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#124717 - 12/04/09 09:14 PM Winter (gear) weight
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
As every winter camper knows weight is a problem with winter gear.
>More clothes are needed
>More food (more calories) is necessary
>More fuel (& generally heavier stoves)
>Thicker mattresses (R4 at least & R5 for 0 F.& below)
>Heavier sleeping bag
>Heavier boots
>Bigger, heavier pack &/or a pulk
>Bigger, heavier tent (usually double wall)
>Over-snow aids such as skis or snowshoes
etc., etc.

And because winter camping has inherent dangers one must prepare for the worst in weather with extra clothes and sleeping gear.

SOOOO.... for safe winter camping here's what I thunk of to help lighten the load:

1.Down sleeping bag - if you can affford it
2.Ripstop VBL - keeps sleeping bags dry AND light
3.BushBuddy or Caldera Cone Inferno conversion to utilize wood
4.Silnylon double wall tent - like a Scarp 2, etc.
5.Synthetic batting shelled insulating layers instead of pile - i.e. Climashield, Primaloft, etc.

Any more suggestions?



_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#124725 - 12/04/09 11:43 PM Re: Winter (gear) weight [Re: 300winmag]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Winny
I see you've joined the Canadian winertrekking bunch. By double walled tent I am assuming that you do not refer to a double wall canvas hot tent with Ti stove right? eek

I wouldn't use anything but a quality down bag, and I just plain have a problem with caldera cones for winter and wood stoves are smelly and can throw sparks on your gear. I hate VBL and I never carry my microfiber jacket any more, shunning it for Patagouchy long underwear, 200 fleece and down clothes over. My favorite weight saver are old REI goretex shelled down bibs at 32 ounces.

My tent is single walled and made of Toddtex a very breathable material. I like a Down Air Mattress, and a short piece of that folding waffle closed cell stuff ( Z rester?) to use as a chair liner cut into a snow drift and put under the mattress when I sleep. I have 21 ounce pair of home made synthetic mukluks made from campmore large synthetic booties with gaiters sewn to the tops so I can walk in deep snow. I always use the same 6500" spectra pack all year round, but an old Kelty Tioga is fine, I have two of them.

So since I cross country ski on backcountry skis and I'm wearing my long underwear and fleece with paclite shells over them, I simply take off the paclite and put on the bibs and down winter coat that has a goretex shell and hood; a balaclava finishes it off, oh and real big Kombi gloves, or mitts over fleece liners.

Perhaps the biggest weight savings is to had with down gear made with its own snow tight shells so you don't need over shells. My paclite pants are LLbean, around 14 oz with full side zips and are large enough to go over the bibs legs in extremes. Down pants are almost as good an easier to find, but they don't warm your back as much.

Then in my sleeping bag I just wear the long underwear - hopefully no socks or else large loose "sleeping socks", and my fleece jacket, probably a mountain hardware unit.

I can then have on only 2-3 layers of clothes. If you go to 4 layers you'll feel like yer in a straight jacket. How do I know that??? crazy

My pack weight is around 25 pounds with food and water and fuel for an overnighter, just slightly more for 2 nights, light enough to ski easily without being dragged back by a sled. Haven't dragged my mountainsmith sled in a decade. Of course that does not include skis boots or poles or my ski clothes that I have anyway, and I no longer take skins since I don't have to haul a sled.
Jim crazy
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#124750 - 12/05/09 02:37 PM Re: Winter (gear) weight [Re: Jimshaw]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
What the wintertrekking folks do is not lightweight camping by any definition-they just don't care that much how much things weigh. For them, it is all about comfort. Almost all of them tow a toboggan or sled and wear snowshoes, not skis. It is not unusual for them to be hauling 75 to 100 pounds of gear and food.

They are often out in what I would call polar conditions ( -30C or colder) and comfort and safety is their main concern, not weight.

The tents they use are big single wall canvas tents and they use wood burning stoves that are made of steel for the most part since Titanium is so expensive. They are often camping in forested areas where cutting down trees for firewood is permissible, so they have an almost endless supply of fuel.

The clothes they wear are a mix of modern materials and traditional clothing made from canvas and fur. Many of them wear wool. Their boots are either mukluks or big insulated "moon boots' of some kind. All dressed up, some of these people look like the early polar explorers from the days of Scott and Amundsen.

Most of them are using the warmest down sleeping bag they can afford-good for down to -40C for many of them.

