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First Experience-A Few Questions
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Eric De Paoli
(EricD) - F

Locale: EricD
First Experience-A Few Questions on 01/17/2010 22:21:48 MST Print View

Hello everyone,

Next weekend I will be going on a snowshoeing trip on Vancouver Island. The weather report says that it should be nice, but in reality, anything can happen. Even rain :S

Its only two nights out, and the first night our group is staying in a hostel. We are staying in tents, though I might attempt to build a snowcave and sleep in that.

My main concern is clothing, and what to wear while actually snowshoeing, and around camp. I know for sure that I'll be wearing my snowpants and rain jacket, but as for layering goes, I'm relatively stuck. Here's what I was thinking:

To wear while snowshoeing:

Arc'teryx Beta AR
Synthetic T-shirt

Helly Hansen Snow-Pants (lightly insulated)
Silkweight boxers/briefs

I've been snowshoeing before for day trips, and from what I can remember, it is very hard work.

At camp, my layering will be:

Arc'teryx Beta AR
Montbell UL Inner Down Jacket
Merino Wool T-shirt

Helly Hansen Snow-pants
MEC Trek long johns
MEC Expedition stretch long johns

And a good ol' pair of synthetic booties.

The temps shouldn't be any colder than -10 celcius without wind chill, but they could be fairly warm (above freezing).

Knowing that, what other/spare clothing should I pack? I know its only one night out, and I'd like to keep my pack weight fairly low, but I don't think taking a few extra layers or spare clothing would be a bad idea.

Some of my other concerns include hydration and water. I think taking along two full water bottles to begin with would be a good idea. How about a water bladder? I have one that isn't insulated, and I would really hate for it too freeze and be useless.

And lastly, drying clothing/boots. I've heard that putting damp clothing into a sleeping bag helps to dry them, however, I have a down bag and it would lose insulation if it got wet. Should I take along a few garbage bags to put wet clothing into, and then put that into my sleeping bag to dry them?

I think thats all for now... I'm sure I'll have more questions as I receive answers.

-Eric D.

Morgan Rucks
(rucksmtr) - F
... on 01/17/2010 23:55:25 MST Print View

1st off you'll be fine. you have a pretty good clothing set up. for you first trip though i might bring one more top layer, a thin long sleeve thermal, or light wind jacket, or fine gauge wool sweater. something.

Yes on bringing trash bags one for your boots, one for your clothes, maybe one for your pack.

You didn't say what gloves your are bringing, I like having lots of light gloves vs a few heavy gloves. 2 pair of fleece or wool, one pair water proof ski or whatever glove, and cheap liners.

Lots of socks. Change them often, esp. right before bed.

You can dry a LITTLE bit of stuff in your sleeping bag from damp to dry, not dripping wet to dry. a pair of socks, gloves or a shirt, pick one.

On the first day practice acting like you are sleeping out that night, see what gets wet and think about how it would affect you 12 hrs later, Always be thinking 12 hrs ahead

Bring lots of foam to sleep on. A thermarest plus a blue foam mat as a minimum

Keep you water upside down so that if ice forms it is at the bottom not the lid. Bladders tend to ice up in the tubing then they are kinda useless.

Edited by rucksmtr on 01/17/2010 23:57:25 MST.

Eric De Paoli
(EricD) - F

Locale: EricD
... on 01/18/2010 17:48:12 MST Print View

Thanks Morgan,

As for gloves I have a pair of Black Diamond Soloist, and then some crappy Dakine Gloves that I used for skiing previously. I'm thinking of using the Dakine gloves while snowshoeing, because even if they do get wet and cold, I'll be pretty warm, and have a nice warm pair of gloves to change to for around camp.

And as for sleeping pads, I only have an inflatable thermarest, no foam, and I won't be able to get any before the trip...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
sleeping pads on 01/18/2010 18:20:00 MST Print View

"And as for sleeping pads, I only have an inflatable thermarest, no foam, and I won't be able to get any before the trip..."

The conventional wisdom for snow camping is that you need about twice the thickness of sleeping pad in winter as what you needed in summer. If you absolutely have nothing more than single-thick thermarest, then you will need to improvise, or else you will have a lot of heat loss to the bottom. Extra clothing will work. Bubble-pak wrap will work a little. I've even seen people improvise with sheets of thick cardboard with thin plastic over.

Morgan Rucks
(rucksmtr) - F
... on 01/18/2010 21:57:13 MST Print View

I would get one more pair of cheap liner gloves as a final back up. I tend to wear just liners 80% of the time cause i can do stuff in them like set up tents or cook while my hands stay pretty warm vs taking off the thick gloves and getting cold hands that never warm back up even when i put the big gloves back on. You can find them for like 3 bucks at the front of lots of super markets or quickie marts, they are worth their weight in gold.

Find some foam to put underneath you. Every sporting good store in the world has an old blue foam mat for sale for less than ten bucks. Buy it cut it down a bit. Sit on it to keep your butt dry and warm, stand on it to keep you feet warm, kneel on it when your packing, keep your gloves dry by setting them on the mat sleep in it to keep everything warm.

You have good clothing choices, but not bringing enough ground insulation is a bad call. Stop on the drive up if you have too, it will make the trip a lot warmer.

Edited by rucksmtr on 01/18/2010 22:00:40 MST.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Get a foam pad on 01/20/2010 14:25:08 MST Print View

Even stores like WalMart have foam sleeping pads. Get one of the stiffer blue 3/8-1/2 inch ones, cut it at about 47 inches, and put both segments under your existing pad. Some army surplus stores have pads also.

You could also fill a trash bag with leaves, dead grasses, or evergreen boughs from already downed trees to use as a pad.