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  1. #61

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    Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences, it's educational and hugely important - exposure is #2 on the 'rules of three' list... (three hours). I'm into a lot of different outdoor activities where hypothermia is a risk, and I am often solo, and outside of cell range. I fortunately do not have such a similar experience - probably a lot owing to being a New England skier since childhood.

  2. #62

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    (Whoops, accidentally hit the reply before finished - and of course cannot edit on this forum).

    Anyways, I'm also into preparedness and EDC some of my backpacking gear in a ~6lb/L murse that is practical for every day use, yet can multi-task in case of emergency. There're are several aspects to it, but the most important to me for hypothermia prevention is my 7 or 10oz poncho/tarp and 5oz stove (empty toilet paper roll size). Together, they can make nicely heated micro shelter know as the Palmer Furnace (stove as a candle) which is good for an additional 30-40 degrees warmth from whatever you where prepared for.

    I now also swear by ponchos (my backpacking shelter is Gatewood Cape poncho/tent and bedding is JRB Sierra series poncho/quilt) since they are super warm while idle/sitting around camp and during breaks - due to the 'mitten effect' of having all limbs inside. Then if you introduce artificial heat (eg, Alcohol candle) in the protected triangle of your legs while sitting cross-legged on a pad, it can create a micro climate that's warmer and more luxurious than a hot tent... esp if using an insulated poncho like the JRB Sierras.

  3. #63

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    I now also swear by ponchos (my backpacking shelter is Gatewood Cape poncho/tent and bedding is JRB Sierra series poncho/quilt) since they are super warm while idle/sitting around camp and during breaks - due to the 'mitten effect' of having all limbs inside. Then if you introduce artificial heat (eg, Alcohol candle) in the protected triangle of your legs while sitting cross-legged on a pad, it can create a micro climate that's warmer and more luxurious than a hot tent... esp if using an insulated poncho like the JRB Sierras.
    THAT is very interesting!!!

  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emerson Bigills View Post
    In another thread there was some short discussion of hypthermia and I thought it might be helplful to some if I shared a couple "near misses" I have had. Let me preface this with the fact that both of these showed glaring error judgments on my part, but I survived. Also both occurred during my AT thru hike. At the time of the first instance, I had already hiked over 600 miles and in the second instance over 1600. Prior to starting my thru hike, I had done over 800 miles of backpacking in the southeast. So, I thought I knew what I was doing.

    In Central VA, the weather warmed up in mid April and I swapped out my rain suit for a poncho. Within two days, I found myself on a 3800 ft ridge in a driving, windy rainstorm, with temps that had dropped into the mid-40's. Ponchos usually only cover the tops of your forearms so any long sleeve top must be pulled up or it will get wet and soaked. I hiked in the cold rain for about 3 hours. I had tentatively planned to get a shuttle at VA 623 to a nearby hostel for the night. I could feel my body getting very cold and losing all dexterity in my fingers. I knew if I stopped, I would get cold very quickly, so I kept moving as fast as I could to keep my body temp as high as possible. I did have all my gear, so stopping to pitch a tent and get in my bag was an option, even though the terrain did not afford me any open spots. I recall waiting on the shuttle by pacing around on the edge of the road and shivering. When I got in the pickup truck, I begged the driver to turn the heat up to "high".

    Bad move to go for the poncho that early. Within two days, I bought a Frog Togs set at Trents Grocery. I ended up sending my rain pants home within a month, but kept the rain jacket and poncho the rest of the way. Ponchos are for warm weather.

    My second bout with Hypothermia occurred outside Bennington, VT in early June. I was hiking with another guy and it rained constantly for about 20 hours going into town and our first night staying there. We decided to slack pack a 21 mile section north of Bennington, and end up back at the trailhead outside of town for another night in a motel. We got dropped off and the rain started again. It rained constantly all day. As we were slack packing we only had rain jackets, baseball hats, snacks, maps and trekking poles. Our usual slack pack gear. The temps never got out of the mid-40's and we stayed on a ridge around 3000 ft.

