Great and timely thread. I have done the "jump in the cold lake, wade to shore, then start a fire with the tools in your pockets" drill and like Eric said it is instructive.
The forecast last weekend was calling for steady rain and highs around 38-40 degF so I took the opportunity to enjoy some "good living" on a local trail system. I brought a small flat tarp, and hiked in the gentle rain. I got to a nice spot next to a lake and set up the tarp just as the harder rain came. The wind was shifty and kept the rain moving at various angles.
It occurred to me that:
- Had I been hypothermic it would have been quite challenging to deal with it from scratch. Being proactive pays. Prevention really is better than a cure.
- I was really loving my Patagonia R3 hiloft jacket.
- I was strongly motivated to simply hide under the tarp in my synthetic clothes, and had I been overnighting I would have been very glad to have a synthetic bad instead of down. I know, some of you guys are masters at keeping your down dry but I don't need any further burdens.
"We were stuck in a 10 hour rain shower a couple weeks ago and manage to get a nice fire going."
How did you protect the fire from the ongoing rain? I'm pretty experienced at starting a fire when the forest is wet, using split squaw wood, fuzz sticks, pine pitch etc etc but not so much when the rain is actually pelting down.
I would love to hear some BPLers' strategies for keeping a fire going in steady rain when you do NOT have a fixed shelter (AT shelter, cave, overhanging cliff, etc). How do you keep the fire protected and also keep yourself out of the rain? It seems too dangerous to have a fire just under the edge of a silnylon or cuben tarp.
I have been toying with the idea of carrying a "sacrificial" fire tarp cut from 3-mil poly sheet but I haven't tried anything with it yet. And it's a chunk of extra weight to tote.