Ryan Jordan's SUL Winter Challenge
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Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Ryan's Winter Challenge on 10/27/2005 01:30:56 MDT Print View

I am hoping to see some snow in the Smokies the last 2 weeks in December. I am sure there will not be enough for a snow cave but a few inches would sure make some nice pictures. I will be going South on the AT around a 140 miles if I don't have any problem getting to my start point. I will be using my new Hammock and my Home-Made Down Sleep System as soon as I get out of the park. I want to try at least one 3/4 day section SUL and see how that works out. I will have lots of different gear and all my snow toys close so I hope I get to use a few of them.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Snow cave living/sleep systems/VBL on 10/27/2005 14:09:19 MDT Print View

I've had the pleasure of sleeping quite a few nights in caves, but never solo ( although I have constructed such a shelter as an emergency exercise). Usually 2 or more, sometimes palatial affairs. So, interesting hearing of your temp./comfort experiences, Ryan.

The lightest way to get a bag rated at freezing down another 7-15 degrees (and incidentally helping to keep the down fill as dry as possible) would be with a VBL liner. I have an old PU nylon one which weighs 5 oz. and in a light silnylon or better yet, Nano/Cuben it could be absurdly light.
I think that might be a workable solution in truest SUL good form for using an Arc X for solo snow cave living and to give Dr. Jordan a reasonable good night's rest.

For a VBL liner to work best, one sleeps with nothing more than a baselayer (I know of several VBL nudists who swear by their method--just ask the Stephenson family). My experience of use at sub-freezing temps. is of initially feeling clammy but waking up dry. The warmer it is, the more clamminess. The baselayer helps to mitigate the clamminess by wicking moisture away from your body. The VBL seems to work best at sub 20-25 degree temperatures F.

Of course, you can't wear additional insulation (like a down sweater) within the VBL---it will absorb body moisture. But it could be used outside of it.

If the VBL option is employed and since snowcaves are the only practical shelters for this SUL trip, the Nano-tarp can be ditched. No weight gain, and perhaps a weight loss if we see a Nano-VBL.

Incidently, I often use a naked candle in snow caves for light/warmth. Weight of candle lantern could be
removed from consideration. You just need to employ it away from burnables/meltables and away from cavewalls.

Edited by kdesign on 10/27/2005 14:28:57 MDT.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
RJ's SUL Winter: VB Gear on 10/27/2005 20:47:55 MDT Print View

I will have available to me, if you so choose that it be used by me, a few VB items of interest.

Silnylon pull on VB pants. 3 oz
Silnylon VB shirt. 3 oz
RBH Designs proto VB jacket. 10 oz
BMW Nano sleeping bag VB liner. 2 oz.

VB clothing can be used in conjunction with insulating clothing to boost sleep system comfort, but a VB liner is lighter.

The RBH jacket is intended to be used as part of the winter clothing system in base layer mode. I'm pretty eager to give this a go this winter, if not on this trip. I'm guessing you could cover all bases with this and a parka and call it good: 2 layers of clothing for a winter trip. That's absurd. It's very well done, and a cool concept. Like Stephenson's VB shirt, but way more versatile.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
re.RJ's SUL Winter: VB Gear on 10/27/2005 21:50:30 MDT Print View

I think you definitely should go for the Nano liner.
The VBL jacket sounds very interesting ( gotta keep an eye on RBH), but could you save it for another winter trip? I think the whole ultra light sleeping set up in a snow cave built around a down bag, begs for a VBL liner.

Or can a case be made for the RBH jacket w/ the right clothing combo, making an ultimately lighter
system?
Ryan Jordan reports, you decide.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
going SUL in Winter GearList on 10/30/2005 12:48:54 MST Print View

no action on this front lately---consider this a friendly bump to the subject of equipping Ryan Jordan on his mission to en-Lighten us all.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Saving Ryan's Privates: Update on 11/01/2005 07:53:20 MST Print View

Winter SUL Gear List updated to add VB liner.

Edited by jshann on 11/01/2005 07:53:53 MST.

Graeme Finley
(gfinley001) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Re: Saving Ryan's Privates: Update on 11/01/2005 14:30:00 MST Print View

Given the limited duration of the trip, is a Princton Tec Eos necessary as a headlamp? A Black Diamond Ion would save over two ounces. It doesn't have all the flexibility of the Eos, and only has a 15 hour battery life, but it's significantly lighter.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Saving Ryan's Privates: Update on 11/01/2005 15:31:53 MST Print View

It's something to think about for sure. I was figuring he might need something more since we are to plan for a winter storm. Maybe a brighter headlamp wouldn't help in a white out...I haven't been there. What do others think?

