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Equipment » Favourite Piece of Equipment » 1/06/2018 11:04 am

Steve E
Replies: 34

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I LOVE my Feathered Friends Snowy Owl bag.  I saved for it for a couple years.  It's overkill for many trips but I sleep really cold and this thing is a beast! 
http://i64.tinypic.com/34ovbja.jpg

I also love my ArcTeryx jackets.  I have an Alpha SV hardshell that is pretty awesome as well as a few other jackets from them...

I also just picked up a new Dream Hammock Raven and a 0 degree underquilt which I'm dying to get out and use...

Equipment » merry christmas everyone ! what did santa bring you? » 12/25/2017 12:49 pm

Steve E
Replies: 12

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Merry Christmas!  I got a nice new Dream Hammock Raven   Can't wait to get it set up and try it out!  Now to get an underquilt

https://www.dreamhammock.com/order_detail.html?order=6209

Backcountry » Cold camping with a propane heater » 12/21/2017 1:07 pm

Steve E
Replies: 9

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I might have to check that heater out, it sounds like it really pumps out the heat!

As for a spot to try winter camping, there are lots of good spots however it can be a bit of a hike to get away from the Highway (if you're going along that area).  The airfield at Mew Lake is a great spot.  It's far enough away that you do feel very secluded however it's close enough to Mew Lake that you can use the heated comfort station and even buy firewood if you want.  It's also a good spot in case you just get too cold you can always retreat to your car.  You can get further away from the highway there as well depending on where you set up.
The 2 bag setup should work ok for you.  It's good that the bigger bag is on the outside so it doesn't compress your down.  The heater will help too in the event you get a chill.  Do you have a decent sleeping pad rated for winter use?  That's just as important as the bags you use as the ground will suck the heat from you for sure.  The hot water in a Nalgene bottle trick is awesome as well and will add a few degrees of warmth in your bag, and ensure you have water in the morning for coffee that isn't frozen solid!  I sometimes use 2 Nalgenes..I keep one down by my feet and another up near my mid section...works great!

Backcountry » Cold camping with a propane heater » 12/21/2017 8:56 am

Steve E
Replies: 9

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I have a Coleman Black Cat heater and I have used it in the past just as you suggested.  I'd leave it out in my vestibule with the door to my tent interior open.  I would never sleep with it going but it was great to warm up the tent when you first get in and read etc and first thing in the morning to take that frigid edge off!  I was actually thinking of upgrading to the one you got as they are very well rated.  I both cold camp and hot tent but sometimes it's nice to have that instant source of heat without having to get a fire going.  Also good in an emergency situation if you need warmth fast...

I'm sure you know this but just make sure there is a bit of ventilation when you use this....

Backcountry » Winter camp clothes » 11/25/2017 7:05 pm

Steve E
Replies: 26

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The comment about cold seats is so true.  Another great piece of kit for winter is one of these insulated seats (great for $20)  https://www.thermarest.com/catalog/product/view/id/16715/category/17/

 

Equipment » Ecco Hiking Boots » 11/23/2017 10:09 pm

Steve E
Replies: 1

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I recently picked up a pair of Ecco boots (replaced for free under warranty) and have to say they are incredible!  The ones they replaced were several years old and served me extremely well however I guess there was a known issue with them.  They are not cheap boots but they are honestly the most comfortable boots I've ever worn.  Zero time to break in, very warm and extremely waterproof  And when a company stands behind their product like this it is much easier to justify the initial cost.  They actually replaced them with a higher end boot as well which is a bonus! 

https://ca.shop.ecco.com/en_CA/men-boots/men-biom-hike-gtx-1.7-811564.html?dwvar_811564_color=53859#q=biom+gtx

Anyone else own Ecco boots?  Are you as happy with yours as I am with mine?

Backcountry » Winter camp clothes » 11/23/2017 2:45 pm

Steve E
Replies: 26

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Packing clothes for winter camping can be difficult especially over the past few years when temps can get up to around the freezing mark.

For me personally I wear a Gore-Tex shell with layers underneath for stuff I do during the day that is active (snowshoeing, hiking, etc.).  Usually when active I'm down to my base layer and just the shell.

Then when I'm at camp and the wood is all chopped I change into totally dry base layers.  This is super important even if you feel dry because chances are your base layers are damp and you will get really chilly fast.  Once I'm in my dry stuff I switch into my big heavy down jacket.  Mine is from Taiga and was very reasonably priced.  It's not fancy stuff but it works and it's not as pricey as some of the name brand stuff.  I also have a pair of their down pants that I wear if it's ridiculously cold.  

Down/insulated booties are also amazing for around camp.  Check out the Expedition booties from MEC...one of the best pieces of kit I bought for winter!

My layers usually include a tight base layer (merino wool or polypro or something like that).  Then I layer as needed with lightweight fleece then heavier weight fleece.

Oh and I always change into clothes that I keep just for getting into bed, that way I know they are always dry.

As you can tell keeping dry is a big theme and will ensure you have an enjoyable time!

