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Ryan McElyea
(ryanmcelyea13) - M
Ozark Highland Trail questions on 11/17/2012 17:36:49 MST Print View

I'm going to do part of the OHT in early January with some friends. I was hoping some folks would have some advice for me concerning sleeping bags. Im trying to decide between a REI sub kilo 20 down bag, or a REI lumen 25 synthetic bag.

I will be going for 8 days, just not sure if down is a bad idea in Arkansas in the winter. Any ideas or personal experience would be appropriated. Also if you know what snow depth (if any) would be that time of year.

Thanks!

Jeff Hollis
(hyperslug) - MLife
Down is Fine on 11/18/2012 07:54:36 MST Print View

I sectioned hiked all of the OHT, much of it in winter and started hiking it again last year. I have only used down sleeping bags on the OHT. The coldest temperature was 9 degrees one morning. One day it was in the uppper 30s and ice covered trees were dripping down on us all day. As for snow, I have only seen an inch or two but I guess a few inch dump could hit but not common. I would expect mostly upper 40s to 50s duing the day and 20s to 40s at night. You can encounter some wind on the ridges and the leaf clutter on the ground can obscure the trail so keep an eye on the blazes.

Of course it all depends on your shelter and experience as for the down bag. One thing to keep in mind is that these mountains are similar to the Appalachians but ony top out at about 2000 feet. There are a lot of roads from logging to paved throughout the forest so not too hard to bail if things go south.

Thomas Pitts
(tdpitts) - M

Locale: Midwest US/Ozarks
I would go with the lighter bag & a bivy sack on 11/18/2012 11:00:14 MST Print View

I live in northwest Arkansas and have section hiked a little over half of the OHT, with much of that in the winter. I would agree that the temperature is usually relatively mild, but it can be wet (rain or snow), so keeping your bag dry will be a concern. For the weight & size benefit, I would consider a bivy sack over the bag, as well as a pack liner to keep it dry during the day. I would probably opt for the slightly lighter bag, with the bivy sack helping make up the difference in temperature (if needed), but that would also depend on your personal "temperature" rating.

Ryan McElyea
(ryanmcelyea13) - M
Other gear ideas? on 11/18/2012 11:30:21 MST Print View

Thanks guys, this is very helpful info/ experience.

I have questions on 2 more peaces of gear as well. I'm debating on bringing either my MLD solomid, or an 8 x 10 silnylon tarp. Any thoughts? what have you used in before?

Also i was thinking about 2 different base layers. I have silk top and bottoms (lightest) and generic polyester mid weight top and bottom ( about 2x weight as silk). the silk are reasonably warm, but not enough some times. Thoughts?

thanks for all the help guys! Im a Colorado native, so this will be very different from my dry, cold, and deep snow winters.

Jeff Hollis
(hyperslug) - MLife
Shelters and Base Layer on 11/18/2012 13:42:56 MST Print View

Either shelter will work. I have done most of the trail with an 8X10 tarp but the Solomid may give you more piece of mind in the winter and would probably be my choice.

I would use the silk to sleep in and the mid wt to wear by day. Of course a lot varies by the temp and what else you bring. Here is what I will probably bring for clothes on my next trip in December.

Slik Thermal Top and Bottom for sleeping
Mid Weight Thermal Top and Bottom for hiking during day
Nylon Pants for hiking during day
Rain Jacket usually worn over thermal top for hiking
Rain Pants
Light to Mid Weight Fleece Top to add when it is really cold hiking
Down Jacket for camp
Beanine, Gloves, Socks, Underwear

Currently my warmest rated bag is a WM Alpenlite 20 so would sleep in more layers if I need to push it.