Bob Gabbart
(bobg) - F
New Winter SUL Gear List on 11/01/2005 16:37:05 MST Print View

I'm going to throw out the disclaimer that I have not done any winter camping. But I figured I would throw in my thoughts on the current gear list and give a new one. The changes are based on gear list posted above, the winter checklist, Ryan's SUL article, and other reading. None of this is based on experience ;) Here are my critiques:

1. The Arc X is not warm enough, so I added the Arc Expedition
2. The WM Flight Vest is not warm enough so I added the Rab Neutrino
3. The VB liner would not allow him to use his parka as part of the sleep system so I took it out and added the VB Jacket that he want to try out.
4. I took out all the stuff sacks except for one for the essentials
5. I took out the beanie because the parka has a hood and gave him a balaclava with his worn items.
6. I have him using the Vapor Mitts as his primary (and only) gloves
7. The cookpot seems small for melting snow so I gave him the 2L pot
8. Took out the 2 Nalgenes and gave him one 3L wide mouth Nalgene canteene
9. Added in sun glasses
10. The EOS is too heavy so I replaced with the Ion
11. Added water treatment.
12. Switched to a lighter Esbit stove. Also note that the original list did not include the empty weight of the cansiter.
13. Change the organization of the list to include the extra clothing with the Shelter/Sleep system.
14. Took out the lighter and storm matches and added the 0.3oz box of matches in a ziplock that he had in his SUL article.
15. A map is not included in his SUL article so I left it out here as well. He can go somewhere he knows really well.

Here it is:

Clothing
10.0 RBH Designs Proto VB Jacket
01.5 Outdoor Research PowerStretch Balaclava
03.0 Nike Spandex Running Short Tights
18.0 Arc'Teryx Gamma MX
04.0 Bozeman Mountain Works FeatherLite Vapor Mitts

Footwear
02.0 Smartwool Lightweight Wool Liner Socks
03.0 RBH Designs Vapor-Thrm Fleece Socks
24.0 Montrail Susitna II XCR Trail Running Shoes
16.0 Forty Below Custom 2mm Neoprene Overboots
35.0 Northern Lites Elites Snowshoes

Other Items Worn / Carried
01.0 Fox 40 Mini Whistle, AirCode Plus lanyard
01.3 Suunto X6
05.4 Stix Pro Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

116.5 ounces
Total worn or carried 7.28 pounds

Shelter/Sleep/Extra Clothing
21.0 Arc Expedition
04.0 Vapor NANO Bivy
03.0 Gossamer Gear NightLight Torso (Cut down by 0.7 oz)
05.0 Gossamer Gear ThinLight 3/8" (Cut down by 0.3 oz)
05.75 SnowClaw Backcountry Snow Shovel
19.45 Rab Neutrino Quantum Down Jacket
01.8 Possum Down Socks

Pack
03.7 Gossamer Gear G6 Whisper

Cook/Hydration
05.9 Antigravity Gear 2 Qt. Hard Anodized Pot w/ Lid
00.4 Backpacking Light Titanium Mini-Spork
00.3 Box of wooden matches in Ziploc
02.8 Nalgene Wide-Mouth Cantene 3 L
00.2 Plastic grocery bag
01.3 Esbit Folding Wing Stove
01.1 Aqua Mira repackged in eyedropper bottles, mixing cap

Essentials
01.1 Black Diamond Ion Headlamp
01.0 Blister & minor would care supplies
00.5 TP: 4"x4" blue shop towel squares - 1 / day
00.5 Sunglasses
00.5 Alcohol hand gel in small bottle
00.5 Small stuff sack to organize essentials

79.8 ounces
Total Packed 4.99 pounds

Edited by bobg on 11/01/2005 19:57:30 MST.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: New Winter SUL Gear List on 11/01/2005 16:56:19 MST Print View

I've used esbit on solo "shoulder season" trips (cold temps but pre-snowfall) for a few years but no way I'd plan on using esbit to melt snow.

BTW, are wood fires considered out of bounds for this?

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
BobG's SUL Winter List on 11/01/2005 17:10:20 MST Print View

Impressive work but some caveats---
It makes no sense to use just a VB on just the torso inside the bag--- moisture generated by the body will just find ways to the bag by other paths.
You would need VB pants to make it work.
A nano VBL at 2 oz. would be far more effective and it would give Dr. Jordan the added measure of warmth to use the lighter Arc X. The lighter bag will work in a snow cave. Adding the nano bivy in addition gives protection from to the bag from dripping,etc. as well as giving him an increased margin of comfort w/ the lighter bag. All for much lighter than the VB shirt.

