Final winter 72-hour BOB test.

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Final winter 72-hour BOB test.

Post by Woods Walker » Sat Mar 08, 2008 3:44 pm

Final winter 72-hour BOB test.

With the winter season coming to a close I decided to do a final test of the 72-hour BOB in winter mode. Looking for 20-25 miles in 2-3 days. Heading out Sunday morning and will return Tuesday around 3-ish. The only place within 50 miles of my house that this can be done without unwanted attention is the Appalachian Trail.

http://www.nps.gov/appa/

So here is the set-up. I will take the fully loaded 72-hour BOB set-up for winter. The pack is about 45lbs with a full load of food and water. I will be hiking to the Ten Mile River Lean-to. After that my target will be the Mt. Algo Lean-to or the Willey Shelter depending on the direction.

http://www.cs.utk.edu/~dunigan/at/

Planning on sighing in to the Lean-to registry for Zombie Squad. I can only venture to guess what other hikers will think reading “Zombie Squad was here”. The lean-to shelters are advertised as being about a day's hike between them. This test should give me a good idea if my original goals of 30-40 miles in 3 days is reasonable with the 72-hour BOB in its most heavy configuration.

The predicted weather conditions seem fine. Hi in the 30’s with lows in the lower 20’s. Darn near tropical compared to my last outing.

If anyone wants photos of this silliness just ask and I will pack the camera.
Last edited by Woods Walker on Sat Mar 08, 2008 3:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by doc66 » Sat Mar 08, 2008 3:46 pm

Pics of the AT would be really nice.... I lived near the Southern end growing up.

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Post by Ovationman » Sat Mar 08, 2008 3:54 pm

Sounds cool Neve been on the At during the winter.

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Post by Squirrley » Sat Mar 08, 2008 4:50 pm

pics are MANDATORY! =P
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Post by xxxero » Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:27 pm

yes! pics please!!

sounds like a good time.
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Post by Ovationman » Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:46 pm

Pics or well I hope you dident like you knees :twisted: :wink:

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Re: Final winter 72-hour BOB test.

Post by congochris » Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:22 pm

Woods Walker wrote:If anyone wants photos of this silliness just ask and I will pack the camera.
Seriously, why do you ask anymore? :lol:

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Post by canuck » Sun Mar 09, 2008 5:33 am

Hey woods, you've already made us all look fat and lazy. You can pack it up and start talking about 'theoretical' hikes from now on.

Good luck buddy.
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Post by SamuraiBobX26 » Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:39 am

YEs please, we would all appreciate pics.

Thanks in advance and good luck and happy trails on your journey.
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Post by Tonto » Sun Mar 09, 2008 9:41 am

Isn't this where we start posting...

I get dibs on his Karfu pack, tepee and wood stoves if he.... well, ahh...
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Post by Woods Walker » Sun Mar 09, 2008 10:25 am

Heading out a bit later than I wanted. :( Be back next week.
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Post by jamoni » Sun Mar 09, 2008 11:17 am

Tonto wrote:Isn't this where we start posting...

I get dibs on his Karfu pack, tepee and wood stoves if he.... well, ahh...
Oohh, bad form, calling his stuff before he left. :P
Besides, this is Woods Walker, not Gunny.
Still, I call his sleds. :)
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Post by Milkboot » Sun Mar 09, 2008 11:40 am

I call dibs on his cooking gear this time!



only because I am hungry :(


Good luck WW I know you wont disapoint!

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Post by Woods Walker » Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:58 am

They should change the name of this outfit to the Vulture Squad. :D This was probably the most physically demanding outing in a year. I did a little change of plain. Increased the 45 lb overstuffed 72-hour BOB to a 60 lb EMR setup. Not certain why this was done other than I felt the need for more weight. :?

The conditions were horrible. True the weather was fine. Just below freezing during the day with overnight lows around 20. But the problem was a massive rainstorm the day before resulted in a spring thaw and crazy flooding. Part of the hike was along a seriously flooded river.

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The result was I had to wade through certain areas. Not fun considering I had a loaded pack.

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The areas beyond the river where a combination of pure ice and mud. I must have hiked though 8 miles of these conditions. Not fun when going downhill. I felt that the next step would result in a fall. Without hiking poles I would have surly taken more than a few tumbles.

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Here is the full distance traveled. I started a Mt. Algo and ended at the Wiley Shelter with a stopover at the familiar 10-mile Lean-to. This was 12.4 miles one way and back to the truck. Add in distance traveled to find a few off trail camping spots the total was 25 miles. No an overly impressive distance but truly sucked with wet feet and the constant fear of slipping.

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Most of the ridge lines were fairly dry but windy.

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Here is my pack and gear. Took more food than needed. I was hell bent on accomplishing my goals so skipped the majority of my meals.

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My standard winter camp.

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Here is one of my camps being broken down.

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Cooking up my night time meal and attempting to dry the hiking shoes.

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For reasons still unclear to me I decided to mouse gun it. I hope no one tells that Bear guy who hangs out on the firearms section of this MB. :shock:

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My preferred method of sanitation is a few drops of camp soap in heated water. I use my bandanna for a sponge bath starting at my head and working my way down. Then refilled with clean water and the bandanna is simmered for a few minutes. I tend to do this naked. For winter my wood stove takes the edge off.

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I find temps in the 20’s to be fairly mild but naked and dripping wet would be uncomfortable if not next to a fire or some kinda stove. I did the same thing at -10 to -17 just three weeks ago. Here is what I believe to be the average temperature of my shelter based on the placement of the digital thermometer. 106 at mid level. Guessing higher temps at the peak and lower on the ground.

