Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Northern Bushcraft & Winter Travel Skills
In association with Lure of the North
Ontario, Canada
31 Jan. – 12th Feb. '16 (In-Country Dates)
“ The thick night falls over the forest, and the frost comes down like an axe. Once the canvas has been stretched over the framework,
and the snow banked up all around the sides, and the stove is nice and warm – then he (the trapper) can slip into an almost total state
of well-being – even though he may not yet fully realise that right then and there, in the heart of the woods, he is living through the best
moments of his life.”
- Paul Provencher (Last of the Coureurs de Bois.)
Expedition Briefing Pack
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
The Expedition at a glance
Dates: 31st Jan. – 12th Feb. '16 (arriving in Canada on the 31st and flying out on the 12th )
Duration: 14 days (London – London)
Group Size: 9 people (max.)
Accommodation: 2 days travelling, 3 nights basecamp, 8 nights on the trail and 1 night in motel.
Climate: Usually cold, light snow, overcast and sunny
Day-time temperature approximately -10°C
Night-time temperature approximately -22°C
Note: Temperatures may be more extreme.
UK Expedition Leader: Ben McNutt
Canadian Expedition Leaders: Dave and Kielyn Marrone
Total Cost: £ 1,895. Flights to Sudbury are NOT included in the price (flight currently cost
approximately £540, incl. all taxes and fees).
What is it about? The aim of the course is for you to acquire the skills in planning, preparation,
bushcraft, traditional skills, snow-craft and knowledge to travel safely in the boreal north. You will
be spending everyday exploring, walking, tracking and living in the woods. What is it NOT
about? From the outset, it is important that you understand that the expedition is NOT a cultural
tour – you will NOT be sleeping in heated cabins or have your meals cooked for you. It is a handson, winter skills course and you will be expected to trek, build, gather, fish, dig and cook. You will
sleep out in the bush, in a snow shelter or heated canvas tent, and cook on wood stoves or open
fires everyday.
This Expedition’s aim is to introduce you to the spectacular winter environment of the
boreal north in a luxurious manner that is impossible to achieve by the more austere and rigorous
mode of winter backpacking. By adopting the snowshoe and toboggan techniques of the native
peoples of the sub-arctic we can explore the frozen waterways and hills of Ontario in
extraordinary comfort. With the weight of our gear on the toboggans rather than our backs we can
afford the luxury of camping in canvas wall tents heated with wood stoves.
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
The Ishpatina Ridge
Ishpatina Ridge is the highest point of land in the Canadian province of Ontario, at an estimated
693 m (2,274 ft) above sea level. Ishpatina Ridge rises approximately 300 m (984 ft) above the
immediate area. It was only truly recognized as Ontario's highest point after federal government
topographical mapping revealed this fact in the 1970s. The ridge lies in Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater
Provincial Park. Due to its remote location, Ishpatina Ridge is a challenge to reach. The closest
major highway, Highway 560, is more than 30 km north. There are a few logging roads and trails
in the remote area, but they are difficult to travel in poor weather. The most popular approach
route to Ishpatina is by canoe/portage via a logging road to the south out of the town of Capreol
north of Sudbury. While a northern route exists (out of Gowganda, the nearest community), there
are numerous portages making it particularly onerous. This route has traditionally been used for a
winter-time approach by ski/snowshoe.
The name "Ishpatina" comes from an Ojibwe language word ishpadinaa, meaning "high
place/ridge". We are aiming to cover about 40 miles over 8 trail days.
Coordinates 47°19′00″N 80°45′00″W
Topo map
NTS 041P07
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
Our Partners: Lure of the North
Kielyn and Dave started Lure of the North in 2011, after completing a 40-day, self-supported
snowshoe journey in Northern Ontario in the winter of 2010. They realised that there was a much
better way to enjoy winter travel on Ontario’s frozen waterways, and wanted to share this style of
winter camping with as many people as possible. They are interested in all aspects of traditional
winter camping, wilderness travel and northern culture.
They are both graduates of Laurentian University’s Outdoor Adventure Leadership Degree
program (BPHE);
Wilderness First Responder Certified (80h);
Ice Rescue Technician Trained;
They have each traveled over 2,000 km by snowshoe and spent over 250 nights out in the
They carry extensive first aid, emergency and repair kits.
