Jul 29, 2010 at 7:51 am #1261680
Hi all, I'm headed to Glacier National Park to do the Nyack Loop and maybe a summit of Mt. Stimpson next week. I've been reading and studying a lot here and I've gotten my base load with a bear cannister down to just over 17lbs. My full pack weight should be right at 30lbs for 6 days which I'm quite happy with. Coming from the midwest and never having been this far north before, I had a couple of concerns with my gear that I was hoping I could get some reassurance or better suggestions on. I hear the weather can get as low as the 20's and highs in the 90's at this time of year. Here's my clothing list:
underwear – bottoms – Nike Compression shorts 2.5
base / wicking layer top – Icebreaker 150 T-shirt 5.0
Pants Mountain Hardware Pants 11.0
headband – Buff 1.5
sun hat – Columbia Omni-tech – 1.7
socks – Darn Tough 3/4 height 1.7
shoes – Solomon XT Wings 29.9
wind shirt – Marmot Ion 5.0 (contemplating leaving this and using the rain jacket)
Base/Wicking Layer top L/S – Terramar Silk EC2 LS Top 2.9
base / wicking layer bottom – Terramar Silk EC2 Bottoms 3.1
insulating top – Mont Bell UL Down inner 6.5
Insulating bottom – None
raingear top – Marmot Nano 8.5
raingear (hard shell) bottoms – Marmot Precip pants 8.0
Gaiters Mountain Hardware stretch – 1.7
insulating gloves – North Face liner gloves 1.5 (have some warmer windstoppers at 2.5oz)
warm hat – Kuhl Beanie 1.2
spare socks – Ice Breaker mid-weight crew + extra Liner sock 4.0
sleeping socks/Camp shoes – GooseFeet + waterproof Liner 4.1
water shoes – pool shoes 2.0
Waterproof socks – Storm Socks 1.7
My first concern is if this setup will keep me warm enough in camp without a fire above treeline and if a SS shirt is going to be enough to hike in most of the time out there. I have a 25 degree bag so sleeping shouldn't be an issue. Just wondering if SS shirt, silk weight LS, Ion, UL Inner and a GTX pac-lite will be enough given the temp ranges. Sounds like a lot but when I put all these light layers on it doesn't seem like I'm wearing very much. I guess I'm having a hard time believing this getup can keep me warm below 40. I have a brand new patagonia nano puff (9oz) I was thinking to bring as insurance (maybe replace the ION with it and use the paclite as wind protection?) Would this be over-kill?
Second debate is going with the Trail runners. I've only used them on a few hikes down in Arkansas over the spring/summer. I like how they feel but I'm concerned about them holding up and protecting my feet in this environment and weather. I know some of people wear them no matter what condition, but they all have much more experience than I do. I have a pair of mid-height Ecco GTX boots (I think they are called XPEDITIONS) which are maybe 10oz heavier for the pair that I've been debating on bringing instead. Ankle support is not a concern for me, just whether or not I should wear a more durable leather gortex lined shoe vs the lighter non-waterproof mesh synthetic trail runners. I've backpacked the Maroon Bells area (four pass loop) before, but I'm not sure if what we will be facing is going to be the same or not. I was also wearing a pair of gigantic Montrail Torres boots on that trip.
Thanks a bunch for helping me out with this.Jul 29, 2010 at 9:07 am #1633182
@chrisfolLocale: Denver, Coloado
I have no knowledge or Terramar silk and what other products it is comparable to. However my clothing list for is not too far from what you have listed when I expect temps in the mid-to high 20's here in the Colorado Rockies. I find that a Capilene 3 top and bottoms paired with the inner down jacket and Marmot Ion keeps me comfortable down to lower/mid 20s.
I would argue for leaving the following at home:
-Goosefeet (you have two pair of liner socks, one pair of DT and one SW– surely you could double up if the temps get cool? I usually leave the down pants and booties at home until the winter.
-Waterproof socks. Again you have four pairs of quick drying socks.
-Water shoes. I will just cross in my trail runners– they dry out quick enough.
