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First time snow camping. Advice please.
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Tyler Hughes
(catsnack) - F

Locale: Smoky Mountains
No Apologies Needed on 12/15/2010 13:41:48 MST Print View

They way I see it, no apologies needed! Some people are either not too handy with the search function or don't feel like messing with it. Plus, it is good to get some of this information back up to the top of the list so it is easy to find. I wasn't even looking for it, but I learned some cool alternatives to my current methods! I'm sure other people will find (or have already found) this simply by browsing, and learned something along the way. Enjoy your outings and stay safe!

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
subway bags on 12/16/2010 08:39:42 MST Print View

Kendall, subway bags make good VBL liners. I've had them last for up to 10 days worth of trips. Trim them to the level of your outer, insulating sock so they don't flop around.

Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
RE: No Apologies Needed on 12/16/2010 20:47:55 MST Print View


I really appreciate that.

Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
RE: subway bags on 12/16/2010 20:50:09 MST Print View

Thanks Dave. I live about a block from Subway. Guess I'll make it part of my holiday diet. Hahaha!

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
First time snow camping. Boot advice. on 12/16/2010 21:06:35 MST Print View

Kendall - I just noticed this thread and would like to chime in on another idea for keeping your feet warm and dry. I use Inov8 310's for 3 seasons, but when I'm in snow I switch to my Keen Growlers. Keeping the shoe itself dry makes a BIG difference. I wear a liner sock and an outer wool-blend sock from Costco. Plus MLD gaiters. That's all I need. Mr. B and I are out in snow all winter long, usually 2 days a week, sometimes 3. When I can find someone to actually backpack in the snow with me, I still use the same sock and boot system. It's simple and it works well for me.

Have fun with your snow adventures!

John Rowling II
Recommendation for back up Winter Stove on 12/17/2010 08:36:41 MST Print View

Primary stove: Hobo Stove and I need a back up for down to -25 F. Someone told me the I can get a special blend of fuel canister for my MSR Pocket Rocket. Has anyone heard of that? I emailed MSR and have not received an answer back yet.

John - Michigan

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
pocket rocket on 12/17/2010 08:57:14 MST Print View

there are some canisters that have a little better mix for winter camping, but -25F w/ your pocket rocket- probably not

in addition to a better mix, you'll need the ability to invert the canister- even then you'd need to warm the canister significantly in those temps (some use a margarine tub filled w/ warm water)

@ -25F I think most folks would agree that your probably looking at gas stove, @ 0 (maybe a little lower) an inverted canister setup and some warming would work

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Recommendation for back up Winter Stove on 12/17/2010 08:57:19 MST Print View

The only gas that will work at -25F is pure propane and you can't get that in the normal screw-on canisters.
If you want to use a pocket rocket (or any canister top stove) you will need to keep the canister above the ambient temperature.
With the normal blend it will work above freezing.
With a 30% propane with 70% ISO-butane blend it will work down to 10F or so, and a bit lower when the canister is full.

Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
RE: First time snow camping. Boot advice on 12/17/2010 10:45:24 MST Print View


The Growlers look interesting. Do you wear a vbl with them?

Edited by socalpacker on 12/17/2010 10:47:03 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
MSR pocket rocket on 12/17/2010 11:46:09 MST Print View

MSR pocket rocket is good down to 20 F, maybe somewhat lower, if you use isobutane, not butane - most fuel is isobutane

Inverted canister below

see Roger Cs article

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Keen Growlers on 12/17/2010 13:12:13 MST Print View

Kendall - I wear plastic breadbags between the liner and outer sock when it's 10 degrees F or below, mostly because I've read about vbl's here on BPL and thought I should try them. It occurs to me I should do a test with one bag on and one bag off to see if it really helps. I have never needed to wear my Rocky socks as long as I'm wearing gaiters, because the boots are waterproof in addition to being insulated.

Also a correction on my Inov8's for non-snow wear. They're 370's, not 310's.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: RE: First time snow camping. Boot advice on 12/17/2010 18:09:36 MST Print View

For snow I have done three things... all of which have worked reasonable well down to 0F (though my feet tend to run warm):

Keen Growler boots with liners and mid-weight wool socks
Inov-8 390 + RBH Vapor Barrier socks (with and without liners)
Inov-8 310 + RBH Vapor Barrier socks with sandwich bag over the socks to keep them from getting wet from the outside.

I would second Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book.


Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
VBL's on 12/17/2010 18:20:04 MST Print View

Having lived most of my life in SoCal and have spent countless weekends in their local mountains when I could not get farther north I have to question the advice for VBL's. For me it just does not get cold enough there to make them worthwhile. At normal winter temps you may find your feet swimming in Subway bags. ;-)

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: My Apologies on 12/17/2010 19:13:58 MST Print View

Hey Kendall-

I've used slighly oversized Inov-8 shoes with RBH socks for all of my winter trips for several years now- tent, igloo, and snowcave- with a gaiter over the top. Works amazingly well.

I also live in Washington and on my trips it rarely drops below zero.

The RBH gloves are amazing- you won't believe how warm they keep your digits. But also keepin mind that VB items feel clammy when you wear them and are working hard. It's a trade off.

After my last trip, I've been looking hard at 40 Below overboots. Might be another great solution.

Have a great time!

F. Thomas Matica
(ftm1776) - F

Locale: Vancouver, WA
First time snow camping. Advice please. on 12/17/2010 21:27:04 MST Print View


Thought you might like to see this article from BPL Forums, if someone hasn't already brought it to your attention::

Vancouver, WA

Edited by ftm1776 on 12/17/2010 21:28:01 MST.

Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
First time snow camping. Advice please on 12/18/2010 11:41:41 MST Print View

Thanks guys. I am looking forward to it, probably in February around my birthday.

Mark, "Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book" just arrived from Amazon on Thursday. Can't wait to read it.

Thomas, reading the article today.

Edited by socalpacker on 12/18/2010 12:29:40 MST.

John Rowling II
Pocket Rocket - Scrapped! on 12/20/2010 08:52:24 MST Print View

Just as I suspected... a NO GO for extreme temps.for the pocktet rocket. I thought their might have been a different solution or something that I had overlooked. The pocket rocket is just too darn easy to use. Maybe someone should invent a fuel for the pocket rocket to go down to -25 F. Now their is a challange and a great money making proposition. Thanks for the comments.


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 12/20/2010 09:08:09 MST Print View

The physics is that if it's gaseous at low temps, then it has excessive pressure at room temperature so the canister has to be excessively heavy to not blow up.

Relatively few ultralight, low temperature backpackers so not a lot of money to be made.

When it burns, the (iso)butane produces a lot more heat than is required to warm it up a little so it evaporates. If you could just get a little of that heat down to the canister, the pocket rocket would work down to very low temperatures.

Like if you had an aluminum windscreen attached to the canister, going up into the flame, some of the heat would conduct down to the canister.

Tyler Hughes
(catsnack) - F

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: re on 12/20/2010 09:21:48 MST Print View

Too much reflected heat = kaBoom, like a Glock filled with liquid propane. I bet a few simple experiments involving thermometers and test burns could find the right way to do it.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 12/20/2010 10:12:19 MST Print View

Roger C did an article - determined that if canister feels warm to touch you're okay, if it's hot then it may blow up.

So, when you're using such a device just keep checking the canister with your hand and let it cool down as needed, or cut down the size of the aluminum so it conducts less heat,...