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 on: January 15, 2018, 11:31:33 PM 
Started by Canuck In Denver - Last post by Canuck In Denver
I was in the market for a new parka. My Cabela's down parka that I've had for years has started to lose loft in the shoulders and upper back. Cold spots are no fun. I tried washing it with down cleaner that is suppose to restore loft, but it can only do so much when the down itself starts to break down... thanks to the dry cleaner I took it to who said they could properly clean it. Anyway...

Having had lots of experience with parkas and with down I was ready to try something different. Down, while a great insulator when dry, loses all insulation value when wet. For years I've been considering a Wiggy's sleeping bag, the ones the Navy SEALS started forking out their own money for because they are warm and work when wet. I've read and watched a lot of reviews of the sleeping bags and the insulation used, I really like the washing instructions - put in washer with your favorite detergent then dry on air or low but keep an eye on the temp so as to not melt the nylon shell, wash as often as you like. And the lifetime warranty is great too. Last year I bought a jacket liner from Wiggy's as a low price test of workmanship and was impressed so I decided to pick up on-57.e of Antarctic Parks.

I've been testing it out for the last few weeks here and there. I've been hoping for a -40F air temp day with a lower wind chill, but it hasn't happened as of yet. Today was a good test though. The temperature was -11F with wind at 23mph for a wind chill of -37.9 (-57.96 on the old scale), gusts of 31mph brought the wind chill to -41.17 (-65.18 on the old scale). Humidity was 76%.

I wore three different parkas today, the Wiggy's, the Cabela's and a military surplus that I've had for over 30 years and still works great but needs some patches to fix it up. While the Cabela's parka has issues on the shoulders and upper back the rest of the parka has good down loft.

The Cabela's parka had the cold spots. I did notice that I was slowly losing warmth to the wind. All of the pockets - chest, cargo and hand warmer - are uninsulated so mittens would be needed to stay warm or warm up hands. In the wind my hands got cold fast.

The military parka worked as it always has. It kept me warm although I very slowly lost warmth to the wind. It only has cargo pockets and those have no insulation. My go to for so many years still has some life left, especially after I patch some seams that are failing on the cargo pockets.

Last I tested the Wiggy's parka. It had no cold spots. The hand warmer and cargo pockets are insulated and kept my hands warm or warmed them up if they were cold. There was no loss of heat to the wind, and I tested it twice as long as the other two.

I don't know if it's the warmest parka in the world, but I know it is the warmest parka I own. I would say it is warmer than the Cabela's was even when new. Like the sleeping bags, the insulation will continue to do it's job even when wet and will dry out from your body heat and keep you warm. I'm sure we'll see temps closer to -40F air temp and I'll report on how it does then too. I can say that I'm happy with it and feel that it is well worth the $395.00 price tag considering that a down parka of considerable quality and temperature rating means Canada Goose and those cost $995.

 on: January 13, 2018, 09:37:40 PM 
Started by Spence - Last post by Canuck In Denver
All are good in their own way. The hardest to "inherit" is skills, it is also the least physical or tangible. Knowledge can come in the form of books which are physical but knowledge does not have to have a physical element, think oral tradition. I would say knowledge is the most important because with knowledge you can develop skills through use and practice.

In the end I think each person is going to consider something different to be the most important. Someone who has knowledge (be it already learned or in the form of books) and skills may consider tools or gold/silver to be more important in their situation.

I know a lot about many things and I have a lot of "knowledge" in the form of books (physical and electronic). I also have a fair amount of skills at one stage of development or another. I have a quite a few hand tools and powered tools that can be adapted to hand or some other method of power. I have quite a bit of "stuff", but there are things that I could have more of. If I had more time, such as not having to work, I could work on improving the skills I have and learning new ones. So gold/silver would be the thing on that list that would benefit me the most.

 on: January 10, 2018, 10:19:52 PM 
Started by Spence - Last post by Grog
Question for everyone, which is the better gift on inheritance, Knowledge, skills, or physical items, Gold/Silver, hand tools, books, etc?

Oh, Yeah, Happy Prosperous and Healthy New Year, and if you celebrate, belated Merry Christmas and Hanukah?

 on: December 09, 2017, 10:19:58 PM 
Started by Canuck In Denver - Last post by Canuck In Denver
Meat in the freezer is always a good thing :)

Sorry to hear your internet is sucking. One thing you can do if you're concerned about using a wireless hotspot is to use a VPN such as that also encrypts your connection and the data sent along it.

 on: December 08, 2017, 07:08:55 AM 
Started by Canuck In Denver - Last post by Hiddenone
Well I would say you did OK. Meat in the freezer works for me. We have been off line for weeks due to crappy internet dialup is so bad we have had to go to a wireless hotspot and are still setting it up. I sure have reservations about typing on an iPad.

 on: November 10, 2017, 10:32:13 PM 
Started by Canuck In Denver - Last post by Canuck In Denver
I was able to go hunting for 5 days, with 4 that I can't hunt due to some family stuff. Saturday opener I got two small does who came in real early, if the light would have been better I would have let them go on the first weekend. Late Sunday I had two more come in, one was a big doe and the other was a smaller doe or maybe the big one's kid. I got the big doe but couldn't quite get the other.