Jim must have forgotten about his sled-we took it to Yosemite a few years ago. laugh
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#124756 - 12/05/09 03:37 PM Re: Winter (gear) weight [Re: TomD]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Tom
said"Jim must have forgotten about his sled-we took it to Yosemite a few years ago."
____________________________________________________
err Tom, that was more than a "few"years ago, and (most of) the stuff in the sled was yours... I skied with my pack. And Tom that was the last time I took it.

When I started I did not have the gear I have now and I too was interested more in comfort, warmth and safety and I didn't then know how to achieve them without a lot of gear. The right stuff ain't cheap so heavier gear is required.

What gets me is the Canadians pulling big old freighter dog sleds themselves - no dogs... crazy
Jim


Edited by Jimshaw (12/05/09 03:38 PM)
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#124757 - 12/05/09 03:45 PM Re: Winter (gear) weight [Re: 300winmag]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By 300winmag

1.Down sleeping bag - if you can affford it
2.Ripstop VBL - keeps sleeping bags dry AND light
3.BushBuddy or Caldera Cone Inferno conversion to utilize wood
4.Silnylon double wall tent - like a Scarp 2, etc.
5.Synthetic batting shelled insulating layers instead of pile - i.e. Climashield, Primaloft, etc.


I'm not a big fan of #5 in the winter. Realistcly, I'm a layerer, and I find that shells do NOT layer as well as fleece, as they don't breathe as well in really cold conditions. I layer up with wool and fleece - it simply breathes better, and I find I'm lighter because I'm not taking as much "extra".

I don't take a VBL. I wish I could deal with them, I can't. I instead take a decent down bag inside a rectangular synthetic, which keeps me from frosting up.

I also at least where I am, do fine without a double wall tent, but I'm typically not in snow load, just intense cold.
I light weight wood stove in the tent does help, and will ensure that your bag doesn't hold condensation because you can warm up in the morning. My shangri-la 3 with homemade stove and pipe weighs about 5.5 pounds total, and it's use in the winter is really growing on my after a few trips out with it.

I most disagree with #3. Nothing sucks more than trying to feed a bloody twig stove and find enough dry twigs under snow to melt when you need to. Forget it. Take a good white gas stove. You should be able to talk someone out of a whisperlite for next to nothing because everyone seems to have such a hate on for them. If you are in a situation to burn wood outside in the winter YOU DON'T NEED A STOVE! just build a fire!


Edited by phat (12/05/09 03:46 PM)
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#124765 - 12/05/09 07:20 PM Re: Winter (gear) weight [Re: phat]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
For those who don't know my checkered past regarding winter camping I have:
1. been a Nordic patroller in N.W. Pennsylvania for 10 years.
2. done a lot of winter camping in PA.
3. Taught Army ROTC cadets winter survival for 3 years. (Such fun inserting with them from a Chinook helicopter!)

So, here's my standard winter gear:
> heavy winter tent - old Eureka! 3 man (er, person)dome,
> stove - an MSR Dragonfly,
> bag - a (heavy) Mt'n. Hardware -20 F. Polarguard Delta bag W/side opening zippered gore to make room for adding an inner bag like my WM Megalite down bag for EXTREME sub-zero temps.
> boots - Sorrel feltpacks W/ VBL
> long johns - Cabela's Polar weight Thermastat
> pack -Dana Terraplane
> vest - 300 wt Polartec (& the only fleece item carried)
> insulating coat & pants - W/ Thermolite Micro insulation
> shell parka - EMS GTX mt'n. parka
> shell pants - double layer nylon windpants
> gloves - Cabela's GTX shells W/ sevreral removable pile liners
> hat - O-R fleece Peruvian style

I can lighten the tent and bag. I'm loathe to spend the money for down insulating jacket and pants for camp after I spend for a down winter bag but may anyhow.

I see no reson not to at least try a Caldera Cone Inferno. They have good reviews and would save fuel weight.



_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#124767 - 12/05/09 07:39 PM Re: Winter (gear) weight [Re: 300winmag]
JWE Offline
member

Registered: 04/08/09
Posts: 70
Loc: Salem OR USA
Teaching future butter bars how to tie their own shoes is hard enough let alone how to survive in the cold. Glad you made it out alive.
_________________________
Airborne!

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#124769 - 12/05/09 07:53 PM Re: Winter (gear) weight [Re: 300winmag]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
What's amusing is how much your winter gear list looks like mine, with minor variations smile
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#124776 - 12/05/09 09:19 PM Re: Winter (gear) weight [Re: 300winmag]
Rick Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 708
Loc: Ontario, Canada
This year I'll be wearing all merino wool base layers - microlight tops and bottom (150 gm/m), medium weight top and bottoms (230 gm/m) and heavy top (300 gm/m). I'm hoping by layering these various weight wools I'll not need any fleece. No fleece means a weight savings of about 2#.