They carry satellite communication (or cell communication if appropriate) devices on all
our expeditions. This includes a SPOT messenger device and/ or a satellite phone;
They have a dedicated logistical coordinator at home who has years of experience in this
position, and is well versed in our emergency protocols.
They believe the style in which they travel is inherently much safer than many other
outdoor pursuits. Travelling at a slower pace and more in tune with the natural
environment, carrying the tools and knowledge necessary to weather winter storms, they
can teach you the skills to remain comfortable in the winter wilderness for days on end.
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
The Physical Environment
Geography - Ontario's long American border is formed entirely by lakes and rivers, starting in
Lake of the Woods and continuing to the Saint Lawrence River near Cornwall; it passes through
the four Great Lakes Ontario shares with bordering states, namely Lakes Superior, Huron (which
includes Georgian Bay), Erie, and Ontario (for which the province is named; the name Ontario
itself is a corruption of the Iroquois word Onitariio, meaning "beautiful lake", or Kanadario,
variously translated as "beautiful water"). There are approximately 250,000 lakes and over
100,000 kilometres (62,000 mi) of rivers in the province.
Climate – Ontario experiences continental climate. Winters are cold and snowy throughout the
provence, and are especially severe in the northern parts of Ontario. January temperatures range
from balmy daytime highs near 0 °C to overnight lows below -30 °C. (Note: Temperatures may be
more extreme).
White Pine (Pinus strobus)
Red Pine (Pinus resinosa)
Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
Red Spruce (Picea rubra)
Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)
Northern White-Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
Larch (Larix laricina)
Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
Red Maple (A. rubrum)
Silver Maple (A. saccharinum)
Striped Maple (A. pensylvanicum)
Ash (Fraxinus species)
Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera)
American Black Bear (Ursus americanus)
American Marten (Martes americana)
American Beaver (Castor canadensis)
Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
Canadian Lynx (Lynx canadensis)
Eastern Coyote (Canis latrans)
Fisher (Martes pennanti)
Mink (Neovison vison)
Moose (Alces alces)
Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)
Cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis)
Northern River Otter (Lontra canadensis)
Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
Yellow Birch (B. alleghaniensis)
Grey Birch (B. populifolia)
Black Cherry (P. serotina)
Pin Cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)
Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
American Elm (Ulmus americana)
Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
Speckled Alder (Alnus rugosa)
Basswood (Tilia americana)
Hop-Hornbeam (Ostrya viginiana)
Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus)
Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
The first few nights of the expedition will be
spent at the Lure of the North basecamp.
Allowing time to recuperate from the flight, have
a beer, eat and relax. As will the next two days,
as you learn the basic skills preparing for the
trail. Then 8 nights camping in the bush, in a
snow shelters or heated canvas walled tents.
The final night will be spent in a motel in
Sudbury, for a clean up and slap-up meal.
All of the food on the expedition will be cooked outdoors over an open fire or woodstove.
We will not have specially employed catering staff cooking for us; meals will be a communal affair
with everyone taking their turn to help.
Breakfast will typically be pancakes and hot cereal.
Lunch will be cheese, salami, tinned fish, crackers, dried fruits, and sweets.
Dinner will consist of a cooked meat dish with potatoes, rice of pasta.
Vegetarian options will be available, if required.
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
Mains water in towns is considered safe to drink. In the wilderness the water needs to be purified,
you will be taught how to collect water, but will also be required to boil, or treat all surface water
collected in the bush with iodine.
Alcoholic Drinks:
You will be expected to pay for your own alcoholic beverages.
A Typical day on expedition
Our days start in the warm wall tents with a hearty pancake or hot cereal breakfast cooked on the
wood stoves. Camp is then broken down, equipment packed onto toboggans and its time to hit
the trail.
We will snowshoe along the wind-packed
waterways, which provide ideal travel for us. As well
as ‘easy going’, one of the main reasons to stick to
these riparian corridors is to maximise our chances
of seeing wildlife.
Lunches of cheese, salami, crackers, dried fruits,
and sweets as well as cups of steaming hot teas are
enjoyed along the trail. Then we will continue
trekking or perhaps pitch camp early, chop our wood
and then practice skills, go tracking or simply
explore this beautiful frozen landscape.
