Alaska Beading  


Sponsored by: Whitetail University, Atsko Products


By: Wade Nolan
bowhunting biologist

Last summer, and the two summers prior I have spent a lot of time in an Athapaskan Indian Village called Tetlin. It is located over near the Yukon Border on a tributary of the Tanana River. I have made friends with the matriarch of the village named Yvonne. She is a wonderful grandma. She is the one in the village that holds tightly to the culture. She sews moose, coyote, wolf and beaver skins and she makes beautiful birch bark baskets. Her bead work is amazing. Yvonne made me this headband. And just when you thought you knew where I was going with this story I’m making a left-hand turn and I’m going to talk about beading that defines the difference between life and death in Alaska.

This is the beadwork my friend Yvonne does by hand. My headband has thousands of beads woven into it.

I have taken over 500 people to Alaska on Mission trips and expeditions. I always spend a lot of time explaining the real perils of adventure on the northern edge. Although I often speak about bears I always focus on staying dry. You see in the land of Marts and State parks rain gear can work poorly and you’ll never notice. In Alaska junk or poorly performing rain gear can kill you. Most of the deaths in Alaska by recreationalists is associated with water, cold water. With summer temps often staying in the 50-degree zone, hypothermia is always at the door.

Blue sky is not all that common in Alaska. With five mountain ranges weather is often stopped and churned around like it was in a blender. The end result is often rain. Over 200-inches a year in some places.

For high-tech rain gear to work it must bead water. There is simple science behind this fact. Most breathable raingear relies on an outside coating that repels water and then an expanded Gore-Tex membrane sandwiched inside. The theory is that body moisture can pass through the breathable membrane and water can’t get in. Good theory but the truth is if the outside of your raingear can’t bead water then it fails and water sheets over the shell and sweat can’t get out. Even more, if the Gore-Tex is dirty or clogged with detergent residue the entire suit fails and you might as well be wearing garbage bags.

Take note of the water droplets beading up on my shoulder. Although this is a $250 rain jacket, if I fail to keep it clean and breathable It will leak.

Here is the solution. Wash your high-tech raingear with Sport-Wash ZERO . It will rejuvenate the fabric, encourage beading and clear out detergent residue from the micro-pores in the Gore-Tex.  If you are really serious about staying dry, you can treat the entire suit with Silicone Water-Guard. It is a crosslinking polymer that will allow the fabric to breath and encourage beading.

I also rely on this jacket when fishing out in Prince William Sound. This octopus stretched out to over 10-feet. It rains 50% of the time when we are out after halibut. Got to be ready.

If you’re looking for Alaska beadwork stop by and talk to my friend Yvonne. She is the best. If you want your raingear to bead water and work to keep you dry try my system. It can spell the difference between life and death.

Also check out: Washing High-Tech Clothing, Waterproofing You Stuff, Death Dance

Sponsored by: Whitetail University, Atsko Products 

For more please go to:  Wade Nolan and Scent Control