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Lightweight Minnesota Winter Gear List. Chilly stuff.
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Matt F
(matt_f) - MLife
Lightweight Minnesota Winter Gear List. Chilly stuff. on 10/06/2010 13:24:53 MDT Print View

Hi all -

Please check out the lightweight winter gear list linked to my profile and give me some feedback. Basically, I'm putting together gear that will let me be comfortable but also put in relatively high mileage days snowshoeing on the Superior Hiking Trail in February. I've been getting more ambitious with winter backcountry trips lately and will have opportunities for trip(s) potentially longer than a week.

Nighttime lows sub-zero F are likely, with day-time highs from high single digits to high 20s F probable.

Of course, I've already been testing some of this stuff out over the past couple winters and plan to do some "safe" overnights close to my car prior to setting out for a longer trip. My list may change based on forecasts, etc.

All constructive feedback is welcome, but I have a few specific questions/changes I'm considering:

1. Should I stick with softshell pants, or replace them with a full-zip eVent hardshell pant for all day aerobic snowshoeing (i.e. Rab Bergen pants)? As of now, the only real "hardshell" i have on the list is a homemade set of sil-nylon vapor barrier clothing. The Bergen pants may be able to double as a hardshell and as something breathable/ventable enough to wear while travelling (no personal experience with eVent yet).

2. I may add my MYOG climashield combat vest for added warmth if needed while walking/in camp (8 oz).

3. I haven't purchased insulated pants yet, but will likely go with some Montbell Thermawraps for near full-zippers and synthetic insulation with low weight.

4. I may add one more set of insulated mittens.

5. A half sil-nylon floor for my Shangri-la 3 might not be necessary, but I think it will be nice on longer trips.

My goal is light, safe and affordable, but have a limited budget for some judicious purchases at this point. At the time of this post, my baseweight is 15.8 pounds (with a couple of anticipated purchases factored in). I kind of anticipate adding a bit of weight back to this and am deliberating where the most bang for my buck/ounce would be.



eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
full separating pants on 10/06/2010 13:46:23 MDT Print View

consider these pants if youre going to get insulated

ID denali ... fully seperating ... which means you dont need to take off yr snowshoes if you want to add them on during the day ...

rOg w
(rOg_w) - F

Locale: rogwilmers.wordpress
deleted on 10/06/2010 15:02:22 MDT Print View


Edited by rOg_w on 05/28/2012 14:35:15 MDT.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Lightweight Minnesota Winter Gear List. Chilly stuff. on 10/07/2010 09:10:32 MDT Print View

I like to wear heavyweight wool pants. The comfort outweighs the weight, and you may not need any additional pants other than mid or expedition weight long johns.

I'm interested to know what mods you did to your SL3 to make it lighter? For use with any floorless shelter, I made a single person sil 2" high bathtub groundsheet with four grosgrain stake loops. I coated the bottom with diluted sil caulk, and the top with dots of the same to help with the nocturnal sledding issue. It's about 5.8 oz, 4.7 without sealing or additional coating. I don't think I'll actually use it in snow though.

I'd add the extra pair of mittens. Handwear always gets the wettest. Don't neglect the simple act of shaking moisture (or even better: snow before it melts ;) from wool and fleece--this can make a huge difference in keeping dry.

Matt F
(matt_f) - MLife
Winter gear feedback on 10/07/2010 10:21:46 MDT Print View

Thanks for the insights guys - this is what I was looking for.

Eric - I've thought about full-zip pants, but I think I'd be more likely to go for the patagonia micro puff pants at around 16 oz than the ID pants at ~22 oz. I'm thinking that with my Shangri-la 3 I ought to be able to do some cooking in the shelter itself (keeping ventilation in mind...), and won't need such heavy pants when I've got a heater of a sleeping bag sitting next to me. If I find the patagonia pants for a great price, I may jump on them.

Rog - I appreciate the input regarding softshells in conditions similar to what I'll see. I'd love to avoid buying some $180 shell pants just for winter hiking if I can. I use softshells running and cross country skiing all of the time in January and February.

Andy - Wool does seem to be a pretty classic winter pick in the North Woods, but given that I've got the softshell pants sitting in my closet, I'll likely stick with those. Somehow I imagine that heavy wool pants would become even heavier during a full day of snow travel - is this the case?

