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Old 12-15-2016, 02:11 PM
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merlinfire merlinfire is offline
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In the past I have thought of my get home bag as a generalist "stuff to get home" bag, but as the temperatures have fallen, and my busted thermostat in my vehicle has reinforced the fact the last few days, its really cold out there. Down in the teens today in southern Ohio. It's an uncomfortable struggle to drive an hour with no heat even in an enclosed vehicle like that, but then I think about the 2 days and 1 night minimum it would take me to walk home from work in a SHTF situation, when it's colder than a witch's tit, I have to ask myself - am I warm enough? Right now the answer is a resounding NO.

So I'm planning on building what I'm calling my "winter package", a bag or box to be placed in the trunk of my car next to my GHB, for use if I break down in my car, or have to walk away and leave my car, for any reason.

This is my list so far. Please let me know if you have any suggestions about specific makes/models of a thing, special materials, or additions.

- 3 pairs of wool socks
- waterproof boots
- 2 pairs of long johns
- replacing my jacket with a carhartt coat
- skullcap
- thick balaclava
- cheap general purpose cloth gloves
- thicker, better gloves to go over top of the cheap ones
- thermal undershirt (like the long johns but for the top)
- some kind of blanket I can wrap myself in while sleeping and over my shoulders walking
- possibly some kind of ski goggles or eye protection in extreme cold+wind
- some kind of really big waterproof poncho that can cover all this in case it decides to rain before freezing, or freeze, rain, and freeze again. never can tell.
- double-checking my fire-building tools/supplies, minimum enough to start 6 fires.
- cold weather sleeping bag with some independent method of carrying, or ability to be attached to the backpack
- closed foam cell ground pad

A few notes. The idea here is to have multiple layers and options. The socks and extra long johns are spares. If it was only kind of cold I might leave some of this in the bag, or wrapped up in the blanket, but if it was hella cold like it was this morning, I might use it all. That's just the problem: since I can't predict when SHTF is going to happen, I can't decide in advance what to pack. So this "winter package" must be good for any kind of winter weather.

What do you think? Suggestions? Critiques?
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Old 12-15-2016, 03:00 PM
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6471 6471 is offline
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Sleeping bag for overnight walks to get home?
In that case may I suggest a cheap closed foam ground pad as well?
People think they're just comfort, but the cold ground will leech body heat away via conduction thru even thr best sleeping bag.
Some cord or wire to help tie the poncho as a wind break might help also. Strong wind can make it impossible to stay warm.
Basically, I'd start with warm waterproof boots, wool socks, and work my up to the head & them simply store it all in the truck along with my other gear. Flashlight, etc . .
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Old 12-15-2016, 03:34 PM
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Good point on the boots. I need to have some waterproof boots in my trunk. closed cell ground pad going on the list.
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Old 12-15-2016, 03:36 PM
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Hot hands hand warmers. They have foot warmers, too. Hand dexterity goes fast in extreme cold.
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Old 12-15-2016, 03:37 PM
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Depends how far north you are, and how far from shelter. Some food for thought.


Originally written in the 60's, later updated in the 1970s but pretty complete with respect to basic arctic survival skills which can be related for subarctic environments. It is a long read. Updates reflecting current recommended practice provided by our General Aviation Safety Editor are set off in brackets [ ]

THE Arctic seems like a conscious, bone-freezing conspiracy against his life to a Cheechako (newcomer) stranded in the icy hinterlands. That's not true, but the Far North is totally indifferent to man and his yen to live.

The Arctic is a vast chunk of frigid real estate answering only to its thermostat, which is the varying tilt of the earth's axis with relation to the sun. Human life is no factor in this relentless bit of astrophysics. It causes extreme climatic effects that most of us will never face; effects that force a temperate zone man to alter radically his normal habits or else.

Simply put, the facts freeze down to this: The Far North is neither for nor against you. It's just an impersonal set of rugged conditions you to accept and learn to live with. You'll get less than nowhere battling these conditions with Kid No-Know in your corner as second.

Crashing in the Far North isn't a death sentence; far from it. For untold ages man has lived then- without an Uncle Sugar back home to fly him prime beefsteaks, stove oil, ear muffs, and radios. The Arctic today is Home, Sweet Home to tens of thousands of people, many of whom wouldn't leave if you offered them the Empire State Building along with till tapping privileges on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Some of these folk are so primitive they're using Stone Age implements. Yet, making-do with materials at hand, they wrest a livelihood from the icy seas and barren lands. If these people can survive, so can you, providing you know how and are properly equipped.

The U. S. has backlogged a wealth of experience in Arctic living, dating back to the gold rush over Chilkoot and White Horse passes into the Klondike. Wartime air routes over Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Iceland and the north Atlantic expanded this knowledge. Since the war the problem has been scientifically and minutely studied as flying activities Stepped up along the eaves of the world's roof.

Should you ever get stranded in the Northlands, the refined essence of this knowledge will be available to you in simplified form. furthermore, you can be certain that you will be diligently sought by Arctic rescue experts as long as a chance exists that you are alive.

Crewmembers making regular flights "down North," you will have had excellent survival training. Should you be a passenger, be glad that such skilled personnel are aboard with you. However, in case you find yourself separated from the experts, you'll need knowledge of the dangers that lurk around you. Otherwise you may be like the unfortunate who found himself unarmed in a battle of wits.