I've also added a down jacket that has a waterproof outer shell meaning I no longer need a hardshell. Another 1/1/2# not needed.

Having said this I wouldn't dream of carrying anything on my back for a winter camp. It's a pulk all the way for this lad.



Edited by Rick (12/05/09 09:20 PM)

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#124787 - 12/06/09 12:17 AM Re: Winter (gear) weight [Re: Jimshaw]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I use a sled for the simple reason that I can't carry on my back all the stuff I want to bring. Jim's right, most of the stuff in the sled was mine. I'm just not strong enough to carry 45 lbs of gear on snowshoes. I tried it and it wasn't something I'd try again. Maybe if I pared my gear down to 25 lbs, I'd do it, but that isn't likely. I don't mind dragging the sled. Maybe in really deep snow, I'd regret it, but not so far on the few trips I've done.

As far as I know, all of the successful modern polar expeditions, especially the one or two person ones, use sleds since they are hauling lots of food and fuel.

btw, in case anyone wonders, everything I know about the wintertrekking guys, I learned off their website, which is very comprehensive. Anyone who wants to learn about winter camping, that's definitely the place to go.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#124788 - 12/06/09 12:33 AM Re: Winter (gear) weight [Re: Rick]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By Rick


Having said this I wouldn't dream of carrying anything on my back for a winter camp. It's a pulk all the way for this lad.



I don't even want to haul the sled. That is my dog's job. laugh
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#124825 - 12/06/09 06:19 PM Winter (gear) & pulks [Re: finallyME]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
"To pulk or not to pulk. That is the question."

If I have to go over a lot of steep terrain I'd use just a pack. Pulling a pulk up the steeps for hours is more tiring than backpacking, IMHO.

If it's only a bit of steeps and mostly rolling hills I'd use my Jet Sled pulk.

_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#124844 - 12/07/09 12:17 AM Re: Winter (gear) & pulks [Re: 300winmag]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
sleds aren't bad if you keep them *light* and you have trail..

150 pounds of sled sucks. but putting 30-40 pounds of gear on a small sled isn't too bad to pull, assuming you have trail...

If you're going cross country, or lots of deadfall, you may be better off with a backpack.

_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#124846 - 12/07/09 12:54 AM Re: Winter (gear) & pulks [Re: phat]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Good point. This winter I am hoping to be able to get out with my dog. I still need a harness for her and a sled to pull. Originally I was thinking that I needed snow shoes, but I might not. The trail I want to try out this year is used a lot by snowmobiles (snow machines for you strange ones laugh ). I am limited to only being able to be dropped off by someone. I only have two wheel drive cars and don't want to get stuck in a parking lot (like last year).
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#124852 - 12/07/09 01:04 PM Re: Winter (gear) & pulks [Re: finallyME]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Stuck in a parking lot? You mean a man made jump for snowmobiles?:)

I like using my snowmobile for solo trips where I want to get some distance from the road. I also go with groups and we pack trail in. A few have used sleds/pulks, it didn't look that easy or better, especially on any sidehill. I would rather just keep my weight down.

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#125096 - 12/12/09 01:19 PM Re: Winter (gear) weight [Re: TomD]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Rick, Tom, phat smile

All good advice, it depends on what gear you have, the terrain, the snow conditions, your physical conditioning and whether you belong to the "fire cult". eek

However I wish to address the wool thing. Sure wool is traditional, especially in the far north, BUT even the fire cult guys on winter trekker admit that wool holds moisture and that they dry it out in their hot tents every night. I grew up with wool and I hate it. I bought three pairs of merino wool boot socks last week and we had sub zero temps four days in a row so I got a chance to test them. The were definitely damper when I came home and took them off then my polyester socks. The fire campers cry about putting on frozen PAC boots, this has never been a problem for me and I don't wear no stinking plastic bags inside them. Maybe the synthetics help the boots to breath so they don't get wet? I pretty much never lace them up but wear them loose, maybe loose PACs and synthetic socks have some "magical" qualities? I really think you should not take the advice of the fire cult people as gospel unless you are also a fire camper. I think a non-absorative wicking material keeps the moisture in more of a gaseous state and makes it easier to vent out.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#125100 - 12/12/09 02:01 PM Re: Winter (gear) weight [Re: Jimshaw]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

I personally use polyester liner socks under woolies in winter, just for the improved "feel" in terms of wicking. I do like wool's warmth, but the poly feels drier, and less clammy, when I sweat.
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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