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Andy Shepard
(callook66) - F

Locale: Boise, ID
AL dude moving to ID: General Questions on 09/15/2009 00:43:44 MDT Print View

I'll be moving from Alabama to Boise, ID in October. I've done most of my backpacking in the North Carolina/North Georgia/Tennessee area and along the AT, so I'm not super seasoned on hiking above 7000 ft.

Could you guys give me some gear recommendations/general knowlege/useful tips? Particularly pertaining to the winter months?

My gear is typical of a lightweight thru-hiker.

Denis Walsh
(kd7kgc) - F

Locale: Northern Rockies
Ala to Idaho on 09/15/2009 00:57:42 MDT Print View

Hi Andy,
As you may imagine, a heavier sleeping bag will be of interest, I'm guessing.
I ended up in Wyoming(from B'ham), and I've found that a 20 degree down bag is good for 3 season work. In winter, I like to add a 20 degree down quilt (eg. Golite Ultra 20) to get through the night. An Exped DownMat or Big Agnes Insulated Air Core will make sleeping pleasant.
IMHO,

Andy Shepard
(callook66) - F

Locale: Boise, ID
al to id on 09/15/2009 01:19:08 MDT Print View

Denis,

Thanks man! Yeah, I'm headed up from Mobile. I've got a 25 deg. Montbell UL SS. I had been looking at getting a quilt for my hammock set up anyway, so that'd work great. I've got a BA Insul. air core too! Convenient!

What do you think about shelters? I've got a Montbell Crescent 2, but I'm worried about its "nonfreestandedness", as I'd imagine staking situations aren't ideal?

Denis Walsh
(kd7kgc) - F

Locale: Northern Rockies
Ala to Idaho on 09/15/2009 01:39:21 MDT Print View

Hey Andy,
For winter work, I use an REI Arete - It's 5 pounds, but does a great job in wind and cold. I haven't had any heavy snow on it yet. For the rest of the year, I use an old Tarp tent Squall, 2 lb, and does a good job.
Cooking is the only issue with these tents, I got a Golite Shangri La 3 for that. It has it's drawbacks but you sure can cook in it!
Merino wool is one thing I can't say enough good about. I swear by my base layers. I do like to sleep in different base layers than I wore all day long. It's heavier, but if I don't sleep good, why am I out there anyway (IMO)? I also carry a silk sleeping bag liner (3.8oz) That has saved my bacon a couple of times. I do sleep cold.
Have a good trip cross country, I think you'll love living in the Rockies!
Later, Gator

Denis Walsh
(kd7kgc) - F

Locale: Northern Rockies
Ala to Idaho on 09/15/2009 01:40:33 MDT Print View

Also, I've found that a non-free standing tent is eminently doable out here, No Worries!

Andy Shepard
(callook66) - F

Locale: Boise, ID
al - id on 09/15/2009 02:00:32 MDT Print View

Thanks, Denis!

I'm pretty stoked!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: al to id on 09/15/2009 05:16:33 MDT Print View

> a Montbell Crescent 2, but I'm worried about its "nonfreestandedness"

The whole 'free-standing' thing is grossly overdone. NO serious winter mountain tent is free-standing. None. learn how to put in stakes - and snow anchors.

The Crescent is OK for mild 3-season conditions, but it will not take any significant snow loading, and will suffer a bit in bad weather as well. The sides (well the one to windward anyhow) will collapse down onto the ground.

Cheers

Andy Shepard
(callook66) - F

Locale: Boise, ID
shelter on 09/15/2009 05:43:00 MDT Print View

Thanks for the response, Roger.

Would you like to make any suggestions? Any gear recommendations would be great!

- Andy

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
None? on 09/15/2009 08:45:17 MDT Print View

>>NO serious winter mountain tent is free-standing. None.

My Bibler Eldorado seems pretty serious. Humorless even. Might go as far as to say stern.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
AL dude moving to ID: General Questions on 09/15/2009 08:50:10 MDT Print View

" NO serious winter mountain tent is free-standing. None."

I agree - the Integral Designs MK line is complete crap, not to mention every freestanding Hilleberg. Total garbage as mountain tents.

(riiiiight)

Andy Shepard
(callook66) - F

Locale: Boise, ID
al-id on 09/15/2009 22:57:17 MDT Print View

Hilarious!!

I'll be sure to check those out!

Andy Shepard
(callook66) - F

Locale: Boise, ID
Golite shelters on 09/15/2009 23:49:46 MDT Print View

Would anyone recommend any of the Golite shelters? Specifically the Utopia or Shangri-La?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Serious Winter Tents on 09/16/2009 00:40:09 MDT Print View

I think what Roger is saying is that any serious winter tent needs to be staked to work properly. So while the tents you guys have mentioned are free standing, you would want to stake them down if a major storm was rolling in so they could perform as designed. His point is that these tents rely on stakes to function fully, even if they are free standing, so the user should know how to put them in.