Taiga:  https://www.taigaworks.ca/Down-Clothing-c14
MEC booties:  https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5031-589/Expedition-Plus-Bootie

Equipment » 'Emergency blankets', reflective foil and plastic bags .. » 11/20/2017 10:59 am

Steve E
Replies: 16

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Are you looking for something just to cover your feet area?  I get cold feet as well so I try to sleep with an extra thick pair of socks on.  I also put my clothing that I want to wear in the morning in the bottom of my sleeping bag.  It serves threepurposes:  1. it fills empty space in the sleeping bag making it easier to heat and keep warm, 2. it makes putting on fresh clothes in the morning not so unbearable (nothing like putting on a freezing cold shirt when it's -25 lol), 3. it allows me to put my feet under the clothing items at the bottom of the bag if my feet get cold.  

Is your sleeping bag down?  Like you say, you don't want to introduce any more moisture into a down bag than needed...inevitably your down bag will get colder and colder over a longer trip unless you are able to totally dry it out during the day (many down bags are black on the inside allowing you to turn it inside out to dry off quicker).  I'd be reluctant to put anything that traps moisture on top of my down bag for an extended period of time

Backcountry » Winter camping rules » 11/16/2017 3:04 pm

Steve E
Replies: 8

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The "when do they take effect" question is one that is very difficult to get an answer for, even when you call the park staff.   I called last year and they had started the winter rules before there was actually snow on the ground.  My understanding was always that it started once lakes had started to freeze up and there was snow on the ground but that info must be incorrect based on what happened last year.  I called up to the park every week or so for updates.  But even when i called sometimes I'd get a different answer.  So what I do now is call the west gate and then call or email someone out of the Visitors Center and see if I get the same answer.  I printed off the email reply I got and brought it up just in case I was questioned.

Trip Reports » Back from 6 Days on Sec (Pics and Videos) » 11/10/2017 4:22 pm

Steve E
Replies: 13

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It was super quiet.  There were hunters in the area and you could hear the odd gunshot off in the distance but it never bothered us one bit.  On the road into Sec there are a bunch of hunt camps Im assuming are on Crown Land.  Some neat areas to explore for sure!

We didn't see any wildlife unfortunately but that's how it goes up there right?  Sometimes you get lucky and others you get skunked!

Trip Reports » Back from 6 Days on Sec (Pics and Videos) » 11/09/2017 5:31 pm

Steve E
Replies: 13

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Thanks guys!  We loved the lake and the whole area so we'll be going back again for sure!

Trip Reports » Back from 6 Days on Sec (Pics and Videos) » 11/07/2017 10:20 am

Steve E
Replies: 13

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Did you paddle in or were you on that site as well?  I've uploaded a video for you here that shows you the site at Bypass Falls.  It sure is scenic! Not tons of tent pad options but I'm sure it would be fine.  The water is VERY loud at the site.  It's really nice but I'm not sure if the noise of the water would be too much?  Sometimes it's nice just to enjoy the quiet....

Trip Reports » Back from 6 Days on Sec (Pics and Videos) » 11/07/2017 9:26 am

Steve E
Replies: 13

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So I just got back from spending 6 days at Sec Lake with my dad.  After lots of thought and ideas from the fine folks on this site we opted for the walk-in site on Sec as it seemed to offer the best of what we were looking for.  We checked out the site on Mallard but it only had one decent tent pad.  We also checked out the site on Number One Lake but the short trail to get to the site was quite hilly and we brought lots of stuff (keeping in mind my dad is 70 years old..still going strong but we don't want to push it!).  I left my house in Waterdown at 4:45 am and picked up my dad.  We were up to the Sand Lake gate by around 10:00 after a short pit stop.

We loved the site on Sec Lake.  It was a bit windy as it is out on a point but we tarped the area well and had no issues:
http://i65.tinypic.com/apdwqs.jpg


The view from the site is very nice and wraps all around...
http://i66.tinypic.com/xlgkfp.jpg

http://i68.tinypic.com/1zfnfco.jpg


We did lots of exploring around the area.  We did the drive down to Lake Travers and cooked up a breakfast at the shore, and tried a bit of fishing (no luck as usual!)...
http://i63.tinypic.com/2wom32h.jpg

http://i68.tinypic.com/300wnsz.jpg


We had met up with a Warden the day before as we hiked into Achray past the gate and did part of the Eastern Pines trail.  There were a few workers at the campground and we chatted with the Warden.  He offered us up a bag of wood (super nice of him) and gave some suggestions for hikes and stuff in the area.  After our breakfast at Lake Travers we hiked down the rail bed that follows the Petawawa for some way (we followed it for about 4-5 kms and then came back).  Some beautiful scenery along that stretch and we found a really nice site on Bypass Falls. 
http://i63.tinypic.com/21a0baa.jpg

http://i68.tinypic.com/2roj1gw.jpg




Back at camp we tried out a DIY reflector oven that my d

Trip Reports » 2 nights on Byers - Thanksgiving Weekend (pic heavy) » 10/16/2017 8:39 pm

Steve E
Replies: 5

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Awesome trip report!  The amazing thing about Algonquin (to me) is that every side of the park seems to have such a different landscape to it.  I haven't ventured too much into the southern area of the park but I really like the look of those sandy beaches and open campsites!

Equipment » Reflector Oven? » 10/16/2017 11:55 am

Steve E
Replies: 13

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I think you guys have sold me on one of these!  Thanks for the replies

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