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Winter clothing options
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Jeremy Osburn

Locale: New England
Winter clothing options on 12/29/2010 20:21:30 MST Print View

I am taking a winter mountaineering class in a few weeks in the Adirondack. The culmination is a 4 day 3 night trip to bag a few peaks and gain winter camping confidence. Expected temps are 20-40F during the day and 0-20F at night. The VERY extreme could be apx. -20F. I am confident in my upper body layering but I am concerned about my lower body.

Right now I have:
skin tight light weight thermals- worn always
Wicker's Mid-weight thermals- worn always
Wicker's Expedition weight thermals (similar to fleece pants)- worn at rest
REI eVent shell pants- worn always on top

I am confident in the mid-weight thermals and eVent shell while moving. I tested that all last season in everything from rain, snow, down to mid 20's, high winds... It is good as long as I stay moving. My concern is at night should I have down pants to stay warm. Something along the lines of WM Flash or Flight pants.

My ideal layering would be:
1. skin-tight light weight thermals- worn always
2. Expedition weight thermals (I added side zips to regulate temperature)-worn always
3. down pants- worn at rest
4. eVent shell- worn always on top

This would save me weight (a few oz) and obviously make me more warm, BUT is it necessary. I have spent enough money in preparation for this trip and if I don't need to spend more I would be a happy camper.

Hoping for warm thoughts.


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
not needed on 12/29/2010 20:30:03 MST Print View

not needed with what you currently have from 0-20F IMO

however insulated pants will be more comfortable at rest it its closer or below 0F, and if your bag is insufficient , will help out there

below that ... id use em

i used R1 weight underwear, softshell/fleece pants, goretex pants, goretex gaiters below 0F ..... its fine for me as long as you dont just stand around

if yr in cold NE ... just go do some try setting up yr tent and cooking on a stove outside at those temps to test out yr system

Edited by bearbreeder on 12/29/2010 21:09:53 MST.

Tyler Hughes
(catsnack) - F

Locale: Smoky Mountains
am I doing it wrong? on 12/29/2010 20:54:10 MST Print View

seems like a lot of clothing for those temperatures. I see temps like that for my normal winters, and I go hiking in running shorts, or maybe running shorts on top of 3/4 length tights if it is below 15 or 20. Of course I have a waterproof shell pant for deep snow and/or rain. I have never once wished I had extra insulation for my lower body, at rest or while sleeping, down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. I guess I just never felt the need to have like 2 fleece layers + a shell and then some. I would probably get heat stroke and end up with frozen solid clothing.

Edited by catsnack on 12/29/2010 20:55:48 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
depends on 12/29/2010 21:06:21 MST Print View

everyone is different ... just do whatever works for you

at below 0F, add in windchill, and hours of exposed belaying

active is very different from inactive ...

Edited by bearbreeder on 12/29/2010 21:07:22 MST.

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Winter clothing options on 12/29/2010 21:10:39 MST Print View

If this is the ADK Winter School, I would bring all of your options, and discuss what to take on the backpacking trip with the instructors.

As far as insulated pants, I would not take anything that did not have full-length zippers. You don't want to have to remove your boots or snowshoes to put the pants on or take them off at rest stops...

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: depends on 12/29/2010 21:29:26 MST Print View


Depends undergarments


Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: depends on 12/29/2010 21:43:31 MST Print View


I'm holding out for the merino wool depends.....

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: depends on 12/29/2010 21:45:56 MST Print View

I don't know. Eric suggested it.

It must be one of those Canadian things.


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
depends on 12/29/2010 21:48:15 MST Print View

bob ... depends means that you retain all the warmth from your bodily functions ... waste no heat


Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Winter clothing options on 12/29/2010 22:22:14 MST Print View


You guys are too funny.

Michael Febbo
(febbom) - F
insulated pants on 12/30/2010 01:44:34 MST Print View

It does depend- how long will you be inactive during the day and how long will you be out of your sleeping bag while at camp?

I am going to be in the High Peaks for 4 days and 3 nights in about two weeks and am opting not to take any insulated pants... BUT, I might do so if traveling with a group. Groups (in my experience) tend to spend more time at rest and camp than I personally choose during winter outings. Thus, there is a greater likelihood for getting chilled. As John said, I would contact your program and ask for their recommendation as well as an itinerary for the trip- how long are the anticipated rest stops during the day?

My routine: I almost never stop for more than 10 minutes during the day- when I do, I wear my belay parka. If my schedule included cooked lunches or longer stops, insulated legwear would be welcome.

Once in camp, the process of stomping a snow platform, digging a trench, and setting up my floorless shelter creates a great deal of internal heat- I do not even wear my belay parka while setting up camp. Once set up for the night, I get inside and make dinner/water with my legs in my sleeping bag and wear my belay parka. Thus, I do not need insulated legwear. If I were to hang out with a group or stroll around an area doing light chores after dark, I might want them. However, your fleece pants should suffice.

Being that I would only use them in camp, I would not see the need for side zippers (if the day included long rest stops, I would). Thus, if you want a cheap pair of completely unfashionable insulated pants, these are an option:

Mine weigh 10 ounces and are a bit warmer than 200 weight fleece- they might be lighter and/or warmer than your fleece pants. They reach about to midshin.

Jeremy Osburn

Locale: New England
Re: insulated pants on 12/30/2010 09:01:16 MST Print View

I sent them an email about a few gear questions, including the pants. I am afraid of their answer. I feel like it will be bring everything you own including the things you haven't bought yet. It is ADK winter school. I feel like I wouldn't need them but it is a big group and I don't know how long we will be stoping for or how long we go until at night. I have a concern that we will be pulling into camp with plenty of daylight left to set up camp, talk about things... have plenty of time to get chilly in the legs.

I am going to skip the pants and the 900 fp down depends that bob is talking about.

Thanks for the help.

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Re: insulated pants on 12/30/2010 10:26:08 MST Print View

@Jeremy -- I attended ADK winter school in 1981, but it looks like the format hasn't changed much (although we camped out more nights). Every night in camp, we would gather as a group and discuss the days events. We would also cook in small groups. I would say those were the times of lowest activity, and we had several nights below zero.

When practicing ice axe self arrests, there was also a fair amount of standing around. On trail breaks weren't too long.