Mar 1, 2007 at 5:53 pm #1222121
I'm taking a backpacking trip in the Sierra's this summer. It includes a lot of night hiking and I'm thinking of sleeping (what small amount I do) during the day to minimize the need for insulation. Below is a partial gear list. Would love the expert's thoughts!
GG Polycro ground cloth
Nunatak Arc Edge
Possum Down socks
WM Flash vest
Possum Down Hat
Possum Down gloves
Smart Wool light weight zip-T
Smart Wool micro weight bottom
Plus other stuff…. (Posting light options soon)
I'm most curious about whether you think I will be warm enough when I'm tired and hiking at night?
Also, since rain is normally short lived in the summer I wasn't planning on stopping until it stops. (no bivy)
Most of my gear was recently stolen so I have the "luxury" of starting from scratch.
– JonMar 1, 2007 at 7:59 pm #1380656
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
Nice simplified list.
What is the highest elevations you are planning to sleep at?
Of all the times I've done over-nighters up in the Sierras in the summer, I've seen temps below 35* every time, (mostly above 10,000 ft).
This may not seem too bad, but if there is even a little bit of wind, the chill you'll fell sleeping under a tarp will be really cold. If a surprise front goes through, that wind could get to 20 mph. I don't think you would want to go for that with what you have.
There is only one piece of gear I would change, and have 3 options to change that one item.
1. Upgrade to a nice warm jacket. This is option 1 for a reason. Not only will it help you be more comfortable while hiking at night, but it will also keep you warm enough when combined with the bag.
2. Have warm socks to sleep in and something even warmer around you're head.
3. If you haven't bought the bag yet, upgrade to the Ghost.
Option 1 is still the best since it serves both purposes.
If I was going to buy new gear, I would go for the following.
Western Mountaineering Flight jacket – 11.5 oz – $225
Cocoon pants 7.3 oz – $160
Nunatak Ghost 16 oz – $300
I would really like to see your complete list.
How many days are you planning to be out at a time?
If you're looking for a light and it doesn't have to be a headlamp, I strongly suggest getting a Fenix Cree w/ CR123 battery.
Any other questions let me know.
Happy gear hunting.Mar 1, 2007 at 9:24 pm #1380662
I am really sorry to hear your gear was stolen; that would really make me furious; especially with all the effort taken to carefully choose gear..
Well, your list covers the shelter and insulation categories well. Here are some items you might conisider:
– Waterproof stuffsack for your down (sealine stormsack)
– Fire starting kit
-Kitchen kit, pot, alcohol stove, spoon, fuel bottle, etc.
– Hygene kit
– Water treatment and storage (micropur + platypus)
– Navigation, compass, map, gps
– Trash bags, leave no trace
– Light digital camera
– Stakes and triptease for the poncho
– Tiny pencil and waterproof notebook
– Knife or multitool
– Repair kit (ziptie, duct tape, buckle, rubber band, platypatch, etc.)
And lastly, this item (which I own and recommend)
If anyone is not familiar with the arc bags, here's a pic. Not my style since I like to sprawl around and stretch out; but it saves a lot of weight if you can sleep like this.
Mar 2, 2007 at 12:11 am #1380679
You asked for expert opinions. I'm not an expert, but I have a couple of products in mind that you might enjoy considering, since you may already own a vest: Nunatak: "The perfect compliment to our ultralight hoodless sleeping bags, such as The Arc-Alpinist, our down balaclava is unlike any sleeping bag hood you have ever used. Versatile in function in daytime and easily omitted form your sleeping system in warmer temperatures, the balaclava is simply warmer for the weight. A 5 snap closure in front makes breathing options at night easily adjusted, while our shock-cord and toggle face closure is soft against the face. Amazing warmth for a total of 4 ounces in Epic by Nextec, 3 in Pertex Microlight. We fill this down hat with 2+ ounces of 800+ fill power down."
