Dumb Australian needs advice on cold weather minimalist living/camping

Discussion in 'Winter Camping' started by Ttom, May 23, 2018.

  1. Ttom

    Ttom Tracker

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    Hello my American and Candian friends!

    I am in need of some serious advice about minimal living and camping in cold conditions....

    This is turning into quite a long and rambling post, i apologise, i just needed to get it out

    First some background - we are something like 8 days out from winter where i live and this is how I'm getting around:

    Photo deleted!

    This is a ridiculous photo and please excuse the swear word tattoo- i just took this to show how warm it still is right as we get towards winter - but yeah warm enough for no shoes, no shirt a couple weeks from winter an hour before sunset and in the shade - i walk the dog in pitch black dark each moning before work and i wear shoes and a light hoodie and a beanie ( touk? I think you call them?) For that...

    Most of the year camping out i use a sleeping bag liner - as it gets colder i use +5 degree celcius sleeping bag (a cheap one from a standard camping store, not a rating I'd trust, pretty much just you will survive 5 Degrees celsius not necessarily be comfortable) under a mosquito net, add a tarp if expecting rain although we have a lot of sunny weather here... in winter i add a sleeping bag liner and a bivvy bag - if you die in the woods in my area it will be because of lack of water or.perhaps a snake bite although i walk barefeet often and love.seeing snakes, just need to watch where you step - i can start hand drill fires etc but haven't got the sort of survival skills a lot of you guys need to have over there simply because while nature here will kill you it will most likely not kill you as quickly as the cold will over there - in my area you could dump anyone with some basic skills in the woods with a box of matches and a water bottle and come back in a week, they'll be covered in mosquito bites, hungry and angry but most likely still alive!

    Average summer here is around 86farenheit with OPPRESSIVE HUMIDITY
    a very cold winters night about 46 farenheit and often not quite that cold

    Sorry, I'm trying to put inUS units but I've switched back a few times

    I lived in ontario for a winter and used to ride a bike home from work each night in the dark, i remember one section with a ledge, no houses around, and thinking if i slid down there and broke my leg and couldn't climb back to the road I'd be dead before morning- so yeah, both tough environments, but I'm used to and prepared for dry, cold on the other hand is something i don't really have the basic knowledge to deal with safely...


    Anyway, on to the actual point of the post:

    A few years ago i bought a bush block and in six weeks I'm moving there- it's in another state 2500km further south of the equator (approx 1550-1600miles i think)

    It gets cold there - nice winds straight up from Antarctica
    Or colder than I'm used to

    Winter lows 26-32farenheit

    Which might seem ok

    But

    We are planning to live in a 4m bell tent for a few years while we make sure we like the state, the block, the area etc before we build something decent with council approval

    The tent we are looking at is compatible with a small wood fire stove however I'm hesitant to get his right away for 2 reasons
    1. I don't know the locals well enough to know if we'll be ok leaving a $700 stove there.and i can't afford for it.to be stolen
    2 I'm uneducated on the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning (i was in contact with a guy on a local forum who had 2 acquaintances die of carbon monoxide poisoning camping in a poorly ventilated shipping container...

    So, advice:

    1. Is it possible to live in a tent in those kind of temperatures and no stove if we just rug up really good?

    2. Any other tips and suggestions for low gear long term camping would be appreciated...

    Sorry, i have such limited experience with real cold and just don't know what to expect, what gear i need or even what questions to ask... I see trip reports on here with people seemingly comfortable in weather that would make me cringe

    Big post, done on phone no edits so i hope it is reasonably coherent - if you made it this far.my genuine thanks for readingg

    Here's a pic of the bush block, no neighbours in sight, was literally the cheapest block in the state but I'm still excited!

    Resized_IMG_20180427_130035_488_1697.jpeg
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
  2. Pablo

    Pablo Guide

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    You can live in a tent without a stove in any temperatures if your sleeping bag and clothing are up for the task. Maybe you could cache your stove somewhere on site for those nights when it's especially cold? Stove make life so much more comfortable, as you don't have to be bundled up all the time, can dry things out easier, and don't have to worry about water freezing. But can you live without one? Absolutely.
     
  3. Ttom

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    Thanks for the reply/tip!!
     