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It was about 85 degrees above the outside temps. If necessary I can push this to 120 if sub zero. This opens up a whole field of possibilities for winter survival bug-out situations. I started a thread for the purpose of building both affordable and packable heating solutions.

Most lean-to shelters have a registry.

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So I took it upon myself to sign in under ZS. I hope no one minds. I can only venture to guess as to what others will think passing though the area.

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Seeing how this is the gear section I will post some info pertaining to what I found useful. First the MSS Black bag, DWR liner and ¾ air pad.

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The MSS Black bag kept me warm down to about 20. The big snag free zipper are nice. The downsides are heavy weight for temp rating and questionable draft collar. Overall I like it but will be looking for a lighter synthetic bag rated to zero. The DWR liner is good. Keeps the bag clean and adds about 5 degrees. I also use it for a hangout sack in the shelter to keep draft off. Can be used as a tarp bivy for protection from windblown rain.

The air pad is ok. Seems to deflate a bit during the night. I don’t know if this is standard with these. Nearly everyone I have ever seen lost some loft by the AM. However the ¾ size is often enough and the lower weight is welcome as I tend not to trust any inflatable 100%. This was reinforced by the downmat issue on my last trip. If not for the extra closed cell pad I would have frozen solid. Just something to consider for those packing inflatable pads in their BOBs.

Here is a culinary delight that deserves an honorable mention.

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A freeze dried ice-cream sandwich. Complete right down to the wrapper. Light weight and packed with calories. Is it the most nutritionally complete item that can be packed? No way but often things like moral can’t be calculated or quantified. Sure boosted my moral. Maybe tossing a few inside a BOB couldn't hurt.

Well that is about it. I do have some more AT specific photos and information. I am no expert on the AT but have hikes about 100 miles of it in 3 states. I always like alternative travel routes. One reason why I did the railroad trek thread. If anyone would like a ZS feed article on the AT I could work something up. Just not certain how to post a feed article or if this is something people would be interested in.
Last edited by Woods Walker on Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by evlttwin » Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:07 am

Awesome pics man. Now this is how you make a post!
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Post by Ovationman » Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:18 am

Great post glad to hear you had a good time.

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Post by Molon Labe » Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:58 am

Glad you're back safe. Nice stove too.
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Post by canuck » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:19 am

Woods represents. What what.

Glad you made it through the hell hike. I haven't hade to wade in years.... But jeez man. Well done. Just looking at the gear, did you get the thermarest in black too?

Once again, kudos.
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Post by Tonto » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:39 am

jamoni wrote:
Tonto wrote:Isn't this where we start posting...

I get dibs on his Karfu pack, tepee and wood stoves if he.... well, ahh...
Oohh, bad form, calling his stuff before he left. :P
Besides, this is Woods Walker, not Gunny.
Still, I call his sleds. :)
Yeah you're right - I feel ashamed for even suggesting it. It is Woods Walker and not Gunny afterall.

My apologies WW..
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Post by Milkboot » Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:54 am

What steps [no pun intended] were taken though the slushy and flooded parts of the trail? Just grit your teeth and and have to go through some of it? or just took the long way around and just went to the side of it as much as you could? I cant imagine you staying very wet for long having to wade through it all.

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Post by Dak Kovar » Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:01 pm

I'm glad you are back and safe. Another intersting read. Thanks for the pictures.
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Post by Woods Walker » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:54 pm

Milkboot wrote:What steps [no pun intended] were taken though the slushy and flooded parts of the trail? Just grit your teeth and and have to go through some of it? or just took the long way around and just went to the side of it as much as you could? I cant imagine you staying very wet for long having to wade through it all.
Trust me Milkboot I would never just grit my teeth and take unnecessary risks. Whenever possible I would try and hike around bad areas but this sounds a whole lot easier over the internet than it was in the field. :(
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Post by Milkboot » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:55 pm

Think it maybe have extended your trip as far as milage you walked then distance between waypoints?

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Post by Woods Walker » Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:57 pm

Milkboot wrote:Think it maybe have extended your trip as far as milage you walked then distance between waypoints?
Probably greatly extended the trip but hard to quantify. In general risk taking is the realm of Man vs. Wild. It has no place in the field. Funny thing about distance on foot. It is not based in mileage but rather time. The last 4 miles to the shelter took nearly 6 hours. I was forced to set up camp and hold off on completion until the next day.

I guess in a Bug out the same rules would apply. Do I stand up to the forces of Mother Nature or modify my behavior to best suit the environment? I am not expert on any topic. But have spent more than a few nights in areas that don't have either people or trails. When you are alone there is no one to take responsibility other than yourself.

Do I cross that ice covered stream? If I fall in is there a plain? At what point do I decide it is time to stop and rest? Do I look up for widow makers and possible rock slides? Am I in an area subject to flash flood? Is the falling rain or snow a passing thing or the start of something more serious? Making simple decisions could be the difference between thriving and getting involved in one of those "I shouldn't be alive" horse shit adventures. The funny thing is that when you are making a cup of coffee and relaxing you never know what BS was avoided. After some time people get complacent.

People rarely get hurt because of the environment. Rather it is the lack of respect that can come from lack of experience or worse yet over familiarity that results in problems.

What I am trying to say in a rather overdramatic way is that nature is neither for nor against anyone. There is no fairness or justice. No moral code. No love or hate. It just is. So I Passed by areas that could be avoided and moved at a snail’s pace when necessary. True the AT is well traveled but would hate to spend a night laying out with a broken leg.
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