Press Here to Return to Frugal's HomePage
To Return to Frugal's Home Page: Press Here!


For winter, fall and spring season your shoes or boots MUST be 1/2 to 1 point bigger in size.

So as to fit well without being tight your extra wool sock & should also fit well the extra felt sole or newspaper soles even hay sole that you could put in.

One pair of big wool sock is not as good as 2 small ones, the air insulates a lot better with 2 pairs but requires more space.

If your shoes are tight forget about long walk in winter etc., you will freeze. In a true way it is better one size too big than too small.



REMEMBER again, in order not to avoid freezing one MUST cover his head, even cover your forehead.



In the army after the gun, comes the boots, as next in importance offering the most satisfaction or create worst problems.


When the boot is placed on the foot with 2 pairs of socks, it MUST NOT be the LEAST BIT TIGHT.


In the army after the gun, comes the boots, as next in importance offering the most satisfaction or create worst problems.

Since the majority of hunters walks at least 5 miles a day or 1,750 steps per mile or 8,500 steps or even more the reasons to be well shoed.

This is why it is so important to check carefully any sewing to see that it is done properly so as not to chaff the foot. A boot too big will pierce your socks in a few days & give you blisters.

Too small a boot will give you cold feet even frostbite & compress nails in the skin that will harm you seriously.

It is for all those reasons and more, CAPITAL & ESSENTIAL to choose well your pair of boots.


Should you be able to have them handmade, the USA army tells you how to go about getting a proper sole mould:

Put 2 pairs of wool sock thick ones and holding a weight of 40 lbs lean on one foot only before writing down the size of the foot.

One MUST take in consideration than while walking on one foot we impose an excess weight on the other foot.

One could think that handmade boots made for 2 pairs of socks will be too big in summer, Wrong! The heat will make your feet expand to fill the difference.

You also will avoid bargains boots sales, in good shoes or boots you only get what you pay for, cheap price = cheap boots and much troubles even death.

Here are the qualities that are ESSENTIALS that one MUST check to discover after a careful exam of the outside and inside of the boot.

Straight sewing without flaws and sufficiently far from the edge of the leather is #2 to check.

A sewing that is not perfect will unravel easily and will let water seep in and will rot the leather. If the sewing is too near the edge of the leather it will rip easy.

It needs a supple, soft leather, whatever thickness especially the part covering the Achilles heel but also for the #soufflet#.

Usually a bad boot will hurt the Achilles heal but also the #souflet# too rigid will hurt the big toe extension muscle.

Also the #souflet MUST be sewn a la tige jusqu'en haut de celle-ci#. If not the boot will seep water by the front.

Inside the boot #des entures amenuises# without rough edges even covered of fine #leatherette# particularly on the sewing connecting #la tige au coup de pied# . Such a precaution will protect your socks and your ankles.

The bottom of the boot MUST also be well made. To check, remove the false sole and if the next sole is irregular to the touch, with bumps even worst rivets or nails coming out or in, then scrap it.

A good boot MUST also have a well constructed footing especially at the Achilles heal level. #le coup de pied# MUST not be too highly elevated.

Also to check the outside sole if flexible enough; yet thick enough to supply an adequate insulation. Otherwise the boot will be too hot in summer and too cold in winter.

If you feel small medium pebble, then it's too thin, beware.

It also MUST be non skid type, since the worst kind of boots in bushes is the smooth sole. Which would need to put rivets in order to compensate but rivets in winter will freeze your boots.

A boot should NEVER be more than 12 inches high. Perronally I prefer 10 in. The 14 and 16 in. will hurt your lower calf. So you should avoid them.

Lightness is another ESSENTIAL quality for any good boot.

The Beans Cie makes one that is 1/2 lb than most other Cie. boot. And after 10,000 steps you have saved lifting over 1,500 lbs. thus saving energy and strength. It's well worth considering.

In principle a good pair of boots is waterproof in reality it is not so except rubber boots, but to help them along you MUST waterproof your boots with grease.



And it does not pay to economize when buying them. We talk here of hiking boots.

When you hit the wood, these boots will support the extra weight of your backpack, trying to go in the bush with running shoes is for amateur who love problems, so we don't worry here of masochist. May they: RIP.


Whether it is strong enough to support your own weight plus the pack you will carry. 35/45 Lb max.

So the more weight you place on your feet the more rigid a shoe you need to support that weight.


As a rule of thumb if with your pack on your back you can feel the rocks through the soles as you move over the terrain, then the shoe is not suitable for your weight.

You have 2 choices; buy a heavier kind of shoe or reduce your load.

Think that going for the bush is not just street walking, you really will feel the difference with bad shoes.

The first thing to check is the sole and you really need the Vibram-lugged sole for any serious backpacking.

This type of sole will take you over the easiest or roughest trail with good support and will wear for many years.

Look for a layer of leather just above the sole.

You don't want a lightweight boot that is excellent for ladies but not for man. (No macho, nor macha here.)

For a man who is normally heavier and carries more weight on his pack, a boot MUST have at least 2 layers of leather support between the sole and the upper section.

If you are a heavy person select the biggest and heaviest boots on the rack. It will have several layers of leather laminated together, then sewn as well as glued to the Vibram sole on the bottom. This is the normal method of attaching the Vibram type lugged sole to better hiking boots.

In the maximum boot the heel, midsection and toe of the Vibram sole are sewn into the support leather for added strength. This is the ultimate in the backpacker boot.

Speciality boots for rock climber have also a steel shank running the entire length to give the rock climber the maximum supports he needs from toe to heel.

However it is uncomfortable for backpacking since they will not bend at all. Stick to your guns.

Another factor to check is the lacing method of the boot. Many have the standard eyelet into the leather upper and this method is adequate in lighter boots but as you move in heavier styles they will usually have a "D" ring to the leather upper. Some also incorporate a speed lacing of 2 or 3 hooks on the upper section.

