I like what you are doing with the emergency car boxes. My thing is to have gear for this wet cold weather. Nothing sucs more than freezing in wet clothes.

Hi 74,

I’m right there with ya in hating being cold, wet and miserable. It’s why I put like 3 redundant ways to make a fire in there – plus dry tinder (fatwood) and those wetfire cubes – they really do work. You can float them in water and they’ll still burn. And surplus military wool blankets might smell like mothballs and naptha and even be itchy, but wet wool still retains about 85% of it heat-retaining properties… plus wool is naturally fire-retardant. It will char, but not burn. Wet and miserable I can deal with. Wet, cold and miserable, not so much…

Little story about me and cold..

We were deployed up in the high chaparral of Yakima Firing Center, over the Cascades east of Seattle on a training mission. Weather was mild, so no big deal… easy peasy, so we thought.

Canadian Express comes howling out of the north and b*tch-slaps us hard. Temps drop into serious minus cold. We weren’t unprepared – we had our sniffle gear – but we were surprised. It went from 40’s to minus cold in a few hours.

The mud our vehicles were in froze.. freezing our vehicles to the ground. The diesel was gelling in the tanks and fuel lines. There was a small unit “out there” somewhere that needed to get to us, so me and one other guy get tapped to stand out in the howling cold, in the dark, with flashlights – at these crossroads so when the little lost sheep came by, we could direct them to safety…

We waited… and waited… and waited… hours passed. I had on every stitch of warm clothing I brought with me. There was no cover at all – just these little sh*t scrub bushes. No way to build a fire – and open fires were officially verboten anyway. To generate body heat, I ran in place – careful to not break a sweat. When that didn’t work, I started doing push-ups. But, I could feel the cold sapping away at my strength. After a few hours, I was shaking and shivering like I had palsy… The other guy was a real sh*tter, and bailed out – abandoning me and the lost sheep to our fate.

I don’t know how much time passed after that… I lost all sense of time. The thought of “COLD!” consumed my thoughts… that, and imagining someplace warm. Even then, those thoughts left as my systems started shutting down and my thought process slowed to a crawl…

The convoy came around the bend and I flipped on my flashlight, pointing the way. They were safe.

Mission accomplished, I stumbled through the dark in the general direction of where we were holed up… I saw a dark blob and assumed it was a tent. Tent. Shelter. Maybe warm. I did not give a damn and just walked right in…

Turns out, it was the Sergeant Major’s tent. He was on the other side of the tent, pouring himself a cup of coffee. Dude turned to look at me…

“Who are you?”
I slurred out “Private XXXXX, Sergeant Major…”
“Were you assigned to direct the convoy?”
“Yes, Sergeant Major..”
“You abandoned your post! I’ll deal with you tomorrow – GET OUT!”

I was hurt… I tried to say “But I stayed!”… but he was so angry, if I said anything I thought he would kill me on the spot.

I just turned to leave…

“Wait… did you leave or are you the other guy?”
“I’m the other guy”
“OH MY GOD! For gods sake man! Get in here and get warm!”

All of a sudden, he’s my Gramma…

“Get this sh** off and get warm! Here, hand me your rifle. You want some hot coffee? Here, sit here… let me get you some coffee… you need something warm in ya.. That other guy is a real turd for taking off… I’ll deal with him tomorrow…You want me to turn up the heater?… “….

I had been standing in the howling cold and pitch black for almost 5 hours. It took me at least an hour to warm back up to where I was anywhere near 100%… I had no idea cold could be that debilitating. It just sucked the life right out of me. After a certain point, even thinking coherent thoughts became an effort. When I spoke, I sounded completely drunk. Now I knew how people – even the strongest – can get taken down by serious minus cold. Your brain shuts down, you can’t think, you get sleepy… and then that’s it.

Anyway, sorry for the long “short” story. Gonna go get some coffee.

Be well.

The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by Malgus Malgus.