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lee1959

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Reply with quote  #1 
Now those of you who live in our warmer climes won’t get much from this one, but maybe a few from the colder areas just might. The particulars of how and why are irrelevant, but after a long discussion of the viability of an automobile as a semi-permanent alternative to a tent as a shelter, a friend of mine challenged me to live in my car from about dinner time on a Friday to Sunday morning at 10 AM, or about 29 hours. I was to use nothing but what my vehicle carries in it for a winter emergency kit, and the things I carry into it on an everyday basis. No added food or drink was to be allowed. He obviously thought that this would be a challenge, I on the other hand thought it would be at worst perhaps a bit boring. I was not limited to sitting there all day long, I could go about normal daily outdoors activities but forgo any indoors activities.

In this exercise I am probably better prepared than most as my semi-retirement gig is a special needs school bus driver. I spend from about 5:30 AM to 5 PM either at the bus yard sitting in my car or driving the bus, approx. 6 hours of this is spent pre-tripping and driving the bus the rest is spent in the car with it normally off. I do this because I dislike the seating in the garage, and driving back and forth to home would be way to expensive.  My car is set up for my comfort, limited meals and also has an extensive emergency kit, in effect for about 5 plus hours a day I live in my vehicle. I often run the car for maybe 10 minutes each break, or 30 minutes total for 3 breaks to take off the initial edge while I eat something quick.
 
To make it a bit challenging I did this over a weekend in Christmas break, in the midst of a cold snap where the high temps were in single digits and the lows down to close to minus double digits. Overall, I have to say I was right, the experience helped me work out some things with my car and GHB kits but nothing serious. The first thing I did was prepare to spend a long cold night, I started up one of two Zippo handwarmers I keep and use almost daily. Then put two of the frozen water bottles from my supplies in to thaw. I had several thawed bottles in my lunch bag. I took off my boots and put on wool boot pacs liners from the two pair in my emergency stores, for “slippers” which are warmer and less constrictive than my boots for long periods. To keep this from being too long will just mention things I had available to use.

Available for use are 2 different weight coats, in addition to the wool shirt jack I normally wear and two different vests along with several weight gloves and hats including a wool navy watch cap.  I have a quilt I usually wrap up in during the day along with a warm neck pillow. But also in my emergency kit are several wool blankets and two dual density “space blankets” which reflect back heat. I have a canteen kit which can be used to melt water if needs be and various other tools and emergency items.
Food items vary according to desires but currently my “snacks”, breakfast and lunch items include a box of mini slimjims, bags of various jerky’s, oatmeal cookies, dry cereal, peanuts, fruit snacks and fruit “leather” along with a large bag of Hershey miniatures’ for a treat. A case of water bottles is available as is instant coffee and a plug-in water heater coil for coffee in my canteen cup.

Entertainment includes a bag of reading material, cell phone charger and a plug in mini DVD player with movies. Yes, before anyone says it my car is indeed full, but, it is that way for a reason, it is lived in 5 days a week. Sleeping is usually done in the front seat just reclined but for this I pulled down the back seats and used the larger more open space. Lighting after dark is provided by small LED pushbutton puck lights.

Overall it was a very successful weekend. Cold, yes, a bit but overall, I was very comfortable. The water thawing worked but was slower than I had planned, adding the second hand warmer would have speeded things up a lot. And a warm meal would have been nice, that will be remedied with some MREs.
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entropy

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Reply with quote  #2 
 I have an ARK II 72 hour one-person kit in my rather large go bag in my truck; and a 3 person-3 day Wise Foods kit (the one in a small bucket that can double as a latrine.) I have extra cold weather gear (Ice King boots, my dad's old Columbia cold weather duck hunting two-coat system and pants, several levels of gloves/mitts from trigger finger liners and dipped work gloves to USAF Arctic mitts), I don't store water in it in the winter (except the foil paks in the ARK II kit) for obvious reasons. (Northwest Wisconsin) Of course, I don't have it set up for living in it so much as surviving going off the road back in the woods and no communications. (I do have a cell phone, I don't depend on them, however, like many do.) I also have two surplus wool blankets and a bunch of fleece ones, and two shirt-jackets, and probably more stuff I don't know about....
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lee1959

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Reply with quote  #3 
Sounds like you have a pretty reasonable setup which should work for you as planned. I have plenty of woods gear in my kit too, I find that for me there is a large overlap in gear. I added the water evn though it freezes because while it does freeze here in Mich. too,  I don't believe with the recent snow falls that I can rely upon that as a source of water should we get stuck in the back roads up north. The gear I have used has evolved over the past 7 years working the job. I think that it helps show that given an emergency situation, or bugout scenario, that the vehicle could, with a bit of planning and thought, would be a viable alternative to a motel, or tent. 

Maybe we should give others with less cold weather some insight on specific gear and why its included. 

Wisk broom to brush off snow before entering to keep the interior as dry as possible.
Wool boot pacs to replace boots for long sedentary periods for comfort and yes warmth because boots can become constricting of blood flow after long periods. 
Watch cap helps retain body heat.
Clothing layers trap dead air to retain body heat.
Putting a space blanket between layers of bedding reflects body heat back.
High caloric food provides calories for body fuel.  
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David Armstrong

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Reply with quote  #4 
It's a good point.  Here in the deep South I don't worry too much about long-term cold weather issues with the vehicle.  But when I lived in NW Oklahoma the stuff I needed to keep in my car in case of emergency was very different than the rest of the year.  So keep in mind the wisdom from above posts...just because it is good for now doesn't mean it will be good for later.  Different climates/seasons dictate different survival needs.
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combatshotgun

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Reply with quote  #5 
No one would have challenged me because they know years back I would spend 22/24  hours with 16 hours sitting in my vehicle in single digit temps.   My fist major gig he in Michigan when getting AI&P up and running was doing surrvielance work for Ford and GM.  It was on former employees that were on Medical Disability Retirement.   The goal was to see if they were working, and yes they could work but had to report that income as a percentage of it would be decuted from their benefit.   So I drive to a site in rural Michigan in the dead of winter, set up on their residence and sit there for 16 hours unless they leave their residence and I follow them.   Mostly sit 16 hours and freeze.  

All the comforts Lee the guys mentioned above were though of and some welcomed and some useless.   We all come up with what works for us but like Lee found out you have to "been there, done that" to come up with what that is.    So any time you are thinking about these thinks try and live it for a few days and find out what works. 

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