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  4. DarrylM

    DarrylM Supporter Supporter

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    Get cots so you're off the floor, and have a little storage space underneath. Drape a blanket around the cot so air doesn't circulate underneath, add a foam pad on top of the blanket for insulation that doesn't compress and layer up on whatever blankets, quilts, sleeping bags you need for warmth.

    A stove with an external chimney should not cause carbon monoxide poisoning unless the chimney is poorly fitted and leaks inside.
     
  5. Mikewood

    Mikewood Supporter Supporter

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    It sounds like I live in an area much like where you are living now so please take this cold weather advice as such.

    A stove, even s cheap stove is a good investment. So it a carbon monoxide detector. If you have electricity I would also get a hot plate. That will heat up your tent as well as make tea. If not you can build a simple stove out of a scrap metal box and some water heater vent pipe. But hey that Carmen monoxide detector.

    As for cold weather clothing. Buy good wool clothes. A cap with ear flaps. A jacket with collar. heavy wool socks and Insulated boots that fit with those socks. Wool pants or bib-overhauls. A shirt and pants have a seam between them at the belt line that will get cold. Jacket and “bibs” have plenty of overlap. It’s a lot warmer. Then Ragwool mittens and a scarf. Good wool clothing is expensive but resale shops and second hand stores have an abundance when the weather starts to warm up.

    Good luck mate.

    Ed to sat cold dry air can freeze and damage your lungs. You want to breath thru the scarf like a filter to help warm the air. That and it helps warmth from escaping thru the neck of your jacket.
     
  6. Mikewood

    Mikewood Supporter Supporter

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  7. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Indigenous Skills Junkie Supporter

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    You'll be just fine in those temps with no stove or heat source. With a good sleeping bag (appropriately rated for those temps) you wont even feel the chill :D. Same goes for clothing, you'll stay plenty comfortable with a minimal of clothing.

    When it comes to stoves, you don't even have to go all out and spend 700 bucks. Buy a metal oil drum or barrel and make a stove out of that. It's cheap and will keep your tent plenty cozy plus if someone walks off with it, oh well. All youll need is something to cut some thin metal with, and some piping to direct the smoke from your shelter. I have heard them called "Yukon stoves" also "barrel stoves" check on google youll find plenty of tutorials and info on how to construct them, it's really easy.

    Like @DarrylM mentioned, as long as your stove pipe is directing the smoke out of your shelter carbon monoxide is a non issue. Even with a substantial leak tents are generally drafty enough to circulate some fresh air.

    ETA: Forgot to mention, sick tats bro! Also good on ya for going barefoot, you're like a thinner Australian version of myself :dblthumb:
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  8. dub

    dub Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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  9. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    If you have a lot of wood available I’d get a stove. I’m pretty cold blooded and have camped out in sub zero f temps with and without a stove. With is better but it’s a lot of work getting fuel for even a couple of nights let alone a whole winter.
    This is my tent with a small, cheap stove (under 100.00).
    Operation Cold Bowls 2-28-14 018.JPG
    Two night's worth of wood
    Operation Cold Bowls 2-28-14 020.JPG
    Inside:
    Operation Cold Bowls 2-28-14 023.JPG
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  10. Ttom

    Ttom Tracker

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    Thanks heaps for thr responses


    I didn't know a.carbon monoxide detector existed - but that makes me feel a lot better about the stove!

    Almost adventure time!

    Thanks!
     
  11. mugsy

    mugsy Guide

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    As stated earlier, heat isnt NEEDED at those temps with the proper clothing and sleep gear which your gonna want heater or no. I most definitely would put a wood stove in, doubt i would use it overnight at those temps but sure is nice to soak up heat by the stove sometimes after a long day, and being warm and comfortable goes a looooong way .
    You can get a battery powered smoke/carbon monoxide detector to put your mind at ease, ive never used on personally
    just maintain proper ventilation .
     
  12. rbinhood

    rbinhood Tracker

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    Here is a link to a description and tutorial on how to build a portable wood stove. Not terribly complicated and costs less than $100.00. https://www.wintertrekking.com/community/index.php?topic=4822.0
    You will also find a great deal of info on the Wintertrekking website about living in a tent, both heated and unheated.

