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Winter Kit- Let me know what you think
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David Thul
(thuldj) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Winter Kit- Let me know what you think on 11/13/2007 23:19:56 MST Print View

This is my winter backpacking list. It will be used in both the Colorado Rockies and the Utah desert for the most part. This list is under the assumption that I am traveling with my girlfriend (she doesn't like the cold but loves to come anyway if she stays warm. Thats why it may be a little redundant opposed to absolutely light weight.) I am omitting consumables and personal care odd and ends since I don't have weights for them yet.

Clothing Worn:
Golite Visor 60g
GoLite Shorts 100g
GoLite Paradigm Pants
GoLite LS Zip Top 140g
Smartwool socks 77g
La Sportiva Race Blades 332g
Suunto Vector Watch 55g

1274g 2.69 lbs

Packed Clothing:
Mountain Hardware Quark 284g
GoLite Down Vest 280g
GoLite LS Zip Top 140g
Smartwool Socks 77g
Patagonia Capelene Hat 30g
Patagonia R1 Tights 227g
OR vert Pro Gloves 100g

1138g 2.5 lbs

Sleep System:
GoLite Den 2 1450g
Jacks R Better Kathadin Quilt 1020g
Exped Down Mat 7 925g
Small Pillow 300g

3895g 8.5lbs

Granite Gear Vapor Trail 900g
OR Helium Stuff Sacks 51
GoLite L Stuff Sack 30

981g 2.1 lbs

MSR Wisperlite & Fuel Bottle 535g
Evernew Pot 120g
Ti Spork 17g
Platypus 2+ L 30g

995g 2.1 lbs

BD Zenix IQ Headlamp 162g
Gerber Knife 162g

326g .7lbs

Pack Weight: 7.34 kg 16.1 lbs
FSOW: 9.55kg 21.05lbs

What do you think? Any major components missing other than what I left out noted above? How would you lighten up? I am thinking a different stove. Also of note I like a thick sleeping pad, do you know of anything as warm for less weight similar comfort?

Edited by thuldj on 11/13/2007 23:21:16 MST.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Winter Kit on 11/15/2007 10:26:52 MST Print View

What temps are the rockies like in the the winter?

As for the mat, that's the same one I use (short version) and I love it. I think the only comparable one is the Stephensons DAM which I have no experience with, but I believe is lighter.
You could definitely lighten up on that 300g pillow! :)

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Winter Kit on 11/15/2007 10:41:55 MST Print View

lows usually don't get below -20 although it happens in some regions/weather patterns. Daily highs in the teens and windy if we're talking about above treeline at all.

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
Re: Winter Kit- Let me know what you think on 11/15/2007 11:50:30 MST Print View

A few questions:
How will you be traveling? snowshoe? Skis? foot? Is this list for travel in the mountains or on the plains? How much snow do you plan on encountering?

I would think about a couple things with that gear list. Why not leave the shorts behind? On a typical Northern rockies winter trip I am wearing mid weight bottoms under a soft shell pant. I then use a puffy pant as my final insulating layer. This allows me to not have to delayer to add layers. Consider the same set up for your upper body, with the puffy being your final layer.

A lighter stove would be great, but white gas is far superior to canister and alcohol in cold windy weather. If you are melting snow for water, a whisperlite is awesome.

Wide mouth water bottles are way easier to fill in the winter, both with cold stream water if you can find it, in desert potholes, and with melted snow from a pot.

I hope that helps, it was a little hard for me to tell if your list was for both of you or each, but I think it is a good start. I bet you can get you weight down a bunch by closely looking at warmth to weight ratio and alternative layering setups.

David Thul
(thuldj) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Winter Kit- Let me know what you think on 11/15/2007 22:07:09 MST Print View

Steven- Good to hear about the pad. I am still trying to find a pillow system I like. I am not keen on the inflatables because I find them too hard blow all the way up and akward with any less (I am a stomach sleeper). Suggestions anyone?

Ryan- This list is for the mountains, not much point in walking around on the plains(IMO :)). No snow to several feet of snow can be expected. Very little in the Utah desert and several feet in the mountains. When snow is present I/we will be walking in snowshoes. They aren't listed because buying a new pair for weight savings isn't justifiable in my eyes.

Basically the shorts are for wearing under the pants during the day, basically underwear. I am almost always too warm. I only have the tights to cut down on the draft at night or if it is really cold. Good call on widemouth bottles, I hadn't thought about that.

Oh to clarify the sleeping setup. My GF and I each have Exped Downmats connected with a homemade system to keep them together at night. I need to get a scale and weight it. The quilt is shared between the two of us (3.5" loft).

Basically, I carry the bulk of the gear and some food. She carries her sleeping pad, head lamp, misc personal stuff, clothes and most of the food. We each carry our own water. This keeps her pack weight lower than mine.