Suppers in the candle lit tents are usually fragrant stews and stroganoffs complete with biscuits
and dumplings.
Lure of the North will provide all the group gear such as toboggans, wall tents, sheet steel stoves
and food. In addition they are happy to supply the canvas / leather mukluks and rubber booties
(footwear), as is not readily available in the UK, and of course the snowshoes.
Teaching & Skills
The expedition will begin with a preparatory phase, run from a static camp, covering classic winter
survival skills where you will begin to understand the intricacies of living in this amazing
environment. During this orientation period we will also be able to go over personal gear, issue
equipment, such as duffle bags, toboggans, moccasins, rubber booties and any gear to loan, such
as mittens and parkas. With practice we should be able to get everything down to minimum
Phase one will cover base-camp and core emergency skills •
Understanding thermo-regulation
Cold weather clothing and equipment
Understanding cold injuries
Sanitation and hygiene
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
The science of snow and using snow tools
Emergency fire lighting and signalling techniques
Axemanship and sawcraft
Trip planning
Menu planning
Natural hazards
During phase two; we will focus on winter travel
and trail-skills by totally immersing ourselves in this
amazing environment and 'hitting the trail' living in
canvas wall tents.
Bough beds
Using wood stoves
Snowshoe designs
Ice reading skills
Using snowshoes
Loading and pulling traditional toboggans
Backwoods cooking – reflector ovens,
bannocks, pies, sourdoughs, stews, etc.
Emergency snowshoes – Roycraft and
bear-paw designs
Ice fishing
Using an Ice Chisel
Star navigation and mythology
Aputiak (igloo)
Athapaskan quinzee
Snow-holes, slab shelters and drift caves
Expedient shelters – Spruce-trap shelter, snow graves, block walls & tarp shelters
Handmade snow goggles
Winter navigation
Tracking and trailing
Emergency Field Communications:
The Country Dialling Code is + 001.
Emergency satellite phone and in-country office contact numbers will be available closer to the
UK Office:
Whilst on expedition, a member of the Woodsmoke team will act as our UK back-up in case of
emergency and will be contactable 24 hrs a day on the following number – number to be released
at a later date.
Personal Communications:
If you have an international roaming agreement for your mobile phone, we have no objections to
you using it on expedition, providing it is used discreetly and does not affect others enjoyment of
the silence of the bush. However, it is most likely that you will only get a signal in Sudbury.
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
Expedition Health Care
Canadian medical facilities are generally of an extremely high standard. Recommended
immunisations are the same as for the UK. Other Health Issues: Rabies may be present in
wildlife. We are not at high risk, so vaccination is not essential.
Medical support network:
Expedition first-aid will be provided by Lure of the North and Woodsmoke, who
have been trained in expedition first aid and ‘Advanced Medicine for Remote
Foreign Travel’ by Wilderness Medical Training. They also hold HSE
recognised first aid certificates.
The expedition will carry a very comprehensive medical first aid pack.
Through out the expedition we will have a reliable communications system and will be in
reasonable proximity to medical care, never being more than a few hours casevac from a hospital
(weather permitting).
You must have adequate travel insurance to join this expedition. In Canada only emergency
cases are treated without prior payment, and treatment will often be refused without evidence of
insurance or a deposit. All receipts must be kept in order to make a claim.
Travel documents and visas:
You will require a passport that is valid for at least 6 months
after your intended departure date, to be granted entry into
Canada. Nationals from all EU countries and New Zealand
do not need to arrange visas in advance to visit Canada.
You will be granted an initial 30 days visa stamp on entry to
canada, free of charge.
Please note:
It is advisable to make copies of the relevant pages of your
passport, your flight tickets, your traveller’s cheque receipt
slips and your travel insurance policy in case the originals
get lost.
Keep one set of copies with you, one set in your luggage and leave one set with a friend or family
member at home. If possible, scan these documents, and email them to yourself, using an email
address with sufficient memory storage.