Some in my hunting group joked that maybe I was a member of PETA and couldn't shoot a deer. Well, when your stand is in a good location and you see deer you actually get to shoot them. No questioning that I can pull the trigger or shoot em, not like I had any doubts. The guy who gave me the most crap ain't seen a thing this year, guess he gets to take the crap this year.

I've been hunting for 4 or 5 years and previous to this year I've only seen a small fawn and the back of a buck's neck at 100 yards. I took a shot at the buck as crappy as it was and missed, no surprise really.

Last year when some in my group took shots (two or three people) at the same buck and didn't put it down we found that I was probably the best tracker in the group.

So I can add the hunting, tracking and skinning skills to the list. Practicing skills is always good, and I got to practice skinning this year without someone doing half of it like last year.

 on: October 20, 2017, 10:07:07 PM 
Started by Spence - Last post by Canuck In Denver
The skids were available. I get not wanting or being able to dig given ground conditions. Personally, I hate to cut down trees when I don't have to so I'd try to use the trees as supports but try to move branches or limb as little as possible. Sometimes limbing isn't going to be an option. Extending the platform would sure make it difficult for most critters to get onto your platform, a "trap" door makes getting through the platform extension easier for you.

Platforms can be great things. As little as a couple of feet and you don't have to worry about water and you can keep out many critters, ten or more feet and you don't have to worry about most critters.

 on: October 19, 2017, 08:22:22 PM 
Started by Spence - Last post by Spence
    The 4 stilt platform in my mind was the way to go, and I bet your option must look good.  But I decided that digging the posts in was less desirable for me in glacial geography, maybe in winter too. Cutting the trees level has me moving on to the construction phase in very little time, and I could get on the platform before night.

    The cross bracing on the stilt arrangement was the final negative for that idea. But then has I was reading your plan, it occurred to me I could still extend the platform outward which is the key for security. I could also stop the top of brace a few feet lower than the top of platform. I could also use a tree to brace the platform edge, which would lessen the security as the critter could grasp the edge, or simply bridge it over with a beam to a near tree at height. I couldn't use the stilt arrangement without some digging.(I put in a few gantlings, and that's the way I did it.)

    All in all I would think we have the elevated platform idea firmly in our minds if need be as one option. Using the skids was a good idea. 


 on: October 17, 2017, 09:30:32 PM 
Started by Spence - Last post by Canuck In Denver
Interesting idea.

Personally, I'd look for trees spaced so I could trim or move branches between them to put the platform and tent on. If you had taller trees then you would have a minimum of limbing and pruning to do. The trees would surround you adding camouflage and helping with the wind. You could lag bolt right into the trees and wouldn't need to kill them. Some training of the branches could add additional coverage. A simple level brought along would make sure that everything is well, level. A branch that is in the way can be partially cut to allow for bending it to where you want, spraying the cut with pruning spray and wrapping it will allow the branch to heal and continue to live.

You may have to deal with raccoons and other smaller critters more, but the camouflage may be worth it. My friend saw a solar powered fencer, so your could use one of them and some chicken wire, other mesh or tin to keep critters off.

Another twist on this idea:

I just build a deer stand using treated 4x4 inch timber as the legs to support the base. I used 2x6 inch pine around the top and as joists then dropped two heavy duty 4x9 foot skids for a total of 8x9 foot platform. I have 2x4 inch bracing running about a foot off the ground, not really needed as the posts are buried about 3 feet in the ground. I have X bracing on each side on the legs, 2x4s again.Half inch plywood for the exterior with 2x4 studs and rafters on the peaked roof, the roof is shingled. It's study.