I think the lighter W.M. flight jacket ( but not vest) in conjunction with his other layers will suffice and be lighter than the Rab jacket. You are otherwise light in the clothing dept. Baselayer is completely missing. A light softshell top should be considered.
The Gamma MX is referring to the Arcteryx softshell pants?

You are neglecting Snowproof clothing for digging out a snow cave in--- potentially a very wet and chilly enterprise. W/B hardshells are great for this and work well w/ layering systems.

The Esbit is going to be hardpressed to melt snow in a 2 liter pot. Need a different solution.

Mitts only is a bad move --at least a liner is required for tasks that require hand dexterity as well as hand protection.

More nitpicky-- need a candle for snow cave warmth, atmosphere and illumination. Could use 2 Photon Freedom lights for less then 1/2 the weight of the Ion. Aquamira not needed for this kind of trip.
A 2nd pair of the same liner socks Ryan will be tromping around in under the VB sox would be more versatile--the Possum Down sox are pretty much just useful as sleeping/around camp sox.

Nice to have a list that contains more than just the base weight items. One can begin to compute what the skinout weight could be.

Jim-- i think wood fires above timberline are unconscionable.

Edited by kdesign on 11/01/2005 18:29:49 MST.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: BobG's SUL Winter List on 11/01/2005 18:25:53 MST Print View

Jim-- i think wood fires above timberline are unconscionable.


No argument there ... I didn't cue into above treeline as being part of the deal. Living 1000 miles from the nearest treeline makes it easy to forget about that factor.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
JC on BobG's SUL Winter List on 11/01/2005 18:33:58 MST Print View

And I agree with you about an Esbit stove not really being suited for a winter trip.
What would JC do?-----sorry, I could not resist :-)>

Bob Gabbart
(bobg) - F
RBH Designs Proto VB Jacket on 11/01/2005 19:48:46 MST Print View

Kevin,

The reason the base layer and shell are missing is that if you look back earlier in this thread, you will see that Ryan suggested using the RBH prototype jacket to be used as the SOLE layer during activity and then having a parka to add when stopping -- a 2 layer winter clothing system. Why not give it a spin? The jacket would provide protection from the snow when digging a cave and it doesn't count toward the base pack weight because he would always be wearing it.

About the parka, I have a WM Flight. I would be freezing in a Flight Jacket at 0 degrees when standing around. We should try to fit in the warmer parka.

If the Arc X is warm enough in a snow cave, then we get back 5 ounces and can add VB pants or the liner, the extra socks, and the candle. Also, note that the list above includes the nano bivy.

Any suggestions for cooking? It would be nice to not use a cansiter stove.

Edited by bobg on 11/01/2005 19:56:24 MST.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
BobG and clothing considerations on 11/01/2005 20:26:37 MST Print View

The Flight would be warm enough as part of a layering system as would RJ's hooded version of the Cocoon pullover. I personally use a Cocoon or a micropuff over a midweight merino baselayer and under a W/B shell or over my lighter softshell jacket and I'm good sitting around in the teens.

Is experimenting with the RBH VB shirt on a multi-day trip appropriate? I would field test it on a day trip or 2 before commiting to it. It's one thing being on the bleeding edge of product development, another being on the frostbitten edge. However I know Ryan is capable of extreme gear testing as witness RJ w/ the Vapor Mitts---
"We had the privilege of testing RBH's flagship product, the Polarguard 3D-insulated Vapor Mitts (Figure 1). During an Arctic cold front that passed through Montana this winter, we were pleased to test the mitts during a front-porch bivouac at 27 °F -- below zero. I donned an expedition down jacket, slid into a winter-strength down sleeping bag, and cinched it up around my armpits so that my hands and arms would remain free. I slept on a closed cell foam pad and sealed myself up in a Pertex Endurance bivy sack. Thus, the only insulation between the skin of my fingers and hands and the brisk outside air was that provided by the Vapor Mitts. I lasted about six hours in the cold before the ice on my face mask began to interfere with my breathing, so I called it a night. However, the Vapor Mitts kept my fingers comfortable and they never went numb or even felt cold."

If The RBH shirt is long enough to cover a pair of VB pants it might work for digging out a snow cave (?)and together w/ the VB sox could be used inside the bag. You add up the collective weight--don't be so tied into base weight alone. Comfort wise, I would rather have merino or capilene against my skin and don't relish the idea of working hard even in the low temps. being considered, wearing a VB suit.