    Within 45 minutes we knew it was a bad idea, but there was not a single road crossing or bail out point. There was no cell service back at the remote trailhead where we had been dropped off. We didn't have much choice. We kept moving. Both of us lost manual dexterity off and on throughout the day. My hiking partner actually urinated on himself as he walked because he knew he couldn't get his zipper down with his fingers. We spent over 7 hours out there. We never stopped, because we couldn't. We saw several AT and Long Trail thrus, who shut it down in shelters along that stretch and later told us it was the worst day of the entire hike for them. We did not have that luxury. Around the 15 mile mark we had to ford a swollen brook. It typically would have been a breeze, but with over 24 hours of constant rain, it was rocking and rolling. We went up and down the bank for about 25 minutes and finally just crossed at the AT. It was sketchy, but we made it.

    By the time we got down to the trail head, I didn't have enough manual dexterity to use my phone. Once again, we shivered in the lot waiting for our ride. That night we both talked about lessons learned.

    Two long stories, but a couple thoughts. Be careful out there. You may have some experience, but you can easily get yourself in a dicey situation. Be especially careful of getting cold and wet at the same time. Make sure you keep your sleeping bag dry and good to have a dry change of clothes. As I like to say, Mother Nature is indifferent about outcomes.
    Good rec on the poncho.

    Good thing about ponchos 1) freedom of movement 2) how much they vent heat/they tend not to trap heat
    Bad thing about ponchos- potentially 1) they dont hold in the heat 2) dont typically have hand pockets like many rain jackets so some alternative option to keeping hands warm in cold or cooling temps has to be addressed. I've seen poncho wearers braving cold and high winds with cold wet hands because they didnt address this quite often.

    Mid April on the AT in VA I'd still bring along a rain jacket w pockets or without while having separate light wt gloves and or shells. Most times rain jacket wearers dont appropriately proactively address thermoregulation by fully utilizing jacket mechanical venting BEFORE heating up and overwhelming breathability of the jacket. THEN, the jacket or tech gets the full blame. It's another one of those topics like layering systems that many times we assume we know more than we actually do. Breathability sure helps but the biggest contributor to comfortable thermoregulation is having an awareness of it proactively and in choosing appropriate pieces while paying attention to utmost usage of venting options.

  5. #65

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    At some pt before things deteriorate into a whirlwind when we're backpacking having things like shelter, dry sleeping bags, changes of clothes/additional unworn, ability to start a fire, etc STOP Set up camp quickly. Get warm. I think it's a lot like getting lost. We keep telling ourselves to keep going, get to that road, catch the shuttle, over the next rise, maybe there's a motel, is there an AYCE, etc. Then we get more disoriented, more uncomfortable. What happens when none of that stuff is near on a hike? Worse is when we're spent exhausted, near hypothermic, and continue as that usually snowballs into a worse situation.

    LIKELY the warmest piece in your entire kit is you sleeping bag. USE IT. Have a tent, tarp, ground cloth? - use it as a apparel layer. Have hats on jackets? - put em all on. Have hand pockets on jackets? get yur hands in them. Tuck everything in. Dont sweat. A sleeping bag or quilt has saved my arse many times. Eat. Eat or drink something hot. Get some fat into the furnace.

  6. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by zelph View Post
    THAT is very interesting!!!
    ?? You're a member of BushcrafterUSA... none of this should be new - lots of Palmer Furnace discussion there.

    While backpacking, your shelter and bedding is obviously going to be your warmest retreat, but it's still going to be hard to warm-up if you're already seriously chilled. There is nothing comparable to using an artificial space heating source to warm up quickly and arguably even 'hot' (with with an insulated poncho). I occasionally use it for luxury just before going to bed, and getting out of bed.

    Also, a point was made above that hypothermia risk is higher with unprepared day hikers that aren't carrying their 'house' in their backs. This can be effectively done for a mere 0.25 lb/L pocket carry.