Jacks ‘R’ Better: "The JRB Down Sleeves Price: $79.95
Wear them with any vest to turn it into a jacket (JRB Down Hood available separately). Made of 1.1 oz. ripstop nylon with Durable Water Resistant (DWR) treatment and 800 fill power down. When worn under a light weight rain suit it approximates a winter survival parka. Weight: 5 oz. per pair. Available in Short (S), Regular (R), and Long (L) sizes."Mar 2, 2007 at 1:35 am #1380683
How will you navigate and see while hiking at night? I've done some of this, and it is generally a cluster-"#$%, especially in a group. Following a trail is fine I suppose.. What tools will you use, such as lights, compasses, etc..? Thanks.Mar 2, 2007 at 5:53 am #1380699
Brett, I am with you. I don't think I could sleep face down like that guy in the pic ;PMar 2, 2007 at 11:26 am #1380775
Thanks for everyone's suggestions!
When I've been in the Sierras in the summer it's also been below 35 at night. That's the main reason I was thinking of sleeping during daylight hours, which I think should be ok with my insulation. Thoughts? I think I'm more concerned whether the Houdini, vest, hat, and gloves will be warm enough while hiking at night. Thought? I'm planning to be out 5 – 6 days. I'm working on other pieces of my gear list and I'll post when it's complete.
Thanks for the other thoughts on gear. I'll post a more complete list when it's final. I will only be hiking trails at night and I'll be traveling at most with only 1 other person. The lights I'm looking at are:
Undetermined headlamp or flashlight that I will attach at waist level. I find I get really poor depth perception if I use the headlamp as a headlamp while hiking. (no shadows) I will also carry a more powerful flashlight, probably the Streamlight Strion (4.7oz). It only lasts about 70 minutes but I'll only use it when I really need to punch through the night ahead.
Luckily the Arc is a dual-use piece of gear. You can sleep face down and face up ;)Mar 2, 2007 at 12:27 pm #1380782
it seems to me that the clothing you have should be more than sufficient for night hiking, as long as you keep moving. I basically wear a capilene top and a windshell until it drops into the teens. Maybe you could add some windpants or substitute light stretch woven pants for your shorts and smartwools. They'll be more weather resistant and a bit warmer (you could also wear shorts like the golite stride under the pants, and if you were melting during the day just strip 'em off and you're ready to go.)Mar 2, 2007 at 1:02 pm #1380786
Do you have any suggestions for light stretch woven pants?
I have to say, bottoms are probably the single piece of gear that I have the hardest time finding something I like.
I like wearing pants (even in the summer) but it's tough finding them light weight enough and not long, baggy, generally annoying and in the way.
(You hit a gear rant button :) )
– JonMar 2, 2007 at 1:18 pm #1380788
I know what you mean about fit, I am a 34"x34" so usually if the waist on a pair of pants is the right size, they are too short, I'm not sure who they cut outdoor pants for. That said, lightweight stretch woven pants, I'm not up to date on the newest ones, cloudveil used to make the prospector, although I think that line is discontinued,and tnf makes the apex line, which are fairly lightweight. and arcteryx makes some nice ones, but have your wallet ready, not cheap. http://www.arcteryx.com/product.aspx?Gamma-LT-Pant#
If you have fit problems, beyond fleece can make custom pants for you, although they are going to be off line after the 12th of march (I think) Everyone speaks highly of them, although I have no personal expierence.
REI also has a nice lightweight pair, look here http://www.rei.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?productId=48024521&storeId=8000&catalogId=40000008000&&ext_cat=REI_RELATED_ITEMS_PRODUCT_PAGE&vcat=REI_SSHP_MENS_CLOTHING_TOC
They also make them in different lengths.
Hope that's helpful
JoshMar 3, 2007 at 4:11 pm #1380911
Re: "Also, since rain is normally short lived in the summer I wasn't planning on stopping until it stops. (no bivy)." I'm glad you're going instead of me, because as a non-expert, I simply could not continue night hiking when the rain turned to snow, the Arctic Outbreak turned the temperture to something below zero, turned the wind to something above 50 mph, and the snow began accumulating on the trail at over 1 inch every hour.Mar 3, 2007 at 5:26 pm #1380919
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
I'm thinking a 1/8" Thinlite isn't very much insulation underneath you, especially if you should get a cold snap. Maybe at least consider a cut down ridgerest or other closed cell foam to protect your core/torso. Shouldn't add more than5-6 oz.Mar 4, 2007 at 7:24 am #1380984
@tarbubbleLocale: dirtville, CA
i have gambled on the predictability of Sierra Nevada weather before and lost – i got hypothermia and was lucky to have a smart companion (my husband) with me who pretty much saved my rear. my advice to you is don't assume the weather will be what you think it will be. i don't mean to be insulting, i just get nervous when i see folks not taking the potential of Sierra weather seriously.Mar 4, 2007 at 8:37 am #1380992
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Jonathon, why hike at night? Half of the fun of being up there is to see the magnificent views.
