23 February 2014

Simple Winter Shelter

Simple Snow Shelter
Just a quick post about Winter shelters for camping or survival. As long as you have snow, you can have shelter.

This shelter is sometimes called a quinzee or quinzhee. It is constructed by making a pile of snow and then hollowing out the interior. This is not an igloo. An igloo is made from wind hardened snow, cut into blocks; that are then stacked to form a dome. 

For those reading other blogs that tell you an igloo is made from ice blocks, best stay clear of such sites. Ice does not have insulating qualities. Snow, on-the-otherhand, is an excellent insulator.
When constructing a snow shelter try to keep in mind that heat rises. Your sleep platforms, ideally, want to be higher than the top of your entrance tunnel. If you do this, you create a cold well in that tunnel - thus all the cold air will stay there.
Interior Sleep Platform

Next you only want to excavate enough space to live in, no extra space. The tunnel in wants to be just big enough for taking snow out and gear in. The sleep platform(s) want to be at right angles from the tunnel. The entrance opening wants to be on the side with the least amount of wind.

When piling the snow allow at least 20 minutes before hollowing out, so the snow crystals can re-form. An hour would be better if you can afford to wait. Once the interior has been hollowed out, put a candle or lantern inside for 15 minutes to warm up, then remove for at least 15 minutes to "ice up" the interior. You are not really trying to create ice, but the heat-chill cycle will help harden and strengthen your shelter. 

These pictures where taken of a snow shelter I built on a pond some 3 weeks earlier. We had had some very warm weather between the build and returning to take photos and I was impressed the shelter had not collapsed. This unexpected discovery sort of removes the notion that a quinzee can only be used for one night as an emergency shelter. 

In my humble opinion, I also believe that having thicker walls and roof will help the shelter survive longer, as long as there is sufficient time for the snow to settle and the snow crystals to weld together.

Remember, knowing how to build a shelter 
will keep you warm and safe.


More Winter Shelter Pics:  Winter 2015

15 February 2014

Flood Warning Index - Update

Flood Warning Index
Thanks to a little help from my great friends, I am happy to show off my Flood Warning Index. Anyone looking for ideas on how to become more prepared for natural disasters please visit: CanamPreppers.net

If you are at all interested in having folks warned before flood waters swamp a town near you, please share this idea with any and all government types - elected or employed. Maybe one will champion this idea and get it into operation before flood season 2014 begins.  



Original Post: http://mtnmanblog.blogspot.com/2013/08/flood-warning-index.html

Applying Example: http://mtnmanblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/high-river-flood-improvements-spring.html

Well, after speaking with government types and waiting and waiting, it has become evident that if you want something done - you have to do it yourself. Thus the Flood Warning Index. I touched on this topic briefly in an earlier post. Still no action.

So, not wanting another flood season to pass without action I have taken it upon myself to create my own Flood Warning Index. It has a simple colour code - Gray, Yellow, Orange and Red - flood scale. I am currently having challenges getting my spreadsheet image or PDF to paste into my blog. 

The current method of flood warning requests concerned citizens to goto a government website that monitors stream flow in a given geographic region, then select your river basin system and look at a bunch of numbers refering to the volume of water running in the stream. Unit of measure is cubic metres per second. So, the information is out there, but it is far from user friendly. Most folks do not have the time to learn whether 1000 cubic meters a second is a lot of water or not. Unless you are a hydrologist and study water all the time, these numbers are JUST numbers.

In an emergency situation, one of the first parts of the mind to shutdown are the regions used for higher reasoning. Thus, the part of the mind you need most to decipher a stream flow advisory website during a flood is also one of the first parts of the brain that shuts down. When you need it most it is not available.

Flood Warnings, like Hurricane Warnings, Tornado Warnings, Tsunammi Warnings; needs to be easy and very clear to understand. RED = BAD, YELLOW = PAY ATTENTION.

I will edit and update my blog as soon as I can get an image of the Flood Warning Index I created.

Pay attention, most folks don't,



Okay, we have an image to work with for now. This is not ideal, but I will make it work.

The Flood Warning Index contains tools for disaster management folks and the public. How does it work?? Glad you asked.

The Colour Bars on the left edge give the quick flood warning. Red is for floods of extreme volume or extreme speed of change. Gray would be issued with the high stream flow advisory. This lets folks know the rivers, they are a risin'! Yellow and Orange provide increasingly bad conditions of water rising and notify the reduction of time being available to do something about the rising waters.

Flood State is a colour & number system to codify the flood. The 2013 flood of the Highwood River may have been a Red 2 or Red 3. This leaves room for possible worse floods in the future.

Flow Rate is a tool for emegency management types to set the river they manage against the Flood Warning Scale. Thus the amount of water to create a Red 3 flood on the Highwood would barely get the Peace River to the edge of the banks. Thus, the scale can be tailored to each river drainage system, but it has to be done before an event.

Advisory Rate is a recommended time interval between radio annoucements about how much water is in a given river near a given town. The quicker the water levels are rising the more often the townfolks should know what is headed their way. This should continue until peak flow is achieved. After peak flow, this should be monitored, incase weather conditions cause a second rising.

Notice to Move is a method to gauge how ready you the citizen should be in a given flood catagory. You have to use your personal knowledge of your location to know if you need to be gone at the first signs of high water or whether you can wait a few hours.

Readiness is a tool for emergency managers to help decide when to give the notice to evacuate a given location.

Precautions is a suggestion for citizens to be ready to go if forced to evacuate. Of course, local emergency management types could introduce a location specific list for their citizens.

Mitigations is a list of suggestions for making landscapes and communities harder to flood. The lower level floods have more items for the local homeowner, where as, major floods require major projects and co-operation from various government levels and departments.

Finally, Safety & Security is a list of suggestions to be done by the homeowner as they evacuate their property. Local emergency managers could create their own list for their citizens.

Now, we just need to share this idea with those in power, light a match under their butts and get a simple Flood Warning Index into action before the 2014 Flood Season begins. I hope this gets viewed far and wide. Spread the word.

Keep dry out there,


2 February 2014

Book Review by GreyGhost

Evenin' All,

The G.O.O.D. Plan - Get Out Of Dodge is making waves. Thank you GreyGhost for your review. I hope you do not mind that I have re-posted it here on my blog.

Thank you,


PS - Drop by The GOOD Plan Blog, we are being noticed on YouTube as well.

Re: Book Review "The G.O.O.D Plan"

Postby greyghost » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:34 am
I bought and read "The G.O.O.D. Plan" directly from the author. Very reasonable price and very professional transaction. Also, great guy to deal with.

That being said, you're likely asking was it worth it?

Simple answer, YES!

The author provides a very well thought out publication with a "Canadian" slant to it which I enjoyed. Many of the books out there are most obviously written by Americans whose access and affinity for firearms is quite apparent. The GOOD Plan is very well done, has a great deal of "common-sense" principles and directions. The basics are covered, which is always good, and there are many tips and suggestions that were new.

Good job on the G.O.O.D. Plan. I look forward to further publications if and when they are available.