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Winter Gear List
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Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Winter Gear List on 01/11/2010 16:28:54 MST Print View


Right now forecast if forecast is for sunny to cloudy skies, daytime highs in the low to mid 30s, nighttime lows in the low 20s. About 2"-3" of snow currently on the ground.

Nick Truax
(nicktruax) - F

Locale: SW Montana
Re: Winter gear list on 01/14/2010 20:51:09 MST Print View

My 2cents:

One thing that caught my eye is the 3' of duct tape. While fine in warmer weather, I've found through a miserable experience that it doesn't adhere very well or at all. I've no other options unfortunately and suggestions/improvements would be appreciated.

I also own both the Houdini and the Zealot. I find that carrying both in the winter tends to usually be redundant. For winter day trips that don't call for rain, I carry the Houdini. It breathes well, blocks the wind, and is the lighter of the two options. For overnights, the Zealot is carried. I do not miss the windshirt on the longer winter trips due to the fact that in worst case scenarios, ie high exertion with precipitation, the Zealot serves its purpose of keeping me dry. I may sweat a bit more but find that its greater protection makes up for the breathability shortcomings.

Also, maybe one or the other regarding insulated jackets. I know this is dependent upon temps/conditions but the 2 may be overkill. I personally would carry either/or. I have similar insulating coats, and often opt for a hooded down coat in winter. But it is dry here in MT most of the winter.

3 nalgenes? Have you considered one less, or maybe the collapsible widemouth nalgenes? Possibly gatorade bottles as well. Something to consider for lightening your load.

One question regarding your sleeping system. I've been considering a pairing similar to your 2 quilts for winter use and was wondering what min. temp range you find them comfortable?

Nice list btw, very informative and thorough. Got me thinking about my winter gear.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Re: Winter gear list on 01/15/2010 07:56:52 MST Print View

The outer layer jacket in winter is a tough call. For this trip, the forecast has changed so that I expect to be hiking out in sleet/freezing rain, so I'll actually upgrade to my Alpha LT.

I'm new to the East Coast, but I think the snow here tends to be wet, as it is in the Sierras. Last winter, I know a Houdini or other softshell wouldn't have kept me dry. I do like the idea of bringing only the Houdini if the forecast is for no or little snow though.

The forecast has warmed up a bit since I put my list together, but I'm actually bringing both jackets because I was to test their respective temperature ranges out. The BPL Pro Parka is new to me, and I want to see how low it can go. I have an idea of the temp range of the Alpine Light, so I just want to know for future trips which I should bring.

I could probably do with 2 Nalgenes. I was mostly bringing the 3rd because I planned on using one for Hot chocolate at night and in the morning and didn't want to waste water rinsing it out to use while hiking.

This was going to be my first attempt to combine two quilts. Now that the temps are going to be in the low to mid 20s rather than mid-teens, I'm only going to bring the Arc Specialist and extend it with my Cocoon insulation. I'd taken it down to 19 degrees with a Thermawrap vest and UL Down inner, and while my legs got a bit chilly, it wasn't unmanageable.

I'll have to wait for another, colder trip to experiment with the two quilt system. However, I was basing my attempt on something I read on BPL, I believe by one of the two Jacks at JRB; it was that you can get a general idea of the warmth rating of combining quilts by taking the temp rating of the lighter quilt, in my case the 40 degree Shenandoah, subtracting that from 70, dividing the result by 2, and subtracting that from the temp rating of the warmer quilt. So for me that's (70-40=30)/2=15. 32-15=17 degrees. I also get approximately the same temperature rating when I add the combined down fill together and look at the rating of single quilts with comparable fill.

Thanks for your input.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Winter Gear List -- Mango. on 01/15/2010 09:06:24 MST Print View

10 oz of mango sounds good to me. Many people get into trouble when they find that the wild mangos along the trails in NY aren't ripe in Jan. :)

It's a good list. I'm not familiar with the BPL mitts, but you may need more gloves/mittens. Mitts get wet and lost, so you need some backup; people often bring a couple pairs of wool mittens. Also, a warm backup fleece or wool hat and a spare pair of socks would be good. I'd guess that in colder weather you'll need some warmer mittens.