The upper section of the boot is also important. You MUST insist that the upper section of the boot covering your foot & aiding supporting the ankle, be made of full grain cow-hide and made of one piece in the better boots with no seam except at the heel.

NO split cowhide since it will stretch with use and you have no more adjustment.

They do cost less but not worth the saving. Lightweight and medium one have no screws nor sewing to attach the Vibram sole to the upper of the boot as the heavier one does.

In selecting be certain the rivets that hold the "D" rings on the lacing system do not have the bare rivet against the sock or open on the inside of the boot which would become a torture in time.

A good boot will also have a #gusset# of light leather that comes up about halfway on the foot for a dust & dirt barrier and keeps out water when fording streams.

The tongue will be padded and extend above the top of the boot. Many of the boots today have what is called a ski flap that crosses over each side and closes the top of the boot to dirt and dust. Around the ankle the boot MUST also have a Stretch scree guard.

This is a section of foam rubber covered with soft leather such as goatskin that prevents scree (small rocks), dust and dirt from getting on the ankles and into the boot. It also protects the Achilles tendon at the back of the foot from rock abrasion.

The ideal hiking boot for the serious backpacking nuts MUST include all the above statements. (No paid advertising by Vibram.) One final item to ask: woven nylon laces, since leather rots.


ALWAYS wear 2 pair of socks, when trying on a pair of boots since when you are in the field you will wear at least 2 pairs.

The first pair cushions the foot while the heavier pair over them absorbs some of the moisture of the foot and the feet remain dry even in damp weather.

Keep sock dry & clean to avoid chaffing, blisters, frostbite and other niceties alike.

Another reason for wearing 2 pairs of socks is that the foot can move between the 2 pairs. The lighter pair staying with the foot while the heavier pair moves with the boot allowing the socks to absorb any sliding that might occur.

If the foot slides in the boot it can cause rather painful blister. 3rd reason = warmer. American made boot will normally fit better (cm/inches).


Put newspaper as added sole, it does work. Wool is best by far all year around!

Back to spock OOPS socks; you MUST wear 2 pair OK, but why else; the outer wool socks should be long & reach almost to the knee. With these you can pull them up to keep the lower leg warm or roll them down as it warms up.

It is very important to keep your feet warm and dry because if they are cold, heat from the rest of the body will transfer to your feet to warm them and the overall body temperature will drop, making you feel cold all over.


I may shock some experts but to our knowledge there is only one kind of socks in summer as for winter, for hunting or fishing and it is wool socks and the thicker they are the best it is.

Some will protest that in summer they are too much too hot but science proved that a good wool sock will ALWAYS be cooler than a thin cotton one.

If it is really hot your feet badly insulated in a thin sock will literally cook in a shoe under hot baking sun, whereas they will be comfortable in a thicker sock which insulates them better.

This is a principle adopted by all world armies for their soldiers so they know best in that foot soldier field.

One needs at least 2 pairs for summer too, as to be able to change daily and to dry well from water or perspiration.

For all other seasons it is best to have at least a total of 4 pairs since one needs 2 pairs at the time to fight successfully against the coldness of the earth or covered with snow.


When the boot is placed on the foot with 2 pairs of socks, it MUST not be the least bit tight.

The best method to check the fit is to BANG the toe of the boot up against something solid (not the salesman leg, maybe your income tax agent)? then attempt to place a finger down the back of the boot.

If you can not place your index down the back of the boot between the heel and the boot back, the boot is too small, then move one size up ex: 9D/9EE.

Once you have found a boot that allows you to place a finger behind the heel, bang the heel on the floor sliding the heel to the back of the boot.

Now take up the slack in the lacing, starting at the toe, allowing the salesman to take some slack and hand you the laces for you to retain the tension as he pulls them even tighter.

Once properly laced wear them around the store for 5 min. or more. Naturally they will be stiff and cold at first, but will warm up.

Once they have loosened up you will be able to adjust the lacing more if desired. At this point you should be able to move the foot around in the boot without too much looseness.

The toe MUST not come in contact with the boxed tip of the boot and the heel should be firm in the boot.

Better boots will have a padded leather-covered section around the ankle to protect the ankle, as well as provide a better fit. When you are properly fitted the boot will be snug on the foot without being tight. (NEVER!)

Your new boots may look awkward, clumsy and feel very heavy at first, however you will soon become accustomed to walking in them.

The weight will not be noticed after a while, you will begin to walk with somewhat rolling gait, because soles of hiking boots do not bend as readily as normal street shoes.

In selecting boots REMEMBER that you are not buying a modish shoe for street wear but for rug country.

A good hiking boot should absorb most of the shock of the trail, leaving you free to concentrate on the pleasure of the trip.

After buying your hiking boots you should break them in by wearing them around the house for a while before taking off on a back country trip.

Often the scree guard will cause a soreness around the ankle before the boot is broken in, especially with individuals inexperienced in wearing a boot this heavy.

There are 2 methods to reduce this soreness.

The easiest is to lace the boot up to the last 2 holes and tie it there, leaving these last 2 holes free. This allows the foot more freedom as you break in the new boot.

A second method of curing the scree rubbing is

to place a section of moleskin on the ankle at the chafed area. This is only a temporary cure, but will work until the leather of the boot has softened & works to your foot.

NEVER EVER take a new pair of boots on a long trail hike. It has been done but it normally results in some mighty sore feet.

So break them in before take off. These boots should ALWAYS be broken in gradually around the house before hand.

To be certain about your footgear, begin with short jaunts then increase it until you feel certain you are capable of going longer distance.


The care and time selecting a good high boot is lost, if once you bought them you neglect to care for them properly after use.

One of the first things you MUST do to a new pair of boots is to treat them with a leather conditioner or waterproofing material. Ask the salesman what type is best for that particular leather.