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
Personal Preparation
Physical Conditioning:
You need to be in reasonable shape. Anyone who is seriously overweight or has limited flexibility
will discover some real handicaps due to so much kneeling, sitting without back support,
squatting, and doing things at ground level. Attitude is everything. If you really want to be there,
have the temperament to attend to fussy little details, and are a patient and eager learner, then
the winter trail will be very rewarding.
Prior to the trip we recommend that you begin a light aerobic fitness-training regime, working out
at least three times a week. This will greatly improve your enjoyment of the course. If you are in
any doubt about your ability to cope with a cardiovascular workout program, please consult your
Personal Equipment:
The majority of the kit required can be sourced pretty cheaply in second-hand shops, online or in
military surplus stores – the places where you will need to spend money are on your sleeping kit
and your down jacket, fortunately, if you’re not planning to become a professional Polar explorer,
you can hire the specialist equipment from Lure of the North for very reasonable fees.
They have the following Rental Equipment available to hire Mittens, Anoraks, Down Jackets, Sleeping Pad and Down-filled Winter Sleeping Bags
If you wish to explore this option, please contact David directly for fees and the terms of the rental
agreement - dave@lureofthenorth.com
Base Layers
2 X Base layer tops
2 X Long Johns
For wool base layers (including long johns) the very best available are the
Devold Expedition range, but a bit pricey at about £50 per item – They don’t
normally mail order, but if you phone and ask really, really, nicely…
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
Avoid the Icebreaker products, as they have become so popular they have
moved their productions operation from New Zealand to China, and
subsequently the product quality has dropped dramatically, mainly due to the
heavy use of bleach in the mass production (which didn’t happen in NZ).
Ullfrotte will be perfect, or another excellent alternative is the Janus merino
base layers made in Norway – without bleach – which look the same, are a
lot cheaper and are considerably warmer.
1 X Wool Trousers
My personal choice are the Fallschirmjager Jump Trousers (parachute
trousers) 70% wool for £ 73, I particularly like the venting flaps down the side
of the legs that pump out warm air as you walk, helping to keep you cool. The
only down side are the tiny pockets – I cut mine out and sewed in a couple of
big, deep pockets that I made from polartec fleece (bought at a fabric shop).
3 x Wool mid-layers – Jumpers / Wool Shirts / Fleeces
Sized to be worn one over the other, in light, medium, and heavy weights.
Woollen jumpers (especially the ones with ribbed ridges to trap extra air)
are good too. If you are a very hot person, you should get away with a
mid-weight shirt and a heavy jumper.
Wind (& Rain) Layers
To be worn over wool mid-layers in windy conditions.
1 X Wind Smock
A good option is the heavy canvas ‘Swedish Hooded Windproof Snow
Smock’, usually around £20 or the ‘Norwegian Snow Suit’ consisting of a
lighter parka smock and trousers coming in at about £20 for both – search for
them on ebay. The smocks can be ‘pimped’ old fur ruffs from an antique store
for trimming the hood, you can also ‘pimp’ it up with patterned canvas strips
around the hems and cuffs. I’ve further modifies my parka by stitching some fleece onto the inside
of the collar, where it touches my chin (as the cold canvas rubbed irritated some old scar tissue
from when I split my chin when I was a kid), I’ve also added some big ‘pit zips’ so I can vent the
jacked when walking.
The ultimate is the Empire Canvas Arctic Anorak – but be warned, they don’t come cheap.
Please note that Lure of the North also make a great Sub-Arctic Anorak.
1 X Wind Pants
For wind pants, rain pants can serve in a pinch, but won't breath, and skier’s warm-up pants work.
Full side-zippers allow them to be put on or removed while wearing snowshoes. Preferably opt for
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
the Norwegian trousers above or the German Army Snow Pants at £12.99 or try the Paramo
Aspira Trousers as they breathe fast. Again the Empire Canvas permafrost pants are the best,
but pricey.
1 X Long Scarf – long enough to wrap face and ears in extreme cold or wind, also for wearing
round your parka as a waist belt.
1 X Bandana or Buff- primarily as nose wiping equipment during the day and nose warming
equipment at night
1 X Rain Gear (jacket and pants) - We hope to never need these, but if we do, we'll really need
them. Good for building snow shelters.
1 X light wool or synthetic hat that breathes fast so is perfect to stop overheating when
hauling on the trail, any will do…something like this is perfect.
