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Coping with cold climate in outdoor life

Coping with cold climate in outdoor life
April 29, 2013, 02:20:16 PM
I wonder how you managed to live in Canada through the winter. You must have had some  kind of hut.

It's always the problem getting through the nigth without freezing, as the body metabolism drops significantly.

Re: Coping with cold climate in outdoor life
April 29, 2013, 02:28:04 PM
Who, me? Initially all I had was an insufficient sleeping bag, and lay curled up under trees.
The silly single man tent I started out with was so utterly useless, soaking me with condensation, that I emptied a magazine of .22 LR into it, in a fit of pique. I actually got less wet in the rain without it, than with it.
Later, I started making primitive shelters, and later still, used abandoned cabins I came across.
I nearly froze a few times.

Re: Coping with cold climate in outdoor life
April 29, 2013, 03:08:40 PM
While we're on the subject of Canada, I've noticed some really weird language anomalies...
Arctic becomes 'ar-tic'.
Nuclear becomes 'nookular'.
The plural of deer becomes 'deers'.
The singular of lynx becomes 'link'...
The plural of house becomes 'hice'.
While the plural of mouse becomes 'mouses'.

I think English is fast becoming a dead language.

Re: Coping with cold climate in outdoor life
April 30, 2013, 10:17:46 AM
During some summers in similar climate I slept with a blanket and perhaps under a large piece of plastic. It's a pretty exhausting lifestyle in the long run. But in winters under ~ minus 5 degree celcius I can't sleep in a tent without a matress and extra thick blankets.
Besides, hiking every day seems to rocket the energy consumption, so I wonder how you could do that for two years with health intact.
Perhaps you could write an article on how to do such a thing and survive?

Re: Coping with cold climate in outdoor life
April 30, 2013, 10:50:14 AM
I was suitably young. I had enough reserves of youth to sustain me, barely, until it wore me out.
This is why there are tribes: to help each other do the impossible-to-do stuff that defeats a single human.
I was able to survive, alone, but it was never more than bare survival.
I could never do that now. I would be dead in three weeks.

Having wet shows or boots can turn an hiking trip for the worse really quickly. One false step can be enough to make a difference between life and death in some situations.

Having a semi-permanent shelter with the capacity for an indoor fire should be sufficient to keep you quite comfortable down to fairly low temperatures.  In very cold climates sleeping without any shelter is certainly a bad idea.  Of course if you want a semi-permanent shelter this means you will be setting up in one place for at least a few days, so we're not talking about hiking here, but I'm more interested in wilderness living as opposed to hike-through type adventures.  Where I live I don't very often have to put up with extreme cold, although the winters are still very uncomfortable without some form of shelter however I'm not usually at risk of dying if I don't have one.

There's something very comforting about a lack of comfort.
Stimulating, might be a better word for it. Exciting. Natural. Genuine...
It actually takes quite a lot of adversity to entirely kill you.

Probably the most difficult experience I've had in the wilderness was a hike I did over about a week, where I severely misjudged the difficulty of the terrain and consequently was traveling much slower than expected.  Since I only had enough supplies for the time I had allowed to begin with, I had to hike from dawn until well after dark each night to arrive at my destination on time.  This meant no time or energy for shelter, fire, cooking etc.  Just cold food and cold nights, I must say after that experience I was very glad to be home.  In my environment it's quite possible to set up camp in the bush and live quite comfortably, not in the same sense as living in a city but it certainly isn't like you're at high risk of losing your life.  The word comfort takes on a different meaning when you're talking about wilderness living.  It doesn't mean you have 24 hour access to fast food and television, more like you have a warm place to sleep and you aren't painfully hungry all day every day.

I can see how this might be different in extremely cold climates, although I would still have thought that if you're set up somewhere long enough to have a decent shelter you should be able to live quite well.


I frequently exalt the virtues of long-johns, I find them absolutely necessary in Canadian winter and even wear them in single-digit Celsius temperatures. Many people, however, believe that long-johns are a form of underwear, and I have to assuage their reservations about discussing undergarments by vigorously pointing out that they are not underwear but rather an extra layer to be worn over underwear. Unfortunately it's recently come to my attention that long-johns are, after all, meant to be worn without anything under them, and that I casually talk about underwear quite frequently.

Shame on you. You are crass, as many Canadians are. The English have a quaint term to describe people who openly discuss underwear: 'Infra-dig'.