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Michael B
(mbenvenuto) - F

Locale: Vermont
bothy vs. snow cave on 01/29/2013 20:55:53 MST Print View

The bothy seems like a much more robust emergency option than even a snow cave. The bothy may end up as warm or warmer than a snow cave, in actual practical use, once you factor in getting soaked digging out the cave and challenges properly sizing the shelter and setting up the doorway. The bothy also works on rock and thin windswept snow. And sets up in less than 3 minutes.

I hadn't seen this article before, but here is BPL weighing in on the advantages of a bothy for a winter emergency shelter, in particular its advantages over a snow cave (Jan 2007):

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/02741.html?

"They give you tremendous refuge in foul conditions, allowing the entire party to warm up at mid-day without going through the rigamarole of pitching a tarp, building a fire, or constructing a snow shelter."

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: Tokyo, Japan
Re: "winter emergency gear" on 01/29/2013 21:00:28 MST Print View

@Jeffery said " At the moment I'm thinking of carrying a 13 oz. bivy, a Marmot 30 degree Hydrogen bag and a light down jacket, plus whatever clothes I'm hiking in. Oh and a light pad that I'd hope to supplement with boughs."

Remember, you're out for a day hike, not an overnight camping trip. We should agree it's an "emergency" because the weather suddenly turned severe or you are injured and/or lost, any of which are delaying your return.

A sleeping bag implies an intent on camping when you need to be only concerned about getting back to safety ASAP with limited rations. Warm puffy clothing appropriate for belaying at the expected temps weighs less and will allow you to stay VERY warm while moving so you hopefully you can evacuate yourself, even if that means walking all night. An enclosed shelter (bothy/bivy/insulating pad) against wind/rain and the ability to melt snow and store hot water (stove and Nalgene) if you must rest or wait for rescue extends the temp range of the belay insulation.

Edited by rmjapan on 01/29/2013 21:50:59 MST.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: A very flat place (Grrrrrrrr)
Re: bothy vs. snow cave on 01/29/2013 21:04:35 MST Print View

My bothy sets up in about 10 seconds and only weighs 8oz.

Its 1 tool in the arsenal that Eric and others mention.

Edited by stephenm on 01/29/2013 21:05:26 MST.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: A very flat place (Grrrrrrrr)
Re: Re: "winter emergency gear" on 01/29/2013 21:07:01 MST Print View

Rick,

I was posting just as you did, what you say makes a lot of sense.

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
cheap VBL socks and gloves; puffies a must; SOL bivvy and Bothy on 01/29/2013 21:41:49 MST Print View

Don't forget cheap VBL items for your hands and feet - your extremities can get very cold in a survival situation, not just because of the cold and exposure but also from adrenaline keeping blood in your core. You could take along bread bags for VBL socks for your feet, and nitrile or latex gloves for your hands.

I have never regretted taking puffy pants and a puffy hooded jacket on any winter day trip. Not just for protection, but to stay warm during rest stops or meals.

I've carried an SOL bivvy in the past as well that weights around 7 oz or so - probably a pre-cursor to the Escape. I'd imagine the Blizzard is warmer, but that the SOL Escape with your puffies and a snow trench would be more than sufficient to make it through the night without injury.

A Bothy bag is a great idea, again also for rest stops in nasty weather. Do you have the Bothy 2 or Superlight Bothy 2? If the Superlight, what is it made of and how tough is the material?

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Chapped but warm on 01/30/2013 07:31:31 MST Print View

Then there was the woman lost near Lake Tahoe who stumbled upon a ski resort bathroom on the upper mountain.

She kept warm by using the hot air hand dryer.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: A very flat place (Grrrrrrrr)
Re: cheap VBL socks and gloves; puffies a must; SOL bivvy and Bothy on 01/30/2013 10:04:04 MST Print View

Hi Ej

Its the superlite I have, the materialu silnylon similar to ul tent flies, the sitting part is much thicker.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"winter emergency gear" on 01/30/2013 10:19:18 MST Print View

Rick wrote: "remember you're out for a dayhike". Yup, I don't want to carry the bag especially but again I'm thinking about becoming injured, so skiing/snow shoeing all night to safety would not be an option. My thinking is that my bag is a pound and a half; the bivy is 13 oz. and the pad is 8 oz. and my puffy is--I'm not sure, 1/2 a pound. This is not a whole lot of weight, really. But it does seem like overkill to me as well, especially for a set up that I'll probably never use. So as you see I go back and forth...

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
Re: "winter emergency gear" on 01/30/2013 11:37:32 MST Print View

My thinking is that my bag is a pound and a half; the bivy is 13 oz. and the pad is 8 oz. and my puffy is--I'm not sure, 1/2 a pound.

again the blizzard bag is a properly rated 40F sleeping bag and a water/windproof bivy combined all in one for 385g ... its a proven system used by the

British Army.
British Royal Marines.
RAF [pilot survival kits].
RAF Mountain Rescue.
UK all forces Search & Rescue services.
US Army.
US Special Forces Medics.

it has also been used by several brave people around as a longer period sleep system

there is no other proven system around that costs 40$, and weights the same for a water/windproof bivy/bag in one

the royal marines put the blizzard through the trials in arctic norway ...

combine it with some synth insulation, a few other essentials .... and youll likely live if you know what you are doing ...

