My first cold weather bushcraft trip

My plans to wake up early in the morning fell through. I woke up late and didn't arrive until 5:00 pm. Upon arriving I had to shovel a massive snowbank out of the way so I could pull the truck off the road. It was already getting dark by the time I got done shoveling a parking spot so the first priority was gather firewood and get a fire started. After a bit of a hike through deep snow I dropped my gear by camp and started gathering wood. The fire got going easily thanks to all the dead standing trees in the area. It ended up taking three cotton balls to get everything going but this was my fault. I was busy pitching the tent and gathering more wood while I waited for the fire to take off. My idea to build a primitive shelter will be delayed until spring when I get out there again. I'm happy that I decided to bring a tent because it was COLD! 15 degrees Fahrenheit isn't bad during the day when the sun is out but come nightfall that 15 is cold. I sat by the fire all night carving and burning out a spoon and chopping fire wood.  The chills didn't get to me until bedtime. I made a few mistakes with my sleeping arrangements the biggest ones I noticed where as follows
  • No sleeping pad
  • My body kind of formed a crevice under the tent as I sank into the snow.
  • My sleeping bag is a cheap menards summer bag
  • I left my hand warmers up at the truck
I was able to remedy some of these issues with a hike back to the truck. I put foot warmers in my socks and grabbed the emergency fleece blankets I keep in the truck just in case. My jacket ended up being my pillow which wasn't terrible but someday it might be nice to get an ultralight camp pillow or maybe bring a throw pillow next time.
I worked outdoors for years so I am well aware of layering. I was thankful to have layers because I was too hot while I was gathering wood then too cold around 10:30 but no big deal I just took off or added layers and it was all good.
Oh yea coffee in the morning on an open fire
For dinner I had Mountain House beef stroganoff and I have to say it was delicious for being dehydrated trail food. For those who don't know all you do is boil 2 cups of water, dump it in the mylar package reseal for a bit, then eat it right out of the pouch. No dishes to deal with aside from washing my spoon. I will be bringing these meals on every outing now. So easy and tasty. I also brought jerky and GORP to munch on as needed. Oh and coffee lots of coffee.
I fell asleep to coyotes having a fit along with geese honking( odd that they where flying at midnight  in February) and critters rustling around in the brush. I woke up this morning to numerous different bird calls and squirrels arguing. After I got up I started a small fire to get some coffee brewed, ate some gorp, put in a dip, and broke down camp, then headed home to see my family.

So what did I learn this outing
  1. I need to get a better sleep system. I've been eyeing up the military sleep system/ bivvy that's rated down to like -40
  2. Having my trusty revolver is always a comforting feeling especially when I have to hike through unfamiliar woods at night
  3. My Stanley mini pot needed some mods. The plastic tab on the lid burned off so I replaced it with some 12 gauge copper wire. The handle that's on there is ok if you are cooking on a stove but sucks for cooking over a fire so I drilled two holes and added a length of 12 gauge copper wire for a handle and a spot to hang it from a tripod. Now I believe the pot will be perfect.
  4. I missed my wife, my kid, and my dogs even though I was only away for one day and night, fortunately I was still able to give them a call and keep in touch.
  5. Having my big axe would have been nice for some of the bigger logs but I don't feel it would be worth the weight
  6. A Bahco Laplander is a mean little saw that is worth its weight in gold.
  7. Having a Becker BK2 and a Mora is an excellent combination for carving and most camp tasks.
What gear did I actually use aside from a small tent and my sleep kit
The only gear I really needed
Mods to my cookware compared to the original
  • My pack
  • Mora
  • BK2
  • Bahco Laplander
  • Estwing hatchet (I can leave this home next trip and just bring the BK2)
  • Firesteel
  • Vaseline cotton balls and a bit of  jute twine fluffed up
  • Headlamp (a godsend compared to trying to hold a flashlight)
  • Extra batteries
  • Nalgene bottle
  • Stanley pot
  • Extra socks
  • thin gloves
  • My revolver
  • coffee
  • trail food
  • Hand warmers
  • My bushcraft journal and a pencil
  • Camera
  • Cell phone

    Camp in the morning
    My spoon that I carved from oak and then burned the bowl out


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