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plastic bags for VB
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Tim F
(kneebyter) - MLife

Locale: the depths of Hiking Hell (Iowa)
plastic bags for VB on 10/29/2008 11:51:50 MDT Print View

Hey all- I was wondering if this would work. I'm not very familiar with the concept of Vapor Barrier clothing, but from what I understand it just does not let moisture from your skin evaporate and thus doesn't steal that heat from you. If this is about right, would just putting plastic bags on my feet (i.e. grocery sack, or bread sack) and putting my regular sleeping socks on give me the same effect as a VB sock. (This probably gets less style points than the Sunday Afternoon hat!) I am trying to expand my hiking season into colder weather and wanted to see how VB worked without shelling out any money first. Also, are there any good resources for MYOG VB stuff without having to bang my head against the brick wall that is this forum's search function?

Thanks for any info.


nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
works great on 10/29/2008 13:25:44 MDT Print View

been using them for years and they work great.
I've been going with very thin poly-pro liner socks, bag, and my regular Smartwool hikers. In winter climbing leathers have been very happy standing around at -31C air temps.

Would go with the bread bag - less material and slightly more durable, but eh not like your going to stress when it comes time to replace them!

Tim F
(kneebyter) - MLife

Locale: the depths of Hiking Hell (Iowa)
Re: works great on 10/29/2008 14:54:56 MDT Print View

so you don't put the VB right next to your skin? Is that to avoid "pruning"?

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: plastic bags for VB on 10/29/2008 21:00:01 MDT Print View

Vapor Barriers are expensive plastic bags. During the day, I wear my VB socks next to skin with a sock overtop. But, I wear a thin base layer under my VB liner when I go to bed...for comfort. All it means is that whatever is between your skin and your VB is susceptible to moisture from your body - but it still works...if I had VB clothing, I would wear my baselayer overtop...but I don' I make do! :)

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
try them out on 10/29/2008 22:06:35 MDT Print View

I've always been advised to use the liner socks and have been very happy with them. No reason to change for me but see what works for you.
FYI, no reason to get an expensive liner in fact the thinner and quicker drying the better - I use the five doller poly-pro liner socks from MEC. Been very happy with the setup for cold days on the ice.

Tim F
(kneebyter) - MLife

Locale: the depths of Hiking Hell (Iowa)
Re: plastic bags for VB on 10/30/2008 15:21:02 MDT Print View

Thanks for your comments. I think I will try it with and without and see how it goes. While they don't weigh much, liner socks are something I don't normally carry. It would be one more thing to pack in a system that seems to be getting more and more complicated as I plan it. I might post my clothing and look for some suggestions as I have no experience backpacking in temps lower than 20*F.


Edited by kneebyter on 11/07/2008 19:35:22 MST.

Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: plastic bags for VB on 11/07/2008 17:32:07 MST Print View

I second what Robert and Stephen said, and I always have a couple of bread sacks in case I or someone else needs them. If you really want to get into it check out the articles by Will Rietveld, "Lightweight Footwear Systems for Winter Travel", parts 1,2,&3. Just click "Magazine" above and then Techniques; you'll find them there.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
plastic bags for VB on 11/07/2008 18:29:35 MST Print View

Plastic bags for VB's work great!

I'll use VB's in combo with a ski touring set up. I don't use VB foot systems often, but when I do, here's how I do it.

I use the really super thin plastic bags that come off the roller from the produce isle at the grocery store. They eventually break, but you can usually get two days out of one bag.

NO LINER SOCK, the bag goes right on my bare feet.

Then a medium thickness wool (or wool blend) sock.

I do this to keep my ski boot liners dry, no other reason. But, when I stop hiking, my feet cool off fast, so I need to change out of the plastic bags and into a regular sock system. If not, I get cold feet.

I like keeping the liners dry, it's a big plus on a long trip. They don't freeze at night.

Theron Rohr
(theronr) - F

Locale: Los Angeles, California
multiple bags? on 12/08/2008 13:52:02 MST Print View

Would there be any benefit to foot -> bag -> medium sock -> second bag -> shoe?

Maybe that would prevent heat loss when stopped?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: multiple bags? on 12/08/2008 14:20:54 MST Print View

> Would there be any benefit to foot -> bag -> medium sock -> second bag -> shoe?

To some degree. It's a bit like using a VBL inside a shoe with a WP/B membrane. The outer layer, either bag or shoe, stops the sock from getting wet, IF the snow is at such a temperature that it could melt on your shoe. However, if it is that warm then maybe you don't need the inner VBL anyhow. A delicate balance.