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Greyson Howard
(Greyhound)

Locale: Sierra Nevada
The snow is piling up, and so is the gear on 12/20/2009 20:16:06 MST Print View

This website has been invaluable in getting ready for my first winter camping in the Sierra. I'd like to list what I've got so far, and get your thoughts. I'm not necessarily looking for recommendations what is lighter, as items - especially the big 3 - are what I could afford, but recommendations on what might be missing would be helpful.

Pack: Old Osprey Aether 75, purchased pre-bpl.
Tent: REI Arete ASL 2, with REI cloth snow anchors.
Sleeping bag: Golite Venture 0
Pads: regular ridgerest, 1.5 3/4 REI lightcore.
Stove: I'll be giving my old 1st gen Jetboil PCS a try at first.
2 1 liter platys - not sure about getting melted snow or adding snow to these?
Trekking poles: REI carbon with snow baskets.
Shovel: Snowclaw

Clothing:
Icebreakers long underwear tops and bottoms, fleece pants, Mammut champ pants, Patagonia R1 hoody, REI antifreeze down parka, REI Taku jacket,OR Ion windshirt merino buff, and generic beenie, generic ski gloves and Gore windstopper thin gloves.

Feet: Salomon deemax dry, REI wool socks, Sierra Designs cheepy down booties, and MSR denali Evo snowshoes.

So, to the three of you who made it to the end, what do you think? Anything missing, anything stupid? Thanks.

Edited by Greyhound on 12/20/2009 20:22:59 MST.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: The snow is piling up, and so is the gear on 12/20/2009 21:35:48 MST Print View

Platypus narrow neck is more prone to freezing and is harder to fill. I generally prefer firmer bottles when snow camping. My experience is that gatoraid bottles are one of the few cheap contains which can stand up to boiling water. Most will melt.

Snowclaw is functional, but if you are doing a snow structures I recommend a real shovel. The leverage from the handle can be quite helpful.

I have no idea how the jetboil will do, I like using liquid fuel for snow camping. If you use the jetboil make sure you keep the canisters warm enough... like put them inside your coat for 30 minutes before use and sleep with one for the morning.

Take a flashlight that uses lithium batteries or a headlamp which have a remote battery pack which you can keep warm.

For clothing I am guess you are going to wear:

base, R1, windshirt when active, and the layer over the down or Taku when stopping or weather is really nasty? For many people this would be a good combination... it would be a bit much for me... but I run hot.

I am not sure about doing a base long underwear, champ pants and a fleece. When active the champ, or champ + base should be good. I love dryskin pants for active winter sports... but it has two down sides. First, it's not waterproof when snow is pressed into it. [e.g. great for skiing, lousy for snowboarders who sit on their butt for periods of time waiting for friends). So if you are planning to be doing any snow structure building you will end up getting fairly wet. It's also not that wind resistant. The fleece will add insulation, but not block the wind. I would rather take a wpb shell to compliment the base + dryskin pants, than a fleece insulation. Historically I have use a part of synthetic insulated overpants to warm up like the thermawrap, bpl cocoon, etc pants.

I don't see any goggles. They can make a big difference as the temp drops and the wind is blowing.

For light gloves I found I like something that is more breathable than windstopper. I generally recommend powerstretch. If you are out for more than a day or two you should look into a glove or mitt system that insulation can come out of the shell so you can dry it out overnight in your sleeping bag. Personally I like mitts over gloves when it comes to keeping hands warm.

You might want to bring a pee bottle

Have a great time.

--mark

Greyson Howard
(Greyhound)

Locale: Sierra Nevada
Re: Re: The snow is piling up, and so is the gear on 12/20/2009 22:03:01 MST Print View

Thanks so much for your thorough feedback Mark.
On the top layers - I figured I would over pack until I better understand my needs.
I forgot to mention I do have ski goggles and sunglasses, as well as Mountain Laurel Designs Event snow gaiters, which are great.
The only waterproof pants I own are 02 rainwear yellow pants, do you think they would be enough for around camp/bad weather, or do I need to spring for something more substantial?

