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Please help me move from 1-season to 3-season
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Derek Schutt
(derek_fc) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado Front Range
Please help me move from 1-season to 3-season on 03/12/2011 18:44:59 MST Print View

Dear Folks,

I'm looking for advice to move the following summer gear list from 1- to 3-seasons. By three seasons, I mean something that will keep me okay for temperatures down to 15F at night, in the occasional snowstorm, in the mostly-dry Colorado Rockies and surroundings. I'm relatively inexperienced, and still learning UL techniques. I'm also a cold sleeper.

I'm thinking about getting a Montbell #1 spiral bag, and probably need a better pad for colder temperatures. Suggestions for a bag and pad are welcome.

I don't have a stove on the list, as I need to buy one. Suggestions are welcome. My backpack is heavy, but I don't want to get a new one until i get the rest of the gear in place.

Also, if anyone suggests gear, and you think this is something I can reasonably find on these forums used, I'd be interested in knowing this. Thanks

Here it is, weights in oz.

Tent, Sleeping, Backpack

Tarptent Rainshadow 2 58.6
Golite Ultralite 3 season quilt 26
Big Agnes Isulated Air Core 19.5
Summit 5000 backpack 84
Subtotal 188.1

Worn Clothes

Boots 47
Socks, Smartwool heavy duty trekking 4
underwear 5.4
Nylon convertible hiking pants 13.6
Shirt, lightweight nylon short sleeve 5.4

Other Clothes

socks, extra pair 4
shirt, long sleve nylon 7.3
shirt, lightweight long underwear top 8.2
bottoms, midweight long underwear 9.5
fleece pullover 16
rain top, North Face Hurricane 6.5
rain pants, North Face Hurricane 8.5
hat, fleece 2
glove liners 1.4
fleece mittens 2
baseball hat 2.6
stuffsack, for clothes 4
Subtotal 65.4

Cooking System and Food

bear rope, 50' 2.3
stuffsack, for food 2.2
2 water containers 3.4
water tablets, Potable aqua 4.3
insulated mug for eating 6.1
Spoon and Fork 0.9
Knife 2.4
stove, unweighed ----
Subtotal 21.6


head lamp, Black Diamond 7.2
trash compactor bags, 4 0.1
toilet paper and disinfectant 4.5
Wallet 3.8
bug repellent and container 2.6
sunscreen and container 2.8
camera 5.5
toothbrush 0.4
toothpaste 0.9
soap 2
lighter w/ duct tape 1.3
Subtotal 49.7


sunglasses and case 3.5
compass 1
whistle 0.5
moleskin/first aid/scissors/bandages 2.1
watch 2.2
prescription medicine 1.1
Subtotal 6.9

Total non-Food: 407.6 oz (25.5 lbs)

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Please help me move from 1-season to 3-season on 03/12/2011 21:50:10 MST Print View

Bag: If you have a larger frame get the Super Spiral. I have the Super Spiral #3 and like it, but I'm thinking about a #1 also to fill the gap between that and my heavy 0F bag.

Pad: You could throw a CCF pad like a torso-length RidgeRest on top of your pad. That might be the cheapest option to try first. Test it out in the backyard. I use a full-length Exped Downmat 7 (32 oz) when temps drop below 30F. Although the R-value says it shouldn't have worked, Andrew Skurka used only a RidgRest Solar on the Alaska-Yukon Expedition down to -20F. I plan to test this for myself next winter as a lighter Downmat replacement.

Shelter: Your tent wouldn't stand up well in a snowstorm. You might get by in a Tarptent Moment thoroughly staked out and with the canopy supported by the extra pole or with guylines to trekking poles. A Scarp would be better suited for the snowstorms and colder temps. A pyramid shelter would work too. They're popular lately, but I wasn't very impressed.

Footwear: I don't like stiff boots because my feet are warmer when they can flex some. I use a pair of oversize mesh trail runners, GoreTex socks, thick wool sock, and thin polypro or polyester liner sock.

Stove: I use a campfire or a Penny alcohol stove:
The alcohol stoves aren't practical for melting snow. For that you need a fire or a stove using a different fuel.

