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Reading the thread on dealing with the cold got me wondering....how do you deal with long term cold weather if you are living outdoors in rough conditions?

I recall reading a book by Jim Owens on his experiences in the Korean War and he describes some pretty horrible conditions because of the cold. Would any military veterans care to share their experiences on how they learned to survive and the methods they used to deal with extreme weather?

Owens mentions in his book how the Chinese would be found frozen stiff wearing thin clothes and tennis shoes.

Thanks for passing on your knowledge.
 

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Proverbs 22:3
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I have only done cold weather training for 2 weeks or so at a time. Still, we saw 45-60 below zero F. Most of the time was spent in sleeping bags 12-14 hours a day. Hot food is a must. Hot water bottles help in sleeping bags. Gear is a big issue. Weapons can jam and freeze even with cold weather lube; or if you get them warm then cold ,ice forms inside the trigger systems and they will not fire. If guns get cold enough, they get brittle.
When you have to wear lots of layers, getting to gear you need is difficult. Gloves make it sooooo much harder to do things. Stove fuel will not freeze, but will still be 20-30 below zero. Instant frostbite to exposed skin. Spilled fuel on gear is a disaster.
Snow shoes are a must. You can not work on skis, even crosscountry ones.
The best long term survival in exterme cold weather is a good, well insulated shelter with food and supplies. You will not want to go outside at all if possible. Hunting or fishing would be VERY difficult at best. Boredom is also a threat most of us do not take into account.
Do NOT try to pee outside at 40 below zero!!:eek:
Just my little ray of sunshine for this morning :D:
 

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Numquam Succumbe
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Neccessity is the mother of all invention.

I learned a couple things, but mostly it just came down to physical and mental endurance, as all survival does.

I learned to always stay mobile, sleep with what I didn't want to freeze, and that a wood stove won't heat a tent at 20 below, even if you get it hot enough to melt. (true story) A good couple slaps in the face will get the blood going before a morning shave.

Military guys certainly have some important experiences to share, but if you really want to find the ins and outs of extreme weather survival, you should take a look at the people who live in it year round. Read up on the techniques the Inuit or the Berber use. Investigate people native to the climatalogical conditions you want to know about.

I thought I was surviving in Korea at 20 below, but I came to find out that there was a monastery on top of a nearby mountain that housed buddhist monks year round. 20 below was the coldest I've ever lived in, but I can't IMAGINE how much colder it would be on the top of a windswept mountain. I bet those guys could share a thing or two about cold weather survival. :thumb:

*******EDIT*********
I know that some of the people on this board live in very harsh conditions. Hopefully they will chime in.
 

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Cold Weather Survival

You really have to watch what you wear in relation to your activity level. Working up a sweat can cause you to become not mission capable when you cool off in sweat soaked clothing. Prior to intense activity you have to strip off a lot of clothing but have it available to put back on when you slow down and start to cool off.

You also have to always be thinking about how you can insulate yourself from the cold and the wind. Always look for that object that can break the wind and leave you in the sun. Your never going to be warm but you have to do everything you can to slow your body's heat loss.

Dehydration is another serious consideration because you don't seem to notice that you are thirsty in cold weather

If you search "cold weather operations Army" you'll find as much reading as you want on the subject
 

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army cold weather focus...

The Army's training focus since WWII and Korea has been all about prevention. We have good cold weather clothing in our inventory and the newest generation is even better. The first phase of Northern Warfare Junior Leader's course was spent discussing, learning and training on the geography, climate, and phenomenon of arctic areas. Recognizing and treating frostbite was on top of the list. The basic instruction included dressing in layers (including the wool OG108 shirt), wearing wool socks, keeping a clean pair of socks available, water proofing leather mountain boots, and treating hypothermia. All this presumed a good cold weather supply system. The main effort is to keep soldiers combat effective and stop cold-related injuries. The Army's solution was to train the Sergeants and Lieutenants in all units every year, and they were responsible for all inspections... in addition to the buddy system. It's a simple issue of soldier-care.

In combat conditions--a good reference might be MILITARY IMPROVISIATIONS DURING THE RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN, CMH Pub 104-1. It discusses the German experience fighting in the arctic and things they had to do to remain combat effective; despite a lack of winter clothes, winterization of combat vehicles, and other problems which inevitably appear and must be overcome.
 