Thanks again,
Greyson

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: The snow is piling up, and so is the gear on 12/20/2009 22:13:37 MST Print View

I second the motion on wide mouth water containers, much easier to pour into out of a pot when melting snow, and also for stuffing snow into during the day if it's warm enough for the water in your bottle to melt some additional snow. Headwear - I like to have a light balaclava in addition to my warm hat - I use it a lot during the day as both balaclava and with it folded up as a light hat, and as a sleeping hat at night, and if things get really nasty I can wear both hats. Bring something to set your jetboil on so it's not right on the snow - a small piece of thin plywood works great; I've also used a piece of cardboard (wrapped in aluminum foil to keep it from absorbing any water). a big trash bag often comes in handy in various ways - for instance, as something to brush snow off onto after you're in the tent which can then be shaken off out the door or in the vestibule.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: The snow is piling up, and so is the gear on 12/20/2009 23:59:12 MST Print View

The Jetboil is a risk. The canister will likely freeze up and the stove may even stop working after a little while. bad news in the snow. You should (seriously) switch to a remote canister stove.

You may have an excess of clothing too, but play this one slowly.

Cheers

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Nalgene Bottles on 12/21/2009 07:59:03 MST Print View

Would reco taking a Nalgene bottle because I have had to tie a cord onto the bottle and drop down 8 feet into a stream. the Nalgene bottle has enough weight to quickly fill. Also, if you have a heavier set of treking poles you may want to consider them. I broke a REI Ul set last year dropping into a hidden cavity beside a log.

Greyson Howard
(Greyhound)

Locale: Sierra Nevada
Re: Re: The snow is piling up, and so is the gear on 12/21/2009 15:11:32 MST Print View

Sounds like bottles are the next item on my list, whether Gatorade or Nalgene.

Which clothing items should I cut? I'm considering a winter camping 101 course with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association and they are way over what I'm bringing with their recommendations, i.e. 3 shirts, 3 pair socks, etc for an over-nighter.
Also, any thoughts on the 02 Rainshield pants in the snow?

With the Jetboil, I was imagining holding the stove by the pot off the snow with one hand, and putting my other hand on the canister for warmth. Perhaps I'll try this in the cold before actually doing so in camp.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: The snow is piling up, and so is the gear on 12/21/2009 18:59:06 MST Print View

> Which clothing items should I cut?
Frankly, I wouldn't. If it is warm you will have too much; if it turns nasty you will have just enough.

> With the Jetboil, I was imagining holding the stove by the pot off the snow
> with one hand, and putting my other hand on the canister for warmth.
In which case take lots of burn cream for when the pot boils over or you lurch slightly. (BAD idea!)

You will never regret buying a good winter remote canister stove. Try a Primus Express Spider - won't be too expensive.

Cheers

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Re: The snow is piling up, and so is the gear on 12/21/2009 20:44:49 MST Print View

> Which clothing items should I cut?

For this first trip I wouldn't cut any of clothing you listed. I think it's best (especially in the winter) to take too much clothing until you figure out what is right for you. When I was trying to figure out what was going to work for me I would bring extra clothing... but committed to not touch it unless it was necessary... not just because it would be a bit more comfortable. That way I learned what my real tolerances where.

> With the Jetboil, I was imagining holding...

A foam pad with some aluminum taped / glued to it would be adaquate to keep the canister away from the snow. The real question is what's the air temp going to be. I have pushed using a canister below freezing by warming the canister before using it... but there are risks. If you are going to be doing much winter / snow camping, I would pick up (or borrow) a liquid fuel stove.

--Mark

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: The snow is piling up, and so is the gear on 12/21/2009 20:50:00 MST Print View

"Try a Primus Express Spider "

Are these available yet? I did a quick google but couldn't turn anything up.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Winter stove on 12/21/2009 21:15:29 MST Print View

I have an MSR Dragonfly remote fuel bottle stove. It is, IMHO, a better winter stove than a similar Primus B/C it can simmer lower to keep food or drinks hot and ready for fuel savings. Plus its dead easy to get repair parts in a store or get it serviced by MSR. (I've never needed to repair mine in 10 years.)