If the boot has a smooth leather surface, a standard conditioner such as a boot oil(mink oil) (#huile de pied de boeuf#) (Snow seal) can be used.

If the boot has a rough leather outer surface, it MUST be brushed with a soft wire brush to remove the dirt and dust then treated with a silicone dressing.

The conditioner MUST be worked into the seams and around the welt of the boot, but should not be applied to the composition of the sole.

If oil is used, it helps to warm the boot before applying the oil. After applying the oil, allow it to dry overnight then wipe off the excess.


When wet NEVER dry a boot over a hot fire or radiator or other high heat source.

This type of heat will dry out and shrink the leather in the uppers and in the leather welt, shortening the life of the boot.

Continued use of this method of drying will cause the leather to become brittle and crack beyond salvation.

The recommended method of drying wet boots is to place them in a well-circulated area away from excessive heat with the top of the boot hanging down.

This allows the warm air not heat to enter the boot and since warm air rises it will move to the toe of the boot, drying all parts gradually, when almost dry, set them upright to finish drying.

When completely dried apply leather conditioner to prevent them from cracking.

If they are taken care immediately & dried properly, even if they are thoroughly soaked they are not going to be harmed. Use common sense not old wives tales.


If at home pack them up with newspaper that will absorb 90% of the water during the night, then finish the drying as above or even wear them on; your feet heat will finish the job.


Is to use warm sand, or small pebbles, not too hot, fill your boots with them, wait 1/2 hour then, start anew for another 1/2 hour.

The heat of the sand will dry them. But we repeat not too hot. You don't want to burn or crack the leather by too much heat.

A HINT that is not thought of often is placing boots inside your shelter or at the bottom of your sleeping bag when camping.

This keeps them out of the damp night air-warm and dry for use the nest day. A good well cared of High Boots will last many years.


Most people don't know how to do so, leaving boots on stove or oven at 400 degrees, close to camp fire etc.

Since water comes down then hang your boots sole facing the sky so that water comes out and the warm air that climbs will get in the boot and dry it. To prop the boot up just stick it on a pole, broom, stick etc.

If they are soaked or damp & you happen to have newspaper then make balls of it and stuff tight the boot, it will prevent curling up and will dry most of the water out during one night.

Boots are one of the most important pieces of equipment that you will buy and a little extra money and effort in selection will ALWAYS pay off on the trail where it counts.


2 main types. The first one is a moccasin or sock about 3/4 in thick without opening nor eyes at the front.

A heavy rubber is put over it to complete a fit not really gracious to say the least but practical and comfortable.

There is also a lighter version. It is a felt boot with a rubber heel. #l'empeigne et le coup de pied# are generally covered with #leatherette#, and a rubber especially made for this outfit complete the boot.

It is a truly remarkable shoe by great cold on a frozen ground or covered of dry snow.

Extremely light, really hot, cheap to buy & admirably noiseless for fine hunting tactics. Once the rubber is removed, it also makes a great indoor shoe.

Yet in wet snow they get wet in a hurry, so you just shove them in a big rubber boot that zip at the front, but you need at least a size 2 to 3 point bigger to do so comfortably.


There is also the waist up type of rubber boots, which is very heavy and you sweat like a pig in it, better use as many a fisherman has discovered the modified version which has rubber feet with waterproof tarp trousers, much lighter and nearly as strong and much less hot to go around.

Especially good if you do a lot of fishing in streams, rivers etc. which often get damn cold even freezing nuts.

However it is ESSENTIAL to add non skid soles to it. Some Cie don't, but it is easy to correct this problem.

Just take a correct size of strong tarp really thick at least 1/4 in. or use a piece of rug which you glue to the sole, any good shoemaker will do the job for less than a fin

With such boots you will walk safely on the most slippery rock without problem.


Well, it depends of the use you make.

A forest engineer would need several types composed as follow, a canoe boot made of leather with rubber sole, a leather boot with rivets for summer walk.

A Maine USA boot type for the end of hunting & snowshoes and a pant rubber tarp trouser type for fishing as well as his motocross type of boots.

If you can't afford them all, then the best overall would be the one call by the woodsmen; Boot of Maine USA that has the foot in rubber and the stem in leather often just called "rubbers".


(Not baking in grease!)

You really MUST break in your boots before going into a big expedition so as to MAKE SURE that they will foot the bill and correct the problem or buy a new pair.

Before wearing them you MUST oil them first to make them waterproof.

And consequently you will need more grease if there is wet snow. To proceed you warm up the boot and also the oil.

Don't put oil on frozen leather it wont work but before oiling them you MUST cover the sewing with many coats of lacquer using toothbrush or brush.

Then once dry, oil away using a rag or hands to rub strongly the oil in the leather, then let it dry in a well-aired place for several weeks. Then you put on the heavy grease.


1) 8 oz of Lanolin + 8 oz of paraffin or best bee wax.

2) 12 oz beef or mutton fat + 4 oz. Beaver or cod oil.

3) 1/3 beef or mutton fat + 1/2 #huile de pied de boeuf# .

4) 1/2 paraffin or bee wax + 1/2 # huile de pied de boeuf# / Mix well those ingredients by heating them on low heat.


A new type of insoles has been created for soldiers and can be bought into any good camping stores. They are well worth the extra effort to look into and to buy if you have the chance.

One can order them for now at World Famous Sales of Canada Inc. Willowdale Ontario M2H 2S6 and they cost about $4.00 a pair.

They were used by soldiers during the Korean and Vietnam war to keep their feet warmer and drier and armies today still continue to use these mesh soles.

The mesh insoles create an airspace between the foot and the footwear enabling air to circulate around the foot.

This characteristic keeps the foot warm & dry in winter, cool and dry in the summer.

Its two layers of fine plastic screening are crinkled between three layers of smooth screening.

All layers are then cemented together along the edges to create a thermal mesh insole suitable for most footwear from ski-boots to rubber boots to shoe pack with lines.

