Author Topic: Winter is here... Don't forget to prepare your car for the worst case.  (Read 361 times)

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Offline roamer_1

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Winter is here... Don't forget to prepare your car for the worst case. --by me.

I can't imagine life in the cities, so I guess this may not apply there, but anywhere there are vast open spaces, far from town, where winter extends its deadly grip. travel is dangerous. If one falls off the road, or gets stuck in any variety of ways, help may not come for days, if at all. It is a priority in those places to be ready for that eventual event... Even though, many over the years fail to prepare and make the headlines - The poor fools found in their cars, frozen monuments to their final error.

This cannot be an exhaustive list, telling you exactly how to prepare. Your conditions, environment, and people are probably different from my own. But this is the day I loaded the truck for winter, and in that I thought I would take a moment to write it down, in an effort to help those who travel (in the Rockies) without even knowing the danger, always immenent, and only a skid away from happening to you.

Foremost: Do not trust your car to be a shelter. Even for a short term. Your reliance upon the car to provide heat and shelter is a fallacy that will become very evident if the reason for your emergency is a car that quit running due to any number of mechanical issues. Without a running engine, that car is a tomb. And even in the longer term, if you are simply stuck, when the gasoline is gone, you will need to move on.

This means you will need to have the tools and knowledge onboard to be able to deal with that eventuality, should it occur, and this is the information I intend to trasmit.

For me, that extra is just a matter of one 30L backpack, packed with food and my bearpaw snowshoes. Now, that is no where near enough, don't get me wrong... But my truck always has survival gear not only in my gobag, which I carry everywhere and contains all I need to survive in the woods, but also under the seats and in the sawbox, where extended survival based gear just lives all the time. So I need to touch on that stuff before I go on.

First: Cover.

Cover is everything from clothing to shelter, anything you might use to protect yourself physically from the cold. My gobag natively contains a 10x10 waterproof tarp, a large reuseable mylar emergency blanket, a 10x10 sil-nylon light weight tarp, and an unopened 12x6 4ml visqueen... Also included is a wet weather military grade poncho and liner (woobie) All of these can be used to fashion a shelter with a little ingenuity.

The truck also contains 3 US Army wool blend blankets (useful also for chopping up in an emergency for gaiters and the like), and several more large tarps which can also be employed, but are normally used as padding and cover for materials handling..

Clothing also falls under the subject of cover. Normally this time of year, a wealth of coats, hoodies, and gloves naturally just migrate to the pickup, so I am not going to be without... but just in case, my worn out Carharts - top and bottom - perform one last duty once I buy new ones: The old ones are professionally cleaned, patched, fixed, and vaccuum sealed against the day I might need them  They reside under my passenger seat.  Likewise my old pair of mukluks. They too just live in the truck, sealed and ready for the day. The same for gloves, and undergloves, and winter mittens. That same systematic preparation could work for you, and be something in a tote you move into your vehicle in the winter. Don't forget socks and wool socks. For me, they are just spares, but for you, they might save your life.

Likewise my old sleeping bags... Two pretty crappy old bags - one a 32-20 degree bag, and the other a 20 to 0 degree bag... Put them together and they will do well below zero. Especially inside my SOS bivvy sack. They are not very good bags by design. They are cheap polyfill. But they can stand being compressed and vaccuum sealed indefinitely

Which brings me to Cordage. Al those tarps and such are no good without a way to hang em. You need rope. twine. Something. Again, my gobag contains a roll of #32 bankline - a cheap and discardable means to that end, as well as hanks of paracord in various lengths. The truck sawbox contains another roll of bankline, a large roll of jute twine, several nylon ropes, and ratchet straps normally for materials handling... I will include stakes here too - There are six crappy plastic stakes in the gobag, and probably pretty close to 20 steel stakes in the sawbox..

Which brings me to Cutting - My gobag natively contains a collapsible buck saw, and a pruning shear, and my belt a large folding knife, a small forest axe (a boys axe to you), a leatherman, and my bowie. Additionally I always carry a large folding knife, a leatherman, and a wicked sharp pen knife on my person. To add to these, the sawbox contains a large bow saw, a battery operated sawzall, and normally a chainsaw - I can certainly process wood to frame a structure for the tarps, and process firewood for heat... Not to mention knives for utility carving and utensil use.

Next, Containers... Containers to cook with and to hold and boil water/snow. The gobag has a half gallon bottle and a half gallon mil style canteen. Both have nested cups. both are stainless, and can go right in the fire. Additionally my bushpot and collapsible frying pan both also stainless. The truck has a couple cast pans and a cast dutch oven... And of course my ever present tin camp cup...

And last of all, Combustion. You need to be able to make a fire. That means serious tools to gether and process wood (which we have already covered), and several means in which to light them. Warning: butane and propane do not work well in cold temperatures...

Again, my gobag contains many methods for starting fire, from a fire steel, to lighters and matches. Additionally candles and a wax rope which are technically fire lighting extenders, but help a whole lot in wet and cold conditions... The sawbox contains more lighters, propane bottles with torches, an oil lantern, White gas, alcohol, and a crappy propane burner for cooking... Not to mention saw gas, bar oil, and the gasoline in the truck.

