Levis fail at 5 degrees F

I was elk hunting in Colorado with my dad, brother and a few others around 1970 when I learned how not to take care of wet Levis. We’d hiked in the deep snow all day and the Scotchguard Mom had sprayed on my jeans had been about as effective a waterproofing as a Glad sandwich bag would be for a deep sea diving mask. Back at our base camp with the big Army surplus tent, I got out of the soaking wet Levis and hung them just outside the tent door, thinking the afternoon sun would do its work in spite of the freezing temperatures.

I crawled into my sleeping bag later that evening and grimmaced as Dad ordered one of our German Shorthairs into the bag with me for extra warmth. Not only was Smokey a monster space hog of a dog, he was notoriously gassy. Sharing a sleeping bag with him would be something like pitching a beach towel on the slopes of a water treatment plant. I learned that night that I probably had great potential as a Philippino pearl diver.

During the night it snowed close to two feet, enough to collapse a corner of the tent on our host, the only one sleeping on a cot and away from the heater in the center of the tent. We awoke to his muffled cries for help. Soon he was released from his canvas cocoon and joined us for a few more hours of sleep. The next morning was icy cold, 0 degrees or below. I pulled my pants in from just outside the door and they were board-like, frozen solid. I thought a good whack against a log would break the ice off. It did, along with both legs from the knees down. They should put something about that on the tag.

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