Survival belt

Although the temperature was only -8c last weekend, the sun was out and so we decided to have a bbq.  We cleared away the snow from the side of the house, and put out some chairs and reindeer skins to sit.


One of my belts split in half yesterday, so I have decided to use the buckle to make a “survival belt” out of reindeer leather.  A survival belt is hollow in the centre, and allows you to keep items inside.  People have even used this type of belt to carry a bow-saw blade.  In the picture below I have have run a thin bead of glue in the crease to help maintain the fold.


It will put up a picture here next time once it is completed.  I am already debating what to put in it; cord, fishing kit, sewing kit, matches and so on…

My “Harlton hacienda”

I learnt a lot about Mors Kochanski’s invension “The Super Shelter” when I was on his winter survival course in 2006.


There is a lot of work that goes into its construction, and so one of Mors’ understudies (Kelly Harlton) devised a simplified version, that can easily be carried and set-up.  How the shelter works is explained in the video

I have now made a Harlton  Hacienda which I can use in conjunction with my Thermarest Ultralite cot.

To make mine I have  used;

  • a piece of Mylar Survival Blanket
  • my new silnylon tarp which I made
  • 0.6mm thick plastic sheeting (2x – 2m x 5m which I have taped together.harlton-hacienda

I used Aluminium tape around the edge of the Mylar survival blanket to help give it strength, as they tear so easily.

I could only buy plastic in a 2m width, so I have to use a special tape to tape together two sheets of 5m x 2m sheets to give me a sheet that was 5m x 4m (5m x 5m would be even better).

This is how it looks once up.


and with my cot inside


Here is a view from the side, which shows that a fire should be made one pace away from the front of the shelter.


The outer temperature and the amount of equipment you have with you, dictates the size of fire required.  So if you have a sleeping bag with you, you might only use a small fire to add a little extra heat inside, but if you have no sleeping bag you would require a long-log fire which will generate much heat.


The shelter packs down small and weighs about 1.2kgs.


Trying new kit.

At the end of last week the temperature dropped again and was in the low 20’s.  Yesterday however it was +8 degrees.  This really is a very strange winter!!

Now I have all the parts to my Thermarest cot, I wanted to sleep out and test it.


I also bought an unused second-hand Thermarest NeoAir Xlite from Sweden’s equivalent to Ebay to use in conjunction with the cot.

The NeoAir XLite mattress delivers more warmth and comfort per ounce than any other three-season air mattress available. Our patent-pending technologies deliver that performance with minimal weight and less bulk than a one-liter water bottle. Softer fabrics bring better next-to-skin comfort and a boost in durability, all with no added weight. For the discerning alpinist, thru-hiker or backcountry minimalist who’s counting every ounce, there is simply no better choice to assure the kind of rest you need to enjoy tomorrow. Stuff sack and repair kit included.

  • Ultralight: Advanced fabrics and a tapered design make this the lightest 3-season backpacking air mattresses available, with no peer in its warmth-to-weight ratio.
  • Warm: Patent-pending, reflective

NeoAir™ Mattresses

In this patent-pending application, we vary the location and number of ThermaCapture layers within each NeoAir mattress to meet specific warmth targets. Combined with Triangular Core Matrix construction, a single ThermaCapture layer can boost warmth by up to 50% and creates the unmatched warmth-to-weight ratios offered by a NeoAir mattress.

” data-original-title=”ThermaCapture™”>ThermaCapture technology traps radiant heat while

Triangular Core Matrix™

Our most advanced design uses patent-pending technology to minimize heat loss with two stacked layers of triangular baffles, creating hundreds of individual cells in our warmest mattresses. Simultaneously this internal structure adds an unmatched level of stability to every NeoAir mattress.

” data-original-title=”Triangular Core Matrix™”>Triangular Core Matrix construction minimizes convective heat loss–all without the bulk, weight or durability issues of down and synthetic fills.

  • Comfortable: 2.5” (6 cm)-thickness, soft-touch fabrics and baffled internal structure provide unrivaled stability and support.
  • Ultra-Packable: Low-bulk materials make the XLite mattress the most compact NeoAir mattress ever – as packable as a water bottle.
  • I am very impressed with the NeoAir Xlite as it packs down small, is incredibly light, but is also thick and comfortable.  It is however quite noisy (especially when it is really cold).

    I dug a “snow grave” to sleep out in, but the temperature dropped to -22C and my down bag is only good at around -12C, so I decided to put a reindeer skin roof on to help hold some heat
    The grave was just large enough for the cot.
    I also used a Gortex bivi bag, which was a big mistake because as vapour exchange properties of Gortex does not work below -15, a thick layer of ice formed on the inside of the bivi bag and on the outside of my down bag.
    The cot and sleep mat worked really well and I was not cold on my underside at all, but the upper part of my body was really cold!!
    The day light is getting longer now and there have been some beautiful sunrises and sunsets during the last few days, but unfortunately this has been the only one I have been able to capture.