Regarding the Shangri-la 3, I just picked up a 2010 version for pretty cheap in like-new condition. This is the newer version with lighter fabric, but also an extra (3 total) peak vent. The canopy only weighed about 23.5 oz to start with, and by removing a big tag (did this) and switching the 7 main perimeter tie-outs which each consist of 14-16" of 1" thick lightweight webbing and a tensioning buckle to the lightweight tensioners and cord commonly found on cottage gear an ounce ought to be easily dropped (I am in the process of doing this, and just estimated the weight savings by weighing one of the original strap on my scale...the weight savings may actually be more).

I'll try to remember to post a picture of a completed tie-out at some point but for now i'm waiting for the tenioners to arrive in the mail.

I've only used the shelter on one trip (last week), but I can tell it will be a new favorite as it is so roomy and versatile for 1-2 people. Lashing two trekking poles together with a homemade strap system worked like a charm, too.


Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Winter gear feedback on 10/07/2010 11:53:23 MDT Print View

I wallow in the snow often due to learning to xc ski on the hilly trails, and the wool pants definitely gain more weight than synthetics. As a tradeoff, they don't lose as much heat through evaporation, and I haven't yet needed a shell over them. Using suspenders, the warmth and the convenience of just wearing one pair of pants and not carrying any are worth it to me. This is my experience limited to 15 F at the coldest so far.

The tensioner mod sounds like a good idea. It is a great shelter. I have the 2010 model also, to which I sewed a 15" netting skirt, bringing it up to about 30.5 oz (the skirt includes velcro for attaching to a floor). I use an extra 1.9 oz bottom pole section to connect two poles.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
softshell on 10/07/2010 13:17:06 MDT Print View

if it doesnt get above freezing or rarely does you can use yr softshell pants only

even if they get soaked they dry quickly with body heat ... at worst you can use yr syn insul pants during the day if needed (better syn than down for more options)

Matt F
(matt_f) - MLife
Help with layers please on 10/08/2010 09:32:15 MDT Print View

OK, I'm starting to get my layering system worked out in my head:

Upper body:
1. 150 weight wool SS and patagonia wool 1 top.
2. Light softshell top (Pertex stretch equilibrium fabric), with hood. This will probably be on most of the day.
3. MYOG puffy vest, think patagonia micropuff. (likely will wear in the morning or during/right after rest stops).
4. Rab Neutrino endurance down parka (at rest stops and in camp at night).

Lower body:
1. Paty boxers.
2. Capiline 2 tights.
3. Softshell pants (Unlined, Schoeller Dryskin)
4. Patagonia micropuff full-zip pants (start out in the morning with them on, unzip once I warm up)

1. Liner sock
2. Darn Tough medium weight wool sock
3. Keen Snoqualmie boot, lightly insulated w/ eVent Liner. Rab full size (to upper shin) gaiters.
4. Snowshoes.
5. Synthetic booties for camp/sleeping.

Head: wool balaclava, add extra balaclava, micro fleece hat and neck gaiter and softshell hood as needed.

Hands: wool liner gloves w/shell mitts. Add fleece mittens as mid-layer as needed. I have a spare set of liners and will make a spare set of fleece mittens.

I just ordered some patagonia micro puff pants with a 20% off REI coupon. If they don't fit right I'll revisit looking at the montbells, but I really like the idea of being able to walk the first half to full mile in the morning then just zipping the pants off when I warm up. A 4-5 ounce weight penalty for the medium micro puffs over a size large thermawrap doesn't seem too bad, especially considering that the insulation is significantly warmer.

After reading Mike C's advice regarding long winter trips without using Vapor Barrier Liners I'm thinking I may be able to eliminate those and not have to worry about changing in the morning or at night and instead just hang my bag out in the sun when I have an opportunity. As above, for additional warmth I'm pretty sure I'll take the myog puffy vest. Seems simpler to me.

Any advice on my layering system?


Edited by matt_f on 10/08/2010 16:59:02 MDT.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Help with layers please on 10/08/2010 20:01:59 MDT Print View

The layers look good. I'm skeptical about foot warmth at those temps with lightly insulated boots, but I'm not familiar with them. I think I'd either need a VBL or a second sock (without making fit too tight of course), and plan on possibly changing into one dry pair of socks during the day.