They are also completely washable with warm water and soap. Give it a shot; after all soldiers know more about walking then anyone else.


Very easy to do. First draw on a piece of cardboard your foot print adding about 1 cm. all around it.

Next cut into a piece of leather the sole according to your pattern and affix lacing to the sole thus cut.

Then they will be either nails with rivets or staples or simply laced using small holes perforated in the sole outside part.

* Translation needed here*

Note: That the feet are not similar so MAKE SURE you cut the pattern for each foot individually and not of the same pattern.


They have many forms and were used traditionally by Indians of North America. Their style would vary from regions to tribes but they all had several common points.

The upper part was made from tanned leather usually smoked to increase its resistance and the sole was made from soft supple leather.

The Apache style is made from 3 pieces. Using a heavy leather that is tanned and oiled (oil makes it better waterproof) and then you cut the pattern on some kind of paper MAKING SURE that each foot has its own pattern being different one another.

#Batissez les morceaux du patron# and try it out before reporting it on the leather.

The photo pattern is made from the left foot you can reverse it to make it for a right foot but then it is still better to have a pattern for each foot.

Since the leather is a thick one it will then be necessary before sewing it to pierce holes using a nail or a punch (#alene#) or one of those #griffe a trous# sold in leather and art craft stores.

The stitches will be done at the #point de sellier# and the thread will be strongly pulled after each stitches so that it penetrates well into the leather. The stitching as well as being decorative will also be solid and resistant.

MAKE SURE that the holes pierced into the sole be slightly more spaced off that those of the #empeigne et du contrefort#.

This difference permits you to compensate or make up for the superiority of the perimeter of the sole and gives a #effet de fronde#.

Now all you have to do is to make shoe laces as shown above using the same leather as of the moccasins and then you slide them into the slits made into the #contrefort# of the shoe.


1) Put your foot on a cardboard, a Kraft paper and draw your foot with a pen held vertically then draw the pattern of the sole by adding 3 cm to the heel and to the tip and 2.5 cm to the sides and proceed behold to do the same for the next foot.

2) Next you make the pattern of the #empeigne# by adding 0.5 cm to the largest widest part of the foot (line*AB) and add 10 cm. to the distance held between your big toe #et le haut du coup de pied# as seen on line CD*.

3) Next the height of the #contrefort# of the moccasin will be of 10 cm. and its length will go around the ankle and override it by 1 cm. on each side of the #empeigne#. Verify the measures #sur le contour du patron# of each foot.

4) Using a nail or #alene# pierce holes at 0.5 cm. from the edge of the soles and of the # contreforts# #et de l'avant de l'empeigne#.

Space them out at equal distance between them except for the sole where they will be closely made.

5) #La couture au point du sellier# that will maintain the sole to the #empeigne# will be started at the centre of the #empeigne# then will keep on the edges while the stitching that will join the #contrefort# to the sole will be started in the middle of the #contrefort#.

6) To do a stitching #au point du sellier#, thread a needle at both ends of the thread. At the first hole #egaliser les 2 longeurs du fil# and introduce the needles into the following holes going in opposite direction and then keep on going that way till finished.


You can also make Babouche which have the advantage that they don't have any difference between the right or left foot.

Cut 4 soles into some thick leather following the size of your foot. Pierce holes all around and sew 2 thickness together.

Into some leather #decouper le dessus du pied et les contreforts# following the photo. #Couser chaque dessus du pied sur l'envers starting par la pointe# into the same holes that those made for the soles. All you have now to do is to add the heel band.


Clothing is personnal but good backpacking requires durable, warm and lightweight not necessarily sexy and curves showing, as matter of fact the tighter it is, the less they are effective. Warm is the factor #1 to take care of.

Altitude is important, the higher you climb the colder it gets. Yet desert gets real cold at night as well. Most experience packers use the layer system of clothing.


For warm weather you want a pair of hiking shorts but for additional warmth the fishnet full length pants and fishnet T-shirts are warmer than thermal underwear are added to your basic underclothing.

The fishnet act as air trap, on top of which you add a third layer of cotton or better a wool garment. Wool keeps warm even when wet, but not cotton even the best Levy is colder than wool pants.

Surprisingly air is an excellent insulator and if you keep a layer of air trapped between the body and your outer garments you'll stay much warmer.

Thermal underwear are heavier and bulkier and not as warm. Speaking of wool the best and warmest wool is the rabbit.


Any chance of cold temperature? You should ALWAYS carry a down jacket with you, they are lightweight and the warmest garment one can find for now.

When you walk you create heat, but when you stop you should ALWAYS put on a wind breaker to prevent getting chilled.

Should you get cold during walking, cover your head through which you lose 30% of your heat.


Mittens for the hands are the only thing to consider, gloves are for green horns, unless a thin pair inside the mittens + thumb.

It is wise to use the old system of attaching the mittens to a string sewn to the sleeve of the jacket. Thus preventing from loosing them and ready available when you need them. Take the nylon wind type of mittens to cut off the wind.



Wind is very important factor in keeping warm and as a general rule of thumb for every mile or knot of wind blowing you can subtract on e degree for temperature. Ex: A 10F with a 10 knot wind = 0 degree for your body. Bear this in mind.


If you are one of the fortunate types that do not chill easily, a down vest instead of a jacket might do. In fact even with a down jacket it is often wise to also carry along a vest.

But you MUST insist that it is long enough to cover the kidney area in the back.

A vest that comes only to the waist all around is not worth putting in your bag, look for one that comes to the crotch. It offers much more protection and is worth the extra bucks.


No, I am not crazy; Belt can give a chaff point when wearing your pack & besides suspenders also allow air to circulate more freely since they don't constrict the trousers at the waist.


Beside the belt to tie your pants it is often necessary to have a big belt to which you can attach beside the axe and knife, a rope, a cup, a flashlight, and your personnal survival kit.

