NOTE:This may not be the right section. Please move if needed. This is a little something I picked up on another forum. It is actually quite long but it is so good ive saved it onto my computer for further reference. Have fun! Grub and Gear--Lessons Learned from an Alaskan Trapper Going through some old gear last month, I found my food supply lists and notes from 1976-79. I thought the old list might be of interest and the lessons I learned during the first three years in the remote Alaska bush may be helpful. I do not recommend Alaska for a TEOTWAWKI retreat but the lessons I learned the hard way may be helpful to any one in a cold climate. I grew up in California listing to stories from my grandfather about Alaska and the Yukon. When I graduated from high school my grandfather gave me his remote trapping cabin in Alaska. At 18 I had a lot to learn and discovered many things the hard way. I was lucky to survive the first year. When I got to Alaska I met my Grandfather’s old trapping partner. He told me that the cabin was fully stocked with everything including food. Enough food and supplies for at least one winter. When I started asking him questions on how to trap he told me “sonny I have not got the time to teach you and since you don’t have to build the cabin you will have time to figure it out. He added half under his breath” providing you do not fall through the ice or freeze to death. He also said something to the effect that if he had not owed my grandfather a favor he would never give his ½ of the cabin to a long haired hippy kid from California. I had to promise the old Sourdough that I would have all of his traps flown back to town at the end of the trapping season or buy the traps from him. My first winter was a disaster. Before this the longest I had been in the wilderness was a 23 day Outward Bound survival class that I attended the year before and I had never spent a winter in a cold environment. To get to the trapping cabin it was at least a two week walk from the end of closest dirt road or a 1:20 hour flight in a bush plane. The cheapest way to fly to the cabin was in a Piper PA-18 Super Cub on tundra tires. The pilot told me he could carry 1 passenger and 200 lbs of supplies or a total of 400 pounds of supplies and no passenger. When the pilot dropped me off he told me “If I am in the area I will check on you” He did not have any charters that way so he did not check on me that winter. I got out of the plane with a full back pack of gear, a duffel bag of supplies and a 30-06 rifle. I had to walk a few miles to the cabin. I left the duffel bag in a tree to retrieve later. With a full back pack and my rifle I walked as fast as I could to the cabin. I was excited to see “My cabin” at last. What a shock I had when I saw the cabin! The old Trapper had lived many winters in the cabin and told me it was built strong. What I found was a small log shack with a dirt floor and sod roof. In the cabin a wood stove, a hand built bed frame and table. An old bed mattress suspended by wire from the rafters. There were traps, snow shoes, ax, bow saw, and one man cross cut saw, files, a lantern and the other basics that are needed to survive the Alaska winter as a trapper. The trapper had not been to the cabin for four years. At least 60% of the food supply that I was counting on had been eaten by rodents or had spoiled. First lesson learned! If you count on food to be there when you need it, you better have had your food stored in a very secure way or you may go hungry. Theft is also something to be considered in today’s society and in TEOTWAWKI losing your food cache would be disastrous Most people think it must have been boring spending 4 ½ months alone in a cabin. The reality is I was too busy just trying to cut enough wood to stay warm and skin the marten,fox or wolf that I trapped or shot. I was cold, hungry and exhausted most of the time. I never had the time to get board. Being a green horn at trapping I only averaged 1 animal a week and it was usually shot instead of trapped. The first winter at the cabin. As soon as I walked into the cabin I knew I was in trouble. I did not have the 4-to-5 month supply of food I needed. I had a topo map of the trapping area only but did not have the maps to get me back to the road or town, Second lesson! Make your Egress plans ahead of time and have at least 2 good contingency plans. Thankfully in the cabin there were two steel drums with snap ring lids that were full of dry goods and on the shelves were some cans of dried goods that were also still good. The following list is what was still edible in the cabin as best as I can remember 50 lbs Bisquick 50 lbs Beans 25 lbs Rice 10 Lbs Lentils 20 lbs Oatmeal 10 lbs Coffee 2 lbs black pepper 10 lbs Crisco 4 lbs Honey 25 lbs salt The supplies along with a young moose I shot did keep me alive but it was no fun. I had youth and enthusiasm on my side and knew the situation was temporary. I decided to just make it a challenge and kind of live some of my grandfather's stories first hand for myself. I had in my pack 1 roll of toilet paper but there was none at the cabin Third Lesson! Birch bark, snow or small pine cones work but make a very poor substitute for toilet paper. I also learned later that winter that at -40 your butt will freeze to a wood toilet seat in the outhouse. Make a toilet seat for the outhouse out of hard blue Styrofoam for winter will make using the outhouse less of a pain in the butt. As fall quickly turned to winter the lake next to the cabin froze and the temp continued to drop. The high quality mountaineering boots I had used in the high Sierra Mountains of California and Nevada were not anywhere near warm enough and did not have removable liners so the boots were hard to dry. Forth lesson Pac boots with 2 sets of liners or bunny boots are must have items for cold environments. Many times during the winter I could have shot Grouse or Ptarmigan If I had a 22 pistol. That would have added much wanted variety to the menu. The other problem I learned is if you get a wolf or wolverine in one of your traps a 30-06 blows too big a hole in the hide and destroys most of the value of the fur. Fifth Lesson! A .22 rifle or pistol is a must have item. After 2 months my clothes were in bad shape. Most Light weight high tech clothing used for backpacking or mountaineering is not designed for day to day hard use and does not hold up to rigors outdoor work for the long haul. High quality wool clothing does a lot better over the long haul and is not susceptible to melting next to a fire like nylon is. Yes wool is heavy and takes longer to dry but in my opinion for working in the woods wool is the way to go.