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Should we upgrade our Arctic Warfare gear?

daftandbarmy

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Here's a pretty interesting new development in arctic tents. Now that arctic sovereignty is all the rage, should we upgrade to something like this?
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New Polar Tent Will Keep You Warm, Lighten Your Wallet

Outdoor gear manufacturer NEMO Equipment Inc. is prepping a new high tech tent that promises to provide plenty of warmth for expeditions wandering into regions with extreme cold. Dubbed the "Isopod," this new tent is designed to sleep four comfortably while keeping the harsh elements at bay, and is said to be the culmination of nearly a decade of research that includes working with NASA on possible lunar exploration scenarios.

According to the Gear Junkie, who posted this article about the Isopod, the tent is made of a special fabric called OSMO EX that was created specifically for NEMO. That fabric incorporates a special layer that reflects radiant heat, allowing the tent to stay warm, while also allowing it to breathe at the same time. Nylon windows allow sunlight in, and allow even more heat to be reflected off the floor, increasing the performance in cold weather even further.

The design also allows the Isopod to be a free standing tent that is said to be easy to set-up. In fact, the outer shell can be constructed first, which will allow the polar explorer to then crawl inside and finish building his or her shelter with a degree of protection from the elements. An inner tent body and a special floor complete the Isopod.

There are a couple of caveats to keep in mind about this new tent, which is expected to be available next Spring. First, weighs in at nearly 26 pounds, which makes it far too heavy for most polar expeditions on foot or skis. The Gear Junkie points out that it is a perfect piece of gear if you're traveling by dogsled or snowmobile however.

The other issue is the price. NEMO expected to sell this very specialized piece of gear for $3400. Quite a hefty sum for a tent. But, if it delivers on its promise for polar performance, it may just be worth every penny for the right team.

http://theadventureblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-polar-tent-will-keep-you-warm.html
 

Blackadder1916

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It’s been years since I dragged a toboggan on a military exercise “North of 60”, however I continue to think that the CF’s winter gear still has some of the best items for that purpose.  Then, as now, I take gear manufacturers’ claims about the capabilities of their “space age” products with a grain of salt.

4683.jpg


It’s difficult to judge the capabilities of any equipment based solely on advertising material, but since that is all that currently exists for this tent, here goes.

Size:
. . . this new tent is designed to sleep four comfortably . . .
This statement alone could be enough said about its suitability for military operations.  What is the actual size of the tent’s footprint?  I remember the “Tent, Crew, 4 man” (usually called the “2 man tent”); it made the “5 man arctic tent” seem enormous.  There is a big difference between a tent in which 4 persons can “sleep comfortably” and a tent in which 4 persons must “live” (even if uncomfortably).

Material:
. . . the tent is made of a special fabric called OSMO EX that was created specifically for NEMO. That fabric incorporates a special layer that reflects radiant heat, allowing the tent to stay warm, while also allowing it to breathe at the same time. . . .
The GoreTex fabric of my (civilian) jacket also claims to allow the passage of moisture vapour (i.e. breathe), however it is not able to handle the amount of moisture vapour generated by strenuous activity.  How well does “OSMO EX” handle the amount of moisture vapour generated by four persons “sleeping comfortably”, let alone the increased amount generated when the same four persons are performing functions of living in the tent (e.g. cooking, eating, ablutions, etc).  Where does that "excessive" vapour go?  Is it absorbed by the tentage fabric or does it become large water droplets inside the tent?

Design:
Nylon windows allow sunlight in, and allow even more heat to be reflected off the floor, increasing the performance in cold weather even further.

. . .  free standing tent that is said to be easy to set-up.

. . . outer shell can be constructed first,  . . .crawl inside and finish building his or her shelter . . .

An inner tent body and a special floor complete the Isopod.
Yes it could be used in the “Land of the Midnight Sun” where protection may be required against sunburn and glare, but during those hours when the sun is brightest and able to heat the tent (to a small degree) the (military) occupants will most likely be on the move (with the tent packed) or performing some other function outside.  I do see possible benefit of a “window” in providing increased ambient light if the tent is occupied during daylight hours.  If the claim of increased performance is based on “allow(ing) even more heat to be reflected off the floor”, how much floor space is available once sleeping bags, kit and bodies in various degrees of undress cover it?

Free standing tents can be easier to set up and may have greater floor space available to use, but (in smaller tents) it often comes at the expense of stability and durability of the frame which usually consists of flexible poles.

An outer shell and an inner tent – sounds a lot like the current arctic tent, however in the case of that bit of kit, both go up together and doesn’t require “crawling” inside to hang the inner.  It sounds like NEMO Equipment Inc. recognized one of the inherent problems with “4 season” tents (particularly that 4th season) – an adequate air insulating layer.  Their simple solution seems to have been to take a standard tent design and hang another one inside.

