Dec 18, 2011 at 8:33 pm #1283166
Well I hiked Windham Mtn in the Catskills (NY) today, pictures here:
I've not been smart enough to record what I've warn and my comfort levels in the past so here goes:
I based my thoughts on this chart:
It was 9F @ 9am when we started the hike and varied through out the day with a high of 29F and we finished at 23F at ~1:30pm. No wind, none, perfectly still. We did 6.6mi, I had on Microspikes and a decently hefty pack. I brought a bunch of different hats, balaclavas, base layers, down vest, different socks, etc. all to try out.
I started out with my lightest gear and would layer up if needed:
– No underwear, Cap 2 longer underwear on bottom, EMS Nylon pants on top.
This worked well. My legs were probably a bit chilly to the touch, but the core was warm. Felt pretty good.
– Doggy poo bags (no liners) as a VBL, lightweight fleece socks, mesh trailrunners, Microspikes.
The poo bags were cheap VBL layers, they shredded. I think this was in part because my shoes were laces pretty lose. I was worried about cutting off circulation to my feet. As a result my feet slid around, a lot, wit the plastic bags slipping inside the fleece socks. It was comfy, but I think all that slipping led to the bags shredding. They would of fared better with tighter lacing and less slipping, but not sure they would of lasted on multi-day trip. I ~am~ a believer in VBLs for my feet though, especially with trailrunners occasionally getting things damp/wet on early winter trails. My feet only got cool when stopped for lunch.
– Capilene 3 base layer, Montane Featherlite Smock.
This worked well. It was pretty chilly starting out, but once I got cranking with some uphills, it was a really nice equilibrium. The only hint of sweat was at lunch when I took off my pack, my back was a bit damp.
– Mountain Hardware Power Stretch Beanie.
Again, nice equilibrium here. No need to take it off, and I definitely wanted it on with my bald head. This is about as little insulation you can get for your head. It really came in handy when snow would fall off trees. Previously it was a real shocker with the cold snow directly on my head (if I was slightly overheated and removed my thicker hat I had in the past).
– EMS Glove Liners, CAMP Windmit'n shells.
This worked well. Chilly at the colder temps, and very nice throughout the day on the whole. The EMS liners weigh <1oz, and the shells are .5oz. They worked well together to keep the liners dry and provide a little micro-climate in there . I wouldn't go scrambling with the shells, but for the occasional scramble where I had to use my hands, they were fine.
*The two biggest reasons why this all worked was lack of wind and not stopping much longer than it took to wolf down a Snickers bar. If there was wind, a balaclava might of been nice on my face (face was pretty chilled in the beginning, but normalized during the day), and perhaps a Cap 4 shirt in place of the Cap3.
This was a good test for the NE BPL Winter gathering:
ThreadDec 18, 2011 at 8:51 pm #1813668
Really valuable information.Dec 19, 2011 at 4:53 am #1813742
I'm glad you have the scientific mind to test all this out, Bryce. I don't have too much to add…
Are turkey roasting bags much tougher than the doggy poo bags? I tried the turkey bags last year, and never managed to damage them. They seemed to work amazingly well.
For outer layers, I've been going with soft shell pants (patagonia mountain guide I think), and I love them. Not as UL as I'd like, but lightly insulated, not too hot, and smooth enough that snow doesn't stick. I want to find a snug-fitting and inexpensive soft shell top to test out, since my Montane Featherlite smock doesn't feel like enough when the wind picks up.Dec 19, 2011 at 6:24 am #1813754
Well it wasn't my chart, I just did a little bit of the "Trial & Error" flavor this past Sunday. :p
I'll have to research the roasting bags…never seen one. Thanks for the suggestion.
I hear you on the Smock, perhaps it's just having a touch thicker material on the outside to make things more comfy. I might rock my DriDucks rain jacket as it's a bit thicker feeling and it has a hood.Dec 19, 2011 at 6:39 am #1813755
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
Try a little tab of duct tape over the top of your foot on the plastic bag to sort of
form "lacing" that keep plenty of loose plastic ahead of your toes.
Very thin synthetic liner socks worn under the bags may help too.
Nice photos of the hike.Dec 19, 2011 at 6:41 am #1813757
Ok, I might give it a go. Thanks for the suggestion. :)Dec 19, 2011 at 7:07 am #1813763
Good idea to document and post what works and what doesn't and why. That's useful to me as I do my own clothing experiments.
Turkey oven bags + David's duct tape laces have worked well for me.Dec 19, 2011 at 7:17 am #1813768
Any truth to the bottom seams of the oven roaster bags?
