;

While the water was filtering I wondered about a little and saw this damage to a tree and a fallen log next to it. I guess a woodpecker??

I also found an old tarp. It had 2 leather straps to it, too!
I tried to clean it, using a makeshift broom out of spruce and some water. Unfortunately the synthetic material had hardened and rendered the tarp useless;

After that; coffeetime!!
Made it on my homemade hobostove and billycan. The latter fits perfectly in the first and holds 0.75L of water at a time. It can handle 1L actually, but than the can is very full.

What I noticed in a spruceforrest is that collecting fresh spruceboughs for a shelter can be a problem. So is making a campfire in an area like this. With all the dead branches around you and the dead material on the floor a forrestfire is very well possible!

And then last week I tried my Swedish wool uniform and my M39 Swedish backpack. Again temps around freezing, maybe slightly below.
I know, I know.... I look like a bad reenactor of the WW2-era, but it was very comfy and warm. Too warm actually, because within 5 minutes of walking I was sweating quite heavily! I'll have to find me a nice wool/felt brimmed hat, some decent mocassins and a wool bushshirt to make it look less military!

The big leather pouch on my belt was a gift from a member here, who's name I have forgotten. Sorry! It is a old leather Swiss ammopouch and has some oakleaves engraved in it, as well as a woodspirit and some feathers.

The roll at the bottom is a shalterhalf + wool blanket and the carryingstraps barely could handle those, lengthwise.

I was wearing a wool jumper underneath the jacket.
When stationary in colder weather I assume it will do just great.
The jacket made me feel odd, when wearing it. It has a very formal cut/style, but on the upside it has many large pockets, including 2 on the rear!
The pants were very roomy around the legs, leaving plenty of space for an underlayer. Around the ankles however are leather straps and getting these strapped over the shaft of a leather boot is challenging! I was wearing standard Dutch army boots, but winterboots would make it impossible to wear the pants over the boots.

Cutting tentpoles and pegs;

I chose to practice making a place to sleep, but the rocky underground made that a bit of a challenge.
I first laid down a layer of logs, levelling the floor. Than I added a thick layer of dead branches. These come from the trees around me. I allways cut of all the branches at eyeshight or lower in my campsite and do so too on the paths to the place where I get water, where I clean my gear (a couple of feet downstream) and where I display toiletlike activities.

Then put of the shelterhalf, add a thick layer of green boughs and a blanket et voila;

The forrests had a little surprise for me; it gets dark very soon and very fast!
The next picture was taken just after 14:30 hours! Since I wasn't planning on an overnighter nor did I bring a flashlight, I had to pack up and move out of the forrest fast. It gets completely dark here at around 15:30 and stumbling around between the trees without light is not my idea of fun!

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