WINTER EXPEDITION LIST (long and cold)
Display Avatars Sort By:
Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
WINTER EXPEDITION LIST (long and cold) on 12/11/2008 09:06:18 MST Print View

WINTER GEAR LIST
for long cold expeditions:

NOTE from Mike! :
This is n overview of what I take as an instructor on a winter NOLS course (the students usually take more). As I look at this list, it is decidedly NOT lightweight. I will make a follow-up list (and then camp and test it with a prudent winter set-up in a more lightweight style. Winter is cold and travel requires gear, so it is very difficult to truly out "light"

Lots of explanations and self editorializing in this long-winded posting. Sorry, no weights given. I would start to cry if I totaled it all up.
_______________________________

When I winter camp, I concern myself (in this order) with personal comfort, efficiency and then (finally) lightweight. I don't note SAFETY, because that is inherent in comfort. Cold is a serious hazard.

1. COMFORT
3. EFFICIENCY
3. LIGHTWEIGHT

This list is for my role as a NOLS winter instructor. This means (approx.) 12-days in the mountains camping. The team is (approx.) a total of 13 team-mates (10 students, 3 instructors).

The GOAL is to camp and travel in a winter mountain environment with a focus on safety and leadership. We travel in avalanche terrain, and these skills this is a key part of the curriculum. We also ski a lot! These courses are amazingly rewarding.

When I winter camp in the Northern Rockies, I never bring a tent (sometimes a tarp) so I need to cook outside.

I'll add that I also bivy out under the stars if the weather is calm. And the calmest night's are usually the coldest. My record for sleeping out, no shelter, no ground cloth, no bivi-sack is about 38 below zero. I have a VERY warm down sleeping bag.

_______________________________

Here's my layering system for a long format winter camping trip (10 days or more)
C L O T H I N G S Y S T E M :
==========================

_______________________________
NEXT TO SKIN:

1. TORSO - long sleeve light weight poly top (LW capaline)

2. LEGS - light weight poly bottoms (LW capaline)

3. My onesy - One piece pile (100 weight) outfit (sleeveless with a vest looking top) Full leg zippers, and half moon bomb bay butt-flap.

4. TORSO - Hooded light weigh pile (100 weight) jacket, with arm-pit zippers, full front zipper, and lots of pockets (more on those below).

5. LEGS - GoreTex bibs with full side zip legs.

6. TORSO - Light weight wind-shirt (Sometimes I travel with this instead of the GoreTex parka)

- - - - The above 6 items are my primary body layers. I put these on inside a building *(usually my house) and I take these off (up to 30 days later) before stepping into the shower. THese remain on for the most part CONTINUOUSLY for the entire time! (Note: I try to always sleep in my bibs, unless they are really wet and caked with ice)

- - - - The ability to have a lot of zippers is essential to my "system" - This is (for me) really helpful in the comfort and efficiency department. Using the side zip pants I can vent heat very efficiently. Skinning uphill, I open up all my zippers and thermo-regulate without removing many clothes, and skiing down hill, I zip up and save that heat loss.

_______________________________
INSULATING CAMP LAYERS:

A. Cocoon hooded parka [insulating]

B. GIANT down parka. I mean BIG and warm (NOT lightweight) [insulating]

C. Feathered friends full zip DOWN pants. [insulating]

D. Light weight hooded GoreTex parka, with pit zips and full front zipper. (XXL sized to fit over EVERYTHING)

_______________________________
FEET during travel:

* Plastic Tele Boots with therma-Flex inner liners
* One pair of socks (I do NOT wear liners)
_______________________________
HANDS:

* Big Glove Shells
* Probably 6 pairs of liners in various thickness, all synthetic pile.
* a pair of hard ware store work gloves with synthetic back and leather palm. (Most of my touring)
* Big mittens

NOTE:
I take a LOT of gloves. I like warm hands, I ski for fun, I dig a snow shelter to sleep, and I do a lot of avalanche analysis and snow study. Gloves get soaked, there is no "magic" glove system. I like warm hands! Changing the wet line to a dry liner is EASY! I dry the wet gloves in an inside pocket.
_______________________________
HEAD:
* warm wooly hat
* baseball sun hat
* neck gaiter
* silk weight balaclava
* Sunglasses
* Goggles (in hard case)
_______________________________
FEET in camp:
* MEC expedition booties
* extra foot beds
* dry socks
* Hot Socks (integral designs) sleeping socks