I won’t comment on the weight and price as my impressions should be self-evident.

One of the principles in cold weather operations (or any operations for that matter) should be KISS.  Equipment should be simply made, easy to operate, rugged, and easily repairable (and cleaned) by the operator using improvised materials if necessary.  The Isopod “may” be well designed and manufactured and “may” provide some slight increase in performance with regard to warmth, however I don’t see it as being suitable to replace anything in the current inventory.  It could (potentially) be an nice, new, expensive toy for SAR Techs, but then again, perhaps not.
 

George Wallace

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Blackadder1916 said:
It’s been years since I dragged a toboggan on a military exercise “North of 60”, however I continue to think that the CF’s winter gear still has some of the best items for that purpose.  Then, as now, I take gear manufacturers’ claims about the capabilities of their “space age” products with a grain of salt.

4683.jpg


It’s difficult to judge the capabilities of any equipment based solely on advertising material, but since that is all that currently exists for this tent, here goes.

Size:This statement alone could be enough said about its suitability for military operations.  What is the actual size of the tent’s footprint?  I remember the “Tent, Crew, 4 man” (usually called the “2 man tent”); it made the “5 man arctic tent” seem enormous.  There is a big difference between a tent in which 4 persons can “sleep comfortably” and a tent in which 4 persons must “live” (even if uncomfortably).

Material:The GoreTex fabric of my (civilian) jacket also claims to allow the passage of moisture vapour (i.e. breathe), however it is not able to handle the amount of moisture vapour generated by strenuous activity.  How well does “OSMO EX” handle the amount of moisture vapour generated by four persons “sleeping comfortably”, let alone the increased amount generated when the same four persons are performing functions of living in the tent (e.g. cooking, eating, ablutions, etc).  Where does that "excessive" vapour go?  Is it absorbed by the tentage fabric or does it become large water droplets inside the tent?

Design:Yes it could be used in the “Land of the Midnight Sun” where protection may be required against sunburn and glare, but during those hours when the sun is brightest and able to heat the tent (to a small degree) the (military) occupants will most likely be on the move (with the tent packed) or performing some other function outside.  I do see possible benefit of a “window” in providing increased ambient light if the tent is occupied during daylight hours.  If the claim of increased performance is based on “allow(ing) even more heat to be reflected off the floor”, how much floor space is available once sleeping bags, kit and bodies in various degrees of undress cover it?

Free standing tents can be easier to set up and may have greater floor space available to use, but (in smaller tents) it often comes at the expense of stability and durability of the frame which usually consists of flexible poles.

An outer shell and an inner tent – sounds a lot like the current arctic tent, however in the case of that bit of kit, both go up together and doesn’t require “crawling” inside to hang the inner.  It sounds like NEMO Equipment Inc. recognized one of the inherent problems with “4 season” tents (particularly that 4th season) – an adequate air insulating layer.  Their simple solution seems to have been to take a standard tent design and hang another one inside.

I won’t comment on the weight and price as my impressions should be self-evident.

One of the principles in cold weather operations (or any operations for that matter) should be KISS.  Equipment should be simply made, easy to operate, rugged, and easily repairable (and cleaned) by the operator using improvised materials if necessary.  The Isopod “may” be well designed and manufactured and “may” provide some slight increase in performance with regard to warmth, however I don’t see it as being suitable to replace anything in the current inventory.  It could (potentially) be an nice, new, expensive toy for SAR Techs, but then again, perhaps not.

All good points, most of them what I have been contemplating. 

You brought up cooking.  I don't see any stove vent in this design.  When we set up a "Stove Watch" to keep an eye on the stove and lantern, having only four pers to spread this duty out amongst will create a lot of fatigue amongst the troops. 

Your points on this ‘four man’ tent are valid.  It would take three of these tents, their weight and bulk, to replace on ‘Ten man Arctic Tent’.    This will add to the toboggan requirements of the Troop/Platoon.  Will we require more toboggans, thus more men to pull them, and then more tents?

How easy will it be to repair this expensive tent?  More important, what are its properties reference heat and flame?  (Back to the Stove Watch.)

In the Land of the Midnight Sun, there is about one hour of daylight in the height of Winter.  Sunlight heating a floor is not going to happen, nor is a window of significant use, except to those outside looking in.

Are the proponents of this tent also involved with the procurement of DRASH ?    :-\
 

Jungle

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A floor is a very bad idea for our arctic tents, but they could be modernised by making them with a lighter, waterproof and fire-retardant material, with integral double-walls.
 

