Jan 4, 2008 at 9:30 am #1226584
I am sort of new to backpacking, have gone on a couple summer hikes and think I am ready to delve into some winter trips. I have a Kelty lightyear 25 degree down sleeping bag, but know that this alone will not suffice for the colder temperatures I will no doubt encounter. I am thinking about trying a quilt to put over my bag and was thinking about the western mountaineering version. I have never seen these used, only read about them here. How small do they pack? Is this the best method to try or should I just break down and buy a zero degree rated bag (I am a very cold sleeper). I most likely will be using a tent, however it is a floorless design, so then, my other question is groundcloth and sleeping pad. Currently, I use a Big Agnes REM aircore, which is great on warmer trips, but I am finding out that closed cell foam is the way to go in colder climates. Any recommendations I could get would be greatly appreciated. I don't want to freeze my tail off "experimenting" with different ideas.Jan 4, 2008 at 10:27 am #1414818
@cuzzettjLocale: NorCal - South Bay
Step1: Go to the Reader "Review Index" on the right side of your screen. This will help you with general knowledge and information about pads, quilts and any other gear you may be looking at. Sometimes these reveiws are general and just what you need to start out. The Magazine articles can be too technical starting out. But in my humble opinion the basics in Reader Reviews will get you started while the Magazine side will get more technical.
Step 2: Then go to Magazine and browse through the 12 pages of Gear articles listed. Do the same for Technology.
Ready for step 3… Open a second web page and go direct to each of the manufacture web sites. BPL has introduced me to many small shops I would have never found in my hunt for the right gear.
Step 4: Determine your new criteria and price range. I found I don't go to far from the car during the winter so I use heavier gear (read cheaper) and/or a gear sled to lighten what is on my back. But you will need to determine your needs.
Now what I use:