Trite, obvious and academic as it sounds, Arctic survival is summed up in two words: "be prepared". This means preparedness by knowing the conditions you will meet, having the things you will need and knowing how to use them. The Far North is towering, ice-clad mountains and it is level, treeless plains; it is an ocean hidden under floe ice and wandering iceberg islands boasting weather stations; it's frozen rivers and big spring floods caused by ice jams; it's glaciers that occasionally disgorge ancient animals in good condition; it is temperatures ranging from -80F. to 100F.; and it's Greenland, that gigantic chunk of ice doing business as a super iceberg plant.
Necessary survival and rescue methods depend on where you are when you are there.

Just how do winter Arctic conditions differ from those we normally meet?

1) Killing cold;
2) Any forms of life (man included ) are few and far between;
3) Apparently mild sunlight can blind you for a week;
4) You need more food, particularly fats;
5) Overland travel is laborious;
6) If you work up a sweat, you're likely to find yourself encased in a sheath of ice later, and
7) During one period the sun never comes up and at another it never goes down, just lazing around and around the horizon.

"Arctic survival" is a misnomer, for its methods are also needed in the sub-Arctic, and at times in temperate zones. There are plenty A trench, dug in a drift and roofed with snow blocks or tarpaulin, provides a warm shelter. As there are interior, lowland sub-Arctic places where nature can give you the deep the freeze treatment. Being lost afield in a Dakota blizzard can be worse than camping out at the North Pole. There is only a thin fringe of people in the Far North, and virtually all of them cling to the coastline. There's almost nothing to be found back in the inland tundra before you get far enough south to reach the timber line. Further down you begin to find people and larger animals. In the spring, some of the coastal people head south to meet the northern surge of caribou at well known passes. But they have little use for the sparse barrens above the timber line.

Normally people, if present, are found at the head of navigable bays at the mouth of rivers. There are reasons for this, of course. The weather's generally more moderate, and the sea's big larder is at hand. The sea can be used at the peak of summer to bring in heavy supplies. The frozen rivers can be used as highways for dog sleds and tractor trains in the winter.

A heavy stillness hangs over much of the Arctic, and violent winds are unusual. Turbulent weather is usually local in nature, and often is a product of the surrounding terrain. The high winds are encountered along coasts backed by tall mountains, and inland due to spotty heating effects and mountains.

Once you get aloft, Arctic flying is very good. A smooth, quiet ride is the rule rather than the exception. You will meet far less turbulence in the Northlands than you will in the interior of the United States. "Iron Mike." the autopilot, really gets in his licks up there. This survivors' signal, as seen from the air, tells the rescue aircraft overhead that all passengers and crew of an aircraft downed in Labrador are safe. Signal on the ground reads, "16 are O.K."

This is enough generalization, so let's get on with the story of the Arctic air emergency. As the first item of safety, a flight plan will be filed by the pilot, and traffic controllers will keep an eye on your progress through position reports. If you become overdue, Air Rescue is alerted. A wide-scale search is certain to be launched if you are missing after your fuel-time-limit has elapsed. Immediately when an aircraft develops trouble, a position report should be radioed. A timely and accurate position report is the best insurance that you can get for speedy rescue. It centers the search on you, and prevents wasteful needle-in-the-haystack hunts over great areas.

[ The original text following is for historical interest only]

The report should be sent over the aircraft's long range high frequency single-sideband liaison set, NOT only on VHF! If the situation is grave it should be in the form of an SOS or "Mayday" call. Radio bearings will be obtained on your signals if direction finding stations can receive you. Every effort should be made to get a signal out over the strong liaison set while you are still aloft, because your radio might be damaged in a crash landing. In such an event, thereafter you will have only a short range emergency transmitter available to you — providing it weathers the crash or parachute fall.

[Current Emergency Communications recommendations for aircraft use the “EPIRB”
read: ]

Knowing your Mayday has been received does wonders for your morale, too, if you can get an acknowledgment that your distress message has been received. If all of this goes well, you can be located by a pinpoint search with no lost motion. Even if your aircraft and survival kits are lost, a search airplane should be overhead before long to drop you supplies.

Tree pit shelter
Snow cave shelter
Snow "fighter" trench
food, fuel, medicine and necessary
survival gear.

After the distress call, the aircraft commander faces a tough decision. What will it be, belly-in or bail out? As every Arctic pilot knows, the answer is belly-in if possible. A frozen lake is an ideal spot for such a landing. Your chances of survival and rescue in a remote area are infinitely better if you stick with the aircraft. Aerial searchers can spot an airplane on the ground far easier than they can a person. Furthermore, you will find your aircraft a treasure trove of equipment that you will need. If you jump, you will have a bare mimimum of clothing and survival material. You may land so far from others in the party that you cannot rejoin them, forcing you to face the Arctic alone.

Sometimes there are emergencies that make a jump imperative. Sometimes the terrain and timber will make a crash landing impracticable. It may be so dark that you cannot make a landing, or you may be on fire and in imminent danger of an in-flight explosion. If an unavoidable jump is made, the parachutists should try to keep track of the aircraft and other 'chutes. If they can mark the spot the aircraft hits, they should attempt to work their way to it as a rallying point for all survivors. Even badly wrecked, there is a lot of material in the airplane that you can use. Say the aircraft has been successfully crash landed; now let's take a quick run-through on the initial actions to be taken:

• Clear the aircraft immediately with all readily available survival gear. Keep away until the possibility of an explosion has passed.
• Give first aid to injured; treat anyone in shock.
• Construct emergency shelter and build a fire.
• Get the emergency radio on the air on schedule.
• Organize camp. (Determine what's to be done and assign set duties to all personnel.)
• Prepare ground to air signals.
• If unknown, try to determine your position.
• Keep dry; avoid snow blindness and check for frostbite.
• In winter, do NOT attempt to use the aircraft for shelter even a hole in the snow is warmer.