George Wallace

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One thing we should bring back is the Yukon Stove.  The Rangers still use them, with the old 160 lb tents (no liners) and they stay toasty warm.  Two poles and a tarp, basically with a stove. 

We have good kit.  What often is missing is the knowledge and experience to 'survive' in extreme conditions.  Fancy, expensive, hi-tech kit won't solve that problem.
 

wildman0101

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I agree with George/W's last.
No matter the kit, experience
is the qualifier. Even with no kit
servival is attainable with exper-
ience. Stove's are good, like one
George mentioned. We had the
old oil heater's, man when they
ran outa fuel the stink. Had to
give it a kick to shut it  down.
The Naptha one's were good.
And lasted most if the night, and
when they ran out of fuel they
just went out. But we alway's
had a guard on also.(fire/Security)
ect. Good point's all.
Scoty B

 

Nfld Sapper

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George Wallace said:
One thing we should bring back is the Yukon Stove.  The Rangers still use them, with the old 160 lb tents (no liners) and they stay toasty warm.  Two poles and a tarp, basically with a stove. 

We have good kit.  What often is missing is the knowledge and experience to 'survive' in extreme conditions.  Fancy, expensive, hi-tech kit won't solve that problem.

They are back George.......used them in MOD Tents though.... but also set one up in an arctic tent as a demo.....
 

Jungle

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NFLD Sapper said:
They are back George.......used them in MOD Tents though.... but also set one up in an arctic tent as a demo.....

Correct, they are. I used a new one a few years ago in a 10-man tent; it ran on fuel only (no provision for burning wood) and it was very effective.
 

daftandbarmy

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This is a tent we used alot in Arctic Norway. It emerged from the UKLF trials process. I've used it in conditions down to minus 40, as well as up to plus 10 and raining (sometikes during the same exercise). We aslo used them in the UK as the typical Scottish 'summer' can easily resemble a normal winter just aboiut anywhere else in the world.

They were man packable, but usually towed in the pulks. We used them on longer patrols, and set them up behind the LD (for casevac/CP duties) on deliberate attacks and ambushes.

Pitches outer first with huge fibreglass poles-finger thick
Material-heavy coated OD nylon
Inner Tent-Huge WP bathtub floor with velcro removable patches on the floor to accommodate cooking stoves
Inner a heavy cotton/polyester liner above the bathtub.
Can be zipped together to make bigger tents
Issued mainly to Royal Marines & AMF (L) 80's and 90's
Packsize-about 3 x large sleeping bags
Weight around 10kg
Cost around 150-200 UK new


http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=54857
 

dogger1936

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Yeah we had one rigged up in our OP in afganland to keep warm at night. Wood or diesel depending on what we had.
 

SevenSixTwo

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Figured I would post this here.

Don't you guys think the Canadian Forces should create a sleeping bag designed for people above 6 ft? As it stands right now if you are above 6 ft or above a certain body size you cannot fit in the inner sleeping bag (let alone an inner sleeping bag with a liner!). The only sleeping bag you DO fit in at that height is the outer sleeping bag.


I think they should really change this since having a liner and the ability to use a inner and an outer is crucial to being in cold climates.
 

PuckChaser

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Doesn't the supply system LPO a sleeping bag that has the same weather specs (-40C) that ours do for members over 6 feet? I'd rather keep that system, then have PWGSC foul up the requirements message and we still end up with sleeping bags that don't fit these members, or are 3 times the weight because they're just 2 sleeping bags sewn end to end (seen that happen once for a member who was 6'7").
 

daftandbarmy

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SevenSixTwo said:
Figured I would post this here.

Don't you guys think the Canadian Forces should create a sleeping bag designed for people above 6 ft? As it stands right now if you are above 6 ft or above a certain body size you cannot fit in the inner sleeping bag (let alone an inner sleeping bag with a liner!). The only sleeping bag you DO fit in at that height is the outer sleeping bag.


I think they should really change this since having a liner and the ability to use a inner and an outer is crucial to being in cold climates.

I'm over 6 ft tall and was issued a Drop Zone Tactical bag at stores. It's synthetic, huge, weighs over 5 lbs and barely fits in the valise that I used to be able to easily stuff an inner and outer bag into. I've got a civvy bag that I use for extreme cold on mountaineering trips and winter adventures. Down, Dryloft covered, weighs 4 lbs, easily good to minus 40, and fits in a stuff sack 1/2 the size of the CF valise.

Time to move on with the new technology I would say.
 

Fishbone Jones

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Try doing a search guys. We had a whole huge discussion on this subject (sleeping bags), probably less than a year ago.  :salute:
 

GAP

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I thought this was just a continuation of that one.....
 
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