Headlamp: That seems heavy. Definitely use one which is compatible with lithium batteries.

Insulation: Add an insulating jacket or parka and a fleece or acrylic balaclava.

For snow, get gaiters.

This might be obvious, but remember that a surprise deep snow might slow or prevent you from getting back without snowshoes.

You can cut many of your smaller items like soap, reppllent, and others down by at least an ounce each.

Mug: 0.9 oz plastic Ziploc bowl without lid, 16 oz size

Water containers: Wide mouth containers are best for cold because they're easier to open if they freeze. Keep them upside down so that the water near the lid is the last to freeze. Sleep with your water to keep it from freezing at night. Insulate one with a piece of an old CCF foam pad and duct tape.

Lighter: Carry in pocket to keep it warm, or it may not work. Carry some emergency tinder also.

Edited by AndyF on 03/12/2011 21:54:24 MST.

Dan Briggs
(dbriggs9) - F

Locale: Southeast
gear list on 03/13/2011 09:53:25 MDT Print View

If you really do want to replace your sleeping bag the Montbell bag isn't a bad way to go. I'd also really consider a Western Mountaineering bag, or a Katabatic Gear Sawatch. But first I'd consider keeping the quilt you have and spending money on a down jacket and possibly down pants to pair with your quilt. You'll save money and weight, and have more flexibility.
You'll also want a different tent for handling snow, I like the Scarp suggestion posted before me.
Definitely replace that pack once you settle on all your other gear.
Consider trail running shoes and only carrying one extra pair of socks. Maybe three if you want a pair exclusively for sleeping. I'd drop the extra long-sleeved nylon shirt and the fleece pullover, adding a down jacket like the Montbell UL Down Jacket, or if you're keeping your quilt get something heavier like the Montbell Alpine Light jacket.
Consider an alcohol stove. If you're not into them check out the MSR Pocket Rocket.
You could easily shave 5oz by changing headlamps.
That's a lot of toilet paper/disinfectant.

Derek Schutt
(derek_fc) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado Front Range
Please help me move from 1-season to 3-season on 03/14/2011 14:18:27 MDT Print View

Great comments, thanks for the help. I hadn't thought about snow on my tarptent. Given that several of my not-too-frequent summer backpacking trips have had significant snowfall, I'll definitely have to consider an additional tent; hopefully I can find something used for a reasonable price. Down gear also sounds great, although its so darn expensive... I do like the idea of getting a feel for the limits of my down quilt first, so I should start trying that and see where I want to go from there.

All your other comments are well-taken, and sound great.

Chris Gray
(ChrisFol) - F

Locale: Denver, Coloado
RE: Advise on 03/14/2011 19:40:39 MDT Print View


I too live in Colorado and own the same quilt and have just received the Rainshadow 2 over the weekend.

Quilt: I have used the quilt down to about +10F with my Capilene 3 top and bottoms, EB down jacket and WM Flight down pants. I recently bought a Big Agnes Lost Dog (cheap, synthetic bag) to use as an overbag and I am on the look out for something warmer than the EB sweater in the hopes of taking this system down to zero degrees, but it is looking like I will have to wait until next winter to test it out. If I expect temps around 20 degrees or lower then I do bring an additional CCF pad to sleep on. I use a POE SL-Basic combined with a Ridgerest.

Tent: Obviously, no experience with the Rainshadow 2 yet and of course it isn't designed to withstand heavy snow-loads, in fact very few 3-seasons shelters are-- which is why they are 3-season shelters. I figure it would hold up to a light dusting just like any other 3-season tent that I have owned.

With that said, I wouldn't even consider changing your quilt or shelter at this moment and instead would spend my disposable income were it would be most beneficial-- purchasing lighter, warmer clothing for those cooler nights and times of year. This way you do not need to shell out another $300-$400 on a new "warmer" sleeping bag that is only rated to be 5 degrees warmer than your quilt. A nice down jacket and down pants over a mid-weight baselayer will cost you less than the bag, will probably weigh about the same as the new bag but be a little warmer than the additional 5 degrees.

The plus side is that the clothes you can use year round and that way you are not spending $400 on bag that you may only use a few nights a year.