A. What part of the Sierra's are you going to
B. Agreed with the above about the weather. The weather changes there much differently than the Bay Area. I have seen hail and snow in July and August. It changes that fast.
C. I just think that you are leaving out too much and that could really mean a serious problem could occur.
D. But then again hike you own hike. Just be careful.Mar 4, 2007 at 8:28 pm #1381080
Thanks for the comments. I'm planning on testing the 1/8" pad. I normally sleep very comfortably at night on a 3/8" pad so I thought I could push myself to an 1/8" pad. I'll see how the testing goes.
In the past, I've hiked very comfortably with just a wool top, hat and wind shirt down into the 30's. I was adding the vest for safety margin.
I planned to use the wind shirt to keep reasonably dry in the advent of hail or snow (or poncho for rain, hail, or snow). Are there specific conditions that I'm not considering or a specific piece of equipment that you would add?
My-own-hike keeps changing. It's hard to keep up ;)
– JonMar 5, 2007 at 12:20 am #1381098
Jonathan: I still haven't become an expert, but I have lived in what is essentially the Sierra Foothills for over 35 years, and I have a rule for just me, not for anyone else: "Be able to survive one night while immobilized." A lot can immobilize me at night: fog so thick the light beam goes out a few inches, then bounces back; a mother bear and a cub camped out right on the trail; a white-out snowstorm that's making footing treacherous; a twisted ankle, etc. But you should live your life without my pressuring you. You apparently are relying on the heat generated by constant movement: "Also, since rain is normally short lived in the summer I wasn't planning on stopping until it stops. (no bivy)." That's perfectly OK by me.Mar 5, 2007 at 9:21 am #1381129
@tarbubbleLocale: dirtville, CA
well, i got hypothermia by wearing a windshirt in a hail storm, so i can't recommend that idea at all! i've never used a poncho in heavy weather + wind, so i can't give any input on that.Mar 20, 2007 at 11:59 am #1382918
This is to concur with Colleen's comments regarding the lack of predictability of Sierra weather. Addionally, the days can be quite hot even at high altitude especially in July so a Smartwool top may not be that comfortable unless it is micro-weight. But my reason for replying is to echo Ken’s query as to why hike at night? The Sierras offer some of the most beautiful scenery on earth and it would be a shame to not be able to see it clearly. I never tire of the panoramas and for that reason try to avoid even driving up Owens Valley at night because of the unseen majestic beauty.Mar 20, 2007 at 2:29 pm #1382937
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
If you have only a certain period to hike and you want to hike as far as possible while going as lite as possible, then night hiking is the way to go.
Would you rather see half of the whole trail or all of half of the trail?
Just being on the trail, even at night, and being able to do what you want is worth the hike.
If you don't think so, why don't you ask Erik Weihenmeyer why he climbed Everest.Mar 23, 2007 at 6:41 pm #1383361
Thanks for the concern about missing scenery. I'm taking this trip specifically to do something different. I've been in the Sierra's a number of times in the past during the day. Once I hiked Whitney during a full moon and it was amazing. I plan to hiking during (or close to) a full moon again and see other parts of the Sierra's by moon light. For those who haven't been above treeline during a full moon I highly recommend it. It's a whole different world.
– JonMay 7, 2007 at 7:30 pm #1388506
I'm an ultra-fan of full moon hiking, especially in the Utah desert. I just got back from a weekend at Crystal Peak (west desert, edge of the Wah Wah range) and we planned it especially for the nearly full moon. This mountain is an ancient volcanic protrusion in the middle of sedementary formations that came much much later — and it's white. Not grey, not beige, not pale sand colored. It's white. Hiking this thing in the full moon was an amazing experience. Anyway, the point is, I agree with doing something different for a new sensory experience or just to simply escape the heat. I wholeheartedly endorse night trips (and noon to 2pm napping when it's 80F or higher).
tip: bring a staff or trekking pole. The night plays interesting tricks on depth perception.
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