Jan 29, 2014 at 9:02 am #1312602
Alright, so I have roughly 20 or so ounces to give to clothing, although I ideally would still want to keep it at less than 15 oz to give more flexibility to my pack. I am preparing for this to be for temperatures as low as 40F. I could always wrap my quilt around me, but for the most part I would like to comfortably be able to perform camp tasks. Everyone has different preferences and threshholds and much of SUL is testing yourself, but I also think with a certain level of experience SUL does not HAVE to be uncomfortable.
Athletic Polyester Socks
Rei Hiking Pants
MH Wicked Lite LS
Ex Ficio Underwear
Merrell Mix Master 2 Trail Runners
SMD Gatewood Cape
Athletic Polyester Socks: 1.5 oz
DIY Mittens: 1 oz
Beanie: 1 oz (Haven't decided between DIY, Zpacks Fleece, or Black Rock)
Terramar Silk Top: 2.7 oz
Terramar Silk Bot.: 2.9 oz
Montbell Wind Shell: 2.9 oz
Total Weight Carried in Clothing: 12 oz
This still gives me the flexibility to add a down vest. I could easily leave out the Silks and add a Borah Gear Down Vest (3.6 oz), but I also like having sleeping clothes that are not sweaty or wet and the Down Vest costs $100 whereas the silks cost me $40 lol. Also, I have though about the option of wearing a heavier base, but with day highs of 60 and up, I really like my Wicked Lite it BREATHES so well.
I like generating conversation especially about SUL because there isn't much discussion about it. Any thoughts?Jan 29, 2014 at 9:59 am #2067512
No primary insulation layer.
The silk is not insulation – I actually have those exact same pieces so I know what they are like. If you are going to rely on down items (bag especially) you better make damn sure you can keep it dry in the worst conditions you will experience. Otherwise suck it up and carry a primary insulation layer that will more or less work using your cape for extended periods of time. A vest might be enough, but NOT a down vest, and NOT with this gear list.
A down vest is almost never a good primary insulation layer to rely on by itself, as in a pinch it will be exposed to moisture from both within and without. More like a "luxury" item for lounging and extra warmth in your bag. Montbell makes a nice synthetic vest that is only 5 oz. Nanopuff vest, or better jacket.
I don't do a ton of SUL trips anymore, but I made this exact mistake back in the day. But only once. You put a lot of thought I assume into what you have here. Now put some more though into how you will handle the tails of the bell curve in terms of temperature, humidity and precipitation conditions.
Otherwise carry a space blanket as your ultimate back up and hope for the best.Jan 29, 2014 at 10:10 am #2067518
what kind of weather will you encounter during the day? will it be warm and sunny until its 40 degrees at night? If you will be encountering challenging weather during the day then maybe a very light fleece will help you out during the day and give you just enough during the evening. Just a thought.
Or build a small campfire while doing camp chores, if possible, thats what i usually do to avoid too much camp clothing.Jan 29, 2014 at 11:18 am #2067552
Alright, 40F is the lowest temperature that this will be in. Let's say at the coldest point of the night, it will be 40 F. The highs for days like that (depending on overcast and elevation) is high 50s to low 70s in TN. After hiking, I arrive at camp and setup my things. As it gets cooler, depending on how cool it gets, I will wear all of what I have. I will add the bottoms under my pants, and I will add my silk over my base then wear my WindShirt. I cook, read, write, talk to hiking partners, then go to sleep. Maybe it is that I am warm blooded but I don't forsee a problem here. This season I anticipate being on the AT as well as the Cumberland Trail, all typically below treeline. If there is an incoming monsoon trip will be postponed.
In terms of backup insulation, I do understand the inherent risk and need for testing these garments, but that inherent danger exists when you use a 20 F quilt in near 20F temps. This clothing list is hiking, sitting at camp, and then sleeping in nothing below 40 F.Jan 29, 2014 at 11:42 am #2067567
@funnymoLocale: Sunshine State
At your specified temps, absent a bad wet&cold experience, you should be fine WITH the down vest. I wouldn't want to hang around camp w/buds at 40 without it.
I've carried down as my primary insulation on almost all my trips for years and am happy.
