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One Night Out Tillamook Forest - Review & Pics

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by TapRackNGo, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. TapRackNGo

    TapRackNGo PNW Well-Known Member

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    So, yesterday a buddy and I went towards the coast range for a night out without sleeping bags or comfort items. Our wives dropped us off at 10am and kissed us goodbye and left. We had no car or way out except to walk. We have taken a few survival courses and felt pretty confident that we would be ok for the most part. I was up in the woods a few weeks ago and it was extremely wet. I knew we would have to get fire going and keep it going all night to stay warm. We both know how to find pitch wood or fatwood in the woods. But with this much rain, finding good quality pitch wood is not easy. Most of it has some sort of moisture this time of year. We brought a few items to make fire a bit easier to get the initial light. Weather this weekend was very windy, very wet, constant heavy rain. We knew this beforehand but decided to take on the challenge.

    Items taken:

    Backpack Kifaru Zulu (worked well, never got wet inside bag)
    Benchmade Griptilian folder knife
    Gransfors Bruks small forest axe (broke mid day) See below
    1 heat sheet (may have cut the wind a bit)
    a couple cotton balls (plain) to catch the first flint strike (used 2)
    small slab of dry quality pitch wood / flint
    canteen and micropur tabs
    1 bag beef jerky
    1 small packet oatmeal


    leather Aussie boonie cap (worked well for rain and fanning coals back into a flame)
    1 wool stocking cap (great for night time)
    Gaters (REI) worked well to keep the wet off the lower legs, but soon I was soaked anyway
    Carhartt cotton pants (dried quickly next to fire) yes, I wanted to test cotton.
    Wool socks (worked great)
    Red Wing boots (worked well supported ankles)
    Short sleeve poly shirt
    Columbia fleece
    Jacket Shell: Marmot Precip (was wet inside maybe from heat, or soaked through)
    brought Smart wool long johns but did not use them.

    After our wives dropped us off we walked about a mile up to the top of the mountain and found a nice secluded area away from logging roads to build a shelter. It was pouring, we were already soaking wet. It was one of those days that had a couple inches of rain. Just miserable.
    photo2_zps7006547d.jpg photo3_zpsa7c5d0b5.jpg photo4_zpse68f242e.jpg photo7_zps8fd1eaa7.jpg photo5_zpsb37a89f0.jpg photo6_zpsd40a6e03.jpg

    We started gathering materials to make a lean to. What took the longest was finding enough branches for the roof thick. This took an amazing amount of time and energy. Definitely see the value in carrying a tarp.

    After we got the frame and roof up, my buddy started gathering wood and working on the fire. It was raining so hard all day and night. He was trying to cover his tinder with his body because of all the rain. trying to split wet wood, to get to the center and split the dry stuff in a storm was very hard. It took quite a few tries before he finally got ignition.

    The logs on the ground towards the back of the shelter was what I tried to sleep on. Yeah pretty hard, wet and uncomfortable. We slept maybe 1/2 hour. In that time I melted my canteen.


    My Gransfors Bruks small forest axe broke half way through the day. I was pretty disappointed I did not hear anything like a tink where it might have hit a bullet maybe lodged in a tree but we were far off the beaten path, I really think it was just a weak spot in the metal. Lets hope they will understand or offer some sort of warranty. UPDATED: They did send me a brand new one, turn around time was a couple weeks.

    What we learned:

    1. Wear gloves, our hands were beat up after just a short time. The wood has little hair like slivers I am still digging
    out of my hands, stomach and back and neck from handling wood.

    2. Rain SUCKS, but our shelter was sort of water proof. It took about 3 hours to construct. Still not as good as a tarp.

    3. Wind sucks, we slept very close to the fire. My canteen was right next to me and it melted. Many times I woke up and my buttons or zipper were way to hot to handle. I actually had blisters on my knee from the fire but never felt it till I got home. We slept about 2 ft from the fire at all times, many times we were way to hot, had to move and turn to dry out because rain would come through the shelter a bit. The logs we laid on were cold and wet and full of hair like slivers. The pine needles we used for the roof, dried out and if you bumped the roof a million of them would fall down your back from the fire. And the rain would start to come in.

    4. A huge log fire can go down very quickly if you don't stay on top of it with pouring rain. We were constantly having to split more wood and shove it underneath to fill the gap. Part of the reason was it was a 6 ft fire, but only 3ft was level, then ends were higher creating a void in underneath in the middle. If we had shovel we could have made the fire pit flat since the longs were 6 to 7ft long. We used about 15 logs 6ft long for about 10 hours of fire. Not all were quality, some were a bit soft which held a ton of water. We were constantly trying to dry them out next to the fire before burning. It was a constant chore to stay warm. The rain soak logs and rain falling kept sucking the heat out of the fire.

    5. At 4am we cut our last few logs that we were laying on to get the fire going again and sat on our backpacks till it got light. Between 4am and daylight can take a long time when its very windy and rainy.

