Feb 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm #1255599
I want to start doing winter backpacking trips soon so I have been putting together a gear list for winter. Andy Skurka's winter gear lists have helped me the most in deciding how to put together mine. Like him, I decided to utilize a Vapor Barrier suit. In the past, I could never find one that was light enough. Andy couldn't find a light enough suit either, so he ended up making his own out of Silnylon. Unfortunately for me, I don't have a sewing machine, nor do I have any experience in sewing. Recently I noticed AGG was offering Silnylon rain suits. I asked George Andrews if he can make me a lighter version of his SilNylon suit to use as a VB. I had him make the jacket with a half zipper and replaced all velcro with elastic. It turned out lighter than I predicted and I'm quite happy with the weight. Both the jacket and the pants weigh 6.3 oz. This VB suit brings me one step closer to having a gear list I can be confident with during the winter months.
-SidFeb 22, 2010 at 4:15 pm #1577205
I'm guessing it was over $100. Stephenson said their pants & shirt should be about 6 ounces too. If nothing else, at least the AGG stuff is an alternative.Feb 22, 2010 at 4:32 pm #1577212
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Where on earth are you going the needs a VB suit. Are you going to be sleeping in it, or hiking in it?Feb 22, 2010 at 4:37 pm #1577215
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Stephenson's 'fuzzy stuff' is much heavier than silnylon, so I can't see how it would come in at the same weight. Of course, it sure does feel nice next to skin.Feb 22, 2010 at 5:19 pm #1577238
Edit: Oops, mine is made by Brawny (is that the same as AGG?)…different stuff I guess but it looks the same!
I inquired about the stephenson stuff and it was heavier, but this was a while ago so maybe things have changed…next "logical" step is a cuben suit :)Feb 22, 2010 at 5:46 pm #1577243
"Stephenson said their pants & shirt should be about 6 ounces too"
FrancoFeb 22, 2010 at 6:25 pm #1577256
Where are you going and what time of the year? I have never had to use a VB, except on my hands and feet (poor circulation), and i've been in below freezing lots of times. May not be necessary if you got enough insulation on. Just a thoughtFeb 22, 2010 at 7:17 pm #1577287
"I'm guessing it was over $100. Stephenson said their pants & shirt should be about 6 ounces too. If nothing else, at least the AGG stuff is an alternative." -Eugene Leafty
Actually, the suit cost exactly $100. $65 for the jacket and $35 for the pants.
"next "logical" step is a cuben suit :)" -Steven Evans
I also thought about a VB suit in Cuben for lighter weight, however, I think Silnylon is better suited for the job because it is a bit stretchy and would be less constricting than Cuben, which does not stretch at all.
"Where on earth are you going the needs a VB suit. Are you going to be sleeping in it, or hiking in it?" -Nick Gatel
I want to get into mountaineering. I need to put a gear list that can handle temperatures down in the negatives (F). I have not decided exactly where I want to go but I have a few places in mind. There are still a lot of things I am missing, so until I get them, I have time to decide where my first true winter trip will be. Regarding whether I'll be using the suit to sleep in or hike in, probably both, depending on the temperatures.
"Where are you going and what time of the year?" -Isaac Mouser
The gear list I am putting together is for winter trips in the mountains. As I said to Nick, temperatures will be in the negatives (F). I have yet to decide where I am going as I am still missing essential gear.
-SidFeb 22, 2010 at 8:56 pm #1577320
Exactly $100 sounds good. That hood is really nice too. That alone could make it worth using to keep my down balaclava dry and oil-free.
I don't think extremely low temps are the only application for VB clothing. I'd like to start wearing them when I'm bivy camping for multiple nights in a sleeping bag when temps are in the mid 20's or lower. The VB clothing would keep the bag drier throughout the night, plus I wouldn't have to take time during the day to dry out the bag to regain full warmth for the next night. The 6 ounces for VB clothing could easily be recouped by a lack of 6 ounces of moisture trapped in the sleeping bag.
Anyway, it's nice to have another option.