(scroll down)Dec 19, 2011 at 7:48 am #1813777
I haven't had any trouble with the seams, but I've only used one set of bags for 2-3 days. The seams probably last longer on the feet because socks and shoes hold everything in place. That might be different without liner socks though. I plan to try them without liner socks this winter because of the annoying and constant slippage.
It would be interesting to find out how long they really last.Dec 19, 2011 at 8:01 am #1813784
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Also, if your feet were slipping around in the boots, this is not a real good combination for hiking down hills and such. I would suggest another layer of socks. Your feet are pretty insensitive to pressure and temperature (within a WIDE range) so, I would guess you wouldn't notice the extra warmth as much.
Later…Dec 19, 2011 at 8:03 am #1813786
My feet only slipped when I had my sneakers tied very loosely. Once I snugged it up they were fine. Perhaps the poo bags would of made it if I didn't have that initial 1.5mi stretch of slip and slide.Dec 19, 2011 at 9:01 am #1813813
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Good post. I test combinations while taking the dog of a walk, etc. You can find out what binds, slips, etc.
Don't be afraid to layer your tops more, with a silkweight base layer and then loftier fleece layers like your Cap4,R1 or Power Stretch.Dec 19, 2011 at 9:11 am #1813818
I always thought you were supposed to wrap the duct tape around your foot, so you couldn't slide forward and blow the toes out. Learn something every day. I'm glad to see someone besides me does things like this. It was 40 here last weekend, and I was out on my bike, circling the block and testing different layer combinations.Dec 19, 2011 at 9:18 am #1813822
I think that's what Dave was trying to accomplish with the photo to show. Cinch the plastic up around the arch of your foot relatively snug, and then use some tape the hold it there, while making sure the bag is down far enough to give your toes wiggle room. It does the same thing as wrapping the tape all the way around your arch, with less weight perhaps.
The doggie poo bags don't have a whole lot of extra length to put extra material at the toes though (I wear size 11) without risking having the open end of the bag falling below your ankle/heel. We'll see.Dec 19, 2011 at 9:41 am #1813828
@gregpehrsonLocale: playa del caballo blanco
Very cool and helpful real world testing, and beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing, Bryce.
I may not be able to join you all in January but I look forward to the next one.Dec 19, 2011 at 9:45 am #1813832
grow a beardDec 19, 2011 at 9:52 am #1813833
As you notice Steve… hair on my head, let alone on my face are not my forte. :pDec 19, 2011 at 10:03 am #1813837
@gregpehrsonLocale: playa del caballo blanco
Well, Bryce, there's always BeardHeadDec 19, 2011 at 10:14 am #1813841
Cut down bread bags are a better shape for your feet.Dec 19, 2011 at 10:15 am #1813842
I thought about the bread bags, but the doggie bags were way lighter so figured I'd give them a shot first.
Y'all think the turkey bags are lighter than your avg bread bag?Dec 19, 2011 at 10:16 am #1813843
Doubtful they are lighter when cut to size. Another lighter alternative is Subway sandwich bags which are narrow and longer.
Also, when your clothing choices are not very light, I don't get why you wouldn't use a vbl that is more durable. We would be talking a few grams, not "way lighter".Dec 19, 2011 at 10:35 am #1813849
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
"I always thought you were supposed to wrap the duct tape around your foot, so you couldn't slide forward and blow the toes out."
Same thing, I am just stingy with tape.
And I love the beardhead page.Dec 19, 2011 at 10:40 am #1813852
I am SUL for 3-season. My goal is to remain as light as possible while remaining safe and comfortable. So if a doggie poo bag does the job, then that's the best option for me. I thought my clothing choices for this particular hike were pretty light when considering the other two guys I was with. *shrugs*Dec 19, 2011 at 11:03 am #1813865
did you have a puffy layer for stops?
its surprising how little you need when moving … sweat kills
just have something warm and cozy for stops
and good for you for trying stuff out … if doogay poopay bags work for ya, dont worrry about what some people think …Dec 19, 2011 at 11:06 am #1813868
I had a crap ton of other layers, socks, pants, whatevs in my bag. But when I stopped, I prob would of put on a Montbell EX Down light vest for a bump in insulation when I stopped. Though I was cranking heat, I don't ~feel~ like I was sweating all that much cept for little bit on my back where my pack was. So the few minutes during lunch wouldn't of killed the down.
Obviously during my backpacking trip in January, I will have much greater puffy layer for when in camp during the night.
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