Also, At your low weights and given that you seem to be a warm sleeper, I'd go with fleece beanie for headwear. MYOG or store-bought will be fine. I like something I can pull down over my nose so a beanie with a cuff is my choice.Jan 29, 2014 at 11:48 am #2067569
I think the Borah vest will do the trick. You have enough insulation and warmth for walking. The extra is just for warmth in camp. If you screwed up bad enough you can just use your bag. If your down bag gets wet, you're going to have to walk. But that's usually the case anyway.
I know your area pretty well and I think a big part of the year is above 40. Just look at reports and take elevation into accountJan 29, 2014 at 12:32 pm #2067589
I have no problem with carrying and keeping dry my down insulation. Anything above 30 I am warm hiking in just my wicked lite and a windshirt, when I stop I could throw on the vest and some gloves. At camp, I suspect I would be good wearing my base, wind shirt, then vest. I like the silk bottoms for sleeping in case it rains and my pants get really wet or very dirty.
What do you think about just the vest, or maybe even a Montbell Ex Light, and a windshirt? That would put me at 10 oz carried clothing give or take.Jan 29, 2014 at 12:43 pm #2067594
Didn't I SAY it was for when it was cold, wet, and possibly windy? If you %100 sure you will never get caught out in those conditions you are fine. If you are not, but will always be within reasonable walking distance for leaving, then you are fine. If you expect the listed gear to protect you if you get caught out in rain at 50 degrees, especially when the sun goes down, when you are already cold, soaked and tired without a reliable primary insulation layer I think you are foolish – if you have not personally experienced these situations yourself, instead of speculating what it will be like sitting in front of your spreadsheet, even more so.
At any rate, my advice is you ever do find yourself under those conditions with that gear is to NEVER use the bag (possibly not even the vest)as insulation until you are ready to stop and hop in your bag under shelter.
The key point: the worst alternative to getting your bag soaked because you decided to use it under a glorified poncho is NOT just having to walk some more.
Have a look at this old but good blog post – in particular the story that starts it. Food for thought.Jan 29, 2014 at 12:56 pm #2067601
Part of the problem is that cold rain is so common in your area. When it's rainy, the highs and lows are often about the same. Forty degree rain is pretty challenging. So 40 degrees and raining is no fun without some light fleece, but I've walked in it without fleece. You'll want to move fast setting up your Gatewood Cape in cold rain. But I still think it will work. You'll need to get dry and in your bag right away. You're just not going to be very comfortable doing it. That's why I typically carry some light fleece or Cap4 type top. You might consider the new Cap 4 or MEC T2 in place of the silk. It breathes well and adds some warmth.Jan 29, 2014 at 1:00 pm #2067603
I will have to look into that fleece and check it out. I have a marmot reactor 9 oz and that has served me well.Jan 29, 2014 at 1:06 pm #2067606
This is my first time seeing the MEC T2, I actually am partial to trying that. Of course I will have to read some reviews, but that seems interested. Thanks!Jan 29, 2014 at 1:06 pm #2067607
@Ben, good call. I was at first going to suggest that a hoody base layer, preferably a wool one like the wool version of the T2 you mention (or the Ibex hoody or its equivalent) might be the thing, but then I thought he would think the extra 8 oz or so too heavy for him, LOL
For the gram weenie I suppose a synthetic puffy, even if it is only a vest, is probably the thing. The key thing here is compensating for, with a bit of insurance, the imperfect nature of granny gatewoods shelter as waterproofing while walking.
If you take something like a T2 or ibex merino hoody (loose the silk top in that case) that I would more or less withdraw my worries, if only because I would be sure you would never be tempted to take out your down to keep warm during the day. Good luck.
FWIW, I usually do use down as my primary insulation layer, I just have gear that heavily strategizes not getting it wet. And it is a fully hooded UL down jacket. So as soon as I stop moving and get under shelter this will snuff out the cold much more effectively than anything else.Jan 29, 2014 at 1:12 pm #2067610
The T2 hoodie is around 6 ounces and it has a hood. Its kind of a cross between a heavy base and light fleece. It's really a nice weight.Jan 29, 2014 at 1:25 pm #2067614
I have not worn had anything like the T2 or Cap 4 personally. I have read about them, but I have been using my Marmot Reactor for my fleece and have never had any reason to change it. With the T2 and my windshirt, would you still advise a down vest? If you have worn the T2, Cap 4, relatively just than and a wind shirt at 40F?Jan 29, 2014 at 1:33 pm #2067617
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
"You'll want to move fast setting up your Gatewood Cape in cold rain. But I still think it will work. You'll need to get dry and in your bag right away."
