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Yellowstone and Glacier NP camp layering tips
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Heath Poulter
(hpoulter) - F

Locale: Southwest
Yellowstone and Glacier NP camp layering tips on 01/10/2014 07:04:08 MST Print View

I will be hiking in the backcountry in Glacier NP and Yellowstone NP this fall (September) the night time temps will be in the upper 20's low 30's and I was wanting some tips on layering at camp. Last year when I hiked Glacier NP in September I was great during the day with my layering choices but at camp at night I was pretty miserably cold. I wore a wicking long sleeve t shirt, and a Northface 60g primaloft jacket, smartwool beanie, trekking pants and wool socks. My lower appendages were fine but my core was quite cold. This year I am bringing my Montbell combustion fleece and a Mountain hardwear compressor jacket which has 120g of insulation. I am also bringing wool/synth midweight thermals. Is there an outer layer I should/could wear over the fleece and the compressor jacket or should this suffice? Or should I get some kind of down puffy jacket and then I don't need all the layers? I've lived in Phoenix for the last 3 years and have acclimatized to the heat so I am not as tough with the colder temps as I was when I lived in NY. I fully understand this isn't cold for a lot of folks but it'll be 110 or so in Phoenix this time of year during the day and at night the temp usually only drops 20-30 degrees and it being 25-30 degrees for the low at night in Yellowstone/Glacier is a 50-80 degree difference in temp that my body is no longer used to. Any thoughts on layering would be greatly appreciated.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Re: Yellowstone and Glacier NP camp layering tips on 01/10/2014 08:22:30 MST Print View

Heath, what are the exact dates that you'll be in the 2 Parks? Also, where will you be hiking while in YNP, and also in GNP? You see, the central plateau of YNP is 2000' higher than the northern part of the Park. Big difference in temperatures. Keep in mind that you could encounter a thumping from snowfall anytime after Labor Day, in either Park (or not!). It seems like your base layers and MH parka should work, especially if you wore a WP/B shell over it. I personally would carry a pair of puffy pants ((BPL Cocoons), with a pair of GL Reeds to protect them and add some more warmth. Good gloves and hat, too. The sleeping bag should be rated to maybe +15*F.

Clayton M., Mike M., and Dave C. should show up here soon, and they'll have some good advice for you.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Yellowstone and Glacier NP camp layering tips on 01/10/2014 09:29:07 MST Print View

As Gary said elevations at the two parks can be rather different. The Thorofare will probably be a lot colder than the Belly, etc.

Insulation choices will be dictated by two things other than weather: how much time you intend to hang around camp in the evening, and whether your camp spots will allow a fire. Around here in September I'll usually bring a 300 weight fleece vest and a 60 g/m Primaloft coat, but I hike all day and spend around 45 minutes in camp each night before going to bed. If I planned on getting to camp around 4pm and hanging out for a number of hours, I'd bring the fleece vest and a down parka with 4-6 ounces of fill (eg Rab Neutrino or Montbell Mirage).

Being able to make a fire can mitigate the need for a big coat. Most of the colder, high elevation camps in Glacier don't allow them. A large percentage of Yellowstone sites do, and as a general rule Yellowstone has more and better firewood close at hand. You might get away with different approaches at each park depending on your route.

Heath Poulter
(hpoulter) - F

Locale: Southwest
Re on 01/10/2014 11:57:06 MST Print View

We will be there the week(end) of Labor day. The campsites in Yellowstone will be at 7,400ft (Heart Lake) and the campsite in Glacier will be around 4,800ft (Elizabeth lake). We usually hike until about 3pm then setup camp and head to bed around 8pm. We are planning on being at each campsite for two days at two campsites in Yellowstone and two campsites for two days in Glacier. Oh and no campfires allowed at any of the sites. The wife and I have feathered friend sleeping bags that are good down to 15-20 degrees so I know we are fine on that front. I have an 850 fill goose down jacket and a Montbell softshell as well but I didn't want to bring 5 different jackets.

Edited by hpoulter on 01/10/2014 12:13:32 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Re: Rockies layering on 01/10/2014 12:07:52 MST Print View

Labor day weather can be kind, but even so I'd bring a big down coat of the sort I mentioned above if you're hanging around for that long.

Watch out for the Griz at Heart Lake.

Heath Poulter
(hpoulter) - F

Locale: Southwest
Re: Heart Lake on 01/10/2014 12:18:06 MST Print View

Thanks we will have bear spray. I read that Heart Lake has some of the highest Grizzly activity in the park.

Edited by hpoulter on 01/10/2014 20:28:37 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Re: Heart Lake on 01/10/2014 12:36:29 MST Print View

The history of bear problems at Heart Lake is rather concerning. Quite a nice place though.

Heath Poulter
(hpoulter) - F

Locale: Southwest
Re on 01/10/2014 12:49:49 MST Print View

Thanks for the heads up. We will be prepared for the bears.