I chopped wood one winter in such conditions and tried a variety of clothing systems for the job, including wearing a Stephenson VB suit. I was warm but wet using it, and eventually chilled. The classic metablolic stabilization that is supposed to occur w/ VBs did not happen. The most comfortable ensemble I tried was wearing wool (Filson---pre-merino days)--I know, so trad. The VB suit concept also underwhelmed me on some winter mtneering trips. VB's have always worked best for me as a VBL in a bag in appropriately low enough temperatures. In fact they are a winter must-have in my kit.

In Winter I have always used a canister or white gas stove but then I 'm almost never solo in Winter so it is the lightest solution for 2 or more. I own esbit and alcohol stoves but do not consider them practical for the Winter use I would subject them to--- melting snow and making lots of hot soups and beverages.

Edited by kdesign on 11/01/2005 20:50:51 MST.

Bob Gabbart
(bobg) - F
Updated SUL Winter checklist on 11/01/2005 21:06:30 MST Print View

Kevin,

OK, I made the change you suggested.

1. We got rid of the RBH jacket
2. Added the NANO sleeping bag VB liner
3. Added a windshirt and baselayer
4. Added possumdown gloves and moved the mitts to the extra clothing
5. Got rid of the Esbit and added a Vargo Jet Ti and the weight of an empty cansiter
7. Got rid of the Ion and added a Photon Freedom
8. I moved the sun glasses to the worn section because I figure he'll be wearing them all day.
9. Got rid of the stuff sack for the essentials, he can put them in the kangaroo pocket.
10. Got rid of the Arc Expedition and added back the Arc X
11. Got rid of the Rab Neutrino and added the Cocoon (glad it's not me hanging out in the Cocoon at 0 degrees :) )
12. Added DriDucks rain suit for protection when building the shelter
13. Got rid of the lid on the pot (my scale read 1.75oz for the lid) and added a 0.25 oz foil lid
14. Got rid of the Aqua Mira - But wouldn't he save fuel by treating the melted water instead of boiling it?
15. Got rid of the PossumDown socks and added the liner socks.

Clothing
06.00 Smartwool Aero Long Sleeve Crew
02.50 Montane Aero Wind Shirt
01.50 Outdoor Research PowerStretch Balaclava
03.00 Nike Spandex Running Short Tights
18.00 Arc'Teryx Gamma MX
01.20 PossumDown Gloves

Footwear
02.00 Smartwool Lightweight Wool Liner Socks
03.00 RBH Designs Vapor-Thrm Fleece Socks
24.00 Montrail Susitna II XCR Trail Running Shoes
16.00 Forty Below Custom 2mm Neoprene Overboots
35.00 Northern Lites Elites Snowshoes

Other Items Worn / Carried
01.00 Fox 40 Mini Whistle, AirCode Plus lanyard
01.30 Suunto X6
05.40 Stix Pro Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
00.50 Sunglasses

103.70 ounces
Total worn or carried 6.48 pounds

Shelter/Sleep/Extra Clothing
16.00 BMW Arc X
04.00 BMW Vapor NANO Bivy
02.00 BMW NANO Sleeping Bag VB Liner
03.00 Gossamer Gear NightLight Torso (Cut down by 0.7 oz)
05.00 Gossamer Gear ThinLight 3/8" (Cut down by 0.3 oz)
05.75 SnowClaw Backcountry Snow Shovel

09.00 BMW Cocoon Pullover
02.00 Smartwool Lightweight Wool Liner Socks
04.00 BMW FeatherLite Vapor Mitts
04.80 DriDucks Micropore Jacket (size S)
03.70 DriDucks Micropore Pants (size M)

Pack
03.70 Gossamer Gear G6 Whisper

Cook/Hydration
04.25 Antigravity Gear 2 Qt. Hard Anodized Pot (No lid)
00.25 Foil lid
00.40 Backpacking Light Titanium Mini-Spork
00.30 Box of wooden matches in Ziploc
02.80 Nalgene Wide-Mouth Cantene 3 L
00.20 Plastic grocery bag
02.70 Vargo Jet Ti
04.00 Weight of empty MSR cansiter

Essentials
00.22 Photom Freedom Micro LED Light
01.00 Blister & minor would care supplies
00.50 TP: 4"x4" blue shop towel squares - 1 / day
00.50 Alcohol hand gel in small bottle


80.07 ounces
Total base pack weight 5.00 pounds

Edited by bobg on 11/01/2005 21:14:17 MST.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Bob's SUL list. on 11/01/2005 21:19:24 MST Print View

Wow, Bob--between you and John typing out these lists.... kudos. Meir? nevermind.

I would like to hear from Ryan on this list as well
as one that is RBH VB centric.