So I get at last to the additional bag of food. Emergency eats. Very important, and the one thing that is not normally present in the truck. Typically, my gobag has 2 meals a day for 3 days, freeze dried mountain house. The extra bag will put me over 3 meals a day for an additional week, and includes canned meats, snacks, and such... Heavy to carbs and protein, with plenty of sugar too. You need energy to make heat and move... And a lot of it.

This may seem extreme, but twice in my life I have been caught out bad due to breakdown... once 30 miles off the pavement where I stayed with the truck, dug in, and waited for help, which I contacted by CB... A pleasant day and night (below zero) with an abundance of options... And those options made the very real difference between a comfortable (yes, really) stay, and a terrifying disaster which could have easily ended in death.

The other a three day wait by the truck and snowshoe out for another five days, the fifty miles went slow getting out. You will not move far in a day in snow, and you will burn a ton of calories... And that time was infinitely more dangerous, because it was not below zero, but rather, in wet snow conditions - Still, even though I had to leave the truck and walk out, I had a plenty. And the time was relatively comfortable.

And finally, like with any other emergency kit... USE your kit before you need it. Understand it. Refine it by experience where you are not endangering yourself... camp out in your back yard and run your kit through a trial. Run a scenario where you actually attempt a walk-out. You will thank yourself when the time comes and you really need it, and you're ready.

Offline thackney

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Re: Winter is here... Don't forget to prepare your car for the worst case.
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2019, 02:52:56 PM »
Since we moved back from Alaska to Gulf Coast Texas, our winter preparedness plans have certainly changed.
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Offline roamer_1

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Re: Winter is here... Don't forget to prepare your car for the worst case.
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2019, 02:58:15 PM »
Since we moved back from Alaska to Gulf Coast Texas, our winter preparedness plans have certainly changed.

I would reckon that would be true.  :laugh: :beer:

Offline Cyber Liberty

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Re: Winter is here... Don't forget to prepare your car for the worst case.
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2019, 07:20:22 PM »
Thanks for reminding me why I moved to Phoenix....  wink777

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Offline roamer_1

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Re: Winter is here... Don't forget to prepare your car for the worst case.
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2019, 07:44:32 PM »
Thanks for reminding me why I moved to Phoenix....  wink777

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Offline bigheadfred

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Re: Winter is here... Don't forget to prepare your car for the worst case.
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2019, 08:11:59 PM »
Bkmk

Offline bigheadfred

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Re: Winter is here... Don't forget to prepare your car for the worst case.
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2019, 09:03:13 PM »
I would reckon that would be true.  :laugh: :beer:
@thackney

Land, sea, and air. An inflatable raft is an inflatable raft.

If you are going someplace in winter you might need a couple of days to walk out from, take along a cheap tobboggan. We've pulled elk out of the hills using one.

Offline roamer_1

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Re: Winter is here... Don't forget to prepare your car for the worst case.
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2019, 09:38:59 PM »

If you are going someplace in winter you might need a couple of days to walk out from, take along a cheap tobboggan. We've pulled elk out of the hills using one.

I've got a proper polk, and it lives in the back of the pickup until spring.

Offline libertybele

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Re: Winter is here... Don't forget to prepare your car for the worst case.
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2019, 09:42:51 PM »
Well, we are expecting temperatures this evening to dip down into the 40's!  My winter preparedness in FL is to bring in the orchids, cacti, and put an electric blanket on my side of the bed!
"I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign nation of many sovereign states; a perfect union one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey it laws; to respect its flag; and to defend it against all enemies." -William Page

Offline roamer_1

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Re: Winter is here... Don't forget to prepare your car for the worst case.
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2019, 09:58:21 PM »
Well, we are expecting temperatures this evening to dip down into the 40's!  My winter preparedness in FL is to bring in the orchids, cacti, and put an electric blanket on my side of the bed!

And thankfully, if you get caught in it, y'all can make do with a light jacket (Me, I'd be in a tshirt at 40)...

Up in here, it is too easy to warm the rig up, and very commonly step on into that environment without acknowledgement of the weather outside. That's alright if you're over in town, and folks get used to that being ok... Then something happens and they are caught out, miles and miles from help, and nothing to wear, not to mention food, or a way to make fire.

I do it too - I generally wear no more than a blanket flannel and muks if I am around town or just riding around in the truck... Which is why those supplies MUST live in the truck. Because I know me, and I know I will ignore the risk otherwise.

Offline Cyber Liberty

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Re: Winter is here... Don't forget to prepare your car for the worst case.
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2019, 12:51:32 AM »
Well, we are expecting temperatures this evening to dip down into the 40's!  My winter preparedness in FL is to bring in the orchids, cacti, and put an electric blanket on my side of the bed!

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Offline thackney

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Re: Winter is here... Don't forget to prepare your car for the worst case.
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2019, 07:35:24 AM »
@thackney

Land, sea, and air. An inflatable raft is an inflatable raft.

If you are going someplace in winter you might need a couple of days to walk out from, take along a cheap tobboggan. We've pulled elk out of the hills using one.

In this part of the country, we might have to wait a couple dozen years to get enough snow to use that.
Life is fragile, handle with prayer


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