Don't forget a good heavy duty aluminum foil windscreen for best efficiency and a thin, painted plywood base to set it on.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"The snow is pilling up, and so is the gear" on 12/21/2009 21:47:59 MST Print View

OP- Do you mind if I jump in here with my winter kit to get comments?

Greyson Howard
(Greyhound)

Locale: Sierra Nevada
Re: "The snow is pilling up, and so is the gear" on 12/21/2009 23:58:29 MST Print View

Sure David, I think I've got an idea of what people think will work and what won't.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"The snow is pilling up, and so is the gear" on 12/22/2009 00:29:48 MST Print View

Thanks Greyson.

Here's what I'm thinking of for clothing on an upcoming snow trip (my first snow trip). Any comments would be much appreciated.

Daytime:

REI Taku Pants (17 oz)
Patagonia Rain Shadow Jacket (13.5 oz)
Poly “T” Shirt (4.5 oz)
Patagonia Lightweight Pull-Over (6 oz)
Patagonia Lightweight Capilene Bottom (6.5 oz)
Patagonia Glove Liners (1.5 oz)
Beanie (1 oz)
MLD Shell Mittens (1.25 oz)
Light Poly Socks (3 oz)

54.25/3.4 (ounces/lbs)

In Camp Add:

Patagonia Hooded Jacket, I think it's an older version of a Micro Puff (17 oz)
Neck warmer (1.5 oz)
North Face Fleece Gloves, switch from glove liners (3.5 oz)
Heavy socks (3.5 oz)

25.5/1.6 (ounces/lbs)

Sleeping Add :

Patagonia Capilene 3 Pull-Over, switch from lightweight pullover (8 oz)
Homemade Poly Booties, switch from heavy socks (? oz)
Army Surplus M65 Quilted Pants (9.5 oz)

17.5/1.1 (ounces/lbs)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The snow is piling up, and so is the gear on 12/22/2009 15:15:16 MST Print View

> "Try a Primus Express Spider "

Try http://www.primus.se/Templates/Pages/3_cols_white_middle.aspx?SectionId=5888, then Products, then Stoves, then look under 'Lightweight'.

Sources? Dunno, sorry. Ask Primus?

Cheers

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
piles of gear on 12/22/2009 16:04:42 MST Print View

Greyson,

Ditch the snowclaw (PLEASE). It'll be a lesson in frustration, cold hands, and a sore back. Replace it with a Backcountry Access Traverse Avalanche Shovel - http://www.rei.com/product/704825

Second the Balaclava for value/weight. Something simple: fleece, merino, whatever.

As a base for your stove/pot: I cut a round of Reflectix and glued oven liner to the top to stop the Reflectix from melting. Plywood has always seemed heavy and bulky. The Reflectex/OvenLiner folds too and is plenty of insulation/stability for a few oz.

Also go whitegas in a detached bottle, or a remote canister. You can anticipate lots of stove time melting snow. More than you can tolerate holding in your hands.

Second a wide mouth container. I use the Nalgene Wide Mouth Canteen (BPA free), 96 or 32oz. Has an optional hose attachment too.

Um, forget the snow anchors. You can stop at Home Depot and grab some shims, or cut some strips of 1/2"ply 2"x8", one for each anchor. Or use some thick sticks, log. Remember, anything you bury, you have to dig up out of frozen packed snow. It's nice not to regret leaving good money in the snow.

Greyson Howard
(Greyhound)

Locale: Sierra Nevada
Re: piles of gear on 12/22/2009 18:57:00 MST Print View

Thanks Michael,
I don't see myself doing much digging, and folks I'll be traveling with will have real shovels too, so between the cost and the multiple-use factor of the snowclaw, I'm going to give it a shot.
And you've all convinced me to start considering other stoves - I've been reading about the windpro and Jetboil helios so far.
And instead of a balaclava, I'll be using the Merino Buff, which is long enough to form into a balaclava - combined with the beanie, hooded down jacket, etc, I ought to be good.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: piles of gear on 12/22/2009 19:13:10 MST Print View

Hi Greyson,

I've got a Windpro I'd sell for $55 including shipping. It's got the maintenance key and windscreen. I've never used it, and the person I bought it from only tested it out in his kitchen, but never went backpacking with it. It's in excellent condition.