a big winter storm rolls into arizona. zero degrees in flagstaff, interstate highways shut down and flash floods in the deserts. is the world coming to an end? nah, it’s just winter in az. this shot was taken an hour after sundown with my motorola droid.
been out hunting coues deer with my brother since christmas and learned of this big storm from our icom radios. i had four of the sixteen channels programmed with the noaa weather stations so we could monitor the weather forecasts when we are out of touch. pretty smart, huh? so i hustled back to scottsdale to pick up some gear i have been wanting to test in that kind of weather and a good nights sleep in my own bed but i couldn’t pass up an after dark romp through the preserve in a hard rain.
i do some of my best thinking out on the trail and i figured out that i needed to do a youtube piece on active ventilation. I have had some pretty in-depth discussions on the subject in the monstermuleys.com gear forum but i have not covered it much hear which is unfortunate because it is an important part of what and how i do things. it is kind of a hard concept to write about but it is perfect for a video if i can keep to under an hour. a negative to these youtube bits is that you get to hear me speak off the cuff and i tend to be somewhat long winded. sorry, it is the coach and instructor in me that tells you, then tells you what i am telling you, then tells you what i told you kind of thing. anyway, i came home and knocked it out while i was still dripping wet from the hike. hit the link below to see my youtube video on active ventilation techniques and waterproof breathable shell gear.
see HardcoreOutdoorVideo for a YouTube review.
i am telling you, hiking in the mountains at night rates very high on my list. hiking at night in a cold, steady, heavy rain is positively glorious. i have a light but i don’t use it much. as you can see from the pic there is plenty of ambient light from the city reflecting off the clouds. and i have the whole place to myself because grown ups aren’t supposed to play in the rain.
gear used-arcteryx theta ar jacket (if it had a double front main zipper this jacket would be perfect), rei mts polypro zip t-neck base layer top, under armour boxer briefs, yates uniform rappel belt, bridgedale summit socks, danner santiam boots ( i understand that danner is going to start making these again), hanz gloves, my old black diamond trekking pole, and a pair of tad gear predator hardshell pants. my one and only light source was the new surefire g2x pro which has proven to be the best handheld flashlight i have ever used.
seven miles of up and down is no big deal especially when my destination is the truck and back to the house but if i was staying out here for a night or two my efforts to stay dry and warm would take on a whole different level of importance. that’s where the active ventilation techniques combine with the right materials and garment design to make a big possibly even critical difference.
you can see in the video but here are the basics while i am huffing and puffing in the rain. properly fitting and fully functional (DWR coating doing its job) waterproof breathable shell gear, wicking base layers, minimal insulation (on the verge of being cold as long as i am moving), unzipped t-neck, base layer sleeves folded back to expose the wrists, hands drawn up into jacket sleeves with gloves off, jacket cuffs opened up, pit zips opened about 25%, hem and waist cords loosened all the way, hood adjusted so air can move in and out (chimney effect) then control my physical exertion level so as not to over load the systems ability to move and evaporate perspiration.
the exertion control part is a lot harder than it seems especially if it is getting dark and you are starting to feel a little anxious (a natural reaction is to push harder and move faster). just take a minute to collect your thoughts, take a deep breath and remember that it is better to get there late and dry then early and sweaty. dry is warm and good. wet is cold and bad. use your training runs in worst case conditions to hone these techniques in preparation for game day. practice like you want to play because someday it could save your life.