Palmer furnace - Trial #2

Discussion in 'Sandcut Outdoors' started by Sandcut, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor Supporter

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    Well, my man-date to take out a new hunter fell through, but it was just too nice of a day to stay inside. Plus, I had my heart set on getting out to see if I couldn't kick up a snowshoe hare. We have a 6 day season this year instead of our normal 3 day (which I always miss due to family holiday stuff). So I grabbed my 20 guage and put the dog's orange vest on him and off we went.

    We got a little over 4" of snow yesterday, so the walk in was gorgeous!

    [​IMG]


    We saw a BUNCH of coyote tracks. There must have been 8 or 9 different animals in this group. Biggest bunch I've ever seen. They were covered over by the snow showers from this morning, but they looked to have been made over night.

    We checked out one of the many spruce swamps in the area. I've seen sign of hares here before, but you have to work to find them. It's a bit thick.

    [​IMG]

    The hard part was staying dry with all this heavy, wet snow on the foliage.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor Supporter

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    We pushed this swamp pretty hard, but didn't cut one track from a hare. All we saw was the aforementioned coyotes, one squirrel (most likely a red squirrel due to the conifers) and 3 - 4 deer tracks that were older than the coyote tracks. So since we weren't finding anything, it was time to play a bit.

    I've been meaning to also get back out to do some more field testing of various Palmer furnace setups. The last time that I was out, I forgot to bring my thermometer. This time I remembered.

    I decided to do a "lost hunter" scenario since getting turned around in this vegetation is VERY easy. It's also very realistic that a hunter, trying to track a wounded deer in this place, could very easily become lost and have to spend the night before getting out.

    I deliberately dressed lightly today so that I could test out the effectiveness of the furnace. Temps were in the mid-high 20s, but we were getting sustained winds of 15 mph and, accoring to NWS, gusts in the mid-20s. I was staying warm while moving, but it got chilly if we stopped for more than a few minutes. I was wearing the same setup as last time, polypro tops and bottoms, softshell pants, light wool flannel shirt, cheap/light down vest, ball cap, stocking cap, light gloves.

    The nature of us being down in the spruce and hemlocks kept is out of the brunt of the wind that we would have been subjected to up on the ridge. I found a nice spot to set up. I used my Lapin Puukko Outdoor knife 145 (aka, my winter knife) to cut a small pile of spruce and hemlock boughs to make a nest to sit on.

    [​IMG]


    I deliberately left my foam butt cushion in the car, as I wanted to make this as realistic as possible. Here's my little nest to sit on. Boot for scale.

    [​IMG]


    Here's the test site. Secluded, flat, tree to rest against.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
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  3. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor Supporter

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    The gear for today included one 55 gallon, contractor grade garbage bag and my UCO candle lantern with a UCO 9 hour candle. I wanted to try this out instead of the tea candle in the pop can like in the last trial.

    [​IMG]

    Site conditions for the test were a breezy 26.7°F.

    [​IMG]

    After I made my face hole and was getting settled in to my garbage bag shelter, I had a pretty major equipment failure. As I was wriggling to get comfortable, my knee ripped about a 7" tear in the middle of the bag. The bag seemed pretty fragile due to the temps. Note, try to get more stretchy bags for next time. The furnace was still usable, though, if I use one hand to hold the tear closed so that all my heat didn't escape.

    The UCO candle put out a great deal more heat than the tea candle. Note, always bring UCO candles! In only a few minutes it was considerably warmer inside the bag. My hands, which were cold from the thin gloves which were slightly wet from all the snow, became warm and flexible again. And after about only 10 minutes inside the bag, the temps had increased to a whopping 53°F+ (Note, I had the thermometer outside the bag with just the tip sticking inside the bag. The tip was off to the side and NOT directly over the candle. And by the time that I got the thermometer to hold the reading, the temp dropped a couple degrees from cold air getting inside through the tear in the bag).


    [​IMG]

    But a 17° temperature difference from one side of the garbage bag to the other from just a candle. That's pretty darn impressive in my book.

    Lessons learned.

    1. Carry better candles than tea candles.
    2. Be more gentle with the bags. Had this been a real life application, tearing out the side of the bag may have resulted in total failure.
    3. The nest of evergreen boughs did keep me warmer than sitting directly on the ground, but wasn't as good as my closed cell foam pad. A thicker layer may have helped, but I didn't want to use too many boughs for just a test.
    4. Consider carrying a second bag.