It's hard to guess what this storm will do. They're not forecasting snow amounts yet. Be prepared for anything from heavy rain to freezing rain to sleet to wet snow to dry snow to nothing. Since you'll be out in a storm carry some extra food (more mangos) and extra fuel.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Hot chocolate at night on 01/15/2010 09:18:07 MST Print View

You wrote:

"I could probably do with 2 Nalgenes. I was mostly bringing the 3rd because I planned on using one for Hot chocolate at night and in the morning and didn't want to waste water rinsing it out to use while hiking. "

You'll be fine if you don't rinse out a bottle.

1-liter nalgenes weigh 6.2 ounces each. A 1-liter soda bottle weighs under 2 ounces. Don't put boiling water in a soda bottle, it'll warp and the lid won't seal.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Mango. on 01/15/2010 09:44:05 MST Print View

Trader Joes dried Mango is good stuff. My food is mostly just a generic stand in I copy and paste from gear list to gear list to estimate weight before I meal plan. But it's good to know that if I run out, I'll find some on the trail.

I'm taking BPL at their word that the Featherlite mitts are good down to zero for most people. They also have VBLs, so they should stay dry if properly used. Keeping my hands warm, and dry is the challenge I am setting for myself this winter. On two trips in CA last year, all my gloves were wet by the morning of day 2. Lucky for me they were both 1 night trips. A large part of that was due to wearing too heavy gloves and not realizing how quickly sweat can wet out otherwise waterproof handwear. But yes, I should throw my OR 400 weight fleece mitts in my kit as a backup.

I didn't update my list to reflect that I did realize I didn't have a pair of backup/sleeping socks, and those are now in the kit as well.

Right now the precipitation is supposed to hold off till just about when I should be getting back to my car on Sunday morning, so hopefully I won't have to do anything more than hike in it. I'm more concerned about the driving, actually.

Thanks for the advice.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Mango. on 01/15/2010 10:01:38 MST Print View

You'll be fine if you don't rinse out a bottle.

I have this wierd thing about water. I hate the taste(I realize water has no 'taste', but I don't know how else to explain it.) Water weakly flavored with chocalte residue would be even worse, I think. I know I should/could just be a grown up and get over it, but that's something that is still a work in progress.

1-liter nalgenes weigh 6.2 ounces each. A 1-liter soda bottle weighs under 2 ounces. Don't put boiling water in a soda bottle, it'll warp and the lid won't seal.

My 1L Nalgene only weight 3oz and change. They're newer ones, post BPA scare.

Mike, one thing I borrowed from your winter gear list that I really like is wearing my full zip hard shell pants over fleece tights while moving. I always wore softshells and carried the hard shells in my pack because I thought they'd be too warm, but it worked really well in a test hike last weekend, even up steep slopes. It takes 11 oz out of my pack, and saves the trouble of having to take off the softshells to put on the tights when I get to camp.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Rinse with snow on 01/15/2010 16:56:40 MST Print View


It sounds like your conditions are pretty similar to winter conditions in the Australian Alps. A couple of handfuls of that wet snow shaken around in your Nalgene bottle will give it a really good rinse out.

I have started adding a scoop or two of drink powder (sugar not artificial sweetened) to my bottle. I find it encourages me to drink more, especially in the cold. Might work for you too.

Stephen Klassen
Winter Gear List on 01/16/2010 02:23:59 MST Print View

Pack seems heavy.

My HDPE Nalgene weighs about 4 oz, the Tritan Nalgene is about 6 oz. My half litre Tritan Nalgene is about 3 oz. I'd double check the weight of the Nalgenes, and consider dumping one.

I've used the vbl mitts from BPL down to -23C and they were fine, I wouldn't hesitate to rely on them down to -30C.

Let us know how things turn out.

Nick Truax
(nicktruax) - F

Locale: SW Montana
Re: multi-quilt/bag temp rating equation on 01/20/2010 11:38:34 MST Print View

Thanks for the temp equation. This last weekend I doubled up two WM Summerlite bags (used as quilts) in Yellowstone and found the equation to work out quite accurately. Much appreciated.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Re: multi-quilt/bag temp rating equation on 01/20/2010 19:07:45 MST Print View

It's good to hear it works in practice and not just in theory. I thought I'd have a chance to test it last weekend, but it warmed up unexpectedly, from predicted mid teens to 32 degrees, so I didn't get to test my two quilt system.