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Clothing systems for cold weather packrafting
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Ike Jutkowitz

Locale: Central Michigan
Clothing systems for cold weather packrafting on 10/17/2012 19:19:37 MDT Print View

Just got back from a packrafting trip in the upper peninsula of Michigan. I was caught in an unexpected storm, and spent a couple of days hiking in snow, temp in the upper 20s.

Clothing was as follows:
Worn: synthetics pants, merino hoodie, R1 top, dry ducks suit
Hands: neoprene paddling gloves
Feet: liner socks, hydroskin neoprene socks, minimalist trail runners
In pack: Down hoodie, cocoon pants

Clothing was perfect for the conditions encountered, and hands and feet were fine when paddling. However, hiking in the snow with wet hands and feet was unpleasant to say the least. The neoprene gloves were worse than nothing when wet (cheap REI gloves "warmers" with leather palms- the leather was the problem). I'll also never forget the feeling of satisfaction I felt at 4 am when I woke in my quilt at 4 am and my toes were no longer burning/tingling from the cold. In the future, I will bring a designated set of "dry" gloves and probably invest in better neoprene gloves. Not sure yet what to do about feet. Maybe my usual winter oversized trail runners and sock system, and heavier neoprene booties for the wet parts.

What is your winter clothing system for packrafting?

Edited by Ike on 10/17/2012 19:21:02 MDT.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Clothing systems for cold weather packrafting on 10/17/2012 19:27:15 MDT Print View

Hi Ike,

I have never packrafted but have spent a lot time sailing and canoeing off Irleand's Atlantic coast and heavy gauge Neoprene is the only way to go for me.



David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: clothing for wet weather packrafting on 10/18/2012 07:26:24 MDT Print View

Odd that your feet were cold while hiking and warm while boating. Usually for me it's the reverse. Heavier neoprene socks are worth a look.

Neo gloves are problematic because neoprene isn't windproof. Wearing surgical gloves under them can fix this. I usually wear fleece gloves inside Gore-tex mittens, with an extra pair of gloves for off the water.

Ike Jutkowitz

Locale: Central Michigan
re: cold weather packrafting on 10/18/2012 07:50:13 MDT Print View

The hiking was mornings and evenings and the rafting sections midday. May have just been that ambient temperatures were significantly warmer when rafting. My feet were able to dry out a little more though when rafting, whereas when walking, they were constantly being bathed in new icy puddles.

Ike Jutkowitz

Locale: Central Michigan
re: on 10/22/2012 10:11:51 MDT Print View

Restoring missing thread

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Cold Weather Packrafting - Hand & Feet Solutions on 10/22/2012 11:48:39 MDT Print View

When I'm packrafting, I usually opt for a shoe that drains well above all else (like the Salomon Tech Amphib). If I'm trekking any meaningful distances, then I just wear the shoe that I like to trek in.

As the temperatures drop, I move to a Gore-Tex shoe (I'm currently using the Inov-8 GTX 288), which helps trap warmth. It also traps water, so I get pretty serious about applying a skin protectant (Hydropel, Bodyglide, etc.).

In the packraft, I wear a pair of midweight wool socks under a 5mm neoprene sock (thick!). If temps are cold (less than, say, 25), then a VB sock between the wool sock and the neoprene sock does help.

On the trail, I walk in this squishy setup until my feet get sort of warm, then switch to a thick wool sock and a goretex sock in the goretex boot, and stow the neoprene socks and wet socks (I put these in a gallon ziplock and sleep with them at night so they don't freeze). This setup seems too hot for any temps higher than freezing, but seems OK below freezing.

For hands, I use a Goretex over mitt on top of a fleece glove on the water and trail, and I carry a spare set of fleece gloves or mittens.

Oh, and dedicated sleep socks (I use thick R3-style fleece) are a nice luxury.

Mornings are the worst, of course, especially if you are getting into the boat right away.

A fire every night helps take some of the edge off.

Edited by ryan on 10/22/2012 11:49:32 MDT.