    As others have noted here, there are a lot of positives to having a heated living space. Cotton canvas is breathable, unlike the steel sides of a shipping container. If you are still concerned about CO, just buy a battery operated detector.

    I love the idea of living in a heated tent for a year. Nothing like hearing the wind in the trees through the thin wall of canvas, and waking to the sound of bird songs in the morning.
     
  13. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    To advise properly I'll need to know exactly where you are [ to the nearest town anyway] and no you can't trust the bloody locals with a $700- wood stove that is portable, because we're all bloody convicts and descendants of thieves and rascals but as I just bought one of those for myself I'm happy to sell you my old still working but not worth stealing cast iron Sheepherder for a lot less than that, say $200- including a flue and lots of bits and depending on where you are I may even be able to deliver or come closer by a few hundred klicks for $300-
    Now to the nitty gritty.
    A 4 m bell tent is too small to live in for a year but the 5 m is doable. You will need a steel woodshed or at the least one with short walls and a steel roof, you will use a lot of firewood
    You will need a liner for the tent, if this is the Chinese made cotton tents it will need to be treated with Nikwax SolarProof or it will degrade and be dead within 3 months, believe me on this, they are not made for full time use "As-Is"

    That picture looks a lot like the country around my young nieces place just the other side on Bendigo BTW
    PM me, I do think I can help.
     
  14. TWill

    TWill Guide

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    Are there trees you could use to build a semi-permanent and durable shelter? You could use a tent for temporary and be building an Adirondack type shelter. You could be the first in Australia to have one...might start a trend there. Anyhow, looking at your photo I see what may be eucalyptus trees. If you can use dead wood or cut live it wouldn't take a lot to make something a bit more organic and castle like versus a tent.
     
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  15. riverjoe

    riverjoe Supporter Supporter

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    As others have said it would take a ton of wood if you were to heat full time .
    Luckily you don’t have to heat at all at night because you easily sleep to 0 degrees Fahrenheit with no heat . I do it all them time in a hammock
    with some old military sleeping bags configured into an underquilt and a top quilt . You might need a turtle dog stand (see hammock forum or YouTube’s .
    Definitely go double wall
    tent to conserve wood . Double barrel DIY stove probably more efficient then the 700 Dollar stove .
    Myself I wouldn’t even think about staying more then a week or two without a stove your gear will get damper and damper as you stay in the Bush and if you get a stretch with no sunshine you’re going to have to have a stove to dry things out .
    You might want a partial dug out if you have an area with good drainage . Cheap to build and easy to heat . Check out the Mandan First Nation people and Ukrainian partisans of WW2 shelters .

    Edit ...what the heck is a block of Bush ? I assume it is a square
    Shaped chunk of land of some dimension or another .
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
  16. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    Her in OZ all small separate lots of land tend to be called blocks, building blocks here are spaces to put houses on not cube shaped bits of wood. Around my area it is a "Bush block" if it is about 5 to 20 acres or so, too small to be useful but enough room to be able to swing a small cow without clobbering the neighbours but it must have trees, no matter how small or straggly or stunted, if it doesn't have trees it's just a paddock.
    Also bush blocks usually have no water and no access to water, if they had water they would be valuable and used for farming/earning income. When we talk about acreage it usually means properties above a thousand acres; less if the property has water, some acreage around here are small farms of about 300 acres, in a dry country such as ours only water has real value when you get outside the major towns and cities
     
  17. riverjoe

    riverjoe Supporter Supporter

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    Ahah didn’t think about the water card . When I was looking at real estate out in Montana I couldn’t believe how cheap some of it was until I realized the water problem .
    Around here it’s more a problem of too much water so you tend to not be aware .
    I assume those rather large trees on the OPs pics must have a pretty good annual rain fall
    though don’t you think ?
     