Another alternative is the 70’s style knitted headband to keep ears
warm when a full hat is too hot, and as a nose warmer at night in the
sleeping bag.
And then a more serious cold weather hat is good for base camp work; I like
the Harkila Alaska Down Hat at around £45, as it breathes much faster than a
gortex-type hat, so it doesn’t get sweaty and consequently cold. They come up
small in size; I am an XXL
Do not bring gloves, mittens are much warmer, bring a big safety pin to hang them up together in
the tent.
1 x Pair wool mittens with leather 'chopper" mitt shells - Ovenmitt shells can be purchased from Ray Mears for £12, as can
some Ullfrotte liners at £28
A spare set of liners is not over-doing things for back up, or
having a different weight for extreme cold.
Empire canvas’ true north mitts are perfect or Steger’s Arctic Mitts.
I’m a big fan of the old school Lackner’s Dachstein woolen mittens which are
excellent for chopper liners £25
Or make your own - http://www.nativetech.org/clothing/mittens/mitteninstr.html
Boiled wool blankets can be used for liners – they are so simple to make, even
I have managed! I soaked mine in water and ironed them at the wrists so I
could stretch them for easy on and off and then stitched them over my Dachsteins for super toasty
fingers. Lure of the North also sell kits and excellent Mitts and Liners.
If you suffer from really cold fingers, try the Rab Expedition Mitts for ultimate warmth.
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
Insulation Layer
1 x Down or synthetic filled parka. This should be carried in it's own stuff sack for easy access
during the day for lunch stops.
Most of this gear can be sourced fairly cheaply (or even handmade), but
three things you don’t want to skimp on are good socks, a good
sleeping bag and a good puffer jacket. Be aware the USA and UK down
fill ratings are slightly different (see note in sleeping bags section).
There are lots of ‘puffer’ jackets out there and good deals to be had in
the January sales (the later you wait to the end of the European Ski
season, the better the deals get), so good options would be jackets like
the - Rab Neutrino Endurance and Mountain Equipment Xero Jacket
2 pairs felt boot liners. If you have trouble finding these Steger Mukluks
has some of the best. Lure of the North also sell smashing looking hightopped versions - felt wool liners.
2 pairs 100% wool insoles one size smaller than liners to be inserted to
double sole thickness. (Can be trimmed to fit with scissors).
5 x Pairs of Good Quality Merino Wool Socks (use with silk or synthetic liner socks if you can't
wear wool directly on skin.) Go for a high wool content 70 – 80% is ideal, avoid Icebreakers like
the plague - I like the cheap Kirkland’s at less than £5 / pair!
2 X Nylon Mesh Insoles (optional) - On Tim Smith’s (Jack Mountain
Bushcraft) advice I tried a pair of these insoles last year and stitched them to
my felt insoles. They worked beautifully, circulating air and increasing
insulation – helping to prevent moisture from building up on the bottom of the
boot liner.
Sleeping System
Sleeping bag, preferably a good quality expedition / 4 season bag (or two 3 season bags).
European down is best as it is sourced in Eastern Europe and it is cleaned thoroughly before use,
so removing nearly all of the "bird dandruff" that makes some people allergic to down. This is not
always the case with many Far Eastern sourced bags (especially cheaper ones).
Fill-Power: is a measure of the loft that the fill produces. Due to different measuring methods
used, USA fill powers show higher figures than European ones for the same down. Here is an
approximate comparison chart for fill powers:
Euro Fill-power
Equivalent USA Fill-power
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
Mountain Equipment Everest 1250 bag £585 (Shop around on ebay!!)
The current rising stars of the sleeping bag world are the new Tundra range – I’d heartily
recommend the Tundra Pure & Dry –40 Bag coming in at £550
For anyone with a down allergy I think the best of the synthetic options is the Ajungilak Denali 5
Season Sleeping Bag at about £190, but I think I might want to take a smaller top-up bag (just in
1 X Full-length self-inflating sleeping mat and 1 X full-length closed-cell foam mat. I would
recommend a Multimat Expedition Extreme Roll Mat for £17 as the close-cell
Eye Protection
Any decent polarized sunglasses are fine.
