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Upgrading to 3+ season capability
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Anna T

Locale: Victoria, Australia
Upgrading to 3+ season capability on 02/20/2013 15:20:26 MST Print View

Hi everyone, I'm Anna. I'm new to the boards but not to BPL - I've been reading it for a good few years now (which puts me in the weird position of feeling like I know you guys but you don't know me)! I've finally signed up for a membership, and would love to take advantage of all the knowledge here to help turn my 2-3 season gear into 3-4 season gear.

For context: I have a pretty light pack by general standards (usually around an 8-10lb base weight, I think), but am not aiming to go much lighter because I'm a girly-girl who gets cold easily and who loves my camp treats a bit too much. I backpack (or, as we'd call it here, tramp and bushwalk) primarily in New Zealand and Australia, but would like to have the option to deal with other countries' conditions.

What I thought I'd do is list basically everything in my gear closet (so, not a gear list for a trip, but the whole lot from which I draw for any single trip), and see if anyone can suggest core areas of improvement to push my gear capability a bit further. I'm not listing weights because I haven't gotten around to weighing stuff, sorry.

Deuter Futura SL Pro (34 litre, heavy but I love it)

Currently a horrible Kathmandu one which is light but doesn't perform anywhere near its specified comfort rating (2*C). This is a key area to improve, and I'm currently looking at getting either a Feathered Friends Egret or a Western Mountaineering Alpinlite, and then considering adding in either a top quilt or some down pants.

Exped Synmat UL7 (Love, love, love this! Thinking of getting the Downmat UL7)
Exped UL pillow
Silk liner
Thermoreactor liner

Tarptent Moment (used for when I want free-standing capability using the crossing pole)
Fully cuben Lightheart Solo Awning (primary shelter)

Snow Peak Ti Solo set (700+cup+lid+mesh sack)
MSR Pocket Rocket (I take the mini canister(s) and am just careful where I place it)
Long-handled Ti spoon
Bic mini

Steripen (I forget which model - one of the lighter ones)
Aquamira tabs
3L Camelbak
Random light plastic bottles

Various mini droppers with bits and pieces
TP & wet wipes
Very cut-down first air kit

Petzel Tikka2
Snow Peak Mini Hozuki lantern (good for reading when I take my Kindle, and I love leaving it on in my tent so I can find it in the dark!)
Mini knife

CLOTHING (partial list only)
Primarily Icebreaker (yes, weight penalty, but the performance is worth it)
Insulation options from down (e.g. my puffy) and synthetic (e.g. my Nanopuff)
FYI for the curious: I prefer hiking in a skirt!

About 1LB per day - primarily dehydrated meals, plus coconut oil, plus nuts, plus nutella, plus Starbucks Via. Also my Snow Peak curved Ti flask, which is a bit of luxury in the backcountry and is usually filled with a high calorie 'dessert' alcohol like Kahlua or Baileys that I can share with the group. :)

Trekking poles (still trying to choose - thinking of GG LT4s - does anyone know what works best with the Lightheart Solo)
New sleeping bag
Sea-to-Summit silnylon daypack (for when I do basecamps)
Possibly a new pack (need about a 50L one soon, as 34L is getting tight for anything more than a weekend)
Possibly a Downmat UL7
Possibly some down pants
Definitely some Feathered Friends down booties
Probably a new tent (nb: not interested in tarps, hammocks, or bivvies)


I don't tend to plan for redundancy in my actual gear lists because I'm always in a group and someone else can help me (e.g., lend me another lighter). I'm sure I've forgotten some gear, but this should be most of it.

So: does anyone have suggestions on how best to upgrade this existing list into pushing beyond late Spring/summer/early Autumn, please? I'd like to retire as little gear as possible due to environmental concerns.

Particuarly I'd love to hear from women (or guys with wives/girlfriends who know what their partner likes) on sleeping bag options. I'm a tossing/turning sidesleeper so am a bit dubious about using a quilt as my main sleeping option.


Edited by anzt on 02/20/2013 15:23:59 MST.

Jo-Anne Clancy

Locale: SE Australia
Upgrading to 3+ season capability on 02/21/2013 14:20:47 MST Print View

Hi Anne

That’s a pretty good selection of gear you’ve got there, so I don’t think you will need to add too much to beef it up for colder weather. I do a bit of snow camping/ski touring in the NSW Snowy Mountains. For winter I like to go light but not ultra-light as I really feel the cold and need my warm layers and a few comforts. My total pack weight for snow camping usually weighs around 10kg (22lbs). The following is based on that perspective.

Pack – for winter use I like a pack of around 50-60 litre capacity weighing around 1.5kg. That’s not UL but I like a decent harness for carrying extra winter gear. I’m currently using an older model One Planet Shadow. Check out Roger Caffin’s latest BPL review for the Deuter Actlite.

Sleeping Bag – I have the Western Mountaineering Megalite bag and use it down to about 0c quite comfortably. WM do make lovely bags. I’m looking at adding a light synthetic quilt (MLD Spirit 48) to extend its range. My current winter down bag is a custom made One Planet Zephyr at 1.25kg rated to -14c. I’m a restless female side sleeper and I don’t think a quilt alone would work for me in the cold months.

Pad – I’ve used the Exped Synmat UL7 down to -10c teamed with a 1/8” foam mat and I was comfortable, so you probably don’t need to buy the UL Downmat (but I still bought one anyway!)

