First time dealing with freezing temps

Jun 15, 2021
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Valerie D. Pinkerton
Keeping good trail hygiene necessitates not just bringing sufficient clothes, but also understanding when to wash and clean them. When most hikers arrive at each night's campground, they change out of their sweaty shirts, jeans, or shorts and into something cleaner and warmer. You can also change your socks and underwear now, but some people prefer to wait until after a trail shower or before going to bed. If you don't take off your hiking clothes when you arrive at camp, you should change into new, dry clothing before retiring for the night. Wearing soiled clothing to bed is not just to sully the interior of your backpack, but it also provides an ideal environment for rashes and other skin conditions to develop overnight.

If you're going on a trip that will last more than two days, try rotating your clothing. When you arrive at a campsite, remove your soiled clothes and wash them as thoroughly as possible. So that the clothing is prepared for the next transfer, hang them to dry. If you're still hiking, you may alternatively tie these to the bottom of your pack. I usually pack two sets of clothes, one set of hiking pants, three wicking t-shirts, one mid-weight insulation layer, one heavy-weight insulation layer, a rain shell, and two pairs of socks for a normal warm-weather weekend trip (three days, two nights). I always have a clean/dry T-shirt, pair of tights, and underwear to put on with this setup.
 

Mama Fen

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Jul 18, 2012
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Maybe I won't do that next time, I had saw a video online of the legends guys winterizing their machine and the first step is they sprayed all the water out of the machine until it was dry before putting antifreeze in, recirculated through the unit, then sprayed it all out into a bucket.

Do you just pour in the fluid in the water box, run it a bit so it gets into the internal plumbing, and leave it there until the next day?

Trying to do the right thing but been fairly confusing!
Just an observation from someone who runs a service center and sees multiple freezes per year:

1. Areas in the north where freezes are common are full of guys who consistently take proactive steps to prevent damage. Our area (NC) only has a few 'dangerous' nights per year, meaning a LOT of cleaners get caught with their proverbial trousers down. We warn everyone as best we can when the news says it's coming, but invariably someone doesn't pay attention and calls me in a panic with pegged-out gauges and blown brass everywhere.

2. Space heaters of a sufficient size can save your unit - IF they are powerful enough, IF ice doesn't take down your power lines, and IF your van is clean enough to not present a fire hazard. Better than nothing, but certainly not ideal. Mylar thermal wraps put around the machine right after shutdown the day before can hold in enough heat to earn you some breathing room without the need for electricity. Moving blankets, as some have mentioned, can also help. These do not ADD heat, they simply help to trap heat that's been produced by the machine.

3. NOTHING beats full-blown antifreeze winterizing as directed by the manufacturer. Yes, it's pain in the butt. Yes, it means replacing water in the system with something that doesn't freeze and swell. Yes it takes a good 15-30 minutes depending on model and size of unit... but if you invested $20k in a mount wouldn't you want to protect your investment? Every major mount-maker has full instructions available online on how to properly winterize their machines. They also DO NOT cover freeze damage under warranty, no matter how new the mount is, and the ONLY methods they accept for winterizing are the ones listed in their manuals.

4. Freeze damage is insidious, systemic, and pervasive. Even if nothing visibly broke the night of the freeze, swelling often weakens joins and elbows and after a few days or weeks of use, THEN things start leaking. You fix one leak, the system re-pressurizes, and another leak emerges that looked 'fine' before because it wasn't under full load. It's like playing Whack-A-Mole.

If I had a dollar for every time one of my guys didn't winterize, and then spent several thousand fixing the damage done after a sub-20s weekend hit, I wouldn't have to work any more. And it breaks my heart every time, because the dead of winter is a time when many cleaners are running short of discretionary income. When I hear "my quick connect popped out and my gauges all read max" my stomach just drops. Many of the guys who have this happen to them don't have the jack to get it fixed properly - we do our best to fix what we can reach, bypass what we can't fix, and get them as close to "working" as possible.

Please please PLEASE winterize your units.
 
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