Testing Winter Gear

Over Thanksgiving the nighttime temps were supposed to be in the single digits here in NY, so even though I was visiting family I still wanted to test some of my winter gear. I didn’t get my 0-degree rated over quilt from Hammock Gear until spring, so I was never really able to give it a good test. I figured this would be the perfect time. All Temps listed in this article are in Fahrenheit.

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Everyone else thought I was nuts wanting to sleep outside in those temps but all I could think about was testing some of my gear and honestly, I love how quiet and peaceful it is outside during the colder months.

So, I setup my DD Hammocks Superlight tarp. I placed my UST heavy duty reusable emergency blanket on the ground as my ground cloth.  I placed a foam pad down and then placed my Klymit insulated static V on top of that. I knew with that combination I shouldn’t feel any cold from the ground down to at least -10 or so.  I laid my 0 degree over quilt out and ran the sleeping pad shock cords around the sleeping pads so that the over quilt would stay put on top of the pads. It’s a nice handy feature for ground camping with an over quilt. I laid may Pathfinder wool blanket over everything just to keep everything safe and dry during the day. I wanted the wool blanket just in case the over quilt didn’t keep me warm.

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The first night went well. It only got down to 11 degrees overnight. I stayed warm all night. The only issue I had was that in the middle of the night the wind changed from blowing on the sides and back of the tarp to blowing right through the door opening. Since I had the wool blanket, I just threw it over top of everything to keep the wind from blowing in any holes between the sleeping pads and over quilt. The wool blanket did the trick. After waking up and remedying the wind issue I slept soundly the rest of the night. Since the temps never reached very low, I really didn’t view this night as much of a test.

The next night got down to 4 degrees overnight and I stayed toasty warm all night long. I even slept in until around 9:30 am so I’d say that was a success. Based on how warm I stayed I’m confident that this setup can get me down to at least -10 to -20. I think I can most likely get away with just the Klymit sleeping pad down to 0 degrees. I think the two pads together was overkill but who doesn’t like extra padding when ground camping?!

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I’m looking forward to doing some more testing and fine tuning of my winter gear. Eventually I’m hoping to get up into the Adirondacks for some winter camping this coming winter. One thing I didn’t like about my setup was the tarp configuration. It looks neat and all but it’s a pain getting in and out off, not roomy at all and since it’s so tight inside, condensation that builds up overnight is constantly getting on clothing and bedding because its impossible to move around without touching the tarp. I’m just not a fan of this tarp configuration. I’d go with something a little roomier so that I’m able to move around with ease without worry of touching the tarp “walls”. This is in no way a reflection on the tarp. I like this tarp a lot.

What does your winter kit look like? What pieces of winter gear are a must have for you? What winter gear are you testing for the first time this winter? What are the lowest temps you’ve camped in so far? Thanks for reading and please let me know what your thoughts are on winter camping or if you have any great winter camping stories to share. Be safe out there and enjoy each changing season.

Automobile Winter Emergency Kit

With colder weather and snow rolling in, it’s time to get your vehicle setup with an emergency kit in case of a breakdown or accident. Accidents and breakdowns never happen at a convenient time. Worse yet is to be stuck during a bad winter storm when there’s accidents happening all over and it’s hard for emergency vehicles to get around and they’re overwhelmed. During those times you’ll have no choice but to take care of yourself or loved ones until help arrives. So, now’s the time to prepare an emergency kit and get it in your vehicle.

Here’s some ideas of things you may want to put in your emergency kit.

  • Wool Blanket or Winter Sleeping Bag
  • Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Emergency Candle (2 or 3)
  • Lighter
  • Folding Knife with Glass breaker
  • Protein Bars or any type of snack bar
  • Fill up a bottle of water and put it in the car every time you go somewhere. You can’t leave a bottle of water in the car all winter because it will constantly freeze and thaw eventually breaking the bottle. (At least where I live anyways)
  • 2-3 Flares
  • Jumper Cables
  • Book and or Card Game
  • Warm Clothing and Boots (For those that by virtue of their job, don’t get to dress warm)

 

Get in the habit of plugging your phone into the charger as soon as you get into your vehicle. Try to keep your phone charged up when traveling. The last thing anyone wants is a dead phone when you need to make an emergency call.

If you do find yourself in an accident (where no one is seriously hurt) or broken down, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you are prepared in case of a long wait for emergency crews. Remember, for your own safety, to stay put inside your vehicle well waiting for help. What extra things do you carry in your automobile winter emergency kit? Thanks for reading and be safe out there this winter.

Update On My G. Fred Asbell Wool Pullover

 

Three and a half years ago I did a review on my wool pullover from G. Fred Asbell and I figured it was about time to do an update on that review. Especially since the original review is my most read blog post to date. People are reading that original review daily even after three and a half years.