Some of these first-firsts can be accomplished simultaneously if you have sufficient people with northern survival training. Now, to go back over that in more careful detail. Persons on potentially dangerous flights in the Northlands should wear most of their Arctic clothing and keep the rest of it close at hand. This should be done, even if it means that cabin heating has to be reduced. Thus, in case of a quick bailout, you at least start your ordeal with adequate clothing and a minimum of survival material attached to the back or seat of your parachute. Survival kits and items should be lashed down in a manner so they can be quickly released near the exits. They should be placed so that the items of highest priority are near the exits.

Crew Training

The ideal situation is for the entire crew to have received survival training, and then to practice coordinated plans for jumping, crashing and ditching. Each airman should know his duties well and have knowledge of the responsibilities of the others. This is important in case one man is knocked out, then the others can carry on with his assigned chores. If you belly-in, quickly get injured personnel out and clear of the aircraft. Take out all emergency kits, gear, parachutes, tools and other useful equipment, storing them away from the aircraft in one place. The threat of fire, immediate or delayed, is the reason for this action. Although the prepared emergency kits are your first targets, don't overlook anything useful, such as pliers, hammers and screwdrivers. After this first flurry of activity is over, the clothing of all personnel should be checked for adequacy. This is no country for low quarter shoes and baseball caps. Clothing that is wet either from water or perspiration, should be removed and dried. Old Man Arctic detests moisture, and he converts all of it that he can find into ice. Be sure that he doesn't turn your perspiration into an icy union suit. That's why the northern experts harp constantly on the theme of "keep dry." Nature keeps arid in the Arctic through the freezing process. Most people associate ice and snow with moisture, but that's not true up north. Both the snow and ice are bone dry until heat is applied. Newcomers are puzzled by the itchiness of their scalp; it's because of the dryness of the atmosphere.

Here are a few pointers on Arctic clothing that should be helpful:

You create heat internally and it is dissipated at your skin's surface. Clothing merely traps bodily heat and prevents the wind from blowing it away. Insulated air really retains your body warmth. Consequently, two loose-fitting, lightweight garments are warmer than one heavy one. That layer of air does the trick. You need an outer layer of tightly woven material or animal skin to serve as a windbreaker.

Wind is the great thief of your warmth. It sweeps away the still layer of air protecting your body. In the tropics you would be grateful for this as the air evaporates the perspiration in a refrigerating process — but you won't be thankful for it in the Northlands. So the word is that you need a good windbreaker on the outside and several thin layers on the inside. These layers are handy in avoiding perspiration when you are exerting yourself at hard work or in travel. Just peel off enough layers to keep from sweating. The Air Force and other agencies are constantly striving for perfection in their Arctic clothing and bedding issues. In all probability you will have the latest Arctic footwear, clothing and sleeping bags.

Anyone severely injured should be given immediate first aid. The general rules of medication apply here, but they are complicated by the threat of frostbite, which is a polite term for freezing. The injured should be kept warm, dry and comfortable, and it may be necessary to provide a quick shelter and fire for them. Be sure to get some insulation between them and the ground when you stretch them out.

Shock and delayed shock are common in accidents. In deep shock a person may even forget his name. Sometimes this condition does not appear until hours after the accident. Special attention is required by those who are bleeding. If tourniquets are used, frequent release of pressure is necessary. Also keep warm that part of the body where circulation is cut off. This last thought does not imply that merely a covering be used. Body heat from some other member of the group should be used in keeping that part of the patient's body warm if no other heat is available.

Once on the ice, frostbite is an ever-present hazard, especially when winds are strong. Frostbite is extremely painful in itself, and if neglected it will develop into gangrene. This is serious and usually requires surgery. It can cause death. Frostbite usually attacks the extremities — hands, feet, nose, ears and face. Poor blood circulation lets frostbite get a running start. For that reason no clothing or footwear should be binding or tight. Gloves, shoes, belts and drawstrings should all be fitted loosely.

Frostbite is sneaky and can occur rapidly. Its first sensation is numbness. In cold weather, make faces from time to time and touch your face for stiffness.
Members of the party should watch one another's faces for grayish spots indicating frostbite. Once these spots are discovered the person should be treated immediately. A frostbite casualty should be placed in a heated shelter. The frozen part should be thawed in tepid water. The ideal water temperature is 107F. If warm water is not available, apply heat packs.

Sun, Snow and Glare

Sunlight and snow can blind you in one of the Arctic's most painful experiences. Direct solar rays and those refracted from snow are too much for sensitive eyes. It's like burning a photographic negative with excessive light. Snow blindness is can occur even in foggy, misty weather. Never be without sun glasses, or their equivalent, during the snow blinding seasons — roughly November through May, inland, and October through May on floe ice. Up toward the pole where the snow is permanent, the danger exists any time the sun is out, and that can be 24 hours a day. Sun glass substitutes can be whittled from wood, plastic or bones. Cut a horizontal slit 1/16 inch by one inch in the improvised "lenses" so they fit over the pupils of your eyes. The eyepieces should be about .14 inch thick. Blacken the top and bottom of the slits. Lacking other material, make a mask of dark cloth, cutting and raveling the slits. It helps to darken the areas of your face around the eyes, using soot or similar material.


