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M Winter Backpacking Comfort: Lightweight Gear and Techniques for Shelter, Clothing, and Sleep Systems

by Ryan Jordan

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Article Summary:

Lightweight philosophy can also be applied to winter travel. This article discusses some highlights in techniques and gear for winter alpine sports, including winter ice climbing, alpine mountaineering, backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, and camping. Included are discussions of new concepts in cold weather apparel layering that propose the use of a bicomponent base layer that serves multiple purposes as both a wind shirt and thermal layer. Winter tent and tarp shelters, and apparel and sleep systems are discussed, highlighting differences between new tents and tarps, down vs. synthetic insulation systems, and the importance of designing a clothing and sleep system that dries quickly in response to body heat. GEAR: Some innovative equipment and apparel designs are discussed herein, including: Shelters: Integral Designs eVent MK1 Lite, Black Diamond Firstlight, Hilleberg Akto, GoLite Hex 3, Black Diamond MegaLite, Oware Alphamid, SMC Snow Stake, SMC TAnchor. Snow Shovels: Life-Link 3DXS, Backcountry Access Tour, SnowClaw Backcountry Snow Shovel, SnowClaw Aluminum Pro Series Snow Shovel. Soft Shell Clothing as Next-to-Skin Base Layer Garments: Patagonia Zephur, Marmot Driclime, Buffalo Teclite, Arc'Teryx Gamma MX, GoLite Kinetic Jacket, Rab V-Trail Top, Rab V-Trail Smock. Shell Jackets: Cloudveil Ice Floe Jacket, Cloudveil Prospector Hooded Jacket, Arc'Teryx Gamma MX Hoody. Insulation Jackets: Rab Neutrino (Pertex Quantum Down Jacket), Integral Designs Dolomitti Jacket, Patagonia DAS Parka. OTHER TOPICS: Sleeping bags, vapor barrier technologies, bivy sacks (Bozeman Mountain Works' Quantum X Bivy, Oware Epic Bivy, Bibler Winter Bivy, MacPac Overture, Equinox Bivy).

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