Edited by bearbreeder on 01/30/2013 11:38:18 MST.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"winter emergency gear" on 01/30/2013 13:47:03 MST Print View

So I just researched the blizzard bag and it does look like a good product. I'm a tad concerned about condensation. Eric, is this why you need synth insulation? Actually I've heard bad things about space blankets etc. which is why I never seriously looked at a blizzard bag.

So before I pull the trigger tonight and order a blizzard bag, any compelling reasons that I should go with a bothy instead?

Edited by book on 01/30/2013 13:49:03 MST.

Brett Rasmussen
(ascientist) - MLife

Locale: Grants Pass, Oregon
Re: winter emergency gear on 01/30/2013 13:56:24 MST Print View

For what it's worth I was cold in the blizzard bag at 50F. I just figured the temperature rating for it was based on “survivable,” rather than comfortable. I work with SAR and have been looking for sleeping bag of sorts that provided decent insulation and can be stored stuffed long term in my 24 hour pack without being damaged. No luck so far.

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - M

Locale: Western Washington
winter emergency gear on 01/30/2013 14:07:46 MST Print View

@ Robert: I guess I should have been more clear. I was talking about what was in my pack. My rain gear wasn't in my pack; it was on my back!

I ordered the Bothy 2, not the Superlight. Reading between the two, the Superlight was only 4-5 ounces lighter, but did not include pole rests to use trekking poles for optional set-up, and did not have a window. The difference in function vs. weight for occasional shelter use for lunch stops didn't seem to be useful, so I did get the heavier bag.

The additional food idea is a good one. Now I don't feel as foolish stashing energy bars in my pack as if I was going to be gone for 3 days!

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
Re: "winter emergency gear" on 01/30/2013 14:39:11 MST Print View

condensation will be a problem in any emergency bivy bag ... down jackets will get soaked ... a synth jacket will still insulate when damp ... if you do happen to use a combo of down and synth like i often do, keep the down under the synth

the 40F rating is based on the EN lower limit for 8 togs ... which of course assumes like for all other bag ratings you have R5 insulation ... in the real world survival situation you wont, so you still need to have a bed of branches, rope, etc ... or lean against a tree

i put orange dots at the women comfort rating, men comfort (LL) rating and an arrow the en extreme survival rating for 8 togs ... again en-testing assumes R5 ground insulation so real world survival ratings will be less ...




you can read some reviews here ...

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150089260378993.292908.383376233992&type=3

and here

http://www.facebook.com/BlizzardSurvival/notes

and video reviews with actual usage (not just someone yapping about it) ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_xZlQSOP5U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H648TWiW5T8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIdWAkvTmuE

as a bonus if you buy it from REI and it doesnt work (if you arent kaput) just take it back ;)

a bothy is more useful where there are no trees for shelter (it was made for scotland after all) ... and you want to use it for stops all the time ... the disadvantage is that you are isolated inside and if you should get a fire going, its harder to deal with from inside a bothy ... its more useful as an every day piece ... its also more useful if there is another warm body to share the heat

treat the blizzard as a true emergency single use item

Edited by bearbreeder on 01/30/2013 14:49:35 MST.

Brett Rasmussen
(ascientist) - MLife

Locale: Grants Pass, Oregon
Re: "winter emergency gear" on 01/30/2013 17:50:14 MST Print View

Your right, 8 togs. I had read many of these reviews and it certainly sounds impressive. I'm not sure why it felt so cold to me the night I used it. Looks like I'll be spending another night outside testing a cold bag.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"winter emergency gear" on 01/30/2013 20:15:13 MST Print View

I don't know Brett; always remember the immortal words, "who are you gonna believe, me or your own lyin' eyes?" Your SAR credentials bring a bit of...wilderness cred.

Michael B
(mbenvenuto) - F

Locale: Vermont
Re: "winter emergency gear" on 01/30/2013 20:39:09 MST Print View

"So before I pull the trigger tonight and order a blizzard bag, any compelling reasons that I should go with a bothy instead?"

Since this is BPL after all: weight. A bothy is much lighter than a blizzard bag. Even solo, a 2 person bothy is 8oz. So for the weight of the blizzard bag, you also get to throw in a down vest, or bump up from a light down coat to a heavy one. But are you always alone? Does a skiing group of 4 really need to carry 3 to 4 lbs of blizzard bags? The bothy can be shared in a group and works out to be 4 oz per person.

Also, the bothy lets you avoid the emergency. You can take shelter and tend to someone injured or hypothermic, repair gear, change layers, navigate out of the wind, or just eat and rest for an hour or two.