So, what do I think after three and a half years of hunting and camping in the original wool pullover I purchased? Well, simply put, I love it. First off, you wouldn’t even know it has been used that much. Mine has held up nicely and has become one of my favorite pieces of cold weather clothing. I liked my wool pullover so much that I bought one of their Pathfinder pullovers, got my wife one of their wool jackets (which she loves) and my oldest son ordered one of the Pathfinder pullovers because he liked mine so much.

My wife wore her wool jacket all last winter and loved how warm it kept her. It’s nice to know that I have good quality cold weather clothing that I can rely on living here in central New York during the colder months. I end up wearing my original wool pullover most of the winter when outdoors.

One of the best things about G. Fred Asbell wool clothing is the price point. You’re not spending an arm and a leg to get quality wool clothing. This is wool that the common man (or woman) can afford without breaking the bank. It’s sort of like a Mora knife. You’re getting an awesome product that’s worth way more than you paid for it and you can’t figure out how they do it for that price. Yes, there are a few extra things the higher end wool pullovers have that these don’t but to me the extra cost wasn’t worth it. Maybe if I had money to spend/waste, but a lot of us don’t have the extra to spend.

In the end, after three and a half years of use, I’m glad for every purchase I’ve made from www.AsbellWool.com  Disclaimer, I’ve bought and paid full price for everything I’ve received from G. Fred Asbell. They have never sent me anything for free and are unaware, to my knowledge, of my reviews. These are my experiences with the wool products I’ve owned from G. Fred Asbell and nobody else’s. If you own any of their wool what are your thoughts? Do you like it and why? If you don’t like it, why?

Reasons To Buy

  • Price Point
  • Quality
  • Built To Last
  • Supporting Local Mom and Pop Businesses
  • Tired of garbage outdoor clothing falling apart

If you’re on the fence about buying one of their wool pullovers, I’d recommend jumping over the fence and making the purchase. You won’t regret it, in my humble opinion. Thanks for reading and now I’m going to throw on my wool pullover and head out into the cold outdoors with snow covered ground knowing I’ll be toasty warm on my adventure.

 

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Winter Car Kit

With colder weather gripping many of us this is a good time to take a look at putting together a few things to keep in your vehicle, if you haven’t already, in case of a vehicle break down or you get stuck on impassable roads. This is especially important for areas that get bitter temps and lots of snow. These items could be lifesaving or at the very least make you more comfortable well you wait for help to arrive. What each person chooses to carry in their vehicle will depend on the location they live and travel in as well as their needs. This is just a base list to work from and please cater it to your own needs and environment. This list will assume that you already have some sort of road hazard kit.

 

Basic Vehicle Kit

Sleeping Bag or wool blanket: Because I already own a -15 degree sleeping bag, instead of taking up storage space somewhere in the house, I store it in my truck in case of a breakdown. This way if it’s really cold out and I know I’m going to be stuck for a while, or even overnight, I can just slide into my sleeping bag and stay much more comfortable and warmer than if I only had a blanket or lite sleeping bag. In warmer areas a blanket or lite sleeping bag will work fine but for the area where I live I need a heavier sleeping bag.

Flash Light with fresh batteries: Preferably you would want a headlamp so your hands would be free to do other things. Having some sort of light is too valuable not to keep a working light in your vehicle. Make sure whatever light you use, works and has fresh batteries. You may want to even pack some spare batteries as well.

Food and Water: A simple bag of jerky, trail mix, dried fruit or anything you can come up with will work. If you get stuck somewhere overnight or longer you will be thankful you have some food and a couple bottles of water available.
A Book or deck of cards: These will add in keeping you from becoming bored or mentally breaking down. Being able to have something to do well waiting for help, will help keep your spirits up and you’ll be less likely to become overwhelmed by your situation.

 

Extra Items

*These are things that you don’t necessarily need, but they will make an overnight or longer breakdown “easier” to survive.

Weather radio: You’ll be aware of the weather and what’s going on as well as not necessarily feeling alone.Emergency blanket: This will help reflect heat. This is on top of having a sleeping bag or blanket.
Hand and Feet warmers
Knife with possible added fire kit
Some sort of cordage
Emergency candle
Extra medication

 

This is just a simple list to give you some ideas of what to keep in your vehicle during the colder winter months. Again please adjust it to your own needs and environment. Just by having a basic kit (sleeping bag, light, food and water) it will drastically improve your spirits and comfort. One thing I recommend doing, and you might already do this, is to plug your cell phone into its charger every time you get into your car to head somewhere during the winter. This way, if for some reason you break down, whether you are way out in the middle of nowhere, or on a busy street somewhere, you won’t be pulling your cell phone out to call for help and find that it’s dead or low on battery power. I hope this helps in some way, or it at least gives you some ideas of what to place in your car kit during these cold winter months. I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable winter. Please feel free to share what you keep in your car kit and why. Thanks for reading!