Know How To Use It
We get so caught up in today’s technology and the latest gadgets that we tend to loose sight of the basics. Do yourself, and the person traveling with you, a favor and know how to read a map and a compass. Electronic devices are great and simple to use, but can be disastrous if they malfunction or simply loose battery life. There is much more to reading a compass than just locating north. Knowing how to properly read a compass can be the difference between life and death. Follow this link to learn how to read a compass.
Using The Compass
Easy and Efficient Heat Source
One of the biggest challenges in the backcountry is staying warm in unfair conditions. I have found myself many times in extremely high winds or damp conditions that prevent me from building a fire. If you do not have a heat source available, the only heat you have is the heat your body is producing. One trick to providing extra heat throughout the night is to make a hot water bottle. The key is to create an insulator that will keep the water warm for hours. The only items you will need for this project I have listed below.
- Mylar Bubble Wrap (Can be purchased at any hardware store)
- Duck Tape
- The Water Bottle of Choice (I use a Nalgene Wide Mouth)
- Knife or Box Cutter
I will give a brief description about how I made this water bottle insulator and I will attach my YouTube video providing an overview.
- You simply take two pieces of Mylar cut the same size to fit the water bottle with extra to fold at the bottom.
- Then, place each piece with the foil facing outwards around the water bottle and wrap with duct tape.
- Cut holes into the sides similar to the picture shown.
I have tested this using boiling water, placing into a stuff sack and hanging it outside at temperatures ranging from 42 to 51 degrees. I checked the bottle at 4 hours and the bottle was still substantially warm. The Mylar reflects the heat back into the bottle and the holes allow the heat to be forced out. This generates heat while allowing the bottle to maintain its warm temperature for hours. I use this in the foot part of my sleeping bag, at my side in the sleeping bag or hung by paracord at the end of my hammock so I can place my feet on it. This is just a simple way to provide supplemental heat for hours on those cold frigid nights.
Water Bottle vs. Hydration Bladder
January 20, 2016
When I go on a short or long hikes I always bring my small pack with my hydration bladder to make sure I have plenty of hydration. When I go on an overnight trip or longer I choose to take bottles and a filter for two reasons. First, the bladder creates a weird shape to try and work around when trying to pack the pack. Second, I can use the water bottle at night as a source of warmth if needed. I always carry 2 X 32 oz. Wide Mouth Nalgene Bottles. One attached to my backpack shoulder strap and one packed away in my pack full of water. I also carry my MSR Mini Works EX filter along with a 2 liter MSR Hydromedary that I use at camp. What I like to do is fill my pot with water that I have filtered at bedtime, boil the water and place it back in the bottle that emptied on the hike that day. Place that bottle in my sleeping bag at my feet and it will provide warmth for hours while I sleep. The next morning I have cooled drinking water literally at my feet.
MSR MiniWorks EX
Nalgene Wide Mouth