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Notes from the Field: The Wintry Fringe Season in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness
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Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Paramo on 02/13/2013 19:32:23 MST Print View

Tjaard, thank you very much for that info!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Patagonia Hoody? on 02/13/2013 19:44:21 MST Print View

"I have been emailing Patagonia for years to make just such a product, but I don't see it listed on their website"

I suspect they're in the process of transitioning to a new model year. The Cap 4 Hoody is one of the best pieces ever to come out of Patagonia, my personal all time favorite, and I'm betting it'll be back by popular demand. It's everything you probably had in mind and possibly more.

Craig Gulley
(cgulley) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Patagonia Hoody? on 02/14/2013 07:45:54 MST Print View

I found one online still and ordered it to try- Thanks

Ronald Bishop
(Compass) - MLife

Locale: Ontario
A Fine Article on 02/14/2013 08:47:09 MST Print View

I always enjoy information on gear selection, but especially so when it pertains to the challenging fringe season(s). Great article & photos, Ryan.

Edited by Compass on 02/14/2013 10:55:17 MST.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Notes from the Field: The Wintry Fringe Season in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness on 02/14/2013 13:32:56 MST Print View

Nice article. These conditions sound like typical winter in my area (PA/NJ/NY). I agree that tarp camping is easily done in those conditions, but sometimes wish I had walls when the site doesn't easily allow a pitch to block the wind.

A few questions/comments...
- I thought eVent was the miracle, waterproof/breathable material for jackets. Sounds like you have the inside track on something new this year, but what happened with eVent?
- I would be curious to hear (i.e., photos) more about your two-quilt system. You must have a nice set of attachments because it seems like it would just be a huge hassle wrestling with two puffy, slippery quilts in the middle of the night. I would have thought that the extra outer material of the second quilt, the weight might have beeen better spent with a single over-stuffed quilt.
- With the potential for slushy conditrions during the day, I agree with an earlier poster that down booties are much appreciated as things start to freeze up at night, and when emerging from the shelter in the morning.
- Any comments about how you handled the LNT aspect of the large fire?
- No hiking poles? Sounds like the old back is doing better. :)


David Eitemiller
(DavidE) - MLife
Re: Re: Paramo on 02/14/2013 15:57:52 MST Print View

I am surprised this hasn't been asked yet, but regarding the search for a waterproof breathable jacket so a rain jacket and wind jacket can be combined with something ultralight. Ryan mentioned his use of the Zpacks cuben fiber breathable pants. Zpacks also makes a jacket with this material which weighs 4.5 oz (about the weight of a Patagonia Houdini). Much less than the Paramo suggestion here (although appears that the paramo has more uses and warmth perhaps) - but just for purpose of wet conditions and wind, I am interested in anyone's experience with this breathable cuben fiber for a rain/wind jacket.

The 4.5 oz weight would save 10-12 oz on a wind shirt + rain jacket combination many people (including myself) are currently carrying.

Update: I see there is a thread earlier in 2012 about the Zpacks jacket. Any updates in light of this discussion?

Edited by DavidE on 02/15/2013 01:55:29 MST.

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Re: Re: Re: Paramo on 02/14/2013 16:13:50 MST Print View

I find this topic interesting because I will be in London at the Paramo store in a little over a week (there on business). I'll report back if I find anything new or interesting. But there seems to be several serious Parmo-aholics here that can say more.

You would have to troll the threads here to find it, but i remember reading somewhere here that the breathable cuben fiber material is just barely breathable. And if put in rank order with other options (Gore tex, event, etc., etc.) it would probably be the least breathable. But it sure is light. I have no data, though.

Having said this, I have asked Joe at ZPacks when he might make a size small jacket so I could buy one.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Re: Re: Re: Paramo on 02/14/2013 18:17:41 MST Print View

I have up known about Paramo for about 10 years but only bought it at Xmas, I have used for 6 cross country skiing days, 2 day hikes in England and an overnight snow shoe trip and I am completely blown away by it.

First off I am saving the weight in my Pack by not having to carry a hardshell and its very comfortable to wear all day.

For me it has replaced a hard shell, wind shirt and mid layer, I find I can regulate temperature all day by using the leg and body vests and rolling up my sleeves.

James Sutton
(trailmaster109) - M
Tarp Camping on 02/15/2013 04:11:17 MST Print View

I gave up tents entirely a few years ago. A tarp shelter - constructed properly - will handle any conditions. I use the Noah tarps, and I will never go back to a tent. They are too heavy & too confining.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Notes from the Field: The Wintry Fringe Season in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness on 02/15/2013 09:46:48 MST Print View

I like these field reports; hope to see more in the future. The notes/reflections on what worked well in given conditions is valuable information for others to help them further refine (or re-think) their own personal kits.

Like Jhaura posted above, we've been doing some trips here in our local backcountry this winter, trying to time them with winter storms so we can get some snow and/or rain. Our wintry trips match pretty well the conditions you describe in this report: temps 20s-40s, rain, little bit of snow but generally not enough for snowshoes, deadman anchors, etc. We're finding our 3-season kits with some slight modifications work quite well for us.