This is why this belt MUST be strong and large. Use the army web-belt type so that you don't run into troubles.

This also why a good pair of police suspenders can be very useful to keep your pants up. It may not be the latest fashion but in the bush fashion is the last thing one should worry about.


If you have a choice between wool and cotton you should ALWAYS select the wool garments.

They retain heat even when wet. Of course you could be allergic to wool, then when possible wear the wool over your cotton undercoating.


You MUST ALWAYS have a hat or wool stocking cap that can be used as head warmer when you go to bed. No 10 gallons hat!

You can also have the ear muff, because your ears loose lots of heat and they can get frost bitten fast.

Your hat should have a brim to cut the glare from the sun & from the rain. Besides it protects your hair to become a paradise for bugs and twigs of all kinds.


Often overlooked, yet necessary because of much danger from snow or water blindness. They will also protect from dust. In fact they are ESSENTIAL in Northern region against snow blindness.


Using a poncho or a suit or in 2 pieces is a MUST in camping, one gets ALWAYS surprise by an occasional shower.

If you check in motorcycle shop you will find lately that they carry a full body waterproof rain suit that defies rains even on a bike through a rain storm, a bit costly yet very solid and roomy.

But if you hike with it you will find yourself in a sweat in no time, they are hot and replace a tent in case of emergency, except for the head.

Easiest item to forget home, so check your list and leave them in your backpack, so you will not forget them next time.


To be well clothed is one of the most important factor of survival in polar regions. Cold does not leave much time for experimentation.

Your clothing and the way to use them can greatly increase or diminish your chances of survival. Here are some important consideration concerning the clothing.

1) Clothing to tight reduce the air zone protecting your body and also bother the blood circulation.

2) Perspiration is dangerous because it diminishes the insulating capacity of clothing while substituting sweat to the required air layer.

By evaporating the sweat cools down the body. So when you are too hot open your clothing, open at the neck and at the wrist.

3) Feet and hands require a very particular attention since they get cold faster than any other parts of the body.

Cover your hands. To warm them up put them under your armpit, between your thighs or against your ribs.

Because the feet perspire a lot it is harder to keep them warm. Your shoes MUST be sufficiently big so that you can put 2 pair of socks so that they stay dry which is the secret of comfort.

Newspaper helps greatly to do this since they absorb humidity and easy to find. You can also slide between 2 pairs of socks dry grass, moss or feathers.


4) REMEMBER again, in order to avoid freezing one MUST cover his head, even cover your forehead.


5) If you are too hot, open your anorak first, don't remove your hat.

6) If you have an underclothing put on your, #sous-vetement# then put a long sleeve shirt, a wool pant is best, silk gloves under mittens and your anorak with its head.

MAKE SURE that the underclothing #sous-vetement# is made of cotton which will absorb humidity and transmit it to the woollen shirt without getting wet itself.

Silk has the same property. So much the better if you can afford to have socks & gloves made of silk.

You MUST be completely dry when facing great cold. In your boots you should have a felt sole if not then use newspaper which you fold several times to absorb humidity.


To keep the body at comfortable temperature, it is not enough to wrap yourself with all the clothing that you can find, you also MUST control the insulation and humidity.

According to Stefanson the famous Arctic explorer the heat factors in sub-zero temperature are the following;

1) MUST choose tissues favouring aeration, air-flow, (wool) (fur) / 2) MUST wear loose garment / 3) On top you wear parka, anorak etc. which are wind and rain proof or resistant.


In order to do this: Reduce the clothing to a minimum while walking and working, then when idle or stop put them right back.

LONG JOHNS: Dick & Harry!

Wool or cotton net type are your best bet in fall or winter survival.

They trap the heat yet allow air flow, you should carry an extra pair while travelling in your pack they are light weight and can be added to the one you wear if the case arises at night.

REMEMBER NOT to wear the same long john at night than the one during the day if, if possible and wear clean socks also at night as well.

Long-Johns can be in one piece or the new 2 pieces thermal type which is even better.

What is less good is the cotton wool type #cotton ouate# which dries more badly than the first 2 types and becomes less warm & full of balls later on.

So don't forget to have an extra pair for better hygiene and you can ALWAYS fall into water thus the 2nd pair becomes mighty handy even critical for survival.

You really need 2 pairs for all seasons & uses, so as to change everyday and to give a chance to dry well the first pair from rain or perspiration


After much study, it was found that the Alpinist kind of pants are the best, for they are made of wool, dry fast, warm and resistant, far better than jeans which stay wet and cold.

Just as it is important to have the right size and kind of shoes it is equally important to have the right kind of pants and no tight fitting that cuts off circulation and air flow.


You MUST ALWAYS when possible have them with you, to avoid accidents, blisters etc.

The best all around glove is the woollen glove with leather underhand & is warmer with a good grip & better waterproof than the ordinary glove or woollen mitts & dries better than the all leather gloves.


There is this little trick to keep you dry while permitting to walk without noise which is to wear a light rain gear over your Long-Johns then you wear your normal winter wool clothing over it.

It is terribly hot but at least the cold rain or melting snow will not freeze you and the noise stays insulate under the wool.


When inadequately or unsuitably clothed for the situation you can improvise or supplement protection in many ways.

Weaving fibres will only be practical in a long term situation and skins will not be available at first.

Salvage towels, blankets, tablecloths, cushions, seat covers, curtains, sacking from the wreckage-with a bit of initiative any kind of fabric can be used for garments, bedding or shelter.

Improve insulation and increase warmth by adding layers. Wear one sock on top of another and stuff dry grass or moss between them.

Grass, paper, feathers, animal hair etc. can be stuffed between other layers of clothing. Newspapers give an excellent insulation.


Use plastic bags & sheets to improvise waterproof or cut off large sections of birch bark.