Fuel is a prime necessity, and you are in luck if the aircraft's oil and fuel tanks are intact
Log platform for fire
Platform for cooking.
Building a pyramid fire
Shavings and dry twigs
Log reflector for fire
Lighting fire with candle

If the fuel tanks remain intact. Engine oil should be drained before the engines cool. It's best to use containers, but they are not necessary. Open the drain plugs and allow all the oil to flow out on the snow and ice. It will congeal rapidly and you will have no difficulty in collecting it later as needed. But you'll have beaucoup trouble getting it out of a frozen engine. Avgas or JP need not be drained. What better storage can be found than the aircraft tanks themselves? Accessibility should be considered. If you have tanks that are hard to get at you will want to transfer fuel from them to the main tanks. The ideal is achieved if you can get the auxiliary power unit going to make these transfers.

Protect your hands during this job, being careful not to get fuel on them. When it's very cold keep your hands away from any bare metal. Many a man has grabbed a door knob or wrench and had his bare hand freeze to them.

Now turn your attention to more permanent shelter. I If it's summer, you can stay in the aircraft or make a quick tent by throwing a tarp or parachute over an aircraft wing.) In winter, you will need an insulated outdoor shelter. In selecting a campsite, pick a place for its protection from wind. Get in a timbered spot if possible because the trees will serve as a windbreak and source of fuel. Do not get under snow covered trees, however, for they will soak you when the fire gets going.

Wind-driven snow piles up quickly, and sometimes it avalanches on a steep incline. So it's best not to set up housekeeping at the foot of a sharp slope or cliff.
Where you are and the materials at hand dictate your choice of shelter, and there are many of them. There are lean-tos, snow caves, tree pit-, snow trenches, snow "fighter" trenches, ice houses or igloos and parateepees. In your survival kits will be full instructions on how to build these shelters.

Lean to - most simple to fabricate in timbered country, and they are surprising effective. Whatever shelter you select, remember to keep its entrance crosswind. You may find it helpful to iri-t | a wall of snow or ice between your shelter and the chilling wind. In treeline areas with blowing snow just burrow into a snowdrift, and “feather your nest” as best as possible, using any natural insulation, moss, pine needle thatch, etc.

Improvise a stove using a wick to burn oil or fat. Lighting fire with flint and steel. Fire is life in the Far North. An improvised stove will heat your shelter. brush or tarpaulin. Snow caves must be ventilated. If the snow isn't deep enough to support a roof, dig a trench in a drift and roof it with snow blocks, tarpaulin or other materials. In wooded country make a tree-pit shelter if the snow is deep. Enlarge the natural pit around a tree trunk and roof it with anything available. Though your instinct may be against it, any shelter MUST be ventilated if you are going to have a fire. Open flame in a tightly enclosed shelter will produce carbon monoxide poisoning. A sheltered place should be set aside as a toilet. Some crashed parties have used the facilities in the aircraft, or have removed them outside. Adequate shelter, of course, is the chief and immediate consideration.

Most of your remaining energy and strength is quickly converted into bodily heat, and you fatigue easily on short rations. Under such circumstances Arctic survivors should get all of the rest that they can, and work should proceed at a leisurely pace. Frenzied efforts at work or travel will leave you gasping frigid air and exhausted. Improvement of your shelter and sleeping bag pays dividends in the rest you will need. You will not want to sleep directly on snow or ice for obvious reasons. Put boughs or grass down where you are going to sleep. Use your parachute for insulation on top of that, and place your sleeping bag on top of all. Use anything you can for insulation from the cold ground cushions, tarps or life rafts. An inflated, inverted raft makes a fair bed.
Move injured to shelter and keep them dry, warm and comfortable. Use anything you can for insulation from the cold ground and colder snow. Try to cut fishing hole over deep water where fish tend to congregate. For three-man shelter, lay boughs from top to bottom, cover with chute. Of course, a fellow could develop king-sized trouble inflating a raft in an undersized snow cave. Your sleeping bag is going to be your best friend if you can keep it dry and clean. Some types of bags with feather inner-liners are exceedingly warm — so much so that the inner-liners are seldom used. To keep your bag in good condition, turn it inside out daily and dry it before the fire. Be sure you and your clothing are dry before turning in for the night. If you get frost or ice in your one-man bunk and nightgown, it's hard to get out. Brush and beat it out, because if you melt it before a fire it's difficult to dry completely, and it just freezes again deeper than ever in the fabric.

If you remember, you have removed everything of use from the aircraft to get away from the threat of fire or explosion. With the explosion and fire danger over, place everything back in the aircraft that you do not need immediately. The airplane is an excellent, sheltered storage place despite its coldness. If there are several feet of snow on the ground, you can lose a lot of tools and materials. They disappear in the snow, leaving no hint of their location. So place your spare stuff back in the aircraft where it will be safe from this the snow thief. You will not be on the ground very long before you run into the problems of heat and water. There probably will be small stoves of some type in your Arctic gear, but you may have to improvise to make use of available fuel — engine oil, av-gas, wood or miscellaneous flammable material from the airplane.