I would probably consider adding a pair of rainpants to your list– nothing worse than being caught above treeline in only hiking pants with cold, blowing rain coming down on you.Jul 29, 2010 at 9:43 am #1633195
I think your list looks pretty good (I hike in Glacier often). By MT standards, its actually been pretty darn hot lately, but it can snow just about anytime.
I'd leave the long johns at home, but that is just me. Bring rainpants, cold summer rains are your biggest likely challenge. I'd agree with the previous poster, don't bring so many socks and just count on getting your Salomons wet on stream crossings (which you'll have lots of on the Coal/Nyack loop).
I imagine you're aware that cannisters are not required nor usually carried in Glacier? I know the Nyack area doesn't have poles or lockers like the other areas of the park, but if you're comfortable hanging your food that would save a bunch of weight. On the other hand, the scrubby spruce in Glacier does not lend itself to easy bear bagging, and usually requires more than the usual amount of rope (to suspend food between two trees) and more than the usual amount of patience.
Enjoy the trip! Melt off was quite delayed this year due to a wet and cool spring, so the wildflowers are just coming out in the high country.Jul 29, 2010 at 10:16 am #1633210
Thanks for the quick response and the advice. Yeah, I guess I have too many socks. I think I will leave the extra liners and just go with the DT's and SW as a second pair. I will also ditch the storm socks… sounds like those will be unnecessary too. I guess my paranoia about the trail runners is unfounded then? Will my XT wings be good enough for this weather and terrain and the Mt stimson summit?
I just got the silk weights and they are surprisingly thin, which is one of my concerns. Mostly got them for sleeping in but thought they would still make a good baselayer if I needed them. I doubt if they are as warm as Cap 3's, though. Should I bring something a little bit heavier than these?
I wanted to try out the goosefeet since they are brand new, but I agree they are probably not needed for sleeping warmth. Mostly just planning on using them to lounge around camp with the WP liners on. I was fully expecting they would get the axe by most of you, so I'll consider it a luxury item if I do bring them :)
As for the bear vault. I'm not totally familiar with the route, but apparently we are taking a different starting path from Two Medicine? or something like that. Supposedly the campground before the pass is going to be full so we were given permission to camp up on the pass above treeline which is what we plan to do. It was due to this change that we were told to bring bear can's. Otherwise we were originally planning to just hang our food. I wasn't too happy about the idea, but now that you mention the tree hassle, it's not so bad after all.Jul 29, 2010 at 10:24 am #1633214
Dan, cool that the NPS was flexible and let you do your trip. That should be a cool camp up high.
Your XT wings will be just fine for everything you have in mind. The most appropriate footwear, I'd say. With the down jacket and your hat I don't think you'll have trouble being warm, even if it gets unusually cool.Jul 29, 2010 at 10:41 am #1633221
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
I have always disliked silk and never found it particularly warm or particularly breathable. That's a personal prejudice dating both from my experiences with silk items many years ago and from more recent experience trying unsuccessfully to make a 30* sleeping bag warmer with a silk liner. Your mileage may vary, but since you also have doubts about the silk, I'd suggest a lightweight synthetic or merino wool instead. My choice would be Capilene 2 or the equivalent. I'd take both top and bottoms. If it turns cold and rainy/snowy, you'll need them. Otherwise, your insulation sounds fine. Base layer top/bottom plus down jacket plus rain jacket/pants, hat, gloves should keep you plenty warm.
Per David, "wildflowers are just coming out in the high country." That means that the mosquitoes are just coming out, too. We have the same situation here in the Pacific Northwest. Consider spraying your hiking shirt and pants with permethrin and taking a head net. You might want to think again about anything short-sleeved. The windshirt is also great for keeping bugs off at rest stops. I got one after a closer-than-desirable acquaintance with Wind River Range flies, and have since found it one of the most versatile pieces of clothing I own.
I just got the Goose Feet myself. I did not take them on a trip to Washington's Olympic coast, but I'm surely going to take them on my next mountain trip! Yes, it's a luxury item, but I believe in pampering my feet.Jul 29, 2010 at 11:12 am #1633231
@chrisfolLocale: Denver, Coloado
"I just got the silk weights and they are surprisingly thin, which is one of my concerns. Mostly got them for sleeping in but thought they would still make a good baselayer if I needed them. I doubt if they are as warm as Cap 3's, though. Should I bring something a little bit heavier than these? "
Personally I have never seen the purpose of packing a full set of the lightest weight clothing solely for sleeping. For example I would never pack Capilene 1 top and bottoms for sleeping in– the additional warmth offered is minimal and I have found that they serve only as protection for your sleeping bag. If I would be warm in Cap 1 top and bottoms at night, then chances are I can simply sleep in my boxers and still be just as warm.