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The last of the Ravens
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while i am not a vet, i have learned (like others before me) that clothing is key! and to keep moving! and fire is your friend:thumb: at minus 25 c or below, it is a life saver. make sure to keep dry and drink plenty of water (or warm tea) and pace yourself.


Do NOT try to pee outside at 40 below zero!!
its not that u can't go to the bathroom outside at 40 below, its just that u learn a whole new meaning to the word "quick" imo ;) just make sure u only go when u "really" need to go *nods*
 

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"Always Be Prepared"
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While I'm not a vet., I can never forget the story of a Boy Scout Leader who survived one of the coldest campaigns in Korea. His secret, that he learned as a youth from the Boy Scouts themselves, was simple but life saving, and that was to fuel a fire all day long, that produces much coals, then spread the coals at dusk and cover them with earth to form a coal bed on which he slept. He learned shortly after that some men had literally died for lack of it. :thumb: I have never forgotten this crucial tip, if needed.
 

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Time to hit reset
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All great points. FarmerJohn beat me to it, but caloric intake and dehydration are 2 big factors that are sometimes overlooked. As well as hygeine, clean dry clothes insulate MUCH better than funky wet ones, so carry plenty of socks and a change of clothes.

Another member mentioned inspections and the buddy system, dont be ashamed to put your feet on someone elses belly if it means keeping your toes :)

Lots of reading to do on the topic and winter survival/camping takes even more planning and preparation than most.
 

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..and, guys, don't let the zipper hit you on the way out the door, et cetera.

One Montana Winter, the warmest day in four was -38. I know, because I walked 4 miles to town. The neighbor said, Do you know it is -38? I said, There is no wind. It is a fine Montana day.

The previous days were colder, much colder. It was so cold, I turned the heater off. There was no point wasting fuel. There was no heat 1" from the heater. The heat just went straight up into the atmosphere.

Next tourist season, the National Park rangers asked me, How did you survive?

I said, I have a 30-degree F sleeping bag, I have a 0-degree F sleeping bag. I have a lightweight sleeping bag. I got under all three, with small bottles of water and three items of food I made. Since there was no way to cook anything, I took oatmeal, sugar and lard. I put it in waxed paper. I squashed it down, into three "cookies". I said, You are a cookie.

I stayed under the sleeping bags on the bed three days, sipping the water so I had just enough not to need to go outside of the covers, to pee, and each day I had a "cookie".

They said, That would do it!

I had to walk to the town store to socialize over a cup of coffee, the only thing to do in Winter up there by the border, while I had the regulator for the propane thaw out - the regulator has frozen solid. It was fine. I was fine.

In fact, when I walked to town and back I had my jacket snaps open, putting on my re-breather face mask only in a crosswind - at one point - to protect my face from frostbite and to protect my lungs from breathing air that was too cold.

That day, I was wearing my wool and silk longjohns, Remington-brand fleece bibs and jacket, Thinsulate vest, Thinsulate insulated wool "railroad" hat, Choinard Mountain gloves and liners, -50 Baffin boots with booties and Thorlo Light Hiker socks and PSolar face mask.

I felt there was too much risk of frostbite on exposed skin the other days, of that 4 days, because of wind chill.

In 20 days of below -20 F with horizontal blowing debris down near the lake, I stayed inside perfecting recipes, eating well.

During that time, I did not put the thermostat over 50 degrees F so I could stay acclimated to the cold for going outside.
 

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The last of the Ravens
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Agreed, the best way to survive the cold is to get away from it.
nah, its fun when its REALLY cold. especially when out snow shoeing or by a nice big warm fire (gotta love a woodstove). doesnt matter how cold it gets, so long as u have a good supply of wood, food, and water, u can outlast anything:thumb:
 

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Layers of clothing & outer wear made for the rating of protection you think you'll need.
Spent the coldest winter in 50 odd years in North Dakota with the air force in '72. Chill factor -102F. Down filled artic parkas with the hood that can be pulled to close off your face if needed. Walked several miles in -15F & broke a sweat in that parka. Snowmobile suits work good, especially if you are likely to get wet, they will protect you fairly well. I wear the present day brown military thermal wear when I ride a motorcycle in cold weather, also works good. They make Thinsulate shooters gloves with the trigger finger slot if you think you'll need it. Some old timers say cayenne pepper on your feet before donning your socks helps. If your feet are cold you'll never be comfortable. Make sure you have boots that keep you warm and dry. If you expect lots of snow, yellow shooters glasses help or snowmobile goggles help with the white-out effect, though the glasses & goggles tend to fog with a hood or ski mask around them. Chapstick & skin agents or moisturizers for the face if you or others are tender.
 