Discard the outer bark and insert the soft and pliable inner layer under the outer clothing. It will turn away much of the rain. Other smooth barks that peel easily can be used, but birch is best

In the longer term, improve water-repellent qualities by rubbing animal fat or the tallow from suet into your clothing.

Do not do this in situation of intense cold, where the reduction in insulation would be too great a loss & rain rarely a threat.


NEVER underestimate the heavy wear and tear of rough ground on your feet. Climbing over rock and scree can soon destroy a pair of smart city shoes. High heels and sandals will soon break or wear in rough conditions.

Cut shoe soles from rubber tires, make holes around the edges for thongs to tie them over wrapped feet, or to sew on to fabric uppers.

Several layers of wrapping are better than one on the feet. Tie on with thongs or use a triangular shape.

Fold one point back over toes, make slits in front. Bring other points from behind heel, through slits and tie around ankle.


Moccasins can be cut from a single piece of leather, about 8cm (3in) bigger all round than the actual sole of your foot. Thong in and out around the edges and gather them in over wrapped feet.

Tie off the gathering thongs and weave another back and forth over the foot to make it more secure.

Alternatively, given more time and patience, more traditional moccasins can be made from a thick hide sole, side strips and an upper. Measure around your foot first.


To protect from glare at sea and in snow or desert cut a strip of material, paper, bark but not metal to tie over the eyes or over the whole face in cold climates.

Eskimos often carved goggles from wood. Make narrow slits for the eyes. Add extra protection by blackening the eyes with charcoal to reduce the glare.


The Agave* plant produces fibres for ropes and mats that are too rough for clothing but the end of the leaf is almost ALWAYS a hard point that can be extracted with a fibre attached. It makes a perfectly threaded needle!


1) Tie long leaf strips and fibres around a belt or neck band to hang down as a grass skirt or cape.

2) Cut a head hole in a blanket or carpet & use as a poncho. Tie at waist or thong sides.

3) Small skins are easily tongued or sewn together. Fur on the inside will give greater insulation but on an outer garment the suede side sheds snow better.



Experienced campers have dealt with elements of cold and dampness before and they know their killing powers and how to keep them at bay.

They paid the price for the so called bargain sleeping bags and the weight they save by not including a ground cloth which is a most in any camping at any time.


A well made sleeping bag will mean a warmer, more comfy bed in which to rest while a poorly made bag can keep the tired hiker up all night and even leave him open to pneumonia or hypothermia.

25% of the body weight being the general use, one has to take in account the weight of the sleeping bag & its cost

Synthetic-fill bag such as Dac 11, Polargard or Fibrefill weighs more but costs lest than a down-fill bag which lightweight warm & more expensive, so the backpacker MUST find the prevailing temperature of where he will go camping and the thickness of its wallet.

Is goose down better than duck down? They both have the same chill rating but goose down cost more.

The synthetics are less costly but less effective as insulation and heavier their advantage if wet they are easy to dry and retain more of their original loft. A WET DOWN BAG IS USELESS ON THE TRAIL.

Loft indicates the thickness of the insulating material that is packed in between the inner case and outer shell of a bag.

The method of stitching these 2 shells together is another indication of whether a bag will hold in warmth or allow cold air to carry off body heat.

Obviously the thicker the fill the more cold resistant the bag but weight is a factor to consider.

A bag filled with 1 1/2 lb of goose down is good down to 0C. whereas 3 1/2 will keep you warm as low as -35C.

But if in humid climate with more temperate temperature then the synthetics fill with its reduced cost may be the right choice.

A well-designed winter bag will have a double zipped arrangement to aid in preventing cold drafts from getting inside the bag.

A warm sleeper stays healthy. Better quality bags can be zipped open & closed at both ends giving the tired man a way to ventilate both his head and his feet.

Is the zipper heavy duty and double pull with an opening and closing tab both inside and outside?

Is it nylon or metal and is there a baffle between it and the sleeper?

Are the stress point bars tackled and the bag double stitched where extra seams are needed?

Check close for good workmanship. Avoid a bag whose seams are sewn through the inner shell. Look for one instead with baffles between inner and outer layers that block cold air.

A separate covering wrapped around the sleeper gives added comfort on bitter winter night. Several types are available or make one yourself.

Besides having this separate covering and its warmth, it is easier to clean than your bag. REMEMBER that compartmented stitching provides better insulation than types with stitches sewn through inner & outer layers.


Foam padding provides thicker insulation than the Insolite pad but the Pad is easier to pack.

A PADDING IS A MUST, to cut off the chill from the ground, if you don't have one handy, then make one from evergreen branches, YOU MUST GET OFF THE GROUND.

You will sleep better at night when it is cold if you eat a high energy snack such as a candy bar before going to bed. The heat-producing sugar will fuel your inner furnace through the night.

REMEMBER that if you are a person suffering easily from the cold that you should invest in a more insulated bag to sleep even if it means spending a few more bucks, it is well worth it.

NEVER store a sleeping bag in its stuff sack at home, it needs to be aired out and store properly in a dry place.


Is a duffel-bag OK? Look goofy you want to be a backpacker so where is your backpack?

A skier without his skis is zip. A good backpack can make your day, a bad one will really make your day, even your night a nightmare.

There are over 15 major domestic manufacturer in Canada alone, so the first thing you MUST decide is how much you want to spend.

The best way to judge is how often will you use it.

Is hip load frame better than the shoulder suspension types? Some swear by one, others differ.

You are the one to decide, when you try it on you should try it fully loaded, or bring something heavy (25% of your body weight) to put in the bag so as to decide what is best for you.

The choice of a suitable frame is based on how a given type will fit a person's body structure general bulk and muscular type.

Generally accepted that a tubular-frame pack is better for long distance travel with a heavier load.

Internal frames are new and if you require greater mobility climbing or ski touring, then you should look for that model.