And for goggles, any decent brand will do, as hopefully you won’t be using them very much, so
go for something like Bolle, Cebe, Bloc, etc. Head for TK Maxx après-Christmas for some good
deals on top brand ski & snowboardwear.
Carrying System
1 X Rucksack, case or hybrid travel pack (you will not have to hike with it). This is for travelling
and can be stored at Lure of the North, where you will be issued with an expedition duffel bag.
1 x 30 litre Daypack, to be lashed to top of loads with all small frequently used items and extras
for ready access, and use on side trips on layover days. It’s a good idea to bring a couple of
bungee straps.
Sun Protection System
Sun block
Lip balm
Lighting / Location System
Head torch (and spare batteries)
Water System
Micro filter, Iodine drops or Chlorine Dioxide tablets
1 x 1 lt water bottle (I like the Sigg Bottles with the Neoprene insulating pouch, ou can
always just insulate your bottle in a couple of socks. Your bottle needs agood seal, as
you’ll be wearing it under your clothes, ideally upside down to stop an iceplug foring in the
1 x 1lt thermos flask
1 X tin, metal or enamal mug (something you can put on a hot stove)
N.B. - Knife, fork, spoon, bowl and plate are supplied.
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
First Aid System
Small first aid kit, including safety pins, plasters, blister kit, tweezers, foot powder and any
personal medication
Emergency food e.g. a power bar
Tool System
A fixed blade sheath knife
Hygiene System
Wash kit, preferably containing biodegradable soap, wet wipes, ear plugs
Towel and swim wear
Sanitary products
It is also good idea to bring a foam sit-mat to keep your bums warm at lunch breaks.
Optional Extras
Notebook and pencils
Sewing kit
10 meters of parachute cord
Folding saw
Large Ziploc Bags
Gaffa Tape
Mobile phone
Gransfors - Small forest axe (if you wish to use one)
Extra Notes/ Clarification re: Gear Lists
Lure of the North have a detailed list here: http://lureofthenorth.com/?page_id=134
Also check out the following instructionals Personal Clothing: http://youtu.be/RBvb8hh9c8g
Personal Packing: http://youtu.be/yaTBS1yRFJw
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
Clothing Material Choices
The best clothing material choices for traditional winter camping are generally natural fibres such
as wool, leather and canvas. Your insulating layers (ie. All warm layers worn under your outer
'shell') should be made up of wool or synthetic materials such as polyester (“fleece”) or
polypropylene, wool is prefered. You should not be wearing any cotton clothing as an insulating
Your best outer shell material is both windproof and breathable. A tightly woven cotton canvas
pullover is the best, as it is both windproof and highly breathable.
The very best outer shell is a canvas anorak which has a nice fur-trimmed hood and extends
down to mid-thigh. With an anorak like this (and proper insulating layers underneath), you
will be comfortable in the windiest of conditions.
Waterproofness is rarely required or desired in the winter. In cold, dry conditions, nonwaterproof materials (“breathable” material) are best as they allow your sweat to evaporate,
and will keep you drier and warmer than waterproof gear.
Leather is a great outerwear option in places which see a lot of abrasion, such as gloves, mittens
and moccasins. Again, they are windproof and breathable, but also very durable, have a great
grip on tool handles and not apt to melt around the fire.
Sleeping Bags
Down or synthetic sleeping bags are both fine for traditional winter camping. Down is best
because of its lightness and durability, but synthetic is more affordable. Drying sleeping bags is
easy in the heated tent, so choose whatever your budget will allow if buying a new bag.
Alternatively, you may pair two 3-season bags to have a warm enough night-time setup.
Most nights, the woodstove will be kept running all night, meaning you will frequently be sleeping
in comfort with your bag partially open.
Footwear should be sized to accommodate enough insulation to keep you warm while
standing still at -20 degrees. This is more insulation than you may think:
1 – 3 pairs of thick wool socks
Thick felt insole
Thick felt liner
Mountaineering/ skiing or hiking boots are not adequate. They are too tight-fitting and restrict
blood flow.
Mukluks and Tinglys (rubber boots) will be provided .