  18. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    Tall? It's hard to tell without a decent perspective and scale but possibly only 20 to 30 foot tall and possibly 20- 30 years old. Eucalyptus are a dry adapted species and can survive quite long dry spells and grow fast when it does rain but they also have very deep root systems than can tunnel down to find ground water. Look how widely they are spaced, to me that is an indicator of strong water competition. I can't tell you what species they are as all of these Dry Woodland species look similar from a distance as young trees but possibly young Yellow Box or White Box.
    It would be nice if the OP came back and gave us some more detailed info
     
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  19. Ttom

    Ttom Tracker

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    Hey,

    Sorry been away a while

    Bush block is just what I'm calling it - it's 40 acres approximately, no power or a
    water source - pretty easy to find land with no water source in Australia! It's a dry place, this block is in a dry area, there is a nice little stream a few hundred metres down the hill but I'm not sure what kind of farm fertilizer runoff etc will be in it- we'll end up rigging up some sort of roof to catch water for a tank, which is exactly what i do where i live now on a smaller block that has no town services... and honestly, i couldn't go back, i hate tap water now, i have to carry 2L of my own rain water to work!

    As for the size of the trees, they're young and small, mostly eucalyptus, I think this is due to lack of water but.i believe in the late 60s pr 70s a major bushfire wemt through the area and did quite a bit of damage... but this general area is quite dry and the trees tend to.be small an sparse so I'm assuming that dryness is the reason- I'd love a block with a stream and bigger trees but being a part time special ed teacher that's beyond my budget right now (and most likely forever hahah)

    I love big trees, the move is in 3 days and I'm gonna miss my place up north, it's surrounded by huge gums with lorikeet nests and so on - but I'm not gonna miss the terror of a cyclone or heavy wind rolling through and sitting here waiting for a tree that weighs as much as a few buses to fall on the house... I've had some sleepless nights!
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
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  20. Ttom

    Ttom Tracker

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    I treated myself to a nice wool hooded coat and found an old 100% wool sweater too - just gonna have to grab some decent thermals

    The shoe thing bothers me, i like thin light shoes but recently spoke to a friend who lives in this area and either her or someone she knows got some minor version of frost bite walking her dogs in flimsy shoes....i hate shoes!


    Resized_20180630_034236_7988.jpeg


    So we'll see how it goes...

    I am also conscious of going too far worrying about the cold - when i lived my winter in ontario i thought damn i better get prepared and bought a big coat, wemt to see a friend who laughed at me and said you can always tell a foreigner in winter here because they dress for the arctic! I wore the coat twice, once it was minus 19 degrees Celsius, whatever that is in farenheit, not including any wind chill etc, all i had under it was a t shirt, and i was sweating while walking on flat ground...
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
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  21. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    Cold wet is much more uncomfortable and dangerous than that Canadian cold & dry. I have very little expertise in that part of Tasmania but I have some friends who live there. Cheap land and no jobs is how they describe most of the island outside of the major towns & cities
     
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  22. Oiler20

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  23. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    Out of curiosity , what kind of ground is there .
    Is there stone you can build with ?
    Sand and gravel you can mix with cement and make concrete ?
    Clay to build with ?
    What kinds of tools and equipment do you have ?
    Sometimes we can live right on resources and not appreciate their possibilities.
     
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  24. Herman30

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    Living in a country where it gets down to -20 celsius during coldest part of winter I would certainly not want to live any longer than a few days in a tent without a stove even if it´s "only" 26 - 32 fahrenheit. What if you get wet? And the dampness.
     
  25. CharClothed

    CharClothed Supporter Supporter

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    That's not all that cold if that is your "extreme" temps. I feel like my summer gear is perfect for your winter gear.
     
  26. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    CharClothed that just goes to show that you have never lived/ camped/worked in the climate DeathZone.
    Cold is not just temperature, it is the cumulative effects of wind, temperature and humidity that count. -1C at 99% humidity and a wind will kill you very, very quickly indeed if you get your clothing/shelter wrong
     
  27. Sticks N' Stones

    Sticks N' Stones Scout

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    Little confused with the question at hand, but if your worried about your stove getting stolen, you might want to consider a tent that can have an open fire/make a stone hearth. Tentipi's https://www.mansfieldoutdoors.com/?...Oi1Z7M0E2B7OPuiNcnjZbr5TmqoDVPZhoCwC0QAvD_BwE can have open fires in them, and have smoke holes that can be adjusted. Reckon with the larger ones you could have a siberian log fire considering the circumference. Also like others have stated, you can buy woodstoves a lot cheaper. If you wanted a real stove and not a drum (great still nonetheless) These are a good stoves, https://www.kni-co.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=64.
     
  28. TAHAWK

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    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018 at 1:12 PM

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