    I would also like to look around to see if I can find large (55 gallon or larger), CLEAR bags. I would like to try this out with a camp fire to see if it is possible to blend the greenhouse effect of a Kochanski super shelter with the portability of a Palmer furnace. Theoretically, it should work and work well. I just need to mess around with it to see what the operating parameters are.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
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  4. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor Supporter

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    I did bring along my pop can from last time. I was going to see how long it would take to melt snow into drinking water over top of the UCO candle, but didn't have time, since Stanley was shivering pretty hard by this point from being wet and not moving. I'll have to test that next time as well.

    You can see exactly what Stanley thought of the whole operation. Not impressed in the least!


    [​IMG]


    Thanks for tagging along.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
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  5. Longbeard

    Longbeard Continental Drifter Bushclass III

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    Nice work man. Always good to learn firsthand.
     
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  6. BillyBogota

    BillyBogota Functional Weirdo

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    Good stuff and great data!
     
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  7. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    Very nice work :dblthumb:
     
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  8. isme

    isme Guide

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    Very interesting, thanks for sharing.
    Now I gotta try it.
     
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  9. Jean

    Jean Guide

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    Excellent.
     
  10. rsnurkle

    rsnurkle Supporter Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Great second test run! Thank you for doing the test and sharing the results. I bet those faces were Stanley wondering why you didn't make him a spruce bough cushion :).

    Another variant to consider is using a mylar space blanket/reflective material instead of the black contractor bag. I didn't have impressive results when I tried a clear poncho out, so I'm skeptical of how to get a mylar blanket wrapped around oneself enough to be effective. That said, a reasonable presentation of the mylar sheet variant was given by susanne williams a while back: https://www.naturalbushcraft.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?7800-Staying-Alive-Cold-Kit-(SACKit)
     
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  11. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    I thought I was the only one goofy enough to wear a stocking cap over my ball cap... LOVE my cap... but it's not warm enough... so I wear a blaze orange stocking one over it.

    Great post sir! Love seeing guys get out and experiment/prove concepts. What do you think is the big difference between the tea lights and the UCO candles? Higher quality wax maybe?
     
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  12. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor Supporter

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    Your probably right about Stanley. He's just giving me a raspberry. Phhhpptbbtt!!!

    I'll check out Suzanne's video and see what I can glean. I miss having her around. I always enjoyed her videos here.

    Nope. You're not the only one, although up until now, I thought that I was, also. I never go anywhere without a ball cap. But stocking caps get hot once you start moving. If yiu take it off, then your head is bare and that just ain't right. So, put the stocking cap on OVER the ball cap. Yeah, it looks stupid and people give me crap about it constantly, but it works for me. That's all I care about.

    And yes, I think the quality of the candles makes a big difference. What I should do is get some erlenmeyer flasks and thermometers and known volumes of water and calculate how many BTUs come off of various candles. I suggested ideas like this to my daughters as possibilities for their Junior Academy of Science experiments, as they are both in JAS, but that had about as much appeal to them as dad wearing a Speedo to mow the lawn.

    I have some beeswax, so I hope to find time to try that out as well to see if paraffin or beeswax puts out more heat and which puts out more soot. I made a beeswax candle last year in an Altoids tin with almost 3" of lamp wick laid sideways. It cranks out heat, but is a smoky mess.

    I'll get to this during all my "spare" time. Yeah, right.
     
  13. GreenFrog

    GreenFrog In the Forest Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass III

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  14. IA Woodsman

    IA Woodsman Overwatch Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator Vendor Lifetime Supporter Bushclass Instructor

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    I am glad you are getting out in poor conditions to run your tests. Great info!!
     
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  15. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor Supporter

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    I've read about Simon Kenton doing that with tree bark back in he mid-1700s

    And RE: the beeswax candle, are you implying that I don't already smell good when in camp? :)
     
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  16. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    Thanks for the report! I really enjoy seeing the Palmer furnace idea explored and tested.

    One thing I would add to the emergency kit is a five or six foor strip of duct tape rolled up. Useful for repair of a tear. There are also some very heavy duty commercial bags that may be more resistant to tearing.

    A small emergency space blanket draped over the shoulders before pulling on the trash bag might make a noticeable difference, and it would help in case of any small tears in the bag.

    besides the heat generated by the candle, one thing at work in the Palmer furnace idea is that it serves as a good wind block. We all know about "wind chill" and with a wind proof outer layer, at least half, perhaps three quarters of your body may be protected from the wind chill to some extent. That, even with out extra heat, can allow body heat to warm up your micro climate in the bag enough to help.