NOTE: I carry 4 pair of socks. I change them every day and I am always drying a pair in my "drying pockets" in my hooded pile jacket.
_______________________________
SLEEP SYSTEM:
* 35 degree below zero Feathered Friends Bag
* Compression stuff sack (yes, I use it for the big sleeping bag)
* Full length EVAZOTE yellow pad (winter style)
* 3/4 length thermarest pro-lite pad
_______________________________
SHELTER:
* Silnylon tarp (simple rectangle) 10 x 8
_______________________________
AVALANCHE GEAR:
* Tranceiver and holster
* Shovel (voile)
* 230 cm probe
* pit data kit (including data book)
* Snow saw
_______________________________
SKI GEAR:
* T2 Telemark Boots
* Tele Skis (with G3 pivot bindings)
* ski poles (adjustable)
* knee pads
* Skins
* kick wax (1 blue, 1 purple)
_______________________________
PACKING:
* day pack (GoLite Pursuit)
* Kiddie sled (home-made)
* Sled duffel (a HUGE duffel for everything)
* minimal stuff sacks
_______________________________
COOK GEAR (shared between 3 team-mates):
* MSR whisper-light
* 1-liter fuel bottle (MSR red)
* stove stand (hunk of ply wood)
* THE NOLS FRY BAKE!
* 4 liter titanium pot - with foam cozy
* 2 liter titanium pot - with foam cozy
* 2 lids (shared for 3 vessels)
* stove fuel stored in 2 liter soda bottles
* spatula
* dip cup
* the "lamp shade" (an aluminum pot retrofitted to cover the water pot, increases efficiency melting snow)
_______________________________
EXTRA STUFF:
* head lamp
* water bottle with bubble wrap insulation (nalgene soft sided vessel)
* 500 ml nalgene water bottle (hot drink mug)
* sun-block / lip balm
* minimal repair kit
* bandana
* toiletries (minimal)
_______________________________
THINGS I DON'T TAKE:
* tent
* ground cloth
* thermos

_______________________________
EXTRA BLAH-BLAH-BLAH:

The list above is NOT lightweight. I simply cannot sacrifice safety and comfort (I need to monitor novice winter students too).

I cook outside in a snow kitchen, and I usually sleep in a snow shelter. I am VERY fast at digging, and I can create a home pretty quick.

When I work for the school I will often base camp near pristine ski terrain, spending up to four nights in one spot.

The areas I will travel are in the Northern Rockies (the Absorokas, the Tetons, the Gros Ventres, the Snake River Range, etc). Camping is between 9 and 11 thousand feet at a northern latitude in the heart of winter. (the sun goes down early, so a lot happens at night with a headlamp).

30 below zero is NORMAL at night. I've had 8 feet of snow fall during a 9 day course. I will be with a team of up to 14 or so, teaching winter skills. Last year we out in a major winter storm, our team (13 total) got stuck in snow shelters for 5 full days at 10,000 feet in Grand Teton National Park.

I'll add that I have skied some of the most amazingly perfect Rocky Mountain champaign powder, on long 2000 vertical feet runs, day after day, in the deep wyoming back-country, with a team of beginners - and then skied back to base camp (by headlamp), stood upright in the deluxe snow kitchen, brewed up a pot of Hot Chocolate with fresh Ginger - Eaten a greasy fried load of cheezy tortillas (with beans and rice and frozen chili peppers) - Sat around with the students (mug of hot tea in hand) and looked up at the trillions of stars as we re-lived the day - and then climbed into the igloo, warm, stuffed and tired - WHEW! (I'm gettin' all excited as I write this!)

(link)
http://www.nols.edu/courses/locations/teton/skiing.shtml

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa)
Re: WINTER EXPEDITION LIST (long and cold) on 12/11/2008 10:40:22 MST Print View

>35 degree below zero Feathered Friends Bag

Do you use this inside the igloo? I think it would be too warm, no?

