Friday, February 21, 2014

Reflections on my night out...

A memo to me.....

- Sled; worked great and is large enough for trips like this one. I had plenty of room for all the things, but I need to rearrange them. No more framed backpack, because that one ruined the sledcover. If I want to go real wintercamping I will need a bigger one in order to take the sleepingbag (that I will be having), a tent, a tentstove and other extras that a multidaytrip would require. If I'd pile it all onto the little one, it would become topheavy, so prone to topling over and too much weight on a small contactsurface. But first I will start to fix the damages this one has, so I can take it out more often. Maybe I'll just take off the entire topsection of the cloth or even the entire cloth and redo it, if that is possible.
A small sled works good on the rough terrain, but the long poles make it quite difficult to make short turns. I guess these are meant for use with skis, so maybe I'll make sorter ones for use on foot. The poles I have are incomplete and damaged anyway.
- Blankets; Nice on my bed at home, virtually useless in winterconditions. This setup might work in a heated enviroment, but out in the cold not that comfy. I must say that the blankets used feel more like summeritems than winteritems. They are not all that thick and fluffly. Maybe sewing them into tubes, sliding them in one another, adding a canvas cover and a flanel innerbag would increase their insulatingcapacities, so the swagidea is still on the to-do-list.
- Water; the metal canteen next to the fire worked. The water would warm up fast enough to not mess up my stomage. I think I need to carry my canteen on my body instead of hanging it from my belt. Maybe a loop around my neck to hang it in front of my chest? I will want to bring more water with me, but how to keep it from freezing, while on the move? An all steel thermos might do the trick, I think.
The small oval canteen is good for on the move-use, but I really need to get that old British one fixed up! It's bigger and has a flat bottom.
- Use of time; moving, making camp, doing campchores.... it all took much more time than I thought. Actual travellingtime- and distance in winter is at least cut in half.
- Snowshoes; I have a sneaking suspicion that the long traditional (American/Indian) style snowshoes will not work in this terrain; far too uneven and rocky and not enough snow to level that. I fear that travelling this terrain might damage or even cause them to break. Maybe those smaller ovalshaped bearpaw-styled ones might work. Plus traditional ones might get badly damaged when thaw sets in. I dug up some info on Swedish snowshoes researching this subject, but I'll put that in a separate post. far too interesting to do it just here... and it makes it easier to find the info, not just for me.

How did people travel this sort of terrain with skis??


  1. Sled/Pack- you shouldn't need that much room for winter gear. If the load gets so large, you are probably carrying stuff you don't need. A backpack of 45L-80L should be able to fit everything plus a good amount of food. Here you can see I did 4000 ft in elevation in February, and all of my gear fit into the 55L compartment of my 62L pack: You should only need a sled if you are carrying months worth of food. Using a pack instead really increases your mobility in terms of where you can go.

    Water bottles- stay away from metal. It will make the water freeze much faster, and at one point or another it will stick to your lips or hand. Carry two liters of water in Nalgene bottles, and keep them in your pack, wrapped in your jacket. You will have to melt snow to make more water. A stove is of great use if you have to do that on the go.

    Snowshoes- A lot of snowshoes, especially the traditional designs have a very hard time on mixed terrain. They simply will not last long, and do not provide good traction. Modern snowshoes are much stronger, offer more flotation per area (so they end up being smaller), and most importantly, they have integrated crampons. The MSR Ascent series are excellent, and if you are looking for a lighter weight model, the Northern Lites are great, and are designed by a guy well know if snow shoes racing.

    Anyway, those are just my thoughts.

  2. When hauling a seld in terrain like this skis with skins is an absolute necessity. Skins gives the skies the grip to tow the sled. Hauling a sled with skis without skins is close to impossible.
    Back in the old days they used strips of seal skin with the hairs pointing bacwards.
    I dare to say that proper skis with skins trumphs out snowshoes 9 out of 10 times.

  3. Oh, the joys of learning about winter outdoor pursuits the hard (and best) way. :) I have been in your shoes, Ron, and it looks like you're learning valuable lessons. I've pretty much decided to ditch sleds in most cases, just using a backpack instead. But they certainly do have their uses. I like to use a thermos for keeping water from freezing. Works really well, I find. And as for use of time, yep, winter chores take a lot of time and effort. Winter camping/travel can be a lot of work! :)


  4. I must say that I am actually in favour of sleds in that they allow bigger loads to be carried over longer distances with less fatigue and risk. By risk I mean a backpack dragging you down in a misstep. Had that happen to me a few times and that showed how easy it is to hurt yourself, which will lead to serious situation in winterconditions.,
    That is also why I am on the lookout for a good all-steel-thermos, but the ones I had did not keep liquids on temperature for a long time; longer than 2 hours.

  5. Regarding thermos.
    1-2 times a week our oldest daughter are out hiking in the woods with her kindergarden. And in the winter months they bring their own hot choclate or "toddy". We tested out a wide wariety of thermoses, from the expencive ones ot the cheap ones. But all of them either leaked or couldn't keep the liquid warm.
    But by recommendation from another parent we tried out Clas Ohlsons Asaklitt thermoses, and was not disapointed. It is by far the bet one we have tried so far, and also one of the cheapest.

    1. Hej Odd,
      thanks for the tip!
      You mean these?;

    2. Yes Ron, thats the one.
      And it is also possible to screww the cap apart so you can clean it inside, which I think is great when the kids have had hot choclate or toddy on the flask.