Natives make-do with seal and bear oil.

For starting fires, there'll be some matches in your kit. Furthermore, you personally should carry enough matches to be prosecuted as a potential arsonist. A filled cigarette lighter helps, too. Other methods of firemaking include flint and steel, a burning lens, various forms of wood friction, electric sparks and the fusee signal flare. You can improvise a stove to burn gasoline, lubricating oil or a mixture of both. Put an inch or so of sand in the bottom of a can and add gasoline. Be careful when lighting; the gas may explode at first. Make slots at the top of the can to let flame and smoke out, and punch holes just above the level of the sand to provide a draft. To make fire burn longer, mix oil with gasoline. If you have no can, simply dig a hole in the ground, fill it with sand, pour on gas and light.

Drinking Water

You will have to melt ice or snow for your water. Ice is much better than snow, yielding more water for the heat expended. If you are in coastal regions or on floe ice, remember that old sea ice produces potable water, whereas fresh sea ice is salty. Do not prepare more water than you need because it will just freeze again. If you inadvertently wind up with more water than you need, encourage everyone to drink as much as they can use. To conserve fuel all heat must be made to do many jobs at once (cook, melt ice for water and heat and light for shelter ) and, whenever possible, substitute fuels should be used.

Communications are the province of the aircraft’s radio operator, and he can do wonders if the on-board radio sets survive, and if he has use of the auxiliary power unit. Otherwise, he will have to depend on the handpowered [The original text following is for historical interest only] CRT-3 known as the Gibson Girl [went out of US service in the mid-1970s]. This transmits on the international distress frequency of 500 kcs. or the aircraft emergency frequency of 8280. These signals can be homed on by search aircraft. Instructions for the CRT-3 will be found with the set. There also is a battery-operated VHF transceiver, the URC-4, for parachutist-). It worked well in the Far East, but has not been thoroughly tested in the Arctic. It, too, can be homed on.

[Current recommended emergency communications practices for aviation are described at: ]

The group is fortunate if it has a navigator. He normally will save enough of his instruments to pinpoint the party. If that fix can be radioed to searchers, most of your troubles will be over. Now, for your ground signals. Normally your emergency gear will include Very pistols, signal mirrors, dye marker, panels, fusee flares and flashlights. The Gibson Girl has a light which can be keyed.

In the Arctic, large SOS signals can be tramped out in the snow, bonfires prepared and dye marker spread or bodies of piled with brush and saturated with gasoline make excellent flash signals.

Fire and smoke are very unusual in the Arctic, and they rivet the attention of searchers. You need heavy black smoke in daytime, such as that produced by lube oil, and clean open flame at night.

Even pin-pricks of light can be seen for great distances at night. [Recommend LED signal such as ] If possible, rig up several trees for these fire signals. [B][Recommended signaling device for pilots operating in the arctic is the Greatland Emergency Laser ]

Conserve all fuel and food at least until aerial searchers have spotted your location.

If weather or some other factor delays your rescue, begin hunting, fishing and gathering herbs to stretch out your food supply. Extend your land reconnaissance as time goes on, traveling in pairs for safety.

Food Sources

Food is scarce in the Arctic. Hunting, fishing and trapping figured very little in the reports of wartime survivors, but are a food source which cannot be overlooked if you are down for a long time. An experienced hunter or trapper is a big asset to a stranded party. The survival pamphlet in your kit l contains information on hunting and fishing possibilities in the area of operations where you are down. Large animals of the Arctic and sub-Arctic are moose, musk ox, caribou, bears and walrus. Downed parties seldom get a chance at these and are more interested in seals, rabbits, fox, ground squirrels, lemming, mice and birds. In summer there is an abundance of ducks, geese, loons, swans, gulls and grouse, but in the winter you will only find ptarmigans and owls. Natives depend largely on seals for food, heat and clothing.

The Arctic basin has little to offer in the way of edible fish other than cod and sculpin. The inland lakes and rivers usually contain grayling, trout, and white fish. The southern coasts in the sub-Arctic have an abundance of sea food. It is possible to chop a hole through ice for fishing. Try to locate the deepest part of the lake or pond for the hole, as that is where the fish congregate. To keep the hole from re-freezing, cover it with anything available and then heap loose snow over the cover.

Some plant life in the form of roots, berries, barks, mushrooms and lichens are edible. The subject of Arctic food sources is too lengthy to cover fully here, and further information should be obtained in AF Manual 64-5 long before facing the first trip over the Arctic.

Overland travel in the hinterlands is slow, dangerous and tiring at any time. No one should attempt to "walk out" except as a last resort. In the event of a bailout or crash landing, rest a day or two before making any such decision because your judgment may be impaired by shock. Few Arctic survivors have been able to hoof it to civilization, and many have died trying. The tendency of newcomers is to over-estimate their ability. Travel is Tough. Tough as it is, travel is easier in winter than during the other seasons. Frozen streams serve as paved roads. In summer the going along the banks of a waterway is difficult; it's a process of stumbling and falling through underbrush, and getting wet crossing tributaries. In winter you can walk over frozen swamps, muskeg, lakes and rivers; you can't do that when water is on the loose.

These warnings against travel however, do not apply in the case of exploring your nearby vicinity. Help may be near at hand in the form of a shelter or a trail leading to people. Get as high as you can on a hill or in a tree for a general survey.

