Re Nuclear heater for expeditions

Brian D Williams (
Tue, 6 Jan 1998 09:06:59 -0800 (PST)

From: Arjen Kamphuis <>

>last week I was again confronted with the problem of keeping the
>inside of my little dome-tent to an agreeable temperature while
>there was a blizzard going on outside (temperature someting like
>-25 C). I know, it's completely illogical to want to camp at
>12.000 feet at newyear but humans do things because they _want_
>to, not out of neccesity.

First, Insulation is the key, having a top quality sleeping bag is
a must, in case of emergency we don't want you going prematurely
cryonic on us.... ;) A good insulation choice would be to carry a
second dome tent slightly larger than the one you intend to stay
in, (1-2" is best) you erect your tent inside the other, you'd be
amazed at how well this works.

Is there snow available? Build a Quinzee, which is the loose snow
version of an igloo. Just make a big pile of snow with whatever is
available: shovel, snowshow, hubcab, cardboard (were talking
general survival now) be sure to dig a couple of feet down, the
trick to a quinzee is that snow forms layers at different
temps/water content, when you mix it all up in a big pile it will
freeze solid, and can be easily hollowed out. I've built these at
the military cold weather facility at Bridgeport Nev at -60 at
14,000 feet. If your down in the woods, you can stick a couple of
dozen twigs a foot or so long in the snow to act as 1' guides when
you hollow it out. These babies can be kept well above freezing
inside. We forget what a great insulator snow is, it's only fault
is that its an insulator that starts to melt at 0 degrees C.

Second is to eat properly, no dieting here, calories like crazy...

Third is to drink enough water, cold fools the body into
dehydration, a liter per 20 kilos body weight per day is needed
(like the metric bit?) just to stay even, more to stay comfortable.
The best thing to do if you feel chilled? Drink water. (no alcohol)

Okay, Fourth, you mentioned lighting the stove, not bad, but be
sure to be heating something, melting water is best of course since
its one of your most essential needs, even if you have enough
water, heat some more. Check to see if the maker of your stove has
a separate catalytic heating attachment, you'll burn much less
fuel, much lower emissions and get lots more heat.

When I was a boy-scout, they used to have these really neat pocket
catalytic heaters, the big model was the size of a small paper back
book, you'd state the element, and close the lid (they looked like
big zippo lighters) then drop it into a red flannel pouch and pop
it into your pocket. I don't know if there still made, I've got a
friend who's a scoutmaster checking on it.

Now, electricity! There are a number of manufacturers making
ruggedizeds (sp?) solar panels, you could put it on the outside of
the backback, and charge while climbing! The beauty of it is that
it would get more efficient the higher you go!

Member,Extropy Institute