Caution is needed regarding wet insulation, but as far as setting up a Gatewood or any poncho shelter in the rain: wear your ground cloth! A "polycryo shawl" will keep you dry unless it is a torrential downpour. I rarely see such rain in the PNW and it is usually short lived at that. A light garbage bag could be used, or one of the DriDucks emergency ponchos could be carried for use in camp, latrine calls, etc. Even a cheapie plastic poncho would do the trick and only add 2oz. You can go without insulation for the time it takes to pitch you shelter, so it can stay safely tucked away until you have refuge from the rain.Jan 29, 2014 at 1:38 pm #2067621
At 40 in camp, I still like to have a little puffy. A vest would probably do me. But for SUL purposes, you can probably get by without the puffy. That 4 oz Borah vest would be a nice addition though.Jan 29, 2014 at 1:52 pm #2067629
Alright thanks! I have some new things to consider. I did not think about walking and cold rain. I will check out the MEC T2, see if I can find some thorough reviews. Thanks!Jan 29, 2014 at 2:03 pm #2067633
I would agree that you generally don't want to walk in your puffy, especially in cold rain, which we see a lot of in the SE. A T2/Cap4 under a windshirt and/or cape is plenty down to 40 degrees as long as you are walking. I used this combination well 2 weeks ago in Va. and it was well below 40 degrees with very high winds and some rain and sleet. At night, I think it is be nice to supplement that with a little puffy anyway.Jan 29, 2014 at 4:18 pm #2067681
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
At 40 degrees, I'd ditch the mittens, beanie, and both silk layers, and add a synth puffy as others have said, plus minus a wind shirt. Down to 30 F, I routinely get by with what I'm wearing plus a cocoon pullover and wind shirt.Jan 29, 2014 at 4:19 pm #2067682
"I did not think about walking and cold rain"
Jeremy, the time that really decided me on this issue I was expecting to be too hot, and took about what you had – no real comprehensive upper body rain protection and no real insulation layer. Guess I didn't read the weather forecast. The temps were not that cold – high 40s to low 50s,and the rain was not intense but constant for the whole second day I was out. So what with saturated air, saturated wind shirt and base layers, 10 hours of hiking, by the end of the day as soon as I stopped moving I instantly started to shiver. I had a very minimal tarp for wind protection (it was by then strongly gusting). Not a nice situation to be in, especially if you don't take it seriously enough and lollygag around looking for a better place to camp, and so forth. It was ok, but with one or two more minor mistakes and the negative feedback might have set in. Its fine to go SUL, just know when you do so the margins are less, so think through those scenarios more beforehand. With SUL clothing if you say to yourself "oh, if that happened I'll just do X" you need to be very sure that X will actually work for you, because there may be no Y and Z options.Jan 29, 2014 at 4:49 pm #2067694
I don't understand the issue here. A poncho + windshirt + base layer sounds fine for hiking in the rain at temps around 40-50. I understand that extended rain with that set up would get cold and uncomfortable and a light midlayer would make all the difference but this is a matter of looking at the weather forecast.
Yeah, you would be very cold when setting up camp but he has a sleeping bag. There is a difference between discomfort and danger. Discomfort is ok by me if the chances of it aren't very high. If discomfort is likely then I would carry gear for that specific discomfort. By that logic I would say to the OP that your kit is fine but if you are heading out into rainy weather you should add a mid-layer.
I don't know anything about the OP's local weather so I may be talking out of my butt on this…Jan 29, 2014 at 6:59 pm #2067734
just Justin WhitsonMember
Just a quick point out. If you're using untreated polyester socks, and you do any lengthier trips, your feet are going to get stink arse stanky and fairly quick most likely.
I opt for thin merino wool with high nylon content for that reason, MUCH better. Now if you can find some high polyester blend socks with say polygiene treatment (or similar, but it's supposedly more durable than many other odor treatments), then you should be good to go.
