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Tenting for long period. What tricks when setting up help with keeping warm??

Aussie123

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Falls Creek
A mixture of Alpine downhill, Alpine Telemarking and Cross country touring and about 12 to 16 weeks depending on snow cover and my health And my ability to sock away 3 months food from the housekeeping budget of course

WOW ! That's a massive undertaking, but quite do-able with preparation. I was thinking a few days, but that's a completely different scale. To "survive" that long, you really need to be setup well.

Have you thought about a winter job at the resort ? Get accom, money and have time in the snow.
Not wanting to sound discouraging or anything, but FYI employment enquiries: http://www.fallscreek.com.au/ContactUs

I don’t know how it would go long term, but have a serious think about building a snow structure, either an igloo or snow cave, as well as the tent and tarp. A big enough structure will protect you from wind, snow and the worst of the cold and they are very quiet, which is a bonus when it’s a stormy night.

I think it would be ideal to have a camp site big enough and well protected enough so you can be out of the tent, and still out of the worst of the weather.

A bakers tent is another option, complete with stove, or a tipi. I saw this “permanent” camp last year.

The tents comprise a raided ply wood base, tube metal frames and a big tarp over the top. The tipi is purpose built with ply wood floor and a stove.
(Sorry for all the editing. I didn't get any clear shots at the time)
P1250611 (Large).jpg
 

Moondog55

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I'd love to go back to work at Falls, I worked at Pretty Valley lodge for 6 years, but so far there have been no replies to my looking.
I have remembered WH Amad in Melbourne, they do commercial quality sheeting and i am going to get a couple ( I thought i had 2 but i can only find 1 ) of their white cotton/poly sheets to make a fly for the tent.
Each SB sheet is 1800 * 2700 so will be big enough to cover all the tent and I can use the third one to sew on an extended beak to give some protected area in front where I will put the little wood stove.
Wood fires are not the best above the snow line so at a minimum I will be using a paint-can Hobo stove for boiling the billy.
What-ever combination i finish up with , it all needs to fit onto the pulk so that I can demonstrate the ability to move the camp.

I have been
 

Walker

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Falls Creek eh? Stayed there on a few occasions in Winter - great place to party and for families, though not as good for skiing as Hotham in my opinion. Wintering out at Hotham would be bloody hard though - too exposed and windy.

I'd be inclined to have two tents like used in mountaineering base camps - one small tent for storage and cooking, one for sleeping only. This keeps things hygenic and reduces the likelihood of condensation and dampness in the sleeping area.

Prepare for the worst weather so I'd be VERY careful of having too many flysheets - they have a habit of becoming parachutes and dragging away whatever they're attached too - like the tent you may be sleeping in. If you have the Era (I've got a mint condition three man floorless one - great tent), you shouldn't need a fly over it - once the canvas is wet it will swell and become waterproof, though a large groundsheet that goes up the walls will stop any moisture running down inside. (I trust you know not to touch the inside walls/roof otherwise a drip will form?) Besides, up there the canvas should freeze and become more proofed anyway. Also, if the tent guys are nice and taught, the snow accumulation should be minimal.

As far as the cold goes - two thermal mats, down sleeping bag, silk inner sheet, thermals and beanie. Down jacket, etc for around camp. Lots of high energy foods. Will probably need a fair bit of fuel (metho or shellite is best) to melt snow for water, unless you're near a clean flowing creek. A bivvy bag would be really useful too. Digging a trench in the snow at the doorway allows you to sit in the doorway and take off gaiter, boots, etc without dragging crud inside.

Photo's please!
 

Moondog55

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Finding a reasonably sheltered spot with-out overhanging snow gums will be the hard part, pre-season reconnaissance will be needed; an excuse for an easy bushwalk.
If I thought I could do it I would carry in 4 wooden pallets to make a floor but the camp is then going to be defined as permanent and therefore against the rules.
My Era is the very last production run with the sewed in floor.
I do disagree about the flysheet tho, I really think you need one in the wet snow conditions if the tent is to stay pitched for more than 3 or 4 nites.
I will have the Megamid as a backup tent but that will stay in the day-pack along with the spare Sleeping bag and bivvy sac.
 

Moondog55

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Going on from the suggestions by Templar
I have just stitched in a tape along the ridge-line with a couple of little loops to fit a key ring to, and some loops at the tops of the short walls to tie in a string line.
This is to allow me to:
A: Hang a UCO candle lamp, either at one end ( the front ) or in the middle.
B: Hang a reflective foil radiant barrier
C: Lets me hang clothes to dry.
 

Templar

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Cool... you'll have to post some pics once it's all set up in place too...
 
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Moondog55

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Lovley warm sunny day so why not a quick pitch now?/
I'll post in half an hour or so, with some pix of the tent and start asking for ideas on a winter pole set-up
 

Moondog55

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I haven't put this up in a while, the muscles had forgotten.
2100 long 1750 wide and 1350 to the inside peak, cosy for 2 luxurious for 1

The "Camouflage" is an old queen bed Doona cover from the Op-Shop, but it may just be disruptive enough although the "Repeat" is very tight.

Those poles are the original "Bulldog" brand and they came with the tent, I wish I still had the matching pegs.
 

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Templar

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Cool... a few spalshes of green will help break up the pattern and blend better with the trees too...
 

Aussie123

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I’m laughing at the camo, but it actually looks ok ! I guess you could use some spray paint if you wanted to create a bit more contrast ?

If you waterproof it and turn it 90 degrees - so it overhangs the ends, you would have a useful vestibule.