Inflatable Sleeping Pads and Spruce Boughs
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
We often use conifer boughs as part of our tent floor. These make an exceptional floor in a
traditional winter tent, but can wreak havoc on modern inflatable sleeping pads. We personally
only use closed cell foam (non-inflatable) pads for ourselves, though many guests still
successfully use inflatable pads with some extra care and discretion. (Ben’s note – personally I
use both – my inflatable pad only comes out just befor bed and goes on top of my close-cell foam
Posting stuff to Canada:
Packages coming from the UK should be clearly marked indicating that they are not a sale and
should not appear to be a sale (ie. remove from original packaging if a new item). Otherwise they
may be subject to import duties. Likewise, packages being mailed direct from retailers (Eg.
Stegers) will be subject to Canadian import taxes (13%), plus typically a customs charge of $10.
Lure of the North can't anticipate exactly what charges may be added at the border, nor can they
be responsible for them. If you post anything to them, you do so in the knowledge that they
obviously will need to be refunded in full for any charges incurred.
Lure of the North
PO BOX 5086,
Espanola, ON
P5E 1S1
Baggage Security:
With regards to flying with a rucksack, I just make sure that all of the bags straps are pulled tight
and tucked it. If you are worried about your packing being damaged, then you could buy a flight
bag to put your rucksack into. The draw back is the extra expense, but the pros are as follows - A
single padlock (on the flight bag) seals your whole rucksack & all it's pockets; all the straps on the
rucksack are safely packed away. It's very common for rucksack straps to get caught on
something & tear off while the baggage handlers are moving it around. They also fold up to a very
small size for easy storage. Get a customs-friendly padlock. It is fine to travel with cutting tools in
your main pack providing they are stored securely in a bag (not strapped onto) and that they are
not readily accessible.
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
Spending money:
You will have no need for spending money on the trail, but it might be worth having some cash for
shopping and beers.
The exchange rate is roughly £1 GBP = $2 CAD, for current exchange rates visit www.xe.com
Major credit and debit cards, including the Visa Cash Passport Card, are widely accepted. You
can also access your bank account using ATMs, which are ubiquitous.
Time difference and jet lag:
GMT – 4hrs (they are on Eastern Daylight Time)
If you are hung-over (surely not), sleep-deprived, run down or just plain worn out before you begin
your travel, chances are greater that you will be more susceptible to jet lag.
Although jet lag cannot be cured, there are some tips that may help to reduce the severity of
symptoms. Consider the following before, during or after your next scheduled air flight:
Avoid alcohol and caffeine just before and during your flight. Both alcohol and caffeine
have diuretic properties, which means that they cause you to lose water and make you
dehydrated. Also, alcohol causes drowsiness and can contribute to the sluggish feeling
experienced by many travellers.
Reset your watch to the time zone that you are travelling to. This lets you start thinking
according to your arrival destination's local time before you even arrive.
Create as dark an environment on the plane as possible. Bright lights have a strong effect
on a person's body clock. Use eyeshades and earplugs to help block out the in-flight
distractions and convince your body that it is dark. Closing the window shade and turning
off the overhead cabin lights may also help. Sleep on the plane if your flight has an early
morning arrival time.
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. If you experience mild swelling, it will help to have
loose-fitting clothing and comfortable shoes.
Get adequate rest before your flight. By starting your trip well rested, you will not be
playing as much "catch-up" when you arrive at your destination. Likewise, when you
return, try to schedule a day of rest before returning to work.
Walk around and do isometric exercises (simply contract and relax as many muscle
groups as possible while seated) while in flight. This will improve your circulation, helping
promote an increased level of alertness and reduce the chance of swelling in other body
Drink plenty of fluids. Drinking lots of water and juices will help you to stay well hydrated.
If possible, try to wait until the local bedtime to sleep. You will sleep better and be less
likely to suffer insomnia than if you take a nap upon arriving. A daytime flight may help
since nighttime flights may exacerbate jet lag.
Digital resources:
It will be too cold to bring a laptop for dumping photos, so please ensure you have enough
memory cards to take all your photos.
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
Please bring your own spare batteries or external power packs / solar chargers.
The motels will have 110V electrical plugs; US / Canada adaptors are readily
available at the airports.