With this list, I would probably go heavier on the baselayer (mediumweight) and go for a hooded Cocoon ( which the esteemed publisher owns) .
Perhaps back to a 1Liter pot.

Guys--don't cave so easily on the VB question based just on my experiences. What do the VB proponents think?

Edited by kdesign on 11/01/2005 21:46:28 MST.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Modified Bob SUL Winter List on 11/01/2005 22:12:52 MST Print View

For the sake of arguement---
Clothing (worn)
11.00 Icebreaker Bodyfit 260 L/S Tech Top
(10.00) (RBH prototype VB Shirt)
06.10Dropstoppers Micropore Jacket (size M/L)
01.50 Outdoor Research PowerStretch Balaclava
03.00 Nike Spandex Running Short Tights
18.00 Arc'Teryx Gamma MX Softshell Pants
01.20 PossumDown Gloves
04.00 BMW FeatherLite Vapor Mitts
Footwear
01.50 Smartwool Lightweight Wool Liner Socks
03.00 RBH Designs Vapor-Thrm Fleece Socks
24.00 Montrail Susitna II XCR Trail Running Shoes
16.00 Forty Below Custom 2mm Neoprene Overboots
35.00 Northern Lites Elites Snowshoes

Other Items Worn / Carried
01.00 Fox 40 Mini Whistle, AirCode Plus lanyard
01.80 Suunto X6
05.40 Stix Pro Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
00.50 Sunglasses

133.00 ounces
Total worn 8.3 pounds

Shelter/Sleep/Extra Clothing
16.00 BMW Arc X
04.00 BMW Vapor NANO Bivy
02.00 BMW NANO Sleeping Bag VB Liner
03.00 Gossamer Gear NightLight Torso (Cut down by 0.7 oz)
05.00 Gossamer Gear ThinLight 3/8" (Cut down by 0.3 oz)
05.75 SnowClaw Backcountry Snow Shovel

09.00 BMW Cocoon hooded Pullover
01.50 Smartwool Lightweight Wool Liner Socks


04.50 Golite Reed Pants(size M)

Pack
03.70 Gossamer Gear G6 Whisper

Cook/Hydration
02.45 Trangia 1 L. SaucePan (No lid)
00.20 Foil lid
00.40 Backpacking Light Titanium Mini-Spork
01.50 Firestarter (candle)/ matches in Ziploc
02.80 Nalgene Wide-Mouth Cantene 3 L
00.20 Plastic grocery bag
02.70 Vargo Jet Ti
04.00 Weight of empty MSR cansiter

Essentials
00.44 Photom Freedom Micro LED Light (2)
01.00 Blister & minor wound care supplies
00.50 TP: 4"x4" blue shop towel squares - 1 / day
00.50 Alcohol hand gel in small bottle


71.14 ounces
Total base pack weight 4.44 pounds

Edited by kdesign on 11/02/2005 13:42:01 MST.

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Modified Bob SUL Winter List on 11/01/2005 23:11:24 MST Print View

Nice List, Kevin and Bob!

I've got a couple of questions, concerns, and suggestions to stir into the pot....

I'm worried that the clothing system will be kind of an on/off system as far as exertion goes. The windshirt/PS balaclava will keep him warm if he's moving fast; the cocoon will work for rest breaks. But there is no middle ground. I'd like to see a Beanie added and/or change the windshirt to a hooded one like a Marmot Ion. Well, on second thought there is that Driducks Jacket...
[comments?]

How do you envision the cocoon used in conjunction with the VBL in the sleep system? I'm guessing that you intend the cocoon hood as primary head-warmth layer in the sleep system. But would that mean that it must be worn, rather than draped, and put it inside the VBL?

I suggest that a Reynolds Mylar Roasting bag be used for food storage instead of the grocery bag -- waterproof, more durable, no real weight penalty.

I like the Dri-Ducks layers -- Wind protection, plus waterproof for snowcave digging. The pants are very fragile, though. They might get cut to shreds working on the snow cave. Maybe Golite Reed pants might be a bit more durable.

I guess he could dig a cook pit for a windscreen. Otherwise we might want to include some foil.

Others on this thread have made a good case for more robust lighting. But, if we're going to limit Ryan to just a Photon light, how about giving him a second one as a backup?

Best Regards,

-MIke

Edited by MikeMartin on 11/01/2005 23:27:33 MST.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Re. MM critique Winter SUL list on 11/01/2005 23:27:37 MST Print View

Good points--will answer tomorrow if somebody doesn't do it 1st.
Tired---halloween party action has caught up to me--me sleep