In some areas of Alaska and Canada, remote cabins are stored with provisions for stranded persons. There is no charge, but it's a sourdough point of honor to replace anything used. If ultimately you decide that you must travel, improvise a backpack from your parachute. You'll want a sleeping bag, matches and lighter, compass, a knife, sun glasses, watch, gun and ammunition, wire or shroud lines and food. Wear whatever you have in the way of special northern footwear and clothing. Snowshoes may be worth their weight in gold.

Travel downstream because this will ultimately lead you to larger rivers which wind up on a coast. When not on a waterway, move from landmark to landmark to prevent the usual tendency to circle. Set an easy pace, for you will be heavily loaded, and make camp early. Halt in mid-afternoon so you can build a fire, cook, make an adequate shelter and get plenty of rest.

Most likely you will never go down in the Far North. But, if you do, never give up — remember that Uncle Sam is looking for you and cost is no object. •
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Old 12-15-2016, 03:50 PM
johnmcd johnmcd is offline
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If you normally wear shoes and you want an alternative to carrying an extra pair of boots in your vehicle check out the NEOS overshoes. I have a pair of these that I've carried in my car for years:

They do a great job of keeping your feet warm and dry even in heavy snow/slush, and they're more compact than full boots.
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Old 12-15-2016, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by johnmcd View Post
If you normally wear shoes and you want an alternative to carrying an extra pair of boots in your vehicle check out the NEOS overshoes. I have a pair of these that I've carried in my car for years:

They do a great job of keeping your feet warm and dry even in heavy snow/slush, and they're more compact than full boots.
Very interesting. I had never seen these.
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Old 12-16-2016, 03:54 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinfire View Post
Very interesting. I had never seen these.
Those are sort of like Canadian Army artic boots, actually mukluks.
Which I have worn in -30F & my feet stayed warm
(with felt liners & merino wool blend socks).

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Old 12-16-2016, 04:44 PM
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Add an inexpensive plastic sled or toboggan. This to carry bulky stuff like sleeping bag/pad...or any other vehicle winter kit contents. Possibly your entire winter box. Take some of the load off your back. You can drag it behind you even without snow. The one linked to below is about $40; even less expensive models are available from Big Box Stores & Walmart:

Add a small isobutane backpacking stove along with a lidded metal cook pot. This to melt snow or ice for drinking water. Also for preparing hot meals/drink. When everything is frozen, dehydration becomes a concern. So does keeping drinking water from freezing. A single walled frozen metal canteen or water bottle can be thawed directly over a fire or stove. Isobutane canisters are blended to function in cold weather encountered where you live.

A basic Coleman single burner stove and gas canister would easily last for your entire 2-3 day trip and cost under $20:

Something I keep in all vehicles year round, but primarily intended for meeting hard winter freeze... two quart steel Thermos bottles. They're unbreakable (no glass liner), will keep hot liquids that way all day/night long, and they're unlikely to freeze. I recently had a spate of sub-zero overnight temps and daytime temps in single digits/low teens. After several days of that, I poured still liquid water out of my vehicle Thermos. Another item for inclusion into that plastic toboggan.

Something else to keep in the car... camp axe/hatchet & bow saw. This to procure wood for a survival fire. You could add those to a toboggan if you have to walk home. Although it's more likely that you'd flag down a ride home than actually need to camp out.

Here's something I wrote over on another forum about extreme winter car bivouac gear. The OP was a military member recently assigned to interior Alaska and his goal was to outfit himself with a winter car kit that would fit into a 65 liter backpack (about the size of a surplus USGI Large ALICE ruck). This for a broken down vehicle scenario (staying with it) at temps down to -50F. Those are extreme conditions compared to Ohio (I used to live in Ohio; been to Alaska), but some of the recommendations still apply:

I've actually slept out in -50 F ambient (and colder windchill). In many respects, it's like being on another planet. You have several major problems just lasting 48 hours at that temp range:

1. You have to keep yourself from freezing while bundled up and doing nothing.
2. You have to keep your drinking water from freezing.
3. You need a means to pee that doesn’t involve you frequently having to exit the vehicle, which will eradicate what little warmth you have built up inside.
4. You need some high calorie food that can be digested dry or that you can keep unfrozen.
5. You need a supplemental heat source for melting ice/snow in case your water does freeze. Also useful for hot meal or drink…and for temporary space heating.

Here's what I'd want for your scenario:

First off, I can't think of a synthetic bag made which will keep you comfortable for two days in an unheated -50F vehicle...that also fits into a 65 liter pack. At -50, your bag isn't getting wet unless you pee in it. Dry frigid cold. Ideal conditions for using down. need down fill if you plan to fit it into a 65L pack. And you need arctic expedition levels of it. I'd go with either of these:

Marmot CWM EQ -40 Down Sleeping Bag; 800 fill; ~$700
Mountain Hardwear Ghost -40 Down Sleeping Bag; 800 fill; ~$1000

I have a couple of Mountain Hardwear -40 F synthetic bags, and just one consumes most of the interior volume of my Gregory 103 liter pack.

I’d want a sleeping pad, because most vehicle seats aren't really that well insulated and allow a lot of cold air to circulate underneath. Prolly a self-inflating Therma-Rest for the comfort padding over stray vehicle seat belt buckles (if I used the back bench seat).