Expedition Travel & Transport
How to get there:
Very Important – Do not book your flights until given the go-ahead by Woodsmoke, as the
expedition needs a minimum number of participants in order to run.
Flights to Sudbury are NOT included in the cost of the course – you will need to book your own
flights independently.
Out - Sun 31 Jan 2016
12:00 Sun, January 31
14:50 Sun, January 31
London - Heathrow Airport
Toronto - Lester B. Pearson
Stop - Connection Time
01hrs 20mins
16:10 Sun, January 31
17:20 Sun, January 31
Toronto - Lester B. Pearson
Sudbury - Sudbury Airport
Rtn – Fri 12 Feb 2016
15:45 Fri, February 12
16:55 Fri, February 12
Sudbury - Sudbury Airport
Toronto - Lester B. Pearson
Stop - Connection Time
01hrs 25mins
18:20 Fri, February 12
06:25 Sat, February 13
Toronto - Lester B. Pearson
London - Heathrow Airport
Currently £541.40 with Skyscanners
When packing, it is worth thinking about the worst-case scenario of you’re hold luggage not
turning up with you in Sudbury. This hasn't happened to us yet, and we’re arranged or schedule
with a day or twos grace before we head into the bush, but just in case pack a few 'must have'
items in your carry on luggage and anything else will have to be borrowed or bought in Canada.
The Expedition Assembly Point:
We will meet everyone in the arrivals department of Sudbury airport at 17.30 hrs on Sunday 31st
January 2016, where we will get 1.5 hour transfer to the basecamp.
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Woodsmoke - Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
‘Sub-Arctic Winter Adventure’
Ontario, Canada
Late arrivals:
Don’t panic if the above flight is delayed, we will wait for you. However, if you miss your flight you
will have to make your own way to the the base. Woodsmoke / Lure of the North will not be
responsible for any costs incurred by late arrivals.
Transport and vehicles:
The majority of our travelling will be on good quality tar roads, with lots of snow conditions. All
passengers will be expected to wear seatbelts.
Responsible tourism and recycling on expedition:
We will not be burning or burying plastics on expedition, tins will be burned, crushed and
binned. All tins and plastic waste will be carried out of the wilderness areas that we visit.
We recommend that you use re-chargeable batteries.
Carbon Neutrality:
Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world and
through flying to overseas destinations we are contributing to the problem of climate change.
Climate Care is an organisation that invests in projects that reduce the amount of greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects.
The first two displace fossil fuels in the energy generation mix and the latter absorb carbon
dioxide. We are encouraging everybody to work out, on an entirely voluntary basis, the carbon
deficit they incur by travelling to the assembly point. For a relatively small sum, Climate Care can
then help to remove from the atmosphere the same amount of carbon dioxide as is produced by
flying or other forms of transport. Website: www.co2.org.
Technical, Ethnographic & Natural History Books
Conover, Garrett and Alexandra: The Snow Walker’s Companion
Provencher, Paul: Last of the Coureurs de Bois
Boy Scouts of America. Okpik: Cold Weather Camping - Very good information.
Grey Owl: Men of the Last Frontier
Gorman, Stephen. AMC Guide to Winter Camping
Halfpenny, James C., and Roy Douglas Ozanne: Winter - An Ecological Handbook.
Helm, June, ed.: Handbook o f North American Indians, Volume 6, "Subarctic",
Smithsonian Institution
Marchand, Peter: Life in the Cold
Mason, Otis: Primitive Travel and Transportation - Exceptional notes on moccasins,
snowshoes, sleds, toboggans and more.
Osgood, William, and Leshe Hurley: The Snowshoe Book
Prater, Gene: Snowshoeing - Snowshoeing from the mountaineer's perspective.
Rutstrum, Calvin: Paradise Below Zero - A 1968 classic recently reprinted.
Steffanson, Vilhjalmur: Arctic Manual
Wilkerson, James: Hypothermia, Frostbite and Other Cold Injuries
Vaillancourt, Henri: Making the Attikamek Snowshoe - An absolutely exceptional book
on the fancy, square toe snowshoes of the Attikamek Indians of central Quebec. Available
from: The Trust for Native American Cultures and Crafts, Box 142, Greenville, NH 03048;
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