I also use a specialty item sock, which is really hard to find, for warmer temps. It's a mostly linen sock with some polyester. Also stays really fresh.
Edit: very much agree with the T2 or Cap4 recommendations.Jan 29, 2014 at 11:50 pm #2067822
"There is a difference between discomfort and danger."
Yeah, I guess I should have been more specific in my story. I'm very used to discomfort, and was immersed in it for 8-10 hours before that, so some of my safety alarms might have been deadened leading up to that point. When I said that I started shivering as soon as I stopped, I did not mean I said "burrr, it damn cold". I meant I started loosing control of my body, *shaking* enough to make it hard to do stuff like drive in stakes, and there was definitely some questionable thinking going on in my head. Its a bit of a catch 22 trying to use your messed up brain to analyze your messed up brains changes, but the shaking part was not subtle, not those little shivers you get. So, very preliminary stages of hypothermia, yes. Scary, yes. Dangerous, no probably not since when it started I knew I needed to take steps quick.
But I was alone, and if not standing on the precipice, I could see where it was off in the distance. Quite possibly I am just more susceptible than you BAMFs out there, but I have experienced enough pain and discomfort in my life to know this was something different. Main point is don't take it for granted, this episode happened in high 40's, but developed over many hours of insufficient core layering for the particular situation.
Anyway, sounds like we came to exactly the same conclusion about what to bring, just differ on the potential consequences. Yeah, and also tO check the forecast a few days out. LOLJan 30, 2014 at 9:59 am #2067912
I've been there. Hypothermia can really sneak up on you. And I've found that when soaking wet it can be hard to tell how cold you really are.
I now carry a powerful firestarter that I can light it, throw on wood, and be almost guaranteed of a fire. When you are cold and wet all day it can be hard to warm up in your bag without an external heat source.
So yeah, I agree that going into extended cold rain without a midlayer that will keep you warm while wet is not a good idea. I really like my fleece vest, it's easy to slide on and off when I need warmth and it doesn't soak up much water.Jan 30, 2014 at 10:43 am #2067922
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
This is ass-backwards; to make the required clothing system fit into an arbitrary weight. The way to approach this is to determine what clothing you need to meet the conditions and then, and only then, will you know what it will weigh. What works on a spreadsheet does not necessarily work in the field.
I have seen 24 hour weather predictions calling for highs in the 60's and low's in the 40's turning into high's in the 40's and low's at or below freezing, and this has happened during backpacking trips — in Southern California.
There is nothing worse, and possibly more critical to your well-being, than windblown rain that is just above the freezing point or even in high 40's F. You can hike in it and stay somewhat warm and somewhat cold at the same time, but when you stop you better have something warm to wear, and sometimes it needs to be put on immediately. Hypothermia is serious business.
In these conditions, if your shelter is your rain gear, you need to have lots of practice on how to set it up quickly, get warm, and not soak your insulation at the same time.
For this reason, I do not have a standard do-all kit. The requirements for each trip often varies. My base weight might be 4 lbs, or it might be 10 lbs or more. And when it comes to weather, you need to be prepared for worse than the forecast.
I do not want to discourage you, just think things out and be prepared. Below is a link to a trip report (remember the audience is my kids) for an XUL trip with temps down to around freezing and rainy days. This was mostly a "what can I do and be comfortable" exercise, not my everyday normal kind of trip. I am no stranger to kits of 5 lbs or less, but they are predicated on the trip, with room for extremes. But the gear I chose for this trip might be helpful. Also remember I have been doing this hiking thing for a long time, and experience plays a big part — what I am implying is that as the experience level and skill increases, then one can start moving to a more minimalist kit.
A couple notes on this trip…
I brought a Montbell Ex UL vest. It was not warm enough for this trip. However, I planned on using my quilt as camp-wear if needed. But the inner and outer material is completely Cuben, so I was confident I would not get the insulation wet. With a different quilt or sleeping bag, I probably would have brought a warmer jacket.
My poncho is smaller than what most people use. The hiking shorts hung below the bottom of the poncho and sometimes caused me to get colder than I wanted when they got rain-soaked. Since then, I often bring a cuben skirt with this poncho. Hiking with a conventional poncho or something the size of a Gatewood takes some getting used to. Plan on using a draw-cord around your waist for windy days or brushy areas.
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