    6. A tarp is worth its weight in gold to keep rain off your head. We built the shelter just for fun, but a tarp would have been so much easier. If we had more time we would have built a log bed off the ground, but we ran out of daylight. We took micro naps after about 2am, maybe slept a total of 1/2 hour. We were back up working on the fire full time at 4am to keep the fire going. It took 1 1/2 hours to get the fire roaring again from a 3ft bed of coals back to a good fire after we split everything up. The rain is just no fun, everything was so wet.

    7. Keep pitch wood on you, you never know if you will be able to find quality stuff when the weather is really bad.


    Initially, we were going to stay for a couple days. After my axe broke, the constant rain and lack of things to do we felt we learned what we needed to. That was it's exhausting work when its just dumping rain. Trying to keep a fire going for a long time is a constant battle for wood, heat and maintenance. Finding a patch of pine trees would be good for bedding, but the little we found had to be used for the roof. There was no way to support your back or stay comfortable when things are this wet, its pretty miserable as we knew it would be. But we survived, kept a fire going all night and had a good shelter.

    A small .22 rifle would be good for small birds or squirrels. I did eat a 2 inch grub crawling out of a log, tasted like popcorn after being cooked. My buddy ate a snail that had a swamp flavor. We could smell elk passing by in the middle of the night which was cool.

    I posted this thread a couple years ago on another forum, but thought some would like to read it here.

    That's about it, tired and sore but had a good experience.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
  2. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    Nice report - thanks for posting. Sorry to hear about your axe, but glad they replaced it. I have the same one.

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    You guys 'Walked the Walk' and have my total respect. A couple years ago I posted about how it is a good idea to occasionally grab your BOB and do just this - I used to do it routinely many years ago and a lot of what you reported on brings back memories - especially the cold and wet part. You guys no doubt learned much are will be much better prepared next time. AND as I originally suggested stay out for several days next time - that puts a whole new reality on things - Heck I might have to join you on the next outing!
  4. Mutoman

    Mutoman North Bend Active Member

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    Great post. This is what most of us should be doing to prepare and test our equipment, especially those of us who are much older and haven't tested our fortitude of survival since we were kids.
  5. gunnails

    gunnails Hillsboro Active Member

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    Thank you for sharing this.
  6. 19 Adam

    19 Adam rural Clackamas County, Oregon Active Member

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    Great experience.

    Everyone should do a shake-down cruise with their bug out equipment.

    As I have found out, everything sounds better sitting in your warm, DRY house.

    Three of us tried to build a log cabin up in the Tillamook forest. We hiked in on a hot summer day and set up camp next to a great trout stream off the Wilson River. We cut the first row of logs for the one room cabin that we had planned on using as a base camp for our fishing and hiking in the future. Everything took 10X longer than we thought. We put up two rows of the cabin, and were working on the third row, not realizing that even in a forest it takes a long time to find the right trees. Then the coastal rains hit.

    We had pup tents and plenty of supplies, everything the three of us could carry, and knew rain may be a problem. After the second day of solid, non-stop, rain we were eating raw trout warmed over our feeble fire. All our cloths were soaked and so were our sleeping bags and food. We were defeated as there was no end of rain in sight and no way to get dry without sunshine. We packed up and started the long walk out to the main highway. This experience, back in 1973, helped shape my future preparations. I'm glade my first defeat was while I was only a sophomore in high school. This misadventure made the future trials more bearable and better prepared me in choosing the right equipment.
  7. jp1985

    jp1985 Linn County, Oregon Active Member

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    Looks like you had fun and learned some good things about being out in the wild. And yeah also sorry to hear about your axe.
  8. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    There is just no way to learn about misery except misery! Great post! I was amazed about your axe breakage.
  9. 2Wheels4Ever

    2Wheels4Ever Portland Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer

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    I want to do the same thing, just not in the winter haha.
  10. mrblond

    mrblond Salem OR Well-Known Member

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    now we know how Les feels on a vacation :laugh:

    OREGON FALER Springfield, OR. Active Member

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    Good write up man. question though, Is that the first or second Gransfors Bruks axe you've had do that to you?
  12. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Nice writeup, and pictures!

    Every year I do an annual camp/hunt up on some family property in norcal. Last year (2011) we had 7 solid days of cold, wet snowy weather. We were relatively well prepared, and as a consequence we didn't cancel, and after 2 days pretty much just got used to it.

    A few things we found you need, pretty much no matter what the weather (save blizzard conditions): Fly strips, a good set of work gloves (we all prefer the mechanix fastfit gloves), a sharpening stone (a must for dull axes), and paper/cloth rags towels. Stuff that helps with inclement weather: waterproof boots, wool socks (usually you wear a cotton pair close to your skin, with wool over it), a rain suit.