You should think about building some (short) snow walls at the side, front and back, to bring the ground up to the height of the “tarp”, so the tent’s completely covered ?
 

Moondog55

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Yeah. one of the traditional methods of keeping a tipi warm was to build a wattle fence around it, about 200/300mm away; this let the snow build up without collapsing the walls of the tent, thus preserving the insulating value of the snow.
I'll work on the fly too.
What I need now is a really strong frame, a large A frame is needed I think I can find a reasonable ridge pole too, I have a couple of bits of square aluminium tube I scavenged
 

Moondog55

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I'm pretty big on the old HOBO stove, cheap and a good fast way to boil water in a hurry ( almost as fast as a Volcano ) and I am an inveterate Op-Shopper.
just before we left for the USA i bought yet another big stock pot.

one of the biggest problems with winter camping above the snowline is getting sufficient water.
Looking around the shed I realised that the latest pot will just fit inside a big 15 litre paint drum, so as well as the wood stove i will take the newest and biggest hobo stove yet, pot is just under 11 litres capacityIMG_1888.jpgIMG_1887.jpgIMG_1886.jpg
 

Moondog55

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And I guess there is no point in re-inventing the wheel, and as cutting timber and lashing would be the best "bushcraft' option, and I can vividly remember doing this as a Scout LOL ; it is quite simply not possible to do so legally in a National Park. simple pipe fittings for mesh fencing would make a frame that is simple and strong even using 32mm very lightweight tubing; and cheaper than a tent frame from Rays or similar.

Corner fitting is $18-
 
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TasMonk

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That is seriously one hellova hobo setup there, Moondog! I too am a great fan of the hobo stove and those look like nice combos.
 

Aussie123

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I love the scale of that big hobo, but will you be able to get enough fuel to feed it - long term ?

Melting snow takes a lot more fuel (and time) than heating water. I wonder if there are some more passive systems which could be employed to get water ?

Obviously you can check gullies etc for flowing water, under the snow, that would be a great start, but you will still need a fair bit of neatly cut wood to heat/boil it.

I wonder if a black “shower” bag would be able to melt snow ? They type of bag you can fill with water and sit in the sun and by the end of the day, you have hot water.

That black neoprene sheet I mentioned, I’ve seen that laid out on the snow (on a slight angle), and some snow spread at the top end. Because its black and insulated, the snow melts and collects at the bottom of the sheet. Now its not a huge amount of water, and wouldn’t work well if its very cold, but it is a passive way to melt snow.

Just a thought !
 

Moondog55

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The passive technique that works best for me is to use a combination of plastic bags in the sun.
black plastic inside a clear plastic bag and sitting in the sun on top of the CCF mat.
I admit the BIG Hobo stove made me laugh a little when I put the pot inside but it would be much more efficient than just using an open fire.
healthy snow-gum forests always have a huge mass of dead twigs, many tonnes per hectare and getting enough dead wood to feed a fire long term has never been a problem for me. Wood for camp fires is a totally different situation.
If I make a gear drop; before they close the roads; I would take up a half tonne of redgum for camp fire purposes.
We used to do that each year for the huts back when we had vehicle access to the main huts.
I may not get a stove built in time but at least with the HOBO I get a decent windscreen for the new MR X-GK, in fact making a proper Antarctic cooker box would be well worth while, as would be a haybox and taking a couple of really good thermos flasks, using a pulk allows a lot of luxuries to be included.
 

Moondog55

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I'll ask this question here rather than in a new thread.
Stealth for a fixed camp? How important is it these days? While I personally have never had gear stolen from a bush camp, I do know of people who have had stuff stolen from places like the Feathertop saddle and I have had stuff ripped off from my car before.

If I make the white flysheet and want to be a little obscure what will be the best way to achieve this?

Raindrop pattern, random vertical stripes in grey/green, plain dirty white with blobs?? It is a complex subject and not crucial to the enjoyment of the trip but I prefer to be subtle about the camp and not stand out too much.
Camouflage nets are not a viable option from the cost POV> as well as being too heavy and bulky. Although I have seen plenty of European and USA winter nets on sale lately they are simply too "WHITE" to work well in snow-gum forest.

Snow is only white for a short period of time after a fresh fall, it soon becomes covered with bits of broken twigs, dust, leaves and even bright pink algae after a while.

Not paranoid, just careful.
 

Aussie123

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A lot of theft is opportunism, so we never leave equipment lying around outside the tent. On the same tack, a small padlock on the zip is a deterrent, not an actual pervention for someone who wants your stuff. Incidentally some household insurances do caver “certain” items temporarily removed from the house, as long as they are secured, so that cheap little padlock makes the case that you have secured (as best you can) your equipment.

I guess you will be away from the crowds, so the only folk who may encounter your camp will be people who hopefully will respect it, although you’d think Feathertop saddle would be safe for the same reason.

I thought your existing print pattern looked pretty good. Dirty white, with blotches.I assume there will be plenty of snow about and the natural forest should provide the screening necessary ?
If you want to do something, then some kind of vertical zebra stripe with black, grey, green, brown snow gum colours ?

If you sew some cotton loops, you could always "attach" some twigs or small branches
 

Moondog55

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I have seen snow cover go from zero to one hundred percent and back again in a 2 week period up there so figure between 20 and 40% colour should do it, i just like to tinker and tweak>
Wonderful product from Feast and Watson called "Prooftint "
http://www.feastwatson.com.au/WoodstainsProoftint.asp

That can be painted on dropped on dripped on and simply splattered, stuff is permanent on cotton after treatment with silicon and can be mixed to give olive drab ( 2 Yellow + 1 Black )
 
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