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Wind sacks

A good friend when the wind is howling

A wind sack is lightweight, windproof and takes up little space. It also provides absolutely essential protection if you are delayed in the mountains due to bad weather, or if you have to stay to take care of an injured person. It even can provide a moment's respite from Mother Nature during one of your regular breaks. To put it bluntly, the wind sack is an obligatory piece of equipment if you are going to take a winter trek. Since it can be used in a number of different ways, it is a good idea to practice at home before heading out on your trek. Choose a day when the wind is really blowing!

How to put up a wind sack:

• Anchor the wind sack to your body, for example by tying a rope around your waist or to the hip belt of your backpack, so it does not blow away.

• Place one foot on the hem and hold up the wind sack so the entrance is filled with air. This makes it easier to crawl into. (Here you need to be a bit quick so the wind sack does not turn into a sail).

• Crawl into the sack and sit on a ground pad or backpack for insulation from the cold ground. Bring in the food and backpacks only after everyone has crawled into the sack.

• Open the ventilation hole at the head a bit when the wind sack is used in hard winds. It is less stressful for the material if the air has somewhere to go.

• If you have to spend the night in a wind sack in strong winds, it is best to try to find a lee side depression or dig a ditch to sit in, preferably with a wind barrier.

• Try to create a column of air between the wall of the wind sack and your body, for example by pushing out the sack with your backpack. This will improve the ventilation and somewhat lower the risk for condensation.

Most models have eyelets that can be attached to poles and skis if you want to pull your wind sack taut. However, it is best to avoid using poles and skis in strong winds since the wear on isolated points can cause the wind sack to tear. In general, you should be very careful with pole ends and the steel ends of your skis around the wind sack.