Need advice on shelter options

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Home Forums The Armory – Gear and Equipment Shelter and Sleep Systems Need advice on shelter options

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    • #104380
      12aklabs
      Participant

        All,

        I am in the market for some type of shelter(s) that will work up here in Alaska. Our weather conditions can range from 90 degrees in the summer, with no seeums and mosquitos to -50 below in blowing snow.

        I currently have the military sleep system, bivvy, thermarest and a woobie. In addition I also have the MVT shield. I don’t want to get crazy heavy as this would be used primarily for patrolling (up to a week).

        Any ideas would be great. I have some experience camping but none on the tactical side.

        Thanks
        12aklabs

      • #104381
        HiDesertRat
        Participant

          You might wish to look at tents constructed of cuben fiber which is dyneema ( the body armor material) also called spectra ). 15X stronger than steel, extremely lightweight. Two manufacturers I am aware of are Hyperlite Mountain Gear and ZPacks. One tent, a 2 person model, modular in design weighs under 2 lbs in its entirety. They are not inexpensive but are lightest, strongest on the market currently.
          Might warrant a look. Good hunting.

        • #104382
          12aklabs
          Participant

            Thanks I will check them out.

          • #104383
            Max
            Keymaster

              From a tactical standpoint, NO TENTS.

              The ECWS sleep system is a great bit of kit, however there are civilian alternatives for the black bag that save you a lot of space and weight. Snugpack is what I use.

              I am a northern boy as well, and an updated ECWS sleep system paired with an MVT shield, good cold weather field clothing and feildcraft talent with snow will offer a field shelter that is excellent during wintertime. Caveat, I have only done this at about -20 F. -50 might need a little more work.

              If tactical is a consideration, tents are a death trap and should only be used for an incapacitated casualty during the prolonged field care phase.

            • #104384
              Joe (G.W.N.S.)
              Moderator

                …good cold weather field clothing and feildcraft talent with snow will offer a field shelter that is excellent during wintertime.

                Snow Cave, Tree Pit Shelter, Snow Trench, and Fallen Tree Shelter are all potential options for extreme cold that anyone in operating in such environments should master building and actually using.

                Of course blending which type will work for the threat level your in is important.

                For the really cold; -30°F and below, I’ve found the use of a cold sink is necessary. A cold sink is an area lower than level where you are sleeping. The idea is to create a shelter that blocks the wind, is small enough for respiration/body temperature to heat, yet has a area for cold air to sink into while warmer air rises. This will keep shelter temperature around 30°F which is well into the ability of proper sleeping bag and clothing. I have used the above 4 mentioned improvised shelters down to -65°F.

                When training and practising these methods I recommend having a back up option available in case you screw up.

              • #104385
                Max
                Keymaster

                  From a tactical standpoint, NO TENTS.

                  I am a northern boy as well, and an updated ECWS sleep system paired with an MVT shield, good cold weather field clothing and feildcraft talent with snow will offer a field shelter that is excellent during wintertime. Caveat, I have only done this at about -20 F. -50 might need a little more work.

                  If tactical is a consideration, tents are a death trap and should only be used for an incapacitated casualty during the prolonged field care phase.

                  Good advice but from my experience (northern Canada – extreme cold weather exercises), a tent can be used if you have a good hide and a group large enough to ensure 24/7 security… Living for days or weeks in extreme cold wears the body down – nothing like a warm tent and hot coffee to renew the soul and spirit. If on your own, or with a small group, tent(s) likely more of a hinderance than an asset, although having the shelter option during blizzard, extreme temperature drops would be nice….

                • #104386
                  Corvette
                  Participant

                    All,

                    I am in the market for some type of shelter(s) that will work up here in Alaska. Our weather conditions can range from 90 degrees in the summer, with no seeums and mosquitos to -50 below in blowing snow.

                    I currently have the military sleep system, bivvy, thermarest and a woobie. In addition I also have the MVT shield. I don’t want to get crazy heavy as this would be used primarily for patrolling (up to a week).

                    Any ideas would be great. I have some experience camping but none on the tactical side.

                    Thanks
                    12aklabs

                    From a tactical stand-point the other fella is right, no tents and from a BEAR and mnt-lion stand point, NO TENTS. If I remember correctly you’re on the Kenai Peninsula? As you stated that can be a lot of things from a wet cold rain forest all summer and endless heavy snow in an arctic winter..I can get on with a Basha anywhere in South Central Alaska in any weather. I think the MVT shield will do good for you too but I would suggest getting at least another one, or another Basha or a mil issue poncho to add to that kit. A basha or two basha shelters can be put up in such a way as to block out wind and whats being carried by it if there is no other recourse such as available materials to do so. But as it goes comfort tolerances and sleep habits are different in people. . If mosquitoes drive you insane a basha or the MVT shield might not be for you. I had a guy come up from the lower 48s a couple years ago thinking he had this AK thing with a simple tarp .. “He’s got skeeters In Georgia”… We went out and his 4 day Russian valley trip ended in less then 12 hours because of the mosquitoes drove him to insanity. Not saying this is you, just making a point about shelter. I guess what I’m getting at is a shelter alone is only as effective as the person using it. Skeeters dont bother me much so Ive stuck with the basha as a basic. Mission and purpose also play into what shelter you will want. Basha works for me.

                    All in all its a pretty open ended question so If you have any specific question id be happy to compare notes and try to help. If you plan to leave the house and not come back when the hammer falls this sleeping and shelter topic can get complicated up here with the crazy weather..

                    Id be happy to help if I can and I’m sure i could learn a thing or two as well.. Ive stuck to your original question and not went off into base camp/admin type shelters/RONPOS situations where things would and should be considerably more comfortable. Sleep kit is also a player in shelter. Theses are both separate topics in the same category. Also get out and train with what you have to learn and adapt.

                    Bergmann

                  • #104387
                    tango
                    Participant

                      I have used the above 4 mentioned improvised shelters down to -65°F.

                      Where were you backpacking in those conditions?! In Antarctica? Mt. Everest? Mt. Fuji? :wacko:

                    • #104388
                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                      Moderator

                        Near Thule, Greenland for the true -65°F (this is real temperature, not wind-chill corrected), it’s the coldest conditions I have every operated in and hope to never again!

                        I’ve trained in the Northern part of Norway that is above the Arctic Circle and in many mountain areas worldwide.

                        I learned a lot and still enjoy regular winter weather up North on occasional visits, but currently live in Florida where I just yesterday turned off my air-conditioner.

                        Note: Much of these extreme areas have no trees and the snow is either too dry to work as normal or almost ice in density.

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