When setting to buy a pack the MOST IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION = FIT:

Everybody is different so you have to consider all factors such as your weight, body structure etc.

Do the fittings as for shoes, very carefully, what fits one doesn't necessarily fit the other.

Not only do you have to select the right size pack but also MUST exercise great care to fit your dimension. The more adjustments available on the pack the more likely it is that the buyer can get a good fit.

Insist on fitting the pack with a load before buying it, if the salesman refuses, then go elsewhere. Of course you try it in the store not on the trail.

Note: The better constructed frame will have all joints held together with heli-arc or #tige# weld for more strength.

When a pack fits well and seems to carry well, carefully inspect it inside & out before buying it.

Check all seams for workmanship flaws and all grommets to insure they locked properly.

Put the pack on the floor on its corner and balance full weight on it, if it gives apologize and leave quickly. Better his lost than yours.

Check all adjustments to find out if they will give under stress. Work all zips to insure problem free operation. See if the pack material has been coated for WATERPROOFING. IT IS A MUST.

You don't want soggy food and damp clothes. After buying it, ask the salesman for repair kit material and glue so that if something happens on the trail you have the proper material to fix it in hurry.

The first place to care for the pack is in packing it for the trail, sharp object MUST not touch the fabrics. Wrap those well with clothes etc.

When taking the pack off, DON'T DROP IT, set it down gently, no matter how much your shoulders ache.

The force of 40lbs coming to a sudden stop from a height of 2 or 3 feet can do unbelievable damages to stitches and zips.

At night hang the pack from a tree, a hungry bear or racoon and do a lot of bad. At home REMEMBER that a garage is no place for the pack.



After that, use a horse or a mule. You have to get on the weight scale with your full load on to see if you are overweight or not, this weight includes the pack itself, the sleeping bag & the personal gear. (See survival kit*)

If you go in a group, check, not to double up on items which you can share or use as group member. Don't forget to check & recheck your list.


The general rule is to put the heavy item on TOP close to the body and the light stuff at the bottom.



One of the best one I found is the *Boony box, but if not then you make your owns from a rectangular army canteen which doubles up as canteen and to hold all the survival item you can check with the list.*


Often people use a fanny pack to carry on the hips their emergency survival gear.

When using your fanny pack don't strap it too tight, it is not like a belt, give it room to breath and to swing freely at the front should you need to do so. If too tight, you will leave it behind leaving troubles at the front.

Every survival kit MUST include a knife, map, compass whistle (around your neck) your water canteen, flashlight and extra batteries.

A complete fire starting kit, wooden matches, magnesium fire starter, candle, snares wire, hooks aspirin, fishing line and this kit should stay around 3 to 5 lbs since it is like your forest wallet, on you at all time.



A hearth-side conversation back at the hunting lodge is perhaps the best place for the greenhorn to get hot tips on what to look for and what to avoid and this book as well since we resumed some 55 different books and authors.

Another good starting place is a camping store where salesmen are campers themselves.

Selecting the right store for the purchase of backpacking equipment is also as important as getting the right pack.

One actually leads to the other. A good store for this type of equipment is probably one in which the owner is present. The buyer can get immediate decision on returns or adjustments.

There should be at least 3 of the major brand names included in shelf stock and a good selection of backpacking literature.

A money back guarantee on all but sale-priced merchandise is another good indicator as is a good quantity of merchandise & accessories. Most important is the attitude of the store personnel.

If the sales clerk tries to push the buyer into a sale he is not sure of, or is not knowledgeable about the equipment or shows little interest in the buyers camping needs, the best place to shop is at another store. Boy scout stores are usually very good places to check up.


Most frames break down are caused by poor welding or joining of the frame sections.

This occurs because of age or undue stress of ex; dropping your frame from a high distance onto a hard surface such as a rock.

So don't drop your pack down, lower it as if it was a good wife or rifle. Emergency repair can be done using a stick of wood and some nylon line which you should ALWAYS have with you.

For repairs of the bag itself use adhesive tape or the rip-stop nylon material, even the worst tear can be mended good with this material.

NEVER apply the tape or nylon material to the outside of the bag ALWAYS to the inside.

Remove your material from the pack then heat a rock in your campfire and using it as an iron, iron the patch onto the bag.

One of the handiest tools to carry along is a pair of long needle nose pliers as the one use by fishermen that have also a wire cutter section for cutting nylon line or wire.

Beside a boy scout knife or Swiss army knife you MUST ALWAYS carry a simple sewing kit to mend your pack or clothing.

This is when your extra purchase of patches at your store becomes useful since the material is the same strength otherwise it tears worse.

Heat and direct sunlight can be quite harmful to nylon material, so your bag MUST not be left in the sun for any long period of time, store it in shade and away from any heat source.

Many inexpensive bags will begin to show wear in the seams after but a short time so by sewing over the original seams, they become tighter & stronger and extend the life of any bag.

The most important thing to REMEMBER in pack maintenance is to check your bag and frame at the end of every trip.

A nylon cord or rope becomes frayed with use simply melt the fray with a match will solve the problem. The flame causes the synthetic material to melt forming a hard shell over the cord and it stops unravelling.


Plan also to protect your backpack from rain even though they may be waterproof with 1 or 2 trash can bag which you slip over and they take very little space and can be use for many other uses.

They are in my mind a MUST to bring along in your s/kit. Take the heavier biggest kind around, they still take little space and very light for their uses. Leave them in your pack as well.


Whether you use those freeze-dried edibles that come in forms ranging from simple ones in which you just add boiling water and wait!

Or too complex culinary operations that require 2 or more cooking pots, 3 forest fires and a series of complex mixing that could give a chemistry major a nervous breakdown & send the average camp cook weeping into the bush.

You will need cooking pots and pants of some sorts. There are many type, some fitting in your portable stove others not so convenient

The Indians used a steel bucket and a tea pot, a steel mug or two and a couple of steel plates to do everything.

