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Wintery April in MN
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Eli Simmer

Locale: Minnesnowta
Wintery April in MN on 03/29/2013 21:01:42 MDT Print View

In about a week I'm going to be starting my (hopefully) speedy hike of the NCT in MN. Here's my gear list, finalized except for items that have comments by them on the list.

I've got my cook system set up do deal with there being little/no water and me needing to melt snow. I'd use ESBITs instead of a Whisperlite if I could.

The waterproof socks are not truly waterproof, but allow me to be quite warm in cold/wet/snowy conditions with my Merrell Trailgloves.

I'm not a fan of the GearGrams format, I'll probably make a MS Word Table at some point. Anyways, here it is:

Edited for typos

Edited by PatchesSOBO on 03/29/2013 21:02:56 MDT.

Madeline T
(madscot13) - F
Where are you going? on 03/30/2013 09:37:29 MDT Print View

Where are you going? i always like to know good MN hikes. If it is not remote do you need a cell phone and a Spot GPS?

If you are heading to where it is actually wintery in minnesota. what do you expect the lows to be? During the day I would be warm with your set up but not at camp if it got lower than 40-50.

I was wondering if you had experience with that rain kilt? I just think it would be miserable if any water got to you when it was that cold out.

Do you use a headlamp?

And not criticizing but just wondering. Is tenacious tape better than duct tape in some situations? I am interested to know.

Edited by madscot13 on 03/30/2013 09:47:22 MDT.

Eli Simmer

Locale: Minnesnowta
Re: Where are you going? on 03/30/2013 12:00:19 MDT Print View

I'm going to do the entire MN section of the North Country Trail.
It can be seen here:
I'll be starting in Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge and ending in Jay Cooke State Park. There will be a few days of road walking, including using the paved Mesabi Bike Trail to get from Grand Rapids to Ely.

My main gear quandary right now is whether or not I will need the large pot and the Whisperlite, I've been hearing mixed things about the conditions and water availability in Northern MN. I still would really like to bring my titanium Snow Peak .9L pot, Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove, and ESBITs, a 3-season non-winter cook system. Much much lighter.

To answer your questions

The cell phone is probably unnecessary, won't work in the BWCA, but could be convenient. I've been debating leaving it behind ever since I got the SPOT. The SPOT will be really useful from a safety standpoint in the BWCA, but otherwise is more for my family and friends.

I'm bracing myself for nighttime lows into the teens. Those temps are actually showing up on the extended forecast of where I'm going. Even if I'm only bracing for one or two nights at those temps, better safe than sorry. As far is camp comfort goes, I'll be able to do camp chores with what I have, but I won't be too comfortable outside of my sleeping bag, which is okay. This trip is about the mileage.

Yep, I thru-hiked the AT with a rain kilt. It's only real function is to prevent water from running right down your butt. The kilt can keep me comfortable in colder rain if I find myself needing something on my legs.

I use a headlamp. I put it on the gear list as my Black Diamond.

EDIT: Forgot about the tenacious tape. I like having something that can be relied upon to fix something really serious like a water bladder break, tarp rip, something like that. I've carried ripstop tent repair stuff in the past, this is a replacement.

Edited by PatchesSOBO on 03/30/2013 12:22:51 MDT.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Wintery April in MN on 03/30/2013 12:32:07 MDT Print View


Do you have at least a moderate amount of experience with your footwear on snowshoes during warmish days and nights below freezing?

I'm not on the minimalist footwear bandwagon but do use inov-8 roclites when snowshoeing and without some sort of overboot the roclites become frozen chunks of ice after a few days. I'm not the only one who's noticied that charming phenomenon:-)

As to high mileage, there will likely be a lot of helpful snow consolidation soon but if you were to be on the Kek, BRT or SHT today I think you might find 1 MPH to be pushing it for a 12 hour day.

Eli Simmer

Locale: Minnesnowta
Re: Re: Wintery April in MN on 03/30/2013 13:48:01 MDT Print View

With the footwear in these conditions? Yes. With snowshoes? No. I'm expecting frozen shoes in the morning (unless I decide that they should be in the bivy), but using my prior experience as an indicator, they will not remain frozen long into the hiking day, and will not prevent my socks/insulation from keeping my feet warm.

I've been told that the far north has a lot of snow right now, potentially upwards of 50". If everything goes according to plan I won't be starting the Kek until April 16th. If I can make 20 a day through the BWCA I'll be happy.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Wintery April in MN on 03/30/2013 15:16:42 MDT Print View

I've been told that the far north has a lot of snow right now, potentially upwards of 50".

Here's the best source of modeled snow depth I know about. Updated at least daily and modeling frequently tweaked to adjust for differences from measured info.

Looking forward to a trip report

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Wintery April in MN on 03/30/2013 17:04:27 MDT Print View

I agree with Jim on the milage. 1, maybe 1.5 mph is about it. I just did two nights in the U.P. where they had 2,3, and 4 feet of snow in spots, and it makes for slow, tough going.

If there's still that much snow up in the Boundary Waters, I know that I couldn't do 20 miles in a day.

Eli Simmer

Locale: Minnesnowta
Re: Re: Wintery April in MN on 03/30/2013 19:16:03 MDT Print View

That NOAA snow model is great!

I'm hoping that the snow has began melting by the time I hit the worst areas. If there still are feet of snow when I get up there I may have reevaluate the time frame of the trip. We'll see.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Re: Re: Wintery April in MN on 03/30/2013 19:45:49 MDT Print View

What Travis says is spot on about going a mike an hour on snow shoes, returning from a trip this morning we needed to use micro spikes and managed an hour.