As for a stove: it depends on your cooking style: just boiling water in the 3-seasons? Look at an alcohol stove. If you want to actually "cook" then something like a Snow Peak Giga Power is an affordable choice and something that I have used to fry up trout etc on many occasions. For a winter stove, then a white gas or inverted canister stove are good choices.

FWIW, I do have an MSR Pocket Rocket laying around that I would part with if you were interested.

Again, as you build your gear, you will eventually accumulate multiple items of the same gear for different jobs, for example owning 3 or four stoves, a couple of pads, shelters and bags etc, but until then I would put my money into items that I can use year round and that will *compliment* the gear that I already do own and not *replace* items that I already own. Once you have the gear, then I would look at replacement items, for example a lighter quilt, a more adequate backpack etc.

Edited by ChrisFol on 03/14/2011 19:42:05 MDT.

Eric Swab

Locale: Rockies
Please help me move from 1-season to 3-season on 03/14/2011 22:03:16 MDT Print View


I live in Fort Collins too, send me an email: ericswab at gmail dot com. I want to extend the season as much as possible and try to do as many close, short trips as I can this year.


Jason McSpadden
(JBMcSr1) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: help on 03/14/2011 22:07:15 MDT Print View


I don't know if this would be of any help to you but I live in Fort Collins too. I've been backpacking in Colorado for 40 years and I starting lightweight backpacking in 1996 or 97 right after I read Ray Jardine's The Pacific Crest Trail Hiker's Handbook. My child isn't small any more--she's going to college this fall. But I could share some advice and help on backpacking, etc.

Let me know and I'll give you my my contact info.


PS. I just saw Eric's post--maybe the three of us could have a beer together! And talk about a trip this summer.

Edited by JBMcSr1 on 03/14/2011 22:09:55 MDT.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Your backpack weighs 84 ounces! on 03/14/2011 23:44:23 MDT Print View


Your base weight before food comes in at over 25 pounds. This is heavy, even by "traditional" standards.

This is a lightweight backpacking forum, and it would be difficult to even begin to help with any advice.

Please review my 3-season gear list (on my profile) and note that less than 1/3 the weight of your gear. And I have used it in snowy conditions in the northern rockies.

You wrote:
" My backpack is heavy, but I don't want to get a new one until i get the rest of the gear in place."

Your backpack weighs 84 ounces! THat should be the VERY FIRST thing you replace. I have a 17 ounce backpack, less than 1/4 the weight of yours.

Are you really interested in help form people who are on these forums?

Please - the benefits of lightweight backpacking are glorious, but you need to truly CHANGE your mindset as well as your gear.

Mike C!

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Your backpack weighs 84 ounces! on 03/15/2011 06:22:17 MDT Print View

Conventional wisdom on this site does state that the pack should be replaced last.

Based on the rest of your gear, it looks like you are ready to replace it

When I add up your list I get 19.8 pounds. Not too terrible. Unless you are talking about Full Skin Out weight. Which a lot do not here.

You have some things in your carried items that you would actually be wearing. Baseball cap, watch. Trash compactor bags.You only need one at 2oz each.

Too many clothes items. Replace that fleece pullover with a puffy jacket and save weight and volume there.
No need for a wallet. Nothing to buy in the trail.

Edited by kthompson on 03/15/2011 06:37:03 MDT.

Rob Wolfenden
(wolverine) - F

Locale: North East
Please help me move from 1-season to 3-season on 03/15/2011 11:43:03 MDT Print View

Mike's BPW is at 8lb's I wouldn't suggest mirroring his and just cutting 15+ pounds away and possibly sacrificing comfort just like that. While it looks to be on the heavy side, it also depends on what weight you can comfortably hike in. That weight may work for him, but may not for you. Change your mindset to what will work best for YOU not for someone else. I'm 5'10, 215 lbs and in relatively good shape so a 15 lb bag doesn't feel like much on my back. Consider what you need and can afford to change. The places where you can save a lot of weight will most likely cost the most: your shelter (can save about 12-14oz); your boots (can probably shave off 1/3-1/2 of that); pack (very heavy, you can get one at a fraction of that weight for around $80).