Edited by dandydan on 09/16/2009 00:40:51 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Serious Winter Tents on 09/16/2009 03:55:20 MDT Print View

Dan is right.

I remember someone saying they had put their free-standing pop-up in a nice position and thrown their gear in it to anchor it down - during calm weather. But while they were off somewhere the wind came up, and they returned to their unstaked pop-up to see it lift off the ground and roll away.

They recovered the shreds and most of their gear in a canyon about a mile away.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: AL dude moving to ID: General Questions on 09/16/2009 04:02:30 MDT Print View

> Integral Designs MK line ...
I quote from the ID web site:
'In the event of extreme wind hitting the side wall, the tent is designed to flex and collapse so as to release pressure and minimize damage.'

Frankly, I prefer a tent design which does not have to collapse at all.

Cheers

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Serious Winter Tents on 09/16/2009 05:37:04 MDT Print View

Yes, free-standing and wind don't go together! And wind in winter in mountain areas is usually pretty common. If camping where you can't easily stake a tent then you either need a tent with a valance on which you can place rocks or snow or guylines attached to all stake points that you can attach to rocks or both.

Last winter I used the Scarp I with crossover poles and the Hilleberg Soulo in severe winter conditions of high winds and heavy snowfall and both performed well. I staked them every time - on deep snow the stakes were skis, poles, ice axe and snow stakes buried horizontally.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Freestanding v.s. Tunnel on 09/16/2009 08:35:16 MDT Print View

I know what Roger meant - he prefers tunnel tents as he has explained before. It had nothing to do with staking. I simply question why freestanding is not a good approach to a mountain tent, with which no completely satisfactory answer was given - again personal preference come into play here.

With respect to flexing - I agree - but the original statement was that a freestanding mountain tent is not a good tent. Which is incorrect (not sure how all of those Everest climbers survive with freestanding shelters). Roger just doesn't prefer them. I would also add that if there is an age old discussion as to whether tunnel shelters that flex are better than freestanding dome shelters that don't. I had a similar issue recently when two BPL Staffers indicated that 37 oz for a framed 59L pack was too heavy by BPL standards. Ironically, the discussion was on a gear list for a reasonably new person to backpacking.

Here is a video of some extreme wind / weather. From what I can tell, the MH freestanding winter tent is doing just fine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeqAsQWy-2A

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Serious Winter Tents on 09/16/2009 08:40:48 MDT Print View

I've used tunnels and free-standing geodesic tents in severe winter weather and both have stood up well. The geodesics are more pleasant to be in though as they flex less. Of course in both cases the design and quality matter. There are poor tunnels and geodesics.

The strongest mountain tent I've ever used was a double A pole Phoenix tent with the poles on the outside of the flysheet. It stood up to winds that blew me off my feet and inside it was hard to tell it was very windy. However it was heavy (about 9lbs I think) as the fabrics were thick and the poles massive and also rather cramped.

Andy Shepard
(callook66) - F

Locale: Boise, ID
al-id on 09/17/2009 02:03:29 MDT Print View

Sooo... Would anyone like to recommend a lightweight decently priced shelter that will work for Idaho winters in the mountains?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Freestanding v.s. Tunnel on 09/17/2009 04:23:22 MDT Print View

There are a number of amusing videos on YouTube about tents getting wrecked in storms or bad weather. One which took my fancy was this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4NN3cltuuY

David is only partly right about tent design. A tunnel tent has to be staked at the two ends: without those anchors the tunnel just doesn't exist. I use deadman anchors for the two ends in the snow, and they HOLD. The side guys on my tunnel tent were actually only of limited function on THAT night - but I had very carefully pitched the tent end-on into the wind. Even without any side guys my tunnel was quite stable in the wind, which was gusting upwards from 100 kph.

I noticed that the guy in the video David referenced was standing up while digging out his tent. That's not so bad. During the night and in the morning we did not stand up while working on our tent: we were both crawling. later on we had trouble seeing our feet - which is how come I walked over a largish cornice.

> how all of those Everest climbers survive with freestanding shelters
Well, many of those tents do have guy ropes, and the guys get used. Without the guy ropes you at least have to stake the corners down hard. You just don't see the corner anchors in the typical Himalayan photo: they are often buried.
But many of those tents also weigh a LOT. The poles are huge compared to ours. With much stronger poles you may not always need extra guy ropes.

If you really want a serious tent for winter use:
OP Pyramid
It's made for the Antarctic... :-) The corner poles are maybe 2-3" diameter! The guys ropes are maybe 4 mm climbing rope.

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 09/17/2009 04:24:19 MDT.