I’d want a stove that functions at -50F. I know from personal experience that my MSR Whisperlite International will do so. One MSR fuel bottle (at least a pint; a liter would be better) of white gas will do for 48 hours. Plus, if you absolutely have to, you can burn vehicle fuel (assuming you are willing to puncture the tank or monkey with siphoning). Do your cooking or snow melting on one of the passenger side rubber floor mats...and be damn careful not to melt your gear, spill boiling water on yourself, or other wise have a disaster. Slow and careful. That MSR stove will melt lead bars. It will boil a pot or canteen cup of water in just a couple of minutes. Which means…

You need a metal cup or pot for heating liquid (or ice/snow if that’s available outside)…and a large 2-quart thermos bottle to store liquid hot water in. Because…you are going to need to keep that liquid inside your sleeping bag to ensure that it doesn't freeze. It’s hard to drink hard frozen ice out of a plastic bottle or canteen. I'd want to start the trip with at least 2 quarts of boiling water inside an insulated thermos. A 2-qt metal backpackers cook pot with lid and folding handle will work out nicely for boiling water, melting snow, or heating food. The lid will keep heat in the pot and speed up melting ice or snow. it's going to take 9-10 parts dry snow to make 1 part water when melting. To avoid repeated trips in and out of the vehicle, have a clean 5 gal bucket to scoop up clean just one trip outside. 5 gallons of dry snow = ~2 quarts of water when melted.

At -50 F, most ceramic type filters are going to freeze hard and fail. Have some Katadyn MicroPur tablets (1 per quart) to purify whatever water source you manage to melt after your initial pack load of water is gone. Of course, you could last for 48 hours without food or water in a long as you could stay warm. But, ideally, to avoid dehydration and inevitable constipation in cold weather, your daily input should be ~3 quarts of liquid. Depends upon your weight & metabolism.

I’d want a pair of down or Polarguard booties for wear inside the sleeping bag along with mittens, thick balaclava, wool ski socks, & medium weight synthetic thermal underwear (if not already worn).

I’d want a decent paperback book to read.
I’d want an LED headlamp with Lithium cold weather batteries and spare batteries.
I’d want several 8 or 12 hour Chemlights (2 per day) because they burn bright and long in extreme cold and will be useful for illuminating the vehicle interior during what would obviously be longish winter nights. Chemlights shrug off sub-zero temps that will drain the power out of brand new batteries right before your eyes. I've used them for interior tent illumination and for mortar aiming stake lights in places like Minnesota, Alaska, and Michigan during frigid winter. Also good for marking latrines in the snow.

Food? I’d keep it simple. Trail mix, candy bars, Mountain House Entrees, couple sticks of butter (to add to the entrees; high calorie), a jar of peanut butter, and a box of crackers. And a spoon. Or, I'd consider just keeping a couple of MRE Heater meals handy. The heater sleeve will heat the meal. The side items can be kept inside pockets or sleeping bag to warm up (like peanut butter or cheese packets). Summer sausage & hard cheese would also be a good high fat calorie bet. You can keep 'em inside your sleeping bag (or front pants pockets) so they don't freeze into a solid block. Plus you always have that MSR stove for heating food. Crack the window slightly when you prepare a hot meal. Pack enough grub for at least two hot meals per day plus snacks. Maybe a small jar or plastic bottle of cocoa mix, Tang, or instant coffee…for hot drinks. Just sitting in a vehicle, out of the wind, and bundled into a warm're still gonna need 3000+ calories per day to stay warm.

A roll of TP, a snow shovel, and a laminated copy of the Lord’s Prayer for when you eventually have to go poop. It’s fun at those temps.

You’d want to have 2-3 disposable butane lighters (for lighting the stove) which would work just fine after being warmed up inside your interior next-to-body clothing pockets or sleeping bag.

You’d want two large (2 liter) wide mouth plastic bottles to pee in; gallon ziplocks will work as well. Just set ‘em aside securely when you are done. They will freeze if you go to sleep or otherwise fail to dump them outside. Don’t risk peeing while you are zipped inside the sleeping bag. Unzip and make sure any accident happens outside the limits of that down lifesaver.

Everything I mentioned above would fit into a 65L pack (except the pee bottles).

I assume you’d be wearing suitable winter clothing if you were out and about during -50 weather. I’d recommend the highest loft down expedition parka w/ hood you can afford, USGI Vapor Barrier Boots (White Bunny Boots), surplus USGI Primaloft insulated pants w/ suspenders, and the usual hat, contact gloves, gauntlet insulated mittens, wool socks, etc. Actually, the USGI ECWS Level VII Primaloft Parka and Pants set is a very economical solution to extreme cold. ~$200 for the hooded parka and pants together. If, for some reason, your sleeping bag just isn't keeping up with the cold, you can wear the soft puffy Primaloft pants and parka inside the bag.

Lastly, I’d recommend keys to a nearby fueled second vehicle that will start and has a heater…or to a heated structure that is within a short walking distance. Or just suck it up, go apologize, and beg your spouse to let you back in the house...