For an affordable and small start, here's what I would cut out/change IMO:
- I would nix the rain pants. If you're hiking in convertible pants, switch to shorts in a downpour to keep from soaking the legs and you should be fine with just the jacket.
- You can probably get rid of the long sleeve shirt, keeping just the longjohns (may even be able to save a few ounces on new long johns)
- You can get lighter socks & underware for relatively cheap.
- Repackage your liquids (repellent, sunscreen & sanitizer) into smaller droplet bottles around 1oz each.
- Nix the toothpaste and use some baking soda.
- Not personaly a fan of a single razor. My knife weights 1.1 oz and cost $30 and you can lose the scissors with a sharp knife. I get by without a multitool or Swiss Army knife, but I do keep the tweezers from my SA knife on me in my first aid kit.
- 1 hefty bag should do
- Ditch the wallet and paperclip your money, liscence, ATM and medical card (if applicable) and keep them in a ziplock. I never understand why people say you don't need them to hike because you may get stranded and need to hike to a road. Most people don't offer their services for free. Or god forbid something bad happens and they need to identify you (not trying to be morbid, just realistic). It's not breaking your back having that on you.
- Replace the ballcap with a bandana if you don't need the visor since you have sunscreen & sunglasses. But keep it if the sun warrants the extra protection.

Add a book of matches to the ziplock with your ID & cash along with some dryer lint for tinder. Add a bandana to your cook gear as a pot holder/towe/100 other uses.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
insights / feedback on 03/15/2011 11:51:25 MDT Print View

Here's a point by point list of items:

Tarp-tent Rain-shadow 2 58.6 ----- REPLACE with a LIGHTER ITEM. A tarp is much lighter, 10 oz max. You could add a bivy-sack (approx 6 oz) for a very efficient camping set-up.

Big Agnes Insulated Air Core - 19.5 ----- REPLACE with a LIGHTER ITEM. (a torso length inflatable sleeping pad weighs approx 9 oz)

Summit 5000 backpack 84 ----- REPLACE with a LIGHTER ITEM. Find a pack no more than 18 oz.

Boots 47 ----- REPLACE with a LIGHTER ITEM. Change to lightweight nylon low-top trail runners. (approx 30 oz)

Socks, Smartwool heavy duty trekking 4 ----- REPLACE with a LIGHTER ITEM. Thin running socks are fine. (2 oz)

socks, extra pair 4 ----- REPLACE with a LIGHTER ITEM. Thin running socks are fine. (2 oz)

shirt, lightweight long underwear top 8.2 ----- REPLACE with a LIGHTER ITEM. (approx 7 oz fine)

bottoms, mid-weight long underwear 9.5 ----- REPLACE with a LIGHTER ITEM. (approx 7 oz fine)

fleece pullover 16 ----- REPLACE with a LIGHTER ITEM. (approx 10 oz fine)

stuff-sack, for clothes 4 -------- NIX (no need if there is a compactor pack liner)

stuff-sack, for food 2.2 ----- REPLACE with a LIGHTER ITEM. (approx 1 oz fine)

water tablets, Potable aqua 4.3 --------- REVISE and repackage (approx 1 oz fine)

insulated mug for eating 6.1 ----- REPLACE with a LIGHTER ITEM. (approx 3 oz fine)

Knife 2.4 ----- REPLACE with a LIGHTER ITEM. Replace with a single edge razor-blade, weighing 0.1 oz

head lamp, Black Diamond 7.2 ----- REPLACE with a LIGHTER ITEM. Replace with a petzl e+Lite weighing 1 oz

trash compactor bags, 4 0.1 -------- one is all you need (2.2 oz max)

toilet paper and disinfectant 4.5 ------- NIX (no need, you have soap)

Wallet 3.8 --------- NIX (no need)

bug repellent and container 2.6 --------- REVISE and repackage in smaller vessel (0.9 oz max)

sunscreen and container 2.8 --------- REVISE and repackage in smaller vessel (1 oz max)

lighter w/ duct tape 1.3 ----- REPLACE with a LIGHTER ITEM. (mini-bic is 0.4 oz)

sunglasses and case 3.5 --------- Item worn while hiking, no need for case

watch 2.2 ---------- NIX (no need, and it's an item worn)

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: Please help me move from 1-season to 3-season on 03/15/2011 12:45:29 MDT Print View

Just a question on the Rainshadow 2, is it really 58.6 oz? I noticed on the Tarptent website it's listed at 40 or 42 oz, depending where on the website you look.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

1 to 3 Season on 03/15/2011 13:25:43 MDT Print View

Turning a 1 season gearlist into a 3 season gearlist doesn't have to be very hard or expensive.

