Monday, January 25, 2016

Winter Storm Jonas Gear Report

Thankfully, the impact of Winter Storm Jonas on my area was limited to a crapload of snow. We got about 2 feet, plus or minus. (It's hard to get an accurate measure due to the drifting.) This was the 4th biggest snowstorm to hit the Philadelphia area since they began keeping records.

High winds were predicted for this storm but they didn't hit our area, and our power never went out. Because of the predictions I charged all the batteries for things like drills, radios, lanterns, and cell phone power banks. I also filled a Dietz hurricane lantern with lamp oil, but we didn't need either it or our kerosene heater.

A few things performed well during the cleanup:

1. Troy-Bilt Storm 2410 snow blower. I bought this in the Fall of 2014 as an upgrade from the smaller Troy-Bilt 5524 that I got in 2004. The extra size was very welcome with the amount of snow we got, especially when it came to clearing my driveway apron after the township's plow came through. The 179cc engine started easily even after sitting outside under a tarp in sub-freezing weather, and had plenty of power.

I am going to look into putting chains on the snow blower tires, however. The additional traction would be helpful.

2. ORC PCU Level 5 softshell pants. These remain one of the best items I've ever bought. They kept my legs warm and dry even when I had to wade through snow up to my thighs.

3. Arc'Teryx LEAF Atom SV Hoody + French Army MVP* CCE** surplus parka. The Atom SV provided plenty of insulation down into the teens and twenties when worn under the French parka, which blocked the wind and kept me dry, even when getting drenched with windblown snow from the blower. The French parka is available for $35 from If they have it in your size it's one of the best buys you can make. I'd rate it up there with any of the high end civilian GoreTex parks I've owned from Mountain Hardwear and Arc'Teryx, which cost A LOT more.

A few fails:

1. My father's vintage-2000 MTD snow blower (basically an older version of my Troy-Bilt) kept stalling due to a mix of old gas and new gas. Once it warmed up enough it was able to handle the mix.

2. However, to get to that point it had to be restarted. This was a problem when it stalled at the bottom of the driveway and the pull cord for the recoil starter broke when my brother tried to restart it. I had to drive over with a 100 foot extension cord so that it could be restarted. (My parents live around the block, so it was a short trip.) He'll be buying a suitably long extension cord, and replacing the starter rope.

3. I managed to get my Xterra stuck in front of their house when I pulled as far to the side of the street as I could. However, I remembered to toss a collapsible snow shovel in the back of the truck before I went over, so I was able to dig myself out in a couple minutes.

* MVP = Moisture Vapor Permeable, like Gore-Tex.
* CCE = The French central European camo pattern, similar to US woodland but with more tan.

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