Winter Tent – I use an Aarn Pacer 1 as my solo snow tent and happy with it so far (but I haven’t experienced really bad weather in it yet).

Trekking Poles – I use and love my Gossamer Gear LT4s. Occasionally they have been reluctant to adjust (usually when it is cold, dark and wet and I need to pitch my tent quickly!).

Down Boots – I have Goosefeet down boots. Down booties are a must for cold feet in winter.

Insulated Pants – I’d like to get a pair of Goosefeet down pants, in the meantime I’m using a cheap pair of synthetic fill pants (Codet thermal liner pants). They make hanging around camp much more comfortable when the temperature drops.

Stove – I prefer a remote canister stove with a preheat tube for temps below freezing, but there is useful information in BPL on using upright canister stoves in colder temps if you want to stick with your Pocket Rocket.

Clothing – Thermal baselayer top and (if really cold) thermal long pants, light fleece zip top, wind pants, wind shirt, merino socks, gloves, beanie, plus waterproof jacket and pants, and warm puffy layers (mitts, jacket, pants) for camp – that’s my usual selection. I’ve started wearing a running skirt layered over Powerstretch tights and found this works well while moving and is easy to layer over.

Steripen - my older style steripen sometimes struggles in the cold. Take extra batteries!

All the best!


Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Upgrading to 3+ season capability on 02/21/2013 18:52:14 MST Print View

Do either of you feel your pack (lightweight, not UL) can carry snowshoes weight-wise (or other snow mobility devices) if needed?

Anna T

Locale: Victoria, Australia
3+ season on 02/21/2013 19:27:16 MST Print View

Hi Jo: thanks for that comprehensive reply - very useful information (and local-ish conditions). How have you found the LT4s for pitching tents? Also good tip on the cannister stove. Nice to hear I'm not the only skirt hiker (my friends all tell me I'm crazy!).

Hi HK: good question. I'd be buying a new pack (as 34L doesn't cut it in the winter!), and wouldn't really be looking at alpine backpacking (yet - still too much of a wuss and don't have local friends who would be interested!). As such, at most I'd be expecting a slight dusting of sleet in Australia, and max 15cm of snow in NZ (but I probably wouldn't winter hike in NZ yet). So snow shoes aren't a priority/necessary at this stage, but definitely a good consideration to take into account with pack choice in case I decide to become more hardcore! Cheers.

Jo-Anne Clancy

Locale: SE Australia
"Upgrading to 3+ season capability" on 02/22/2013 18:42:20 MST Print View

Hi Anna - I've used my LT4's for pitching my summer (GG The One) and winter (Aarn Pacer 1) tents. They have worked well almost all the time. I once had some difficulty getting one pole to lock to the correct length for my shelter when it was dark, raining heavily and just a couple of degrees above freezing. It took about 15 minutes of fiddling but eventually it worked. I think the problem may have been water getting up into the pole and making it slippery. GG do provide some small o rings for this but I lost mine as soon as I got them.

The LT4s are great poles for below snowline walking, snowshoeing and easy xc ski tours (using the handles with straps). The only time I don't use them is if I'm doing steeper Telemark skiing where I might take a heavy fall and trash my poles - I then switch to Black Diamond aluminium flicklock poles.

I also used to think hiking/xc skiing in a skirt was weird, but I hated the lack of flexibility with wearing layers of pants. If the weather warmed up while spring skiing my choices were to take off my wind pants and ski in my baselayer tights (not a good look on me!) or somehow take off my tights and put my wind pants back on while struggling with skis and soft snow. With a skirt I can ski/walk in my baselayer (or bare legs if it really warms up)while retaining some degree of modesty and if temps drop it is easy to put on wind/rain/insulating pants as required. Worth putting up with the funny looks on the trail!

Hi HK. Yes , my pack can definitely carry my snowshoes or skis comfortably with no problems. It's one of the key features I look for in choosing a winter pack(I'd rather have my skis or snowshoes on my feet but that isn't always possible in the Australian mountains. I ski with people who manage to use lighter packs for this purpose (e.g. GoLite Jam) but I prefer the comfort of an internal frame once weight gets around 10kg (22lb).


Anna T

Locale: Victoria, Australia
Thanks - anyone else re sleeping bags? on 02/27/2013 16:50:05 MST Print View

Thanks Jo-Anne. Great to hear from a semi-local :)

Does anyone else (particularly women) have an opinion, especially on which sleeping bag I should get? I'm leaning towards the Egret, and need to purchase this week!

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Re Sleeping Bag on 02/27/2013 17:17:39 MST Print View

I don't think you can go wrong with Feathered Friends or Western Mountaineering. I just got my first WM bag and cannot wait to use it. I went longer this time. My last bag I got the 5'6" version but found that when I lay down and my feet stretch out, my toes were being jammed into the end of the bag and it was uncomfortable. It was fine for side sleeping though. My new bag is a long and has plenty of room. I've decided I'd rather heat the extra space and have more comfort overall.

Anna T

Locale: Victoria, Australia
Thank you! on 02/28/2013 17:07:04 MST Print View

I ended up ordering an Egret bag and some down booties from Feathered Friends. Can't wait to receive them! I almost went with the 10 degree bag, rather than the 20 degree bag, but I think that's probably overkill with my likely conditions, and I like the idea of using booties + down pants + down jacket + beanie to supplement my sleeping setup, because that's more multiuse.

I'll write a review after I've done some field testing. Yay new gear! Next step: hiking poles :D