Also, what do you think of the new grivel steel blade shovel. very light and innovative!!
http://www.livefortheoutdoors.com/News-Landing/Search-Results/Gear-news/Snow-shovel-combines-the-best-of-both-worlds/?&R=EPI-11301

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: WINTER EXPEDITION LIST (long and cold) on 12/11/2008 10:53:23 MST Print View

wow, that is a serious list Mike. But if I were out that long in that kind of cold I agree that comfort would be more important than weight

What kind of headlamp do you take on a trip like that? I guess since you are carrying a ton anyways extra's batteries may not be a big deal.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
(long and cold) on 12/11/2008 17:47:42 MST Print View

I carry a TIKKA PLUS from Petzl.

I don't take extra batteries, I just put fresh batteries in before going into the field. I am very careful to always use the lowest setting. Also - inside the snow cave, the white snow surface is WONDERFUL for the low setting.

Joshua Gilbert
(joshcgil2) - F

Locale: Seattle
RE: WINTER EXPEDITION LIST (long and cold) on 12/11/2008 20:05:51 MST Print View

Mike, what kind of pile jacket do you wear? I can't think of anything that fits that description (light, hooded, full zip, lots of pockets).

Why all the gore-tex? wouldn't softshells be ideal for these conditions? (if it's that cold, it's probably pretty dry right?) Is it for snow shelter building? Or as a safeguard aginst biting it while skiing?

Do you wear the MEC booties to bed? I was thinking about getting a pair of those (the lower topped ones), but I wasnt sure if they would be too stiff to sleep in.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
WINTER EXPEDITION LIST on 12/11/2008 22:16:16 MST Print View

Q: Mike, what kind of pile jacket do you wear? I can't think of anything that fits that description (light, hooded, full zip, lots of pockets).

A: It's an MEC jacket, and I LOVE it for this purpose. THey don't make it any more. Too bad.
This is close:
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442619455&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302698749&bmUID=1229058771779


Q: Why all the gore-tex? wouldn't softshells be ideal for these conditions?

A: If I had another layer, I guess I would use that. I have done a bunch of long trips with just a wind shirt, and it was fine. The goretex pack-light jacet is pretty light.



Q: Do you wear the MEC booties to bed? I was thinking about getting a pair of those (the lower topped ones), but I wasnt sure if they would be too stiff to sleep in.

A: I do not wear them to bed, but I put 'em on when I wake, and walk around. I recommend them highly. I sleep in Integral Design HOT SOCKS, and I usually wear these in my booties in the AM.

Stephen Klassen
(SteveYK)
Lamp Shade on 12/13/2008 00:53:28 MST Print View

How much does the lamp shade weigh?

I use an outback oven cover for the same thing (it fits over my 4l MSR pot). The oven cover weighs around 100g and folds up small.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
the LAMP-SHADE on 12/13/2008 09:51:09 MST Print View

I've used the outback oven cover, and I really LOVE it.

The sad thing is that they are a little bit expensive and during "institutional use" (that means students) they get torched.

The lamp-shade weighs a whopping 10 ounces, but I KNOW it saves that much fuel over a long trip

pot

The lampshade (10 oz)old

old outback oven parka, damaged and hard to use

David Lewis-Gever
(dgever) - F - MLife

Locale: Brooklyn
Winter Expedition List on 12/13/2008 10:21:19 MST Print View

what are the day time temps like on these trips?

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
WINTER EXPEDITION LIST on 12/15/2008 11:45:38 MST Print View

>>>>35 degree below zero Feathered Friends Bag

Question from Huzefa:
Do you use this inside the igloo? I think it would be too warm, no?

My reply:
Yes, inside the igloo, no bivy sack, no ground sheet. I've never been too warm. I tend to thermo-regulate really well. Others have said they can't do what I do, because they sweat too much. For whatever reason, I do fine.

If I feel too warm, I just open my sleeping bag up a little near my face

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
WINTER EXPEDITION LIST on 12/15/2008 11:48:50 MST Print View

Dave asks:
"what are the day time temps like on these trips?"

It depends, winter in the rockies can be really nice, and at other times - well - really wintery.