  7. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by reppans View Post
    ?? You're a member of BushcrafterUSA... none of this should be new - lots of Palmer Furnace discussion there.

    While backpacking, your shelter and bedding is obviously going to be your warmest retreat, but it's still going to be hard to warm-up if you're already seriously chilled. There is nothing comparable to using an artificial space heating source to warm up quickly and arguably even 'hot' (with with an insulated poncho). I occasionally use it for luxury just before going to bed, and getting out of bed.

    Also, a point was made above that hypothermia risk is higher with unprepared day hikers that aren't carrying their 'house' in their backs. This can be effectively done for a mere 0.25 lb/L pocket carry.
    But I ask - what developed -, and have evaluated many times personally, how did I arrive in such a seriously chilled state...under my supposed watchful knowledgeable awareness? That's what the thread is about...learning from our own and other's experiences. AND, experiences dont always happen to us without our input...without our consent. Sure, perhaps I unexpectedly fell into an icy river while crossing a snowbridge but getting into such a state often means I have not proactively addressed thermoregulation. What I've arrived at is these states rarely fall out of the sky(no pun intended) happening to us without us allowing them to develop. AND, as the OP declared sometimes we assume we know more - assume we are better prepared - than we actually are. AND, being prepared is NOT always about more gear! More gear is NOT the be all end all savior we always assume it is! Having better judgment, wider skill sets, abilities in using not only the gear we do have but what's between our ears.

  8. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    But I ask - what developed -, and have evaluated many times personally, how did I arrive in such a seriously chilled state...under my supposed watchful knowledgeable awareness? That's what the thread is about...learning from our own and other's experiences. AND, experiences dont always happen to us without our input...without our consent. Sure, perhaps I unexpectedly fell into an icy river while crossing a snowbridge but getting into such a state often means I have not proactively addressed thermoregulation. What I've arrived at is these states rarely fall out of the sky(no pun intended) happening to us without us allowing them to develop. AND, as the OP declared sometimes we assume we know more - assume we are better prepared - than we actually are. AND, being prepared is NOT always about more gear! More gear is NOT the be all end all savior we always assume it is! Having better judgment, wider skill sets, abilities in using not only the gear we do have but what's between our ears.
    It's all good. We take our chances with risky endeavors, well, because risk is somewhat correlated with excitement, and/or sense of accomplishment. We think we know what to do in any situation, but of course we don't, and then there are accidents that change things too. It's good to talk about both the surprises that take us to the limit, and the potential solutions that may be able to mitigate those surprises. Whether you use knowledge or gear for back-up plans, you simply need to have as many layers of back-up plans as you can. If I where that 'Primative Technologies' bushcraft guy on YouTube, I probably wouldn't need single piece of gear, but I'm not, and need some stuff - my spin is just to multi-task that stuff so that it has regular purpose backpacking, hiking, or XC skiing, but then can also be invaluable in an emergency too.

  9. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by reppans View Post
    I now also swear by ponchos (my backpacking shelter is Gatewood Cape poncho/tent and bedding is JRB Sierra series poncho/quilt) since they are super warm while idle/sitting around camp and during breaks - due to the 'mitten effect' of having all limbs inside. Then if you introduce artificial heat (eg, Alcohol candle) in the protected triangle of your legs while sitting cross-legged on a pad, it can create a micro climate that's warmer and more luxurious than a hot tent... esp if using an insulated poncho like the JRB Sierras.
    I've never heard of an alcohol candle, but I hope it has an enclosed flame or you best be damn careful not to set yourself on fire! A candle lantern will provide also provide some heat and since it is contained, is a safer source of heat. And if it does get accidently knocked over, there's a good chance the flame will go out.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  10. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I've never heard of an alcohol candle, but I hope it has an enclosed flame or you best be damn careful not to set yourself on fire! A candle lantern will provide also provide some heat and since it is contained, is a safer source of heat. And if it does get accidently knocked over, there's a good chance the flame will go out.
    Yes, spot on... the UCO Candle Lanterns are excellent for this (just need to fashion a wider, more stable base for the tall/narrow versions) but as an ultra-lighter, it's not something I would want to EDC or backpack for just-in-case scenarios.

