>It would help if you listed the conditions you expected. My memory of ohio backpacking was no to small amounts of snow accumulations (often icky slush). Day temps 20-35F. Night times 15-30F. What are you expecting?
Oops. Good point. The above is pretty accurate -- although I am unlikely to backpack if the temperature is expected to get below 25 F at night or if the snow accumulation is expected to be over a couple of inches. Such is the privilege of the weekend warrior.
Ohio weather is pretty unpredictable, especially in the northern half of the state, but we don't get those big, unexpected snowfalls that one might get in true mountainous regions. (It will also help if I limit myself to places like the Shawnee State forest in the "deep south" of the state.
That's another reason to carry a weather radio. If the weather forecast looks bad, I can always hoof it back to the trailhead.
>BPL Thorfare pants which are considerably lighter and preformed great.
Good thought. My only issue with the BPL pants is the lack of a decent belt. I like to carry stuff in my pockets, including a 32 oz Gatorade bottle full of water (distributes the weight and keeps it handy). The Thorofare belt caused my pants to slide down slacker style.
Could I solve any of these problems, including the lack of a wind shell, by taking along a set of DriDucks? They aren't breathable, but they provide a nice vapor/ precip barrier and they weigh about 9 oz for the upper and lower shells. Could I get away with just the jacket? Should I break down and get a breathable "windbreaker" upper?
I forgot to mention that the Nunatak Specialist is overstuffed with an extra oz of down. I've had to out comfortably to at least freezing (if my water bottle is any indication). I figured that if the temperature falls below that, I could slip myself into the bag and the bag into the Heatsheets bivy, which, BTW, I recommend to everyone. It's cheap, lightweight, and adds at least 10 degrees to a sleeping bag (or at least it did when I used it down to 40 degrees with by BPL lightweight quilt this fall).
However, I'm not married to this one. The Heatsheets is pretty durable compared to most emergency bivies, but I'd hate to have the thing break through if the temperature got to 25 F! Anybody have any long-term experience with them?
One more thing: I wear the Buff balaclava style in cold weather, which works down to about freezing. Below that, I don the second Buff underneath the first one. The danged things are amazing. When I was on the AT, I wore them both to bed when the temperatures got below freezing enough to freeze my water bottle. That, a Pounder Plus, and every stitch of clothes I had, were enough to keep me relatively comfortable.
Does this make sense, or am I fooling myself into thinking that a minimalist approach will work in cold weather? I sleep (and walk) pretty warm, except for my fingers and toes, for which I have made extra provision, and I don't mind wearing every stitch of clothes I have with me into the bag.
Good point on the t-shirt. It's a summer item that I should have deleted from the winter list.
Oy. Long post. Sorry. Thanks for the great suggestions!