It is very rare for the temps to go above 0 degree C (32 F). It's rare for a daytime temp to get much below -15 F, and that's not uncommon. Wind is more of an issue as far as needing to deal.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
WINTER EXPEDITION LIST on 12/15/2008 11:59:33 MST Print View

QUESTION:
Also, what do you think of the new grivel steel blade shovel. very light and innovative!!

My Reply:
The combo of plastic and steel seems like a good idea. Personally - I would want a real handle for shelter digging and for avalanche rescue.

I like the VOLIE when I dig because it has a LONG handle, and a nice sized (aluminium) pan. If the pan is too big, you can't dig efficiently for a shelter because each shovel full of snow is too heavy for long term use - my arms get really tired.

Too small , and you just cant' move enough snow fast enough.

The VOLIE is the perfect size for me.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
cool photo on 12/15/2008 13:31:44 MST Print View

This is a set of NOLS students using an avalanche probe to check snow depth for a snow shelter. We camped at this spot for a few days. Approx 9,000 fet above Jackson Lake.


snow

Here is an image from a cool photostream on FLIKR (photo by Brian Fabel)

http://flickr.com/photos/brianfabel/396610112/in/photostream/

Edited by mikeclelland on 12/15/2008 13:40:26 MST.

Jon Rhoderick
(hotrhoddudeguy) - F - M

Locale: New England
Re: WINTER EXPEDITION LIST (long and cold) on 12/19/2008 20:59:33 MST Print View

Hey Mike
How do you fare doing without any VB layers?

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
WINTER EXPEDITION LIST on 12/19/2008 22:36:05 MST Print View

I would sometimes use VB socks on my feet. (I use cheapo plastic produce bags). But with the advent of thermo-flex boot inners, I don't worry about it any more.

I don't use any VB layers, I am good about venting my body when ski touring so I don't produce too much sweat.

Also - I don't sleep in any VB layers. I dry the bag out in the morning, and I'm fine.

I also camp in a VERY dry part of the world, the northern rockies in january is cold and has extremely low relative humidity.

M!

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
Winter pads? on 12/29/2008 19:06:13 MST Print View

Hi Mike, looks like I'm going to be doing some touring in the icefields this Jan/Feb and just wondering about pads?

I have a WM Puma and MEC overbag, was thining of just bringing the Puma - would have DAS parka and micropuff pants as backup in addition to 100 weight fleece hoody, 200 weight vest or another 100 weight pullover, and 300 weight fleece pullover (R2 highloft) and Micropuff vest pullover. Pants are patagonia Mixmaster's and Silkweight longjohns.
I've used the system in -20C weather before and have been happy with it but I've never been to the rockies in winter and was wondering about your thoughts?

Pads wise I have a MEC bivy pad and BMW Toroslite which is great for 3-season use, but I'm wondering about adding another bivy pad vs. the regular yellow foamie, or vs. another bivy pad cut down for use under my hips/feet?

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
PAD on snow on 12/30/2008 22:01:15 MST Print View

Winter (or summer on glaciers in alaska) means you'll be sleeping on snow.

You'll potentially spending 1/3 (or more) of your time ON YOUR PAD. So, it's a key piece of gear that you'll really use. So, don't go too light. I worry the BMW Torso-Light might leave you a little cold at night (it will work, but you comfort is important).

In the summer in AK, on glaciers, I use a 3/4 length Therma-Rest and a full length MEC (yellow) Evazote BIVY pad(*) and it works well.



(*) they don't come full length, I had to glue two together!

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
... on 12/31/2008 12:30:32 MST Print View

Thanks Mike! that's good to hear - I was worried that you would be using the 1cm pads AND a T-rest. I'll see how my pads work out and report back, cheers

tkkn c
(tkknc) - MLife

Locale: Desert Rat in the Southwest
WINTER EXPEDITION LIST (long and cold) on 01/01/2009 07:19:45 MST Print View

Mike,
Why don't you go with the thicker MEC pad?

Thanks

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
PAD on snow on 01/01/2009 07:54:09 MST Print View

Summer in Alaska is much warmer than winter in the northern rockies.

The 24 hour sun keeps the tent a lot warmer. So, no need for a full "WINTER" sleeping pad.