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
Re: Re: Winter Kit- Let me know what you think on 11/17/2007 17:00:40 MST Print View

Have you looked at the Mont bell pillow (2.9 oz.)? It is still an inflatable, but built like a "self inflating" pad. May be an option. I haven't used one but am keen on checking it out after my SUL hospital style inflatable pillow lost a chamber on me last summer.

I hear ya on the mountains vs. plain deal! It seems like you have a good idea of what you need and your system sounds well thought out. A few other things to think about if you haven't already...

If there is a lot of snow, or creeks are frozen, you will need to melt snow for water. This will increase your fuel weight and in my opinion move you towards a white gas stove for sure.

If you are the warmer sleeper, realize that sleeping together will be warmer for her, but not necessarily for you as she will be drawing heat from you.

Winter hiking in the desert is amazing, and I think your system will work really well, plus you can go with a lighter cooking system! It might be worth some backyard testing in the snow to test it for the mountains.

I am about to head out on a 2.5 week ski trip in the northern rockies and will be trying to lower my pack weight a bunch. I'll post up afterwards to let you know how it works out.

Jake Calabrese
(trekmore) - F

Locale: Colorado
I like the list... maybe some tips? on 11/18/2007 21:26:48 MST Print View

I am looking for a lightweight jacket, so I will look at the options you list... while I am not doing full winter BP at this point, most of the trips are in CO, spring/fall, NM (north), AZ (mountains- winter), UT (winter)... so it tends to be higher elevations and always a chance of snow... sometimes I laugh when I read a lot of these lists... it is nice to see someone with a list that does not look like it was developed for the Sahara... :)

While I do not have the lightest pack -- a few ideas...

There is a Thermarest Pillow that is made of foam cubes... it is a square shape, multiple sizes, it is 9.2 oz. Not that light, but may be an option, it is the only "real" pillow I have used though I do not take it every time due to the weight.
I have the medium...

I have used the Whisper Lite Intl for years... I picked up a Simmer Lite (8.1oz stove/pump) a few years back and have been using that, it uses the same pump, but is lighter then the intl. maybe 3.5 oz less? I got it at a super sale, and got it to allow better flame control- which is why I got it, since I cook cakes and stuff... it also has a better hose to the fuel bottle. Anyway, keep an eye out for one, may cut the weight a tiny bit!

Thanks for the CO Gear list!

- jake

David Thul
(thuldj) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Winter Kit- Let me know what you think on 11/19/2007 09:59:07 MST Print View

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Ryan- The Montbell pillow looks interesting. I live in Boulder and we have a Montbell store here so I might go lay on it in person.

In terms of sleeping together, has anyone else experienced the phenomena where the woman sleeping says she is cold but she is putting off heat like a campfire? This has hapened to me several times and I have had to sleep without any covers at all because my "sleeping buddy" was putting off heat for the both of us even though she felt cold. Weird.

I hope you post your ski list, I would like to check it out.

Jake- I checked out the specs on that thermarest pillow but I was at the mall the other day and I found and interesting option. . . when at home I use a memory foam pillow with contours and i happened to find a travel size one at The Sharper Image. It was $30 and pretty good size maybe 10x12x4. As is it weighs 17 oz but I was thinking about cutting it in half. That would make it 9 oz and it is insanely comfortable.

I will get back to you with more on it when I perform surgery!

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Re: Winter Kit- Let me know what you think on 11/19/2007 19:32:34 MST Print View


The Mont-bell pillow is wonderfully comfortable. Unlike a lot of air-filled pillows, it stays put under your head as you toss & turn!

I have this theory about body heat and perceived warmth/coolness. My wife always says she is cold even though she puts out more heat than a radiator! On the other hand, I could freeze meat by holding it between my feet at night but, I always feel warm. All this while we are side-by-side.

So, my theory is that if your body temp runs warm there is a greater differential temperature between you and the air around you as compared to a person whose body temp runs cool. So the person with the warm body feels colder because they experience a greater differential. BTW, my normal body temp runs about 97^

Jake Calabrese
(trekmore) - F

Locale: Colorado
Therarest vs gutted Sharper on 11/20/2007 13:20:35 MST Print View

David, before you gut that pillow, hit the REI in Boulder and take a look at the Med Thermarest... it is nice... at 9.2 (my scale)

- Jake

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
gear list for 2 week ski on 11/21/2007 17:02:35 MST Print View


See Profile for gear list...

that is what I have for my gear list for the 12-14 day ski trip I am leaving for tomorrow, it is not entirely complete, and may change - I still pack a bit artistically. This is for a 12-14 day winter ski/snowboard course where I am an instructor. in that role, I will also add an institutional firtst aid kit, a sat phone, and some quantity of a kitchen that will cook for 4 people (think 2 whisper lights, 2 4qt pots, a Banks Frybake, and a spatula)as well as a mega light.

I see a bunch of places I can lighten up, but many would mean some new gear. hmmm... Christmas IS coming up!

