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Cold plus Wet can Kill You

Discussion in 'Fiddleback Forge Knives' started by mistwalker, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    A post inspired by some recent testing, which was inspired by some lessons learned pretty early in my life and my childhood of commercial fishing and trapping in a temperate rain forest. Then later on, in my mid teens, seriously reinforced during discussions with doctors about what I had done wrong and why they needed to remove half my toes to save my life. Luckily, thanks to an exchange doctor who had more humanity than the "local" ones interning at Parkland Hospital at the time, my toes were saved as well. But the lessons on cold + wet can = death stuck pretty good. So, having stumbled upon a cool spot on the river side...and being thus equipped naturally based on old lessons, I thought with us going into mid winter in the northern hemisphere I would use the therapy I am putting my leg through to prepare for a new job, in order to put together this post and hope someone finds it helpful in the future.

    In a rain forest, where we have things like freezing rain every winter it is good to be aware of the concept of building a base to keep your tinder materials dry during fire craft. In our modern age, being aware of (and obviously carrying some with you :) ) tinder materials that will burn in wet environments, could serve you far better in a pinch when you need fire right now. I have done several tests of the fat rope Robert sells at the Outpost quietly behind the scenes...thanks to the injured leg. It's a good size, not too hard to work with with cold hands, though I carry some partially separated in baggies for my uses also, it separates pretty easily with a quick twist, it ignites easily with hot sparks from a ferro rod or lighter, and it will burn very well in a wet environment.











    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
    hasco, blue333, TPVT and 12 others like this.
  2. Oyster

    Oyster Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 2, 2011
    Thanks for this!

    And, yes, cold + wet can and will kill you. I am continuously surprised how many of my friends don’t know that it doesn’t have to be anywhere near freezing out for hypothermia to kill you - and my understanding is that, in most cases, it’s not.
    mistwalker and GotSteel like this.
  3. Bmurray

    Bmurray Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 9, 2012
    Good read. Perfect knife for that weather
    mistwalker likes this.
  4. SneezySky

    SneezySky Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 23, 2017
    Good message to get out there. Thanks
    mistwalker likes this.
  5. lmalterna

    lmalterna Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 12, 2002
    Always on point !!

    Hypothermia can kill at 60F. I keep the end of a road flair in my small kit. If it is an emergency to get a fire going, that is going in my tinder pile ;)

    mistwalker and Nbrackett like this.
  6. Panthera tigris

    Panthera tigris Street Samurai Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 21, 2012
    Wool will keep you alive as well if you can get it. Even while wet.
    mistwalker and Tekton like this.
  7. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    Rewarming drill. https://www.sitkagear.com/experience/a-navy-seal-rewarming-drill

    Obviously a lot can go wrong with this, you'd have to test your layering system in a controlled and supervised manner to make sure you have it right and if you do get it wrong you won't freeze to death; there's someone not soaked down to help if you started to slip into hypothermia. Then you'd have to be sure to adhere to that system each time in the woods including the tents and heat sources. There's also clearly a high level of fitness in these guys, and last if you are also injured or for some other reason can't move at a reasonable pace then this won't work.
    mistwalker likes this.
  8. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thank you, glad you liked the post. Yeah, temp is not the only factor so it can fluctuate.

    Thanks man :) You have my sympathy. The damage done to my Achilles Tendon in the accident has been the most painful part and is taking the longest to heal.

    Thanks man, glad you liked the post.

    Thanks Bill. Yeah it was a subject that came up with friends at a local store the other day. A couple of the guys that work there are hunters, and we were talking about the weekend of freezing rain and hunting. Seemed like good post material after the discussion :)

    LOLOL I guess If I get much more urbanized than I have been already this year, then I may have to start trying to make enough to afford wool suits :D

    Serious training there.
  9. Panthera tigris

    Panthera tigris Street Samurai Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 21, 2012
    Haha I was thinking more like a point blanket. Standard issue for warriors in many cold climates.
    mistwalker likes this.
  10. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007

    LOL, I know man. I have a friend from Canada, Rick Marchand, (Andy and a lot of the other guys here know him also) who has discussed the virtues of wool in cold wet conditions in the W&SS section a few times over the years. I was just expressing a little of my annoyance at being stuck in an urbanized environment for so long lately with the injured leg. Hiking is just now becoming feasible again for me, for which I am very thankful with the advent of the new knives in AEB-L to be field tested and photographed now.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
    Panthera tigris likes this.
  11. Panthera tigris

    Panthera tigris Street Samurai Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 21, 2012
    If Rick and Andy and you know him, he is a good candidate for a beer around a fire.
  12. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    I'm sorry Jarrett, I punctuated that one wrong. Rick is the friend. I met @Rick Marchand through a mutual friend I had met online a couple of years before becoming a member of Blade Forums. He became an online mentor in some specific subjects and then we became friends. It was Rick who who introduced me to this forum and the W&SS section years ago.
  13. Rick Marchand

    Rick Marchand Donkey on the Edge Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 6, 2005
    Can I still come around for that beer?

    Since moving to the Canadian Atlantic Region, I have put wool to the test. With the wet environment around here, you have to be aware of hypothermic(spellcheck says this isn't a word) conditions. There is a reason why you still see fisherman in those big wool sweaters. Mind you, a good set of rain gear will not go unused but it's what underneath that counts.

    Great post, Mist. A valuable skill to have in your toolbox, brother.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
    mistwalker and Oyster like this.
  14. TPVT

    TPVT Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 14, 2012
    good stuff mist. and, i have been wondering about that fat rope, so i appreciate the feedback. :thumbsup:
    mistwalker likes this.
  15. Pàdruig

    Pàdruig Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 1, 2016
    I enjoyed your post and the pictures are simply fantastic! I find your fire-in-a-puddle quite intriguing and raises quite a valid point. Being able to create warmth in the wettest of environments is an extremely important skill to hone. One I should practice more and become more adept at. The Pacific NW isn't exactly the driest of places...

    I am a huge fan of wool, for reasons some have already stated. I generally wear it whenever I venture out, excepting perhaps the very warmest of seasons. Hunting, hiking, fishing, etc. Kind of expensive at first but it just can't be beat for its insulating and wicking properties. I've found it to be invaluable whilst bow hunting. It can provide warmth without too much bulk and it isn't a noisy material.

    I'd say the Highlanders had it quite right and knew what they were about with all that wool they sported once upon a time. :D (Yes, this is a picture of me from a few years ago. Another one of my interests/hobbies - Living History) All the wool I am wearing is particularly hot in the summer heat (layers are key and 18th century was all about "layers"). At night though, when it became considerably cooler, all I did was wrap the plaid about me and I could fall asleep anywhere, which is something Scottish Highlanders would do when abroad.

  16. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Sure you can, I have a few in the fridge now. I'll only ever be coming up your way in mid summer lol.

    Thanks man :)

    The fat rope works very well.

    Very cool. I used to help design weapons for some guys involved in our local Society for Creative Anachronism.
    TPVT likes this.

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