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Winter Trip
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Jeremy Osburn

Locale: New England
Winter Trip on 10/11/2010 20:57:32 MDT Print View

Hello everyone,

My profile gear list is for a week long trip in the Adirondack high peaks for a week long winter camping introduction class I am going to take in January.

Trip description:
Average temps 20-40F day temps 10-30F nights extremes could be -20F. I will be doing the snow dance the weeks prior to the trip mostly because I am now hooked on non-resort snowboarding, and also because what is winter without a TON of snow.

I have several week long hiking trip under my belt, to many to count weekend trips in all 4 seasons. No winter week long trips, and I know there are some tricks I need to learn in the safety of a group and under the guidance of a pro. The list in my profile is what I am converting to (former heavy weight backpacker). The orange text are items to be made or still purchased or up for major discussion. The bolded weights are either current weight prior to my modifications or estimated weight based on manufacturers website or my guess based on the material list for the MYOG stuff.

Don't be gentle, and thanks in advance if you save me from purchasing something I shouldn't.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Footwear & bedtime/morning on 10/11/2010 21:19:08 MDT Print View

Your footwear needs to have VBL sox, either thin neopprene diver's sox or waterproof ripstop nylon sox to keep your insulation layers dry. Your boots need to be GTX to keep the innards dry unless they are rubber bottomed feltpacs, which I see from your gear list that they are not.

Also you need GTX gaiters which I didn't notice on your gear list. Gaiters add 10 to 15 F. of warmth and keep snoe from entering your boot tops and melting inside the boots.

You absolutely must be able to put your footwear inside you sleeping bag in a stuffsack. This is a must for warm feet in the morning. ONLY if you have removable insulating boot liners can you leave the boot shells outside of your sleeping bag. If you leave shells in your vestibule telescope the tops together to keep out spindrift.

I'd take a pair of thin polypro liner sox (for under your VBL sox) for each day and a pair of heavy sleeping sox. Also zip up and pull your outer shell over the foot of your sleeping bag for more warmth and to keep it from getting damp as a result of it melting frost off the walls of your tent.

This entire ritual of the VBL sox, poly liner sox, GTX boots, boot stuff sack, fresh liner sox, keeping the boots warm, etc. is necessary to avoid painfully cold feet in the mornihng and frostbitten toes at worst.

Have fun on your trip. My last Adirondack winter ski trip was in 1978 when qualifying for the 1980 Winter Olympic Nordic Ski Patrol. I have fond memories of sleeping in a 1/2 snow tunnel, the other 1/2 covered by 2 Space Blankets over our skis.

Edited by Danepacker on 10/11/2010 21:21:06 MDT.

Matt F
(matt_f) - MLife
VBL clothing? on 10/11/2010 22:35:26 MDT Print View

You seem to be savvy when it comes to making gear - how about trying to make some VBL clothing out of sil-nylon? You'll be able to extend your sleeping bag into colder weather by wearing insulated clothing on top of your VBL clothing, and it will be cheaper than the WM hotsack. If it is truly cold you can use them while walking too. I made a VBL hoody out of an older (mist prone) sil nylon tarp (3 oz) and also some pants (2.75 oz). I used Roger Caffin's patterns from his MYOG articles regarding trousers and top and modified them as I'm apparently a little taller than the pattern was designed for.

I'm working on figuring out gear to keep me safe and comfortable (and light) for one week+ northern minnesota trips and have a list linked to my profile. January and February on Lake Superior's north shore can easily dip into -20 to -30 F with more frequent lows around 0 F. I appreciate seeing what your approach is to ADK winter gear - this extended winter stuff is pretty interesting!

Best of luck,


Jeremy Osburn

Locale: New England
VBL noob on 10/12/2010 10:42:26 MDT Print View

My foot layers are going to be thin liner socks, MYOG silnylon VBL, thick wool socks, removable boot liner, shell of boot, built in gaitor on shell pants. I haven't needed an extra gaitor in the past with these boots/pants combo. The thing I don't have is a pair of liner socks for each day. Will I destory them under VBL or will they soak through so much that they become useless. My plan was to take my day time wool socks, liner socks, and boot liners off and put them in the VBL sack with me each night? Will that not work? I guess I should probably have a back up pair of liner socks like my night time wool extra pair.

I have gone back and forth about VBL clothes vs the hot sac. I decided with to go with the hot sac becuase I am not sure how I am going to like VBL. I have never had to deal with it before. Only going on weekend winter tips with entirely synthetic insulation I had never heard of it until this spring. If I like it my next step will be to make probably exactly what you mentioned and be a happy dry camper. I think I see a ghost looking at your list. I feel more comfortable that I should be good for a week excursion in the snow with our layering similarities. One thing I noticed is you have a pair of insulated mittens. I have a pair that I could drop my shells and just take my liners for cooking and eating and then put the big mittens on for the rest of the trip. Would that be a better solution? My concern that I hadn't really thought of is that my hands at rest might get cold with just my latex, liners, and shells on. I might have more versatility with the latex, insulated mitten, and liners. There would be little weight penalty (3 oz I think).

Edited by earn_my_turns on 10/12/2010 10:44:09 MDT.