During our winter survival course you will be navigating aross arctic landscapes by ski or snowshoe and sleeping in shelters that you have constructed yourself. You will have a very exact kit list to follow and will not be able to take anything else with you, including supplementary snacks or extra clothing. Hence, please follow the list exactly. Practical training sessions will be provided at various locations along the route and the aim is for you to develop sufficient skills and confidence to be able to survive with minimal equipment and clothing, should you ever find youself in a winter setting.
Fatigue, hunger, pain, thirst and even a measure of fear are, to an extent, routine features of an expedition. Few people, however, will ever experience a true survival situation when life and death hang in a fine balance and all other concerns become secondary. Nowadays, most survival situations are played out in the course of hours and days rather than weeks and months. However, developing skills and knowledge in the art of survival will still give confidence when heading into a wilderness situation. So too will practicing how to deal with situations in which you will need to be resourceful and have the will to adapt, improvise and overcome.
In this course we will look at the degree to which your equipment choices, physical condition (health & fitness, stamina, acclimatisation to altitude, cold, heat etc, reserves), knowledge and skills (adapt, improvise, overcome), and 'will to survive' (courage, determination, resourcefulness, tenacity, team-spirit, humour, faith) all play a key role in survival. The arctic environment has particular threats and demands and people travelling through the northern wilderness should have reasonable contingency plans, reserves and communication & evacuation plans in place to cope with likely problems.
Gear List for the Winter Survival Course
* Underwear (no cotton)….thermal top and bottoms.
* Windproof hooded jacket and pants
* Headgear that protects both the forehead and ears
* Gloves or mittens
* 2 pairs of socks (eg liners and thicker ones – no cotton)
* Ski boots (the choice of bindings depends on the ski)
* Boot covers if necessary
* Skis (forest, fell or telemark skis and climbing skins if you have them)
* Poles with big baskets
* Backpack or pulk
In Backpack / Pulk
* Spare thermal layer
* Warm midlayer (eg fleece / wool / powerstretch). No cotton.
* Outer layer for popping on and off or for when not moving when eg ice fishing (eg down * or synthetically insulated jackets and pants / overall)
* Camp booties if necessary (eg felt boots – hut booties not enough)
* Warm hat and warm mittens for wearing in camp / when still
* Spare socks
* Balaclava / Scarf / Buff
* Winter sleeping bag good for -30C (or you can take two to be used on top of each other if you don’t have a very thick one)
* 2x sleeping mattresses. Either 2x closed cell foam mat or 1 closed cell foam mat and one air mat
* Space blanket if you have one (not the disposable one)
* A container to eat from
* A container to drink from
* Thermos flask
* Drink flask
* Head torch plus spare batteries (if you can keep your batteries inside your clothes, that will help)
* Puukko (knife)
* Something to make fire with (eg matches, packed and waterproofed in a ziplock)
* Shovel for making snow shelters
* Small first aid kit (Choose yourself but eg think about compeed, sports tape, plasters, disposable space blanket, pain / stomach pills as you think you will need).
* Smokers, please leave the cigarettes behind.
* You can take a camera with you at your own risk
You are not allowed to take any of your own food with you but if you like, you can take your own stove with you.
FYI: ** It is very important that your shoes are not too small. They should rather be one or two sizes bigger than normal so that there is room for air to add insulation between your socks.