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Ego Sto Solus
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was stationed at Camp Giant south korea..the second northernmost camp in the country..just several clicks from DMZ..from my exp it all comes down to mind set..and proper gear..army provided us with cold weather boots , thick socks,gore tex..long johns..gator necks,MSS ..etc.etc...and while i cant claim to have been in sub zero temps while on our movements( 2 weeks and 2 days over a month)..i cant discount it either..as i didnt personally have temp taking device..but i do know we all got by fine in 2 feet snow at times(for a week)..without fire..i mean if ya stuck or stationed..then ya gotta deal with it..ya dont think about the cold, your body doesnt react to it the same as when ya are constatly thinkin how miserable you are ...mind over matter ...is not just a motivational phrase
 

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Christian
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Bikerdruid is the guy to ask, he's in the middle of Canada, basically on his own.

We were in Minneapolis for almost 20 years; Duluth would sometimes experience -40 to -70 below zero with the wind. and that’s with 10' snow drifts. You have to take all things into account; your vehicle needed to be plugged in, your pets no matter how robust would sometimes need to be brought into the house or a semi-heated barn.

ANY exposed skin WILL remain to ANY metal object touched.

Pouring warm water on your windshield to get the ice off will not only remove the ice but the windshield as well. ps don’t ask me how I know. and I would routinely place a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator grill to keep the car from freezing as you drove it.

Have to say though, I have never been closer to God through His creations, and there has never been a better day that a bright sun shinning down on a new snow, and to see an eagle fly down and grab a full size wabbit for dinner is beyond all movies and dreams.

Stay out of the wind, that’s what will kill you quickest, layer your clothing just enough to hold in the heat but not enough to make you sweat and lake ice gets thinner as you go further to the center, stay on the edges.

BTW shoveling snow sucks. :thumb:
 

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Well, I spent a year in Korea in the late 70's (Camp Red Cloud, I-Corps headquarters, but I was Air Force in a Direct Air Support Squadron (DASS)) and we deployed to the field regularly in winter and it was friggin COLD in Korea. Tent stakes had to be left or pulled by fork lift, etc. There is actually permafrost in Korea. I've also spent time in Alaska and I gotta say, with the wind blowing lightly, Korea was worse. Amazing they fought a war in that kind of cold.

There are stories of their vehicles, guns, you name it becoming useless because of the cold. Even oiled weapons locked up.

Most of the Vets from the Korean War I have spoken to relate the misery of the cold. How they had to huddle together to stay warm etc. Chosan Reservoir battle was apparently as bad as it gets. Lots of info available on that portion of the war.

We had jet turbine powered generators when I was there, and we actually stood in the exhaust to get a warm blast on. Other than that, it was tents with charcoal or diesel fed stoves for heat, sub zero sleeping bags, as much long johns as you could wear beneath your uniform, liners for your field jacket (which were a JOKE) and long sleeve shirts. We were issued Mukluks with liners, but they were not much better than combats with boot socks.

If I lived where it got that cold and had as high humidity as Korea did, I'd be moving for SHTF purposes. I'm not sure many would be able to handle that kind of cold all winter without power and fuel.

Caloric intake requirements in mild climates will be higher than you think without power to aid your survival. Have you stocked that well if you are in a really cold part of the country?

Wood stove, highly insulated shelter, warm clothes in layers, plenty of hydration, and wind breaks will be absolutely necessary if you were to spend the winter in that kind of cold. Little room for mistakes.
 

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A good moisture wicking base layer is a must. Layering is essential, shedding clothing during exertion. Increased caloric intake and hydration is also needed. Good quality clothing helps. Spent 2 winters in Korea and live in Buffalo so I practice what I preach. There are colder places than this, but the basics are the same.
 
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