To convert my gearlist into a '3 season' one, I swap out my thin down vest (MB Ex-Light) for a much warmer down jacket (MB Alpine Light) and I add some down pants (GooseFeet). There's no need for a different sleeping bag. The warmer down jacket and down pants are worn inside my 1 season sleeping bag and keep me toasty. I don't bother changing pads either. I've slept on snow on my 9oz torso length NeoAir and it's never been a problem in anything but true winter conditions. I also use the same shoes. If I'm really feeling like a wuss, I might add some wp/b or VBL socks (Rocky) to keep my feet a bit warmer.

On the rare occasions that you encounter heavy snow on a 3 season trip, I'd say you could likely just knock it off your shelter a few times per night to avoid shelter damage.

Lots of weight could be saved off your gearlist, but I won't go into that.

Edited by dandydan on 03/15/2011 16:46:27 MDT.

Chris Gray
(ChrisFol) - F

Locale: Denver, Coloado
Re: Re: Please help me move from 1-season to 3-season on 03/15/2011 15:09:39 MDT Print View

Not weighed my Rainshadow 2 just yet, but I estimated that it would come it at around 44oz once seam-sealed and two additional guylines have been added to the sides. Even with 6 Nano stakes (2oz), it doesn't even make it 50oz.

Derek Schutt
(derek_fc) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado Front Range
Re: RE: Advise on 03/17/2011 15:39:21 MDT Print View

Chris, I think your approach works best for me. My first goal will be some down clothing. Then a new backpack.

Derek Schutt
(derek_fc) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado Front Range
Re: Please help me move from 1-season to 3-season [Eric] on 03/17/2011 15:41:16 MDT Print View

Hi Eric, I'll drop you an email. I have a busy schedule this year, plus two kids, so I'd really like to find some overnight trips to do. Also I'm looking for some nice easy trips to take my young kids on too.

Derek Schutt
(derek_fc) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado Front Range
Re: Re: help [Jason] on 03/17/2011 15:42:42 MDT Print View

Jason, I'd love any insight. And I'd be glad to grab a beer with you and/or Eric.

Derek Schutt
(derek_fc) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado Front Range
Re: Your backpack weighs 84 ounces! [Mike] on 03/17/2011 15:48:16 MDT Print View

Mike, what I didn't tell you is that sometimes I carry a bowling ball in my backpack to make me feel more manly.

It's a mind set I'm learning, and my d[weight]/d[time] is definitely negative. But it's also worth mentioning that many of the easy weight saving measures are costly. I could resort to a life a crime perhaps...

Derek Schutt
(derek_fc) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado Front Range
Re: Re: Your backpack weighs 84 ounces! [Ken] on 03/17/2011 16:23:05 MDT Print View

Thanks for the comments Ken. I don't really distinguish between carried and worn items. Ultimately they are both weight I have to haul in some manner. But I think I have a couple extra items I can get rid of. For trash compactor bags, I forget how many I put in this list, but I've found it helpful to keep the food in one, the sleeping bag in one, and one for my clothes.

Regarding the puffy jacket over the fleece, my feeling is if there were days of wet weather it would be nice to have something synthetic. Do you think this is paranoid, and I could potentially replace this with a down jacket?

Derek Schutt
(derek_fc) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado Front Range
Re: Please help me move from 1-season to 3-season [Rob] on 03/17/2011 16:29:49 MDT Print View

Thanks Rob. Great suggestions. One question/comment: I've found rain pants are quite useful in cold mountain storms, and seem like they'd be essential if I am going for 3-season backpacking. Even for a cold August snow/rain storm at altitude, I've found that shorts just lead to me getting colder and having wet socks. Am I missing something?