I'd love to hear about how this works for you in the longterm.Feb 22, 2010 at 10:35 pm #1577352
Hmmm, I do think that you need VBL gloves and socks with it, otherwise it is not worth the effort. Usually a person perspires most through feet and hands, so if you only have your body covered it shouldn't be as good as a VBL liner bag. Plastic bags work for the feet, maybe some silnylon mitts for the hands? Also, are the seams sealed? Otherwise moisture still might get through.
The weight is great, 179 g for the suit is really acceptable. I'd recommend wearing it only in camp, it should be too warm when moving. Wear a merino baselayer under it, and then the down clothing over it.
I'm very curious to see how you fare with it. I probably would still go with a VBL liner bag because it really creates a closed chamber, but of course you lose the ability to do multiuse; eg using camp (down) gear to boost your sleeping bag/ quilt which could then be lighter. If a VBL suit, I'd go cuben as well, but the suit would need to be bonded so the work could be rather expensive and difficult. Anyhow, have fun and be safe!Feb 22, 2010 at 11:24 pm #1577359
I agree with you about covering the hands and feet, although I'd probably leave my hands uncovered. I already sleep most nights with bags over my feet. When I do cover my hands, I use nitrile gloves.
The problem with a VBL liner bag is that it's yet another bag to unzip if you have to relieve yourself in the middle of the night. That makes three zippers if you're in a bivy.
Even though I'm getting a VBL quilt, I see a VBL suit being useful for those times I want to sleep with extra clothing to extend the range of my quilt. I think an extra 6 oz is well worth the weight if it allows me to use clothing that I'll already be bringing to extend the range of my quilt by another 10 degrees.Feb 23, 2010 at 4:03 am #1577392
Whatever you do, just make sure you don't wakeup soaked from sweat in that thing.Feb 23, 2010 at 4:55 am #1577396
@windwardLocale: NE Tennessee
I used a cheap coated nylon athletic suit while winter camping in Michigan's UP many years ago. It kept my bag dry from the inside and seemed to add 5-10 degrees to the bag's warmth.
Recently purchased Stephenson's VB shirt & pants, made from the gray Fuzzy Stuff. Pants are 5 oz, shirt 5.5 oz. I could do without the pocket on the shirt, and a shorter zipper would also be welcome, but they fit and work well. I had planned to go MYOG using Sil, but the AGGs look good for the price and may be a more expedient way to go.
I'm sold on the VB suit for sleeping below freezing. It permits me supplement with additional clothing, which I couldn't do with a simple VB liner, and adding it to my Phantom is still lighter than my old Blue Kazoo down bag.
Thus far I've only slept in my Stephenson suit a few nights. They are not clammy or damp. My MYOG momentum bag cover left me feeling damp, and consequently cold, in temps around 25-30. The suit takes care of that, and seems to add 5 to 10 deg to my Phantom 32.
I recently took that bag down to 5-10 deg F, fairly comfortably, using MYOG cover, the VB suit & socks, base layer & R1 hoodie, Cocoon pants, MB UL 1/2 sleeve down jacket, Puff pullover and Cocoon balaclava.
On a separate night the lows were around 18-22, and I was too warm in a similar setup minus the 1/2 sleeve jacket. Slept with the bag open, not using the hood, until about 0530.
Haven't experimented with wearing it above freezing, but in those conditions my bivy still tends to condense and leave me feeling damp/cold, so will probably try the VB suit some this spring to establish effective upper limits.
These wouldn't vent enough for me underway in the conditions I encounter, but to keep my other layers dry when I'm wearing a pack I plan to make a 2nd layer vest using a sil back and shoulders, momentum face and something porous and stretchy on the sides.Feb 23, 2010 at 8:08 am #1577448
"I do think that you need VBL gloves and socks with it" -Hendrik Morkel
As I stated before, I have not yet acquired everything that I needed for winter. I do plan on getting VB gloves and socks.
In my opinion, a suit would be more versatile than a liner bag. For only being an ounce or two heavier than a liner bag, I think it is well worth the extra weight.
-SidFeb 23, 2010 at 8:13 am #1577453
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Sil Mitts can be found here:Feb 23, 2010 at 8:35 am #1577468
I can't seem to find a weight listed for those Mitts. I was thinking about something like the BPL Featherlite Vapor Mitts.
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