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Discussion Forum - Gear ! - Hot tips for this cold spell


Posted: Sun 17th Jan 2010, 11:07
Joined: 1972
AHA!AHA! They have come to take me away. AHA!

OK then. Perhaps I have a teeny weeny bit of the hard man in my soul. But then I live in Telford wherein on 10 January,1982, was recorded England's lowest temperature of minus 26.1degC so a mere minus 15 seemed balmy, or perhaps for me, barmy.

On that night I climbed Pontesford hill in deep fluffy powder snow that clittered as rainbow colours in the light of a full moon. On the summit there was not a stirring of wind and the only sound was the flow of blood through my ears. So minus 15? Bah! Humbug!
Author: Elton Ellis
Posted: Sat 16th Jan 2010, 23:18
Joined: 2006
Local Group: Surrey
Sorry, Chris, but you can't wriggle out of it that easily. If you had slept on the ground when a shelter was available, then you definitely would be certifiable. Using a shelter (with no walls!) doesn't detract from the -15° C and no wind protection. It is still unbelievably cold. Sure, good gear helps, but for most of us, the mere idea is frightening - the margin of survival is just shaved too thin.
Author: Elton Ellis
Posted: Sat 16th Jan 2010, 22:47
Joined: 2006
Local Group: Surrey
Come on, Janet! Are you suggesting that camping at -15° C rather than bivouacking makes you a wimp? Most people would say that doing either makes you certifiable.

And you didn't look remotely wimpish when I saw you storming along on the Wessex Marshals walk with 95 miles on the clock after only 31 hours.
Posted: Sat 16th Jan 2010, 22:29
Joined: 1972
Moi? A hard man! I'm afraid I might have beefed up my posting. A case of the truth but not quite all the truth. I was a trifle forgetful to mention that though the temperature was minus 15degC I was hunkered down in the public shelter of Elan Village that, though lacking walls, possessed a comfortable roof and a nice wide wood bench usable as a sleeping platform. So no hard frozen ground to lay on with only sky above me.

Then there was my sleeping bag rated at minus 10degC but upgraded by insertion of Tesco's best fleece liner. Aided by my coffee flavoured whisky night gap I became so drowsy that I went to sleep in my fleece jacket only to wake at 2am feeling decidedly hot and stripped off.

There was no need when day dawned to chip ice off my beard as I was deeply submerged in the warm depths of bedding though my boots were a trifle hard when it came to force my feet into them.

Now to be really hard I should have done what the Clansmen did when on a winter campaign. Dip my woolen cloak in the burn before wrapping it tightly around my body so that as the water turned to ice the garment became windproof with me snug inside.

So me, a hard man? You know the saying; "There is no such thing as bad weather. Only bad gear". No; I'm simply a whimp seeking bragging rights.
Author: Janet R Pitt-Lewis
Posted: Sat 16th Jan 2010, 17:39
Joined: 1993
Local Group: Marches
The women however are weak - I confess I camped the night before the reservoir roundabout-backmarker might be right.
Author: Elton Ellis
Posted: Fri 15th Jan 2010, 17:59
Joined: 2006
Local Group: Surrey
This should answer the question in Backmarker in the last edition of Strider: are long distance walkers becoming wimps?

As if sub-zero bothying in Snowdonia is not enough, the man bivouacs in the Elan Valley at -15 deg C. The hard men are still with us.
Posted: Tue 12th Jan 2010, 0:24
Joined: 1972
Two tips I have acquired in a week of sub zero temperatures when I bothied in Snowdonia and bivouacked in mid-Wales.

The first is instant lighting fire logs. These are wood chips stuck together with wax and enclosed within a paper wrapping. Light the paper and the log ignites and burns for about 2 hours.

A pair fit nicely into a standard bothy stove and and can be carried in without mess at the bottom of a capacious rucksack. Burned from a staggered start they give warmth over 4 hours and weighing in at 1 kilo each you have twice the heat due to the effort of their portage adding to their heat of combustion. Open the stove door and long flames provide a wonderful radiance that gives you a thorough toasting. They are not cheap at £1.7 each in ASDA but on a night of sub zero temperatures the warmth provided seems very good value indeed.

My second tip is Peacock hand warmers. You may have come across the charcoal burning variety that have been available for years that once lit smolder in a small case in your pocket and emit a pleasant warmth provided they stay lit.

However this design uses a platinum catalyst to burn lighter fuel vaporised from an a adsorbant reservoir. The case is of stainless steel and once fuelled and ignited this is inserted into a cloth pocket. One filling lasts reliably for about 6 hours and kept in a jacket pocket it provides a nice warm refuge for cold hands, or in a sock it is a mighty comfort for a frozen foot or in a sleeping bag it acts as a hot water bottle. The cost is £25 and if you google "peacock hand warmers" you will find several stockists. Hunkered down in a bivvy in the Elan Valley at minus 15degC its warmth and that of a tot of whisky sent me to sleep with a pleasant glow.

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