    I'm just using my regular alcohol stove as a container, and capping it with a tinfoil or tin can lid with a wick in - basically the same thing as an oil candle, and it burns about 5mins/ml. For safety, place the candle into a pot/cup with a couple oz of water in the bottom - the pot prevents flame risk from the sides and the water will dilute/extinguish the flame in a tip-over. Some flame risk is still present at the top of the pot, but as long as you don't fall asleep, it's well monitored/controlled since it also happens to be in the perfect hand warming location underneath the poncho. THIS picture illustrates it. In addition, HERE's my abbreviated EDC kitchen, and I use Everclear for fuel, so the rig is tiny yet so multi-tasking that it is well worth EDC carry (for me).

  11. #71
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    I have really enjoyed my UCO candle lantern when camping on some long dark winter nights...but my enjoyment has always been haunted with fear that I'll burn the tent down, so I haven't used it as much as I thought I would. I never ever have it on the floor, and always hang it from the top of the tent, but even when it is hanging by several inches, I worry that the heat coming out the top could be enough to initiate a meltdown of the supersil nylon fabric.

    Overly cautious? I don't know. It would be nice to be able to play around and test things like this, but unfortunately I don't have a spare expensive tent laying around.
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

  12. #72

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    I also wouldn't leave any flame burning while I slept... too dangerous. If you need artificial heat to sleep with, then boil water and put it in an Nalgene (with clothing wrapped around it to control output) inside your sleeping bag.

    I also don't like using a candle for space heating a tent - too weak a heating source for too large/too drafty a space, it's very inefficient.

    The Palmer Furnace is right sized for a candle, and from what I've read, was invented by the caver and hypothermia specialist Dr. Jonathan Palmer, except original use was with a carbide lantern. Plenty of stories where this technique has saved lives allowing overnight survival in extreme conditions.

    For me, it's nice a short term luxury (~30 mins) to get deep full-body heat soak just before crawling into bed, and/or just after getting out bed. Getting yourself a little 'hot' at these transition points goes a long way in terms of comfort.

    Of course, in survival situation, it could be used continuously... but you'd have to stay awake - IMHO, falling asleep with a Palmer Furnace is kinda like 'out of the frying pan and into the fire' ;-).

  13. #73

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    Palmer Furnace
    https://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/sho...tern-Any-users

    [quote]"Secondmouse"

    if the requirement is for hypothermia kit, then they are probably thinking about something called a Palmer Furnace.similar to a Scout Fire, where the need is to build a small fire and avoid detection, the Palmer Furnace is for rapid body warming. to do this, sit down cross-legged with a blanket (reflective Space Blanket works good) around your shoulders and set a lit candle on the ground between your legs. you can completely close off the space and a couple of tea-light candles will warm you in a hurry. here's a pic of a Scout Fire.
    http://www.practicalprimitive.com/im.../scoutfire.jpgthe Palmer Furnace is done similarly but with a candle, or originally, a carbide miner's lamp.I think it goes without saying that since you are setting a fire between your legs, inside what is essentially your shelter, for safety you should remain very cautious. I suspect that is why they recommend you use the UCO lantern instead of an open flame...

  14. #74

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    It's a pretty serious problem, and it will happen to you if you hike enough.
    I've learned the hard way that once you lose your body heat, it is very difficult to regain it. Nothing less than standing in a hot shower for 30-40 minutes and consuming lots of hot fluids and food.
    Prevention is key. Going too light and relying on a cell phone to save you is nuts.

  15. #75

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    Yes, this works. The traditional Kasmiri kangir is a coal fired hot pot that is suspended inside a heavy wollen poncho. I traveled in the Kashmir Himalaya some years ago and people were doing this everywhere.