    I half expected some severe weather on this trip, so I went overboard, bringing extra tarps, my big tent, easy up. We both managed to stuff all our gear in our respective vehicles (me in my cherokee) and leave room for 2 more people (who never showed). Either way, having the extra stuff to provide room to get warm and dry. I also brought along my zodi hot water heater, so we did have hot showers, and a bucket toilet (nearest flush toilet is 3 miles away, a trip that usually requires two vehicles, preferably with 4wd in the snow/rain)

    This was my setup:


  13. TapRackNGo

    TapRackNGo PNW Well-Known Member

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    I have broke 2 Wetterlings, and 1 Gransfors Bruks axe.
  14. slightly disturbed

    slightly disturbed Oregon City Active Member

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    This scores major points in my book! kudo's to you guys for doing it, it takes guts. Also some of the reasons that you mentioned above are the reasons that I carry a E-Tool, Gerber machete and a small Fiskars camp axe in my bag. worth there weight in gold.
  15. Bushman

    Bushman Auburn, WA Active Member

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    Awesome thread. I used to do the same thing when I was younger, but haven't in a while. I've literally done it with nothing but what I could carry in a buttpack. That tarp/space blanket combo made it a lot more bareable. No fire, but it kept me warm wrapped in it laying on the ground in the mountains. Woke up next morning and kept going to my destination! All I ate was coast guard rations and water from my hydration pouch. Blah.

    ETA: I was actually going out for a day hike but found myself lost in the woods on a scamble rather than a trail at 1 AM, trying to find my way either to my destination or back down. I decided to stop where I was before it got worse/more lost and wait till daylight. When it got light out I found the trail again and kept going to my destination. It was a good experience. I'll tell ya I ditched the rifle and LBE real quick. Went on with my pistol and camelback alone, besides what I had in my pockets. Real eye opening experience. All the people who think they are going to carry 30 loaded AK mags in SHTF in the hills are going to be ditching them real quick. I was in good shape but the terrain was killer! This is coming from a guy who has sone 16 mile ruck hikes with rifle and LBE. Believe me, in the mountans staying dry, warm, hydrated, and fed are enough of a chore you won't want to fuss with moving around with all that extra weight. Pistol is king. That and I switched to a platform with lighter ammo...
  16. Mutoman

    Mutoman North Bend Active Member

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    My buddy and I spent almost an entire summer roughing it in the woods when we were in high school. We would go out for about two weeks, have one of our parents scheduled to pick us up, come in, take a shower, have some real food for a few days, and go back out for a couple more weeks. We found we could not carry enough food to last for two weeks so we would hunt and fish, rather successfully, for our food. When the summer was over we had a fairly nice camp with a shelter built from small trees we had cut down and some metal corrugated siding we had salvaged from an abandoned property a few miles walk from camp. I was a chubby kid at the beginning of the summer, at the end I had lost 60 pounds and was in good shape. I think that kind of living would kill me now though. :laugh:
  17. BANE

    BANE Battle Ground WA. Well-Known Member

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    I've wanted to do the same thing. Good reports, make me wanna go even more..
  18. HansC

    HansC Portland Member

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    This is really great to see. I lived on the Umpqua River, about 40 miles from the Oregon coast, for 2&1/2 years, without electricity, address , vehicle, driveway, mailbox, or a host of other conveniences. Really appreciate you going out and putting up with mother nature. I really like this forum, but sometimes I am frustrated when folks respond to gear tips or advice dismissively, spouting common survival lore as an easy solution. I have no doubt you understand the gravity of inclement weather without a lifeline to civilization. My bug out bag isn't a bag at all, but a 2 wheeled, plywood box with a handle I can grab or affix to a bicycle. It let's me carry far more weight if I need to transport an injured person, or haul water or construction supplies or salvage. I can strap it to my back if I have to, but I really appreciate wheels. I used front wheels from children's bicycles, the box is about shoulder width and nearly four feet long.
    I personally like to use a welder's sparker to start a fire. Push a cotton ball right into the cup. Even if your hands are frozen and useless, dropping it on the ground, tipping it sideways between your feet, and stepping on it will start a fire. I carry a tinder box (a wide mouth plastic jar) with tinder and fuel, with duct tape straps on the jar and lid so I can open it with numb hands if need be. Tinder boxes used to be a common carry item back when building a fire was more important.
    I'm really glad you posted this. Survival situations are rarely expected, but a bad fall when hiking or finding out your truck has been stolen after a day of hunting can land it in your lap. I'm glad you were honest about how hard it was to get comfortable or sleep despite great gear, a big fire, and a shelter built in daylight. Hopefully, folks will take notice and get some perspective. You really merit a lot of respect. More people should get out like this. I bet 90% of people here haven't been more than 5 miles from their vehicle when venturing outside.
  19. Silver Fox

    Silver Fox Puyallup, WA Well-Known Member

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  20. Fisher Bill

    Fisher Bill Tigard Member

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    Great thread and a lot to think about, it's been 35 years since I was a boy scout and we knew then that whatever you can pack is all you can bring besides knowledge.

    I went bank fishing with the dog in Tillamook this last fall from the tide waters and spent the night in the back of my long bed, fierce wind and rain all night and didn't sleep well, after the tide changed and I was a third of the way back home the fuel pump went out in my truck.

    I had my BIB and plenty of food but was glad to flag down a ride and get help (AAA) but it really make you think of how uncomfortable it would be to rough it even for one night.

    I think a good thread would be 'Show us your bag and contents' to give others good ideas on what to include in case your in a disaster situation and trying to get to your meet up spot.