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Taking my list down to 20degreesF
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Adam Frizzell
(adamf) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Taking my list down to 20degreesF on 11/25/2009 18:03:52 MST Print View

Hi all,

I'd like to post my Shelter, Sleeping and Clothing pieces I've used for cool weather (down to 32 degreesF) and I'd love to hear what you guys would do different or add/subtract to get this list to handle temps down to ~ 20 degrees F.
The only thing is, the WM SummerLite 32 degree bag would have to stay... I'm planning to drop the $$ on a Nunatak 20 Degree quilt but I know it wouldn't be here in time for this winter backpacking.

A word about climate:
I'm in the MidAtlantic, so I'm predicting temps down to about 20 degrees F with the possibility of snow/slush/crud and moderate winds. Relatively mild, comparatively speaking but still cold.

Anyway, here's my current gear I take down to 32 degrees F:

Mountain Laurel Designs Grace Solo Plus SilNylon Tarp
Titanium Goat Raven Bivy

Western Mountaineering SummerLite, Long
Therm-A-Rest RidgeRest, Short
BPL FlexAir Ultralight Pillow

*****Clothing Packed:
Icebreaker BodyFit 200 Legging
MontBell UL Down Inner Parka
Marmot Mica Rain Jacket
Marmot Precip Rain Pants
Outdoor Research Endeavor Over Mitts
Integral Designs Hot Socks
Smartwool Hiking Socks
REI PolyPro Sock Liners
Reynold's Oven Bags (as VB Socks)
Patagonia R1 Balaclava
Icebreaker Glove Liners

*****Worn & Carried:
Icebreaker BodyFit 200 Mondo Zip Top
Patagonia Houdini
RailRiders Weather Pants
Ex Officio Give N' Go Boxer Briefs
Simblissity LevaGaiters
REI PolyPro Sock Liners
Buff Merino Wool
Inov8 FlyRoc 310 Trail Runners

Here's what I'm thinking--
1) Add a pair of insulating pants (ID PLQ pants or BPL Cocoon Pants) for at camp and sleeping
2) Swap out the RailRiders WeatherPants for my RAB Vapour-Rise Trail Pants (softshells)
3) Add an ID Primalid for walking and to supplement the balaclava while sleeping
4) Ditch the Merino Wool Buff in favor of the Primalid
5) Add a full length CCF insulating pad (what do you recommend? GG 1/8"?)

I'd love to hear what you think of my ideas and what you would do differently.
Thanks in advance!

EDIT: Updated to list the correct base layer top I took to 32 degrees F

Edited by adamf on 11/25/2009 18:44:15 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Taking my list down to 20degreesF on 11/25/2009 18:17:28 MST Print View

Hey Adam!

I've got a GG 1/8" CCF you can borrow next trip if you want to see how it adds to warmth. Let me know. I use one on my NeoAir, has worked great so far.

Also, look at the RAB Bergen pants. What's wonderful about them is a nearly full length side zip for venting if necessary. Wouldn't need the RailRiders at all.

Why have a Houdini and a Mica?

Not sure you'll need both the balaclava and the Primalid and the Buff. I think that's overkill. The BPL UL merino beanie is great for walking, unless it's REALLY cold. I also like an Icebreaker headband, leaving the top of my nearly bald pate open. But I sweat a lot.



Adam Frizzell
(adamf) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Re: Taking my list down to 20degreesF on 11/25/2009 18:43:28 MST Print View

Hey Doug,

Good points, especially about the Houdini and the Mica.
I'm going to ditch the Houdini for this weekend's trip. I won't be able to fit the GG CCF pad but thanks for the offer!

RE: the Primalid, Buff, balaclava... I was thinking of ditching the buff. Primalid for hiking (if necessary), then have it to supplement the balaclava for sleeping. I've never used the Primalid, so I don't know if it's over the top. Possibly too warm?

I'm going to check out those Bergen pants too.

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
pretty much the same on 11/26/2009 07:21:09 MST Print View

Your list is almost identical to my 20+ degree list, including the RailRiders pants. I keep the Houdini as it performs a different role (less sweaty) than the rain jacket does. The closer the nights are to 20 degrees, and below, the more I tend to a full length CCF pad (I have a ridgerest). When it looks like temps in the teens and below, I add a pair of insulated legs and an additional synthetic insulated top to the Feathered Friends down vest I carry above 20 degrees.

Not sure the weight of the R1 balaclava but it should be enough, unless it is really thin.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Taking my list down to 20degreesF on 12/03/2009 16:09:14 MST Print View

I can speak a bit to your sleep system. I used a Nunatak Arc Specialist (32 degree quilt) combined with a NeoAir short, the MB Down Inner Parka and Thermawrap vest down to the high teens last August. (18 was the predicted low and the ranger station when I left in the morning)I woke up a bit chilled once between 3am and 4am. It wasn't intolerable at all, and I don't know how much of it to attribute to the NeoAir(R-Value 2.5, vs your Ridgerest at 3.1, I think), but I would have been happier with my Alpine light down jacket on my torso. Of course, my base layer was also a Cap 2 zip top, vs the heavier Mondo 200.

But I would for a margin of error warmer torso insulation than the UL Down Parka might be advisable.

My legs were fine, surprising to me, in nylon North pants (fairly heaver at 17oz) with my legs on my GG Gorrilla pack and the thinlite sitpad, with Smartwool PhD mini crews on my feet.

Edit:Adding, I can't find the exact post at the moment, but it has been established that on frozen ground, your pad's need at R-Value of at least 5 to avoid losing body heat to the ground. If your Ridgerest is 3.1, you'll likely want to add something to that(R-Value are additive), like a Z-lite or similar at R-Value 2.2.

Edit again:The 1/8" torsolite has an R-Value .45 (Here's that thread about R-Values with data by the estimable Richard Nisley.

Edited by jrmacd on 12/03/2009 16:17:00 MST.

Adam Frizzell
(adamf) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Re: Taking my list down to 20degreesF on 12/05/2009 08:51:56 MST Print View

Hello Jim,

Thanks for advice. I took the above set up down to 25 degrees and did start to notice some cold spots around my torso. I'm thinking now maybe an additional torso layer (say a MB thermawrap vest) might be helpful.

Also, you're right about the R Value of your pad(s) at 32 degrees F. There's so many good threads about this on BPL. As of now, I'm thinking of going with the GG full length ThinLite and the BPL TorsoLite (along with my pack and sitlite pad for my legs). I believe this combination just hits an R Value of 5 (read it somewhere on another thread).

I think most people would just add the extra insulation and warmth to their quilt or bag (as another poster mentioned). For me, I do much more hiking in moderate temps and I think the additional pieces (a Down Inner Parka + Thermawrap Vest versus a big serious winter puffy down jacket) makes more sense for my gear selection as a whole across all seasons.

Very cool to hear you can take the 32 degree Nunatak down to the high teens. Nunatak is definitely on my wishlist!

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Taking my list down to 20degreesF on 12/13/2009 14:45:10 MST Print View

You're right to look at puffy insulating gear and ground insulation. Options here, depending on how tight your down parka is. I tend to use Montbell UL Thermawrap pants on the bottom, then down inner parka or Patagonia Micropuff vest on top (close fitting) and then Montbell Thermawrap parka on top. Basically, you've got to get some other puffy later on your torso.

What pack are you using? I often carry a GG Vapor Trail when the temp drops, and use a Ridgerest 3/4 and a hacked-up Ridgerest Torso pad (shaped a la Torsolite). Pack goes under feet, torso on top of 3/4.

What kind of daytime temps are you looking at?