  16. #76
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    Arm swinging-I call it windmilling in the UK. Investing in the best gloves you can is a good idea; losing the use of your fingers make you makes you value you them. Erecting the tent, putting in tent stakes; trying to make drinks and food is a nightmare with stumpy hands and all the time you are getting colder. As posted earlier-get into your shelter whilst you still can. Have you wits about you- if you see decent deadwood collect an armful for a fire as you are making your decision to stop i.e not stop and then look for wood.
    On my trip up Mt Whitney I insisted we ate well before starting on it; I said hiking it on two snicker bars does not make a lot sense.

  17. #77
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    Was re-reading my CDT2012 journal and came on this hypothermia experience from August 15:

    "When I got back out to the highway, the wind was noticeably brisker. The trail climbed up from Flesher Pass up into a cloud on the divide. Visibility ranged from about 100 to 300 yards nearly all the way to Rogers Pass so there were no views in the section. The rain varied from a light drizzle to a light rain, both wind driven. The only thing that seemed happy and bright was the moss that adorned the corpses of the beetle-killed lodgepole pines along the trail. They had changed from a dull, grey green to bright chartreuse. The trail was good all day. I didn't misplace it once, perhaps because there were no views to distract me, perhaps because I was extra vigilant knowing walking in 42 to 47 degree cold rain was risking hypothermia. There were a good many climbs and descents as the trail rolled along true crest of the continental divide, Until about 9 miles into the hike my socks stayed dry. Then the boot waterproofing succumbed to the constant brushing by the water droplets adhering to the tufts of grass along the path. I kept up a steady pace lured by the promise of town food and a dry motel room in Lincoln. Even as cool as it was, I was sweating at a higher rate than my rain jacket could vent through the fabric so my long-sleeved wool T-shirt was getting damp. At least I was staying warm as long as I kept moving. At the top of each rise, there were outcrops of red shale. As I climbed them, I kept wondering if it was the last one before the descent to Rogers Pass. Finally, I could hear traffic on the road through the pass and before long the descent over long switchbacks began. I reached the pass trailhead about 1pm then walked out to the highway and about a quarter mile uphill to the actual pass where the pavement widened providing a good place for a car to pull over as I hitched. Unfortunately, the wind was strong through the pass. I added my warm jacket to the layers I had on under my rain jacket and my skull cap under my brimmed sun hat and jacket hood to try to stay warm. The traffic wasn't heavy, but it was steady. However, no one stopped to offer a ride. I guess they didn't want their car interior to get soaked. I started pacing back and forth on the shoulder to try and stay warm. I tried calling the motel in town to ask for a ride but their was no cell service. I decided I had to get out of the wind so started walking down the highway thinking I'd eventually get a ride or reach a point where the phone worked or, if the walking didn't warm me, find a place to set up my tarp and get into the sleeping bag to warm up. The walking helped but the berm of the highway was narrow and the spray from the tractor trailers was dousing me even though the rain had stopped. All the while I was walking, I kept hitching even though there wasn't any place for a car to pull off. Just as I was reaching another paved pullout area, I saw a car slow ahead, turn around, then pull into a side road on the other side of the highway. A ride at last!---and the heater was working!"


    I was OK as long as I was moving, but standing in the wind in the pass hitching was causing me to chill. Like others have said, and I concluded here, it's best to take some action before one can no longer use his hands and fingers. Had that car not stopped, I would have pulled off to the side within a few hundred more yards as I had spotted a potential camp site, pitched my tent, jumped into my sleeping bag, fired up my stove outside the tent door and heated some water for a hot drink.
    Handlebar
    GA-ME 06; PCT 08; CDT 10,11,12; ALT 11; MSPA 12; CT 13; Sheltowee 14; AZT 14, 15; LT 15;FT 16;NCT-NY&PA 16; GET 17-18

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