    One thing I want to try is using a zippo style hand warmer. Those burn for several hours, and are I think a little safer inside a plastic bag. If they give out enough warmth, that could be a useful adjunct heat source.
     
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  17. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor Supporter

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    The only thing about duct tape at these temps is that the adhesive isn't very effective. I was just remided of this last week. I ran to the local shooting range to try out a new slug gun. I keep a roll of duct tape in my range bag for hanging my targets. However, at mid-20s temps, the duct tape wouldn't stick to the vinyl backer or to the paper targets. :( But I had been contemplating doing just what you mentioned at some point. I think I saw IAwoodsman do a video like that once and thought it a good idea. I've never tried Gorilla Tape. Perhaps that will work at those temps.

    Oh, and the bags that I was using were the uber-duty contractor bags. The dumb things were like $1.50-$2 a piece. It may have just been a natural weakness in that particular bag, but even in warmer temps, they aren't as stretchy as the 30 gallon bags that I use in the kitchen. I'd rather have a lighter, more flexible material than a heavy material that fails catastrophically.

    As far as the wind chill goes, I've been trying to think of a way to do a slight offset of the bag off of my back. Yes, the bag will block the wind, but you'll still get heat loss via conduction. By making an air space for the bag off the back, the warm air from the furnace would circulate better.

    The Zippo handwarmer is an interesting idea. I look forward to seeing your report on it. :) I've never had very good success with the small ones. The big Jon-E warmers work well, but you do have to get just the right mix of air to smother to get them to simmer properly. I'm not sure if being inside the furnace would be enough to simmer it outside the carry pouch. I do know that the fumes from them operating can be pretty harsh in confined spaces, which is why I don't use them for winter camping in my tent. Too noxious.
     
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  18. J. Pierce

    J. Pierce Perpetually Off Topic, Sorry. Supporter

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    Thanks for posting this Sandcut!
    I've always thought that the palmer furnace was interesting, but I've never tried it.
    I thought it might work well with my rain poncho. But I don't carry that in the winter, I guess I don't carry a candle either. But I didn't let that stop me from thinking it would work.

    Sent from my bakelite rotary phone via Tapatalk
     
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  19. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    [QUOTE="Sandcut, post: 3185154, member: 16595]

    As far as the wind chill goes, I've been trying to think of a way to do a slight offset of the bag off of my back. Yes, the bag will block the wind, but you'll still get heat loss via conduction. By making an air space for the bag off the back, the warm air from the furnace would circulate better.

    The Zippo handwarmer is an interesting idea. I look forward to seeing your report on it. :) I've never had very good success with the small ones. The big Jon-E warmers work well, but you do have to get just the right mix of air to smother to get them to simmer properly. I'm not sure if being inside the furnace would be enough to simmer it outside the carry pouch. I do know that the fumes from them operating can be pretty harsh in confined spaces, which is why I don't use them for winter camping in my tent. Too noxious.[/QUOTE]

    even a small day pack on your back would give some stand off space and might improve the air space insulation.

    I have a couple of the large Zippo brand somewhere around here, have to find them, but they work well as handwarmers and here in my area we seldom see temps lower than about 26-28 degrees F. Lot of interesting options.

    I use a Swiss army poncho a lot, it makes a great hunting blind/ windbreak, and it is very effective as a shelter for a Palmer furnace. The hood helps protect the head from wind, and that alone saves a significant amount of heat. I usually wear watch cap / stocking cap, and with the hood I can keep my ears pretty warm. One candle inside the poncho makes a pretty good warm micro climate, and my only real problem is trying to get up after being down on the ground for long. Joints stiffen up pretty quickly.
     
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  20. Todd1hd

    Todd1hd Supporter Supporter

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    Pretty cool test. When we canoe in below freezing ambient weather we ususally carry an Army poncho and a can of sterno in case we have a spill. I just carried my Uco candle lantern and an MSS in the car for my swing through northern MN and the UP.....Just in case. Oh yeah and a shovel.
     
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  21. DarrylM

    DarrylM Supporter Supporter

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    I'm a member of the ball cap, stocking cap crew. Mostly at work where fashion falls way behind function and my give-a-durn is already sucking fumes and about to cough it's dying hiccup.
     
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  22. Barry J

    Barry J Guide

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    You could create an airspace around your shoulders by finding a stick about 20 inches long. Tie a string around it and then put the string around your neck, with the stick across your shoulders.
     
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