Advice On Snow Camping
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Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Advice On Snow Camping on 03/19/2010 01:01:13 MDT Print View

Tomorrow I am going out on a three day walk of a relatively level area at 1,500 meters (5,000') in the mountains north of Tokyo. The temperature at night will likely reach down to around -15º C (5º F). Snow is a very good possibility, but probably no more than 30 cm (1 ft) or so deep. I have quite a lot of experience camping down to around 5º C, but not much (only three times) below that. I'm worried about my clothing/ sleeping set up and wonder if people could tell me if I have too much, enough, or not enough gear (I tend to sleep a little hot, but also toss and turn a lot when I sleep, so my Rocky Mountain Sniveler quilt is out for winter conditions):

• Shelter: Either Terra Nova Laser Competition (modified with extra guy out points) or MLD Doumid
• Sleeping Bag: Marmot Pinnacle (rated to 15º F) or Montbell UL Alpine Downhugger #3 (I'd say it's too light, but maybe my clothing will make up for that)
• Full length blue closed-cell foam mat
• 3/4 length Montbell UL Comfort self-inflating sleep mat
• Montbell Dry-tec sleeping bag cover (if I go with the Duomid)
• Polycro ground sheet (if I go with the Duomid)
____________________________

• Finetrack SS mesh t-shirt
• Finetrack mesh underpants
• Icebreaker LS 150 weight baselayer shirt
• Icebreaker 150 weight underpants
• Paramo Explorer Shirt (high wicking, similar to 100 weight Polotec)
• Finetrack Drought Sensor Tights (for use in camp and sleeping)
• Paramo Velez Adventure Pants (Very highly breathable, waterproof pants with light insulation inside. They dry very fast... but I'm worried about bringing wet pants into the shelter and having them as a vital part of the sleep system if they are wet)
• Montane Lightspeed Wind Shirt
• Paramo Cascada Rain Jacket (I was thinking of bring the lighter and shorter Velez Adventure Light Smock, but I'd prefer the longer coverage in colder weather)
• Patagonia Down Pullover Hoodie or Mountain Hardwear Chugach Synthetic Fill Jacket (with modified Montane Pertex Pile Hood attached)
• Montbell Thermowrap Pants
• 200 weight fleece beanie
• 100 weight fleece neck gaitor

I don't know, writing it down again here makes me think I may have too much. Any thoughts?

It will likely be quite warm during the day... and I may not even need a jacket. However, there have been heavy rains during the day and snow at night over the last two weeks, so I'm worried about the very varied conditions)

Edited by butuki on 03/19/2010 02:04:20 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Advice On Snow Camping on 03/19/2010 01:51:59 MDT Print View

Hi Miguel

Yeah, maybe just a little too much clothing.
But ... what's the weather going to do?
Sometimes it pays to advance slowly.

Cheers

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Advice On Snow Camping on 03/19/2010 02:21:00 MDT Print View

Hi Miguel,
Paramos are the business. I use light wool tights and pullover under mine in winter They stay warm when damp. If the Paramo trousers are wet by the time you turn in, the tights will keep you warm. You can always put a bin bag between your legs and your precious dry down bag if yu have to keep the Paramos on.

Will you be above the treeline? I find taking a few ounces of dry twigs to get cold damp wood going is a good move. A small camp fire in the evening will lift your spirits and dry your outerwear.

I prefer my insulated top to have a zip for ventilation. It gives more versatility to the set up.

Have a great weekend.

Roger: I found a couple of £1 pillows. Plush both sides, 72g each. Let me know if you want some posting over.

Edited by tallbloke on 03/19/2010 02:22:39 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Advice On Snow Camping on 03/19/2010 02:43:37 MDT Print View

Thanks Rogers!

I'll be above treeline on the second night, though there is enough bamboo grass and creeping pine up there to make it easy to get a small fire going. A mountaineering friend of mine wrote about building a fire on rocks underfoot and before going to sleep putting the shelter system on top of the warm rocks to help keep warm. (he uses just a waterproof bivy and seems to get along just fine). I'm not worried about not surviving the cold (can always follow Mike Clelland's suggestion of doing situps if worst comes to worst), just wondering if I can get a good night's rest with what I have.

Thanks for the tip about keeping the sleeping bag warm with wet Paramo on. I can just stick my feet in my backpack and stick that inside the sleeping bag if I have to. Knowing Paramo they'll have dried out everything I'm wearing by morning.

By zip for ventilation you mean a full-length zip on the jacket front? I agree with you there. I do often get quite hot with smocks and anoraks. Do you use down or synthetic for your insulated top?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Advice On Snow Camping on 03/19/2010 03:23:45 MDT Print View

Hi Rog

I followed up on your pics at the local rubber, foam and pool toys store. Yeah, they had them too!

So thanks, but not to worry. But thanks again.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Advice On Snow Camping on 03/19/2010 03:27:13 MDT Print View

Hi Miguel

You know, if you are a bit wet in Paramo gear but you don't stop too late in the day AND you dive quickly into a tent, then by the time you have cooked dinner and tidied up for the night a lot of that gear may be nearly dry anyhow. Just don't let yourself chill down much and the water will (hopefully!) evaporate off.

Cheers

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Advice On Snow Camping on 03/19/2010 06:25:07 MDT Print View

"By zip for ventilation you mean a full-length zip on the jacket front? I agree with you there. I do often get quite hot with smocks and anoraks. Do you use down or synthetic for your insulated top?"

I have several insulated jackets, both down and synthetic. I rainy weather I take synthetic.

Synthetic: I have a montane toasty for winter and a snugpak-alike highlander for summer.

Down: I have a Kathmandu Goosedown jacket for winter and a Montbell UL down jacket for shoulder seasons or high camping in summer.

All have full zips.

Roger: Inflatable pillows. We must be getting middle aged.