You may decide that you want it different then just shop around; but let us mention you that one of the best item found are those army rectangular canteens. (2 into 1)


Their advantage is that they fit one into the other and their handle collapse saving space. They are

sturdy and you can pack into them all your camping needs.

Such as: oxo cubes, sewing kit, fork, spoon, salt, spice, sugar, baking soda, tea, soap, coffee margarine, matches, hooks and wires, Al. paper, etc. All into 1 container.

Buy 2 even 3 or 4 units of those, which you can use to fit them for many uses, ex; 1 or 2 for cooking, the 3rd for survival kit. and the 4th for f/aid kit. Believe me they are worth finding them and they are cheap to buy too.


The proverbial Australian means of carrying a heavy load is one of the best methods in existence. It is simply made and very easily carried.

It has the advantage of being extremely well balanced, 2/3 of the weigh being carried behind the body and about 1/3 in front. The result is that the carrier walks completely upright.

Clothes, tent, bedding and the gear not wanted for the day's walk are carried in the swag at the back, while the food and cooking utensils and day's needs are in the dilly bag in front.

Because of this the swag is not opened during the day but the dilly bag attached to the front and right at your hand is immediately accessible

The only components for a swag are a swag strap, 2 binding straps & a dilly bag.

The swag strap preferably of soft leather, should be about 30 inches long and a couple inches wide; the 2 binding straps can be of any strong material such as rope, plaited cord etc.

The dilly bag can be a sugar or flour bag, some 2 feet long and 12 to 15 inches wide. These are the components for a swag.

The swag strap should be soft and if need arises can be easily woven or plaited from strong grass, vines, barks strips. A soft leather strap is ideal.

Half the knack of carrying a swag consists in knowing how to swing it.

Lay the roll, with the dilly bag extended in front of you, and then put the arm farthest away from the dilly bag through the swag strap and swing the body towards the swag, so that the dilly bag flies up and out. Duck the opposite shoulder and catch the swinging dilly bag on it.

The swag strap will then lie over one shoulder and the dilly bag over the other, with the swag roll carried at an angle across the back.

An alternative method of carrying the swag is to use 2 straps one about 42" long & the other about 6 feet long.

Both straps should be about an 1 1/4 inch wide and of strong material. The roll is made as for the swag, & the long strap is tied securely about 5" from one end of the roll.

5 inches from the other end of the roll the other strap is fastened with the dilly bag held in position by the strap.

The swag is lifted to the left shoulder with the dilly bag in front and the roll at the back, the neck of the dilly bag hanging over the left shoulder.

The long strap is passed on top of the right shoulder and then under the armpit and around the back, and tied to a loop at the bottom corner of the dilly bag. This type of swag prevents the dilly bag from swaying, and is preferred by some bushmen.

To roll the swag, lay your ground-sheet or swag cover flat on the ground and then fold your blankets to a width of about 30 inches by 15 to 20.

Spare clothes are laid lengthways on top, with your other gear. The sides of the ground-sheet are folded in and the whole is rolled from the blanket end to the free side, into a tight roll.

If a tent is being taken this in turn is rolled in the tent. The 2 binding straps are laid 6 to 8 inches from either end that is 18 to 24 inches apart

The 2 binding cords pass through the loops of the swag strap and are tied tightly about 6 to 8 inches from either end of the roll.

The food cooking utensils and daily needs are put in the dilly bag, & the neck of this is tied right at the junction of the binding strap with the swag strap.

Or alternatively a series of cuts in the neck of the bag can be made & the binding cord passed through theses so that the bag is tight to the roll.

If this is done it is a good idea to make a cut down the side of the bag for about 12 inches so that the contents can be taken out without removing the bag itself from the binding straps.


This is an easily improvised method of carrying heavy loads & it can be made in less than 1/2 hour.

Select 2 light widely splayed hooks, with the arm of the hook 18 to 24 inches long and the shank portion 3 or 4 inches in length.

It is better to used dead wood that is well seasoned. This is lighter. A number of short straight sticks are lashed to the inside edge of the shanks above the arms, and 2 straps are woven or plaited.

Then tied to the lower end of the shank and again about 18 inches from the lower end. The 2 shanks should be about 15 inches apart where the straps are at the upper end. It is carried high on the shoulder, and if desired a head band can be used to steady the load.


In the cold you need 2,000 calories to give you enough heat. Thus you need food that has a lot of fat. And don't forget to drink at least 2 litres of water per day.

Dehydration is common in cold. Best drinks are soup and tea, no alcohol which dehydrates.


REMEMBER that a rope is an extremely useful article to have around at all time.

And too bad few hunters think of this and forget to tie it to their belt, so be smart and get one about 100 feet long in plastic, you won't regret it.

There would be too many different uses to enumerate, we let your mind and brain for those who want to use it to imagine all its usefulness.


Not found on the market but that you can make yourself, from felt 3/4 inches thick by 2 feet square which you sew 2 leather band and tie it to your belt.

Thus you can wear it at all time without hindering your moves and you sit on it for your greatest ease no matter the weather you are comfy and warm.

It is worth the trouble to make one if you plan on going often hunting or camping.



A plastic ground sheet about 10 X 6 feet is very useful for all kind of uses, from rain, wind, sun protection for yourself or for your gears.

Or as emergency shelter or as ground sheet which makes it all in all more than useful rather ESSENTIAL in survival.

It should be part of your personnal survival kit even having one extra one in the big travelling kit, it is worth is weight in gold even in diamond.

Note of the co-author, this file is not finished yet as I write this on June 25 1995, it even needs a bit of translation still, which will be done in the final upload, so please bear with me till then.

However I beleive that so far all which is written can be used without too much problemo. If you see any glaring mistakes write them to me and I will make the necessary correction. Thanks.

To Return to Frugal's Home Page: Press Here!