@ Ryan:
I'd be interested in learning more of the details of your synthetic overquilt and how you pair it with your down quilt. My 15*F Katabatic keeps me warm to the mid teens with just base layers on and I know I can push it farther with my insulation pieces on, but I've been thinking about having a synthetic quilt made that can do double duty as an overquilt in the winter (ideally I'd like to push my sleep system comfortably down to ~0*F) and as a stand-alone summer quilt for our late spring through fall. I've noticed a lot of moisture accumulation in my down quilts on these winter trips so the added moisture managing benefits of the synthetic quilt is intriguing to me.

A couple of questions if you don't mind...
Any sense of the approximate warmth rating of your synthetic quilt by itself?
What sort of dimensions did you need for it to work well as an overquilt? I'd assume a little wider at minimum...
How did you rig it to stay attached to, and on top of, your down quilt?

I'm looking at the EE Prodigy Quilts in a Reg length/Wide cut at the 50* rating as my possible solution, so I'm just curious how this compares to what you (or others) are using.

Eliot Levine
(eliotlevine) - MLife

Locale: Western MA
Socks on 02/16/2013 06:03:23 MST Print View

Ryan, thanks for your many great postings and for bringing us BPL. I'm interested to see you wearing socks that weigh almost as much as your shelter! Those smartwool socks look great, but I'd be interested to hear why they're worth that much weight to you. Best wishes. -- Eliot

Henk Smees
(theflyingdutchman) - MLife

Locale: Spanish Mountains
Good read & question on 02/20/2013 13:47:49 MST Print View

Very good read & many things to learn from (or take as an example), i.e. I should give the “very light footwear” a try (in winter, I mean). Suppose I’m too much of a coward but I can’t leave my old trusty double mountain boots behind. Having said so, my favorite playground is high altitude above tree line & above 3000m (≈ 10.000 ft) in winter where temps drop to (in between) -15 & -25 ºC (5 & -13 ºF) or even colder. How do you manage?

One question -I apologize for my ignorance- because there is something I don’t understand: You say that 2 quilts + parka keep you warm into the single digits but when it gets below 15ºF you have to add an insulating pant. I suppose “single digits” means in between 0 and 9 ºF). Do I read something wrong here?

William Haigney

Locale: New England
Synthetic quilt idea on 02/22/2013 08:21:13 MST Print View

Yes great article and great questions for further posts. I am particularly interested in hearing more about on your synthetic quilt concept and the ability of such a system to go down to single digits and lower (my winter venue is the Adirondacks where temps go regularly go down into the -20s and lower).

Also, have you considered using a VBL to keep moisture from entering your down in the first place? That way you could combine two down bags and get more warmth and flexibility, kinda like the Stephenson Triple bag concept. E.g., using two differently sized and temp rated Katabatic quilts, plus a VBL liner for the real cold (E.g., a VBL inside a Chisos 40, inside a Palisades 30 or Sawatch 15° for example). Expensive, yes; but that way you would have multiple lightweight sleeping bag options depending on expected conditions. I always thought Stephenson was on to something with his triple bag idea, just too heavy....any thoughts on that approach?

Pit Martin
(Pit5785455) - MLife
Re: Cool Notes on 02/22/2013 15:10:50 MST Print View

My buddy, Tommy, and I are completing the Colorado Trail in segments, and both of us are in our mid-50s. We are heavily into ultralite, with one exception: we bring the Big Agnes Slide Mountain 3 tent, which is 6 lbs with the footprint. it is a 3 man tent, with 2 doors and 2 vestibules, and is the best shelter i have used in 41 years of backpacking. We split the weight, and end up with 23 lbs instead of 19 lbs for a 5 - 8 day trip. The comfort and expansive interior make rough weather days/weeks very comfortable. Beats the hell out of a tarp in inclement weather (like the 8 days of 37 - 47 degree rain on the CT/Continental Divide trail 3 summers ago in Colorado, between Saguache and Silverton - 101 miles, mostly above treeline). Pit Martin

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
shell on 10/31/2013 12:07:37 MDT Print View

Great article and photos! I especially enjoyed the discussion of tarp options.

"The layer I wish to replace the most is my wind shirt. I’m still waiting for the day when I can bring a waterproof layer that is breathable enough to be a wind shirt in cold conditions. Maybe that day is just around the corner, perhaps sometime in 2013?"

I'm a DriDucks fan in warmer weather, but I really like the eVent Packa for winter or cold/wet conditions as both wind and rain/wet snow protection layer. I used it in the UP of Michigan in 2012 during a nearly day-long snowstorm. The pack cover portion is nice for keeping the pack and shoulder straps dry, but it also helps with back ventilation (not having a jacket sandwiched directly between the pack and my back) and allows carrying it with zero pack volume by stuffing the sleeves and front under the cover when they're not needed. If it's just used for wind, the pit zips and front zipper work great for venting when needed on an uphill section.

Edited by AndyF on 10/31/2013 12:09:53 MDT.