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[pct-l] more stuff from the ultra list

Date:    Thu, 30 Sep 1999 10:47:02 -0400
From:    Raymond P Zirblis <rzirblis@NORWICH.EDU>
Subject: Re: Fastpack Question

         My ears always perk up at fastpack discussion, having logged many
hours of comfortable and uncomfortable sack time outdoors. I had a few
comments:  Regardless of the sleeping system employed, a light
  balaclava or hat, gloves, and dry socks will far extend
the comfort range. Other gear can be used in combination to the same
effect: Wear a stuff sack as a hat, put spare socks on your hands, jam
  feet inside your pack, etc. If you have the grub, a snack before bed
will help stoke the fires. And, yes, don't be bashful--cuddle right up to
your sweaty, smelly companion. Those of more polite company can sleep
head to foot. If you are cooking and can afford the fuel, fill your water
bottle with hot water and park that against your belly or feet.
         The other important thing is to get as much insulation as possible
under you. In a regular camp ground or trail head, scavange all the trash
and paper you can find. Those Sunday NY Times one finds left behind are
perfect under and over one's body. Cardboard is good, too.  Before
low-impact camping, beds of leaves and pine boughs were made, and in an
  emergency situation will do the job. Any extra gear on hand--med kit, baggies of granola,
shoes, freeze dried food--can be laid out under you as further insulation.
If on malleable ground, dig hip and shoulder hollows to add
comfort. It is also worth paying attention to environmental factors and
assessing the best place to sleep, assuming one has a choice. If one
isn't going low impact or the campsite is a mess anyway, there are lots
of tricks one can play with fire to keep warm and amused.
         As with so much, attitude makes a difference. Most runners are
already well-schooled in handling their self-pity. A person can sleep out
soaking wet or on snow. One can doze standing up if it comes to that. I
hope this doesn't come across as macho. It's just that whatever we
experience for recreation, other people have had to go through for real
and much worse. Given that I have the precious element of choice, I
feel I shouldn't grouse and should make the best of the situation.
         If it's just too dammed cold, rouse your companions and get some miles in,
then take a long siesta during the heat of the day. There's no rule that
says one has to sleep when it's cold and run when it's warm. Trade those
frosty early morning hours when one might be awake and shivering anyway
for a travel time and a noon to two pm cat nap on a sunny rock. Hope
this is of interest.
                         Ray Zirblis
                         Montpelier VT

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