With that said, if I am packing additional clothing, then I would rather those items serve a function other than just protecting my bag from my dirt, namely to provide additional insulation when sitting around camp and to keep me warm while in my bag. In this case I would always opt for a mid-weight layering piece such as a Capilene 2 or Capilene 3 top.Jul 29, 2010 at 11:26 am #1633234
Thanks for the great reassurances and advice. Definitely the responses I was looking and hoping for. Being new to the lightweight thing (and backpacking in general), I need all the reassurances I can get until I can build up enough of my own experiences. I'm going out with a traditional backpacking group so not getting much support for my choices on that end and in fact I'm being criticized on some of my gear choices (like the shoes). I need to be extra careful that nothing goes wrong on my end especially if it could hold up the group. I would never live it down.
Mary, I do plan to bring a headnet and thanks for reminding me to spray my clothes… I bought a can of permithrin but haven't gotten around to doing it yet.Jul 29, 2010 at 11:36 am #1633240
"I'm going out with a traditional backpacking group so not getting much support for my choices on that end and in fact I'm being criticized on some of my gear choices (like the shoes)."
As you would expect, I regard that as quite the joke. Be sure to remind them (not too smugly) of this when they spend ages changing from boots to sandals and back for the zillion creek crossings on Nyack. I rather doubt you'll hold them up.
Be sure to bring a camera and extra batteries! And echo what Mary said about bugs, though I've never found the skeeters in Glacier to be very prolific.Jul 29, 2010 at 11:47 am #1633247
Hey, thanks for sharing. I'm going to the North Fork area on Sunday, and this list helps reaffirm what I'm taking.Jul 29, 2010 at 1:13 pm #1633261
"Personally I have never seen the purpose of packing a full set of the lightest weight clothing solely for sleeping. For example I would never pack Capilene 1 top and bottoms for sleeping in– the additional warmth offered is minimal and I have found that they serve only as protection for your sleeping bag. If I would be warm in Cap 1 top and bottoms at night, then chances are I can simply sleep in my boxers and still be just as warm."
I currently have a relatively warm bag (25 degrees), but I prefer to have some kind of layer or liner when I sleep to keep the bag clean and provide a softer feel. I figured the silk weights would cover that aspect without overheating me, but also be enough to be my extra base layers for this particular trip. They were also 1/3 the cost of Cap 1 layers. I Wasn't expecting them to be as thin as they were, though, hence the concern, but I guess (like the down inner jacket) weight and thickness can be deceptive.
Reviews have indicated that they provide decent warmth…. guess I'll just have to try it and find out. I understand where you're coming from, though… I've been trying hard to avoid single use items whenever possible, hence the reason for replacing my liner bag with these silk weight underwear for the same weight.
I think I am going to try and find me a LS merino or capilene shirt to wear instead of the SS. Sounds like with the varying temps and the bugs I may be better off just sporting long sleeve to begin with.Jul 29, 2010 at 1:30 pm #1633266
"As you would expect, I regard that as quite the joke. Be sure to remind them (not too smugly) of this when they spend ages changing from boots to sandals and back for the zillion creek crossings on Nyack. I rather doubt you'll hold them up."
I plan to keep my big mouth shut unless they give me crap first. :) I am grateful to be able to go on this trip with them and everyone is free to hike their own hike IMO. I do hope, though, some of them will see the benefits to lighter weight hiking without me having to say anything.
"Be sure to bring a camera and extra batteries! And echo what Mary said about bugs, though I've never found the skeeters in Glacier to be very prolific."
I have a brand new camera with a 16GB memory card to fill up :). I can't wait.Jul 30, 2010 at 9:26 am #1633468
I'm off to Montana! I just wanted to quickly say thank you everyone for the great responses and assistance. It's really given me a huge boost in confidence.
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