I'll post up my final weight when I get back, flying out tomorrow, and doing an early turkey day today.

Happy thanksgiving!

Edited by ryan_hutchins on 11/21/2007 17:18:16 MST.

Andrew Wolff

Locale: Chattanooga
Pillow on 11/21/2007 21:21:46 MST Print View

David, While surely not as comfortable as the Montbell or Thermarest pillows, why not use your 2L Platy as a pillow. Wrap it in a spare piece of clothing - stuff it in a sleeve or pants leg so it doesn't slip out. Somewhat adjustable by blowing in more or less air, zero weight penalty and it keeps your water from freezing. Works for me.

Drew Davis
(drewnc2005) - F

Locale: Hillsborough, NC
Re: Pillow on 11/21/2007 22:04:38 MST Print View

Thermarest also makes a lumbar pad that weighs around 3 oz. or so. I think it would make a perfect pillow in my quick test at REI. You could put it in a stuff sack, add some soft clothes around it for even more cushion, and sleep away. It is $30.

Following is a link to the product:

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
1 oz pillow on 11/21/2007 22:48:16 MST Print View

This one

has worked well for me, and at 1 oz, it's about as light, preformed (inflatable) that you can get.

Edited by eaglemb on 11/21/2007 22:48:46 MST.

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
Re: 1 oz pillow on 11/22/2007 09:01:01 MST Print View

This one

That is the type that I had a chamber go out on me 2 or 3 days into a 12 day trip. While wonderfully light, I cannot reconcile using disposable gear. YMMV.

Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
Katahdin quilt and down mat on 11/27/2007 22:54:39 MST Print View

I was thinking about the quilt with omni tape and the exped down mat 9. I am pretty big 5'11" 225lbs. but would this quilt be to big for one? Also is the exped pad really warm? I wouldn't be in a lot of snow but maybe in the future i would.

David Thul
(thuldj) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Katahdin quilt and down mat on 11/28/2007 22:54:58 MST Print View

The exped mat is insanely warm. I like it because not only is it really warm but it is super plush being 2.5" thick. As for the quilt, I don't think it would be too big for one. When solo winter camping I use it as a single, it works really well because the width really keeps out the drafts. Usually what I do is pull the drawstring on the bottom to close in the footbox then velcro up maybe the bottom 2 ft or so. This keeps my feet wrapped up but the functionality of the quilt at the top. At your size you could even make it into a full on sleeping bag by velcroing the whole way up, this will really keep in the warmth and make it easier to cover the head. Admittedly this quilt wouldn't make for the lightest solo setup but on the plus side, if you stumble upon someone on the trail you want to share the covers with, you always can! :) But in reality, I think it is so functional and so well made that if you don't mind the extra few grams it might be perfect for you.

Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
Thanks on 12/03/2007 19:57:18 MST Print View

Thanks David, very sound advice. I was also thinking of the Monte Bell 0. This is actually a little heavier but probably a bit warmer. The problem is that it will be too warm most of the year whereas the quilt can be opened up more easily.What do you think.

David Thul
(thuldj) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Thanks on 12/04/2007 10:28:12 MST Print View

Ok this is now where it gets complicated. Do you sleep warm or cold? Where will you be camping?

I, personally, think the Kathadin is too warm for much other than winter, late fall or early spring here in CO. Though it can be opened I still think it would be way too warm in most places in the summer except maybe 12,000 + feet. This being said I sleep warm.

If you are looking for the most versatile all season system I would suggest the Mt. Rogers quilt supplemented with insulating pants and jacket for the winter. This system would be lighter in the summer (bag weight) and winter (because you would use insulating clothing as part of your sleeping system) multi use gear woohoo.

This option is clearly more expensive though. If price is not an issue it may be the best move. On the other hand if you can only get one bag, want it for summer and winter, then the kathadin would be a better choice than the montbell bag.

Just for fun, what is your current sleep system?

Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
sleep system on 12/06/2007 21:15:34 MST Print View

I use a MLD event sole side zip bivy, a big agnes 66"inslated air core pad and a 20* REI sub kilo down bag, and a 8x10 ID silnylon tarp.I am new to backpacking so I haven't been though a winter yet and I want to continue packing though the winter season for many years to come. I love the cold weather of the mountains in winter and snow shoeing looks so fun.Realistically I probably will do most of my camping on the Cal. coast because it is closer and less driving. The temps. here rarely get below 20* but the bag I have now doesn't keep me warm below 40*even with a base layer.The mount rogers quilt with my Monte bell inner down pants and jacket is probably the most most versatile system for me right now. The Katahdin might inspire me to do more winter camping though. I tend to sleep cold, but maybe it is just that my bag isn't that great.I also just ordered the Exped 9 down pad. I know it is a little heavier than the down pad 7 but I like being comfortable. Should be here in a few days.

Edited by Joshua on 12/06/2007 21:19:15 MST.