Just my $.02

(Edit to add: I know the OP specified everything stored inside of a 65 liter pack. But... if you ignore that requirement, a quality -40F (or even warmer) synthetic bag could be found for $200-$300 on places like ebay & craigslist...or at annual sports store sales of discontinued models. Much cheaper than buying an $800+ extreme cold down bag. The only problem with extreme cold synthetic bags is their immense volume. But that can be handled by stuffing them into something like an Aviator's Kit Bag or large sports equipment bag...and then simply storing that bag in the vehicle...alongside that 60 liter pack full of everything else. You have a lot of storage options with a vehicle. You can store more gear than you can physically carry on a hike. In this scenario, no hike is indicated.)
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Old 12-16-2016, 05:36 PM
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In an environment like you have described. I would think that a goreTex bivy bag would be invaluable. Adds some weight but is lighter than a tent. Traveling light and fast is the goal. Great deal available at sportsman's guide.
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Old 12-16-2016, 05:45 PM
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Every time the season changes, your bag(s) should too.

And the stuff that isn't removed from the bag should still be checked to make sure it is still good.
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Astronomy View Post
Add an inexpensive plastic sled or toboggan. This to carry bulky stuff like sleeping bag/pad...or any other vehicle winter kit contents. Possibly your entire winter box. Take some of the load off your back. You can drag it behind you even without snow. :
Its dangerous to be right, when the government is wrong. The price of freedom can be seen at your local VA hospital.
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Old 12-17-2016, 01:31 PM
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I recommend a cold-weather coverall like Carhartt's Arctic Bibs. You can drive and walk in them, unlike a sleeping bag. They layer very well, and they'll last a lifetime if you're not wearing them 50 hours a week each season.

I always have mine in my car in the winter, and have used them multiple times for things like helping change a tire when I was in dress pants. You can toss them on over pretty much any attire without even having to take your boots off first.
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Old 12-17-2016, 09:44 PM
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If you have to stay in a car candles, even small tea lights, can warm a car enough to keep you from freezing. A tarp can be made into a pack, keep the wind at bay, and can compartmentalize a vechicle to keep a section of a large SUV warm. When it gets really cold some goggles are good. Keeps your eyes warmer and if a your lenses are treated you don't get eye fatigue.
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Old 12-20-2016, 01:43 PM
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Default Ski pants and empty sustainment pouches.

Originally Posted by merlinfire View Post
[...]What do you think? Suggestions? Critiques?
One thing I do is carry a lighter weight sleeping bag, but then I carry some ski pants and a heavy wool sweater and base layer. I also have wool cap, heavy wool socks, and a balaclava (face mask). So, I can put those on if it's really cold and when I get up in the morning, I can just keep them on until it warms up some. It works out very well and is more flexible overall.

I also carry a warm coat in the trunk with my GHB. This is a recent addition because I got it for cheap. It's actually a Czech Republic milsurp M85 parka that you can get to $20 - $25 bucks. They are very warm. I use them to work in around the homestead and I also keep on in the trunk.

This isn't winter related, but my pack is FULL but has a lot of MOLLE webbing on it that I don't really use. So I keep a couple of empty MOLLE II sustainment pouches in there. (Actually I do keep stuff in the pouches for organizing (cooking kit, etc), but that's not strictly necessary.) But, that way, if I have to use if on a long walk home, if I can buy extra food, then I'll have a way to carry it -- just attach the sustainment pouches to the pack.

Also, if you use compression stuff sacks, only use ONE. I've found that having several actually uses more space than it saves. I use one for my sleeping bag and I put all the clothes and such in there also.

--- Lobanz
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Old 12-20-2016, 03:37 PM
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We normally don't get too cold here. -10 F (with -20 F lows) are the max for a week or so each year. Not even that most of the time but with wind chills below zero often.

I throw my Carhart work outfit, a head/neck cover, my long gloves, boots and a couple of pairs of socks in the car. I have a large candle in a metal coffee container with a box of matches, plus all the regular winter car stuff like jumpers, a small shovel, crank flashlight with weather radio, food, water, hand foot warmers, emergency blankets, ski goggles, etc.

I would still need decent shelter at night time, but I've worked in below zero conditions for hours wearing my get up with some underarmor type base layers and had to make sure to regulate my temperature to keep from sweating too much.
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Old 05-04-2017, 10:43 PM
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Regarding to Winter package, especially wilderness suivival: There is my list so far. Please let me know if you have any good advices.
1. warm clothes and water
2, sleeping bags&tents
3. walky talky& compass
4. First aid kit
I usually bring durable and simple winter packages to avoid in the midway exhausted.
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Old 05-05-2017, 05:52 PM
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One thing I like to do for stuff like winter clothes (all clothing for packs and kits actually) is I vacuum seal them in my Food Saver so they take up less space and are kept dry. About once every year or two I take them out, loft them in the dryer, and reseal.

It not only makes sure they stay dry (which where I live is a real need) but the extra space is awesome. Just make sure you leave enough space on the bag to open it with a knife in case your hands are cold or wet.

I am pretty lucky; where I live the only real concern in winter is largely rain. We don't tend toward lasting snow. I keep things to help me stay dry and warm (like a SOL Bivy, gloves, head cover, spare wool socks, etc) all year round.
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Old 05-06-2017, 12:58 PM
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I don't see SNOWSHOES on anyone's list.
All sorts of shapes, sizes, weighs & prices are available.
They are a lifesaver in snow.
Its dangerous to be right, when the government is wrong. The price of freedom can be seen at your local VA hospital.
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Old 05-06-2017, 01:37 PM
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Russian bomber hat.
waterproof insulated boots
heavy wool socks
hot hands
GoreTex military bivy
Instant oatmeal, SS Cup and fire. Coffee. Spoon
ski pants and goggles.
warm Leather gloves and scarf.
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