I mention the deer stand because you could carry treated 4x4s and some 2x4s to make your legs. Seven 2x6s for the base (around the 4x4s and three floor joists) and then 2 sheets of 3/4 inch plywood for the floors. You could use more floor joists and some between joist supports (of 2x4s) if you wanted, or two additional sheets of plywood to lay opposite to the original two on the floor. This is assuming an 8x8 platform. Your lumber could be pre-drilled and for the most part bolted together. You're not adding much weight or cost to just the platform you talk about. If your desired height is higher than your trailer length, lets say an 8 foot length, you could overlap 8 foot 4x4s and bolt them together to get a 14 foot height - I'd overlap at least two feet and use three bolts with nice big washers on each leg. I'd also add a second X brace on each side above the first X brace.

 on: October 15, 2017, 10:51:27 PM 
Started by Spence - Last post by Spence
   Looking for plans or ideas on an elevated platform for a tent, I was surprised no one came up with this system. So I'm looking for ideas how my "patent" can be improved. Most of what I've seen on the web the  platforms were set at a height for comfort. Only 1 seemed to build for height.

   I was toying with submitting a drawing, but I'll just describe it.

   You go in the bush on Federal land, not private and find a 20Deg max hill side(my preference) with a good view and has tree stands of say 8-10" diameter measured from ground to the height of your supposed tent setup platform.  The height of the platform should be higher than the highest reach of whatever ground predator that may concern you, plus 2-3 ft. We're looking for 4 trees for best stability and normal root depth. They don't need to be commercial high end select hardwoods or fancys. They could be spruce or cedars second growth. The trees are cut flat at these heights and level with a string all around. The tops of the trees are cut 16" and are your first firewood logs.  The 4 stumps are tapered outward from a base of a few degrees and ideally should be angled evenly. Vertical is better than low angles. 4 - 10" stumps set up this way has no torque to contend with in high winds, and the tree itself will either die eventually giving 4 years or so of use, or sprout shoots. The weight of the platform would be trivial. If other trees are close, they will take up the brunt of high winds. I would think a tent would be damaged in extreme high storm winds rather than this arrangement.

  The platform for a 10x12 tent will have the tent edge the same width as the platform, thus discouraging squirrels and coons. The tent should overhang for drips.  You could have a porch of say 4' wide, provided you do some trimming of perimeter trees that allow for a jump platform for animals, or branch trimming for coons etc. Chances are very high over tent trimming of these trees w/chainsaws would be dangerous. Big cats are a less concern as they are basically more shy than adventurous. If you have a lot of meat in the tent or something smelly, the cats will have an easier time getting in I'm afraid. If your thinking of a light plywood cabin of this size I'm sure the stumps would take the weight and stresses. Snow-loads, water barrels,etc, MMMMmmmmm?

  Now this arrangement can be made more secure by using electrified cattle wire at night at top of stumps. That would definitely get rid of some pests. Food still needs the independent hanging arrangement away from the tent, but you could try it out and see. The hatch can can simply be pushed  open when the top rung is reached. The ladder is a wood plank rung arrangement fed through with a string to accordion the whole thing up when leaving. This is tied to a tree with string. 

  I was trying to come up with something that didn't require a lot of weight in material for a one way trip, and so the platform without the wood cabin was the best I could do with someone using an SUV or CJ and trailer. High hills and a SUV would be a disaster w/trailer i should think. A CJ would eat that terrain.(BTDT, 30th inf)   

  There are two main 4X4 beams, each straddling a pair of stumps. For a 12ft long platform these may be (n)ft wide X 11ft6" long. The n depends on your width but the formula is the top center of your stumps where you will lag bolt the beams should have a final spacing that is close to 1/3 of the total width of the platform, plus another 2ft oa, giving a square center of 5ft, and a trap door of 24" or to suit. Another way to look at is that the center of the stumps should be 24-30" from any platform edge and a reasonable discouraging distance from the center of the trap door.  This as you can see is not exact distances, whatever suits the situation. One should watch for shallow roots over bedrock and such, as good anchoring and healthy trees is crucial. In this center of the platform you will have a trap door. A better arrangement is to notch the top of the logs 3.5 inches deep so the platform plywood floor sits flush with the top of stumps. It also removes the purchase animals can use to hold on while scratching with the other paw. 

  The general idea is to remove the reach possibility for black bears. He climbs the tree but must work above head on a section of platform that has no entry point, at the same time as holding on. Coons would be faced with the same problem. Better still, If you have spare tin this can be nailed to the top of the stumps and logs before laying plywood, then tacking the remainder from underneath.

  Now the perimeter 4X4's can be fastened with steel brackets. Then 2X4 centers can be spiked in. Perhaps the stump beams can be 6X6, (5.5X5.5"). Next is the plywood.   
  I would say this is the answer to uninterrupted sleep, and on occasion maybe an animal show w/flashlight as they pass under you.

  Checking a full moon from a porch and a coffee and cocoa is now a possibility once more.

  [This stuff is all conceptual. I don't describe anything that I wouldn't try myself. But hey, I'm a risk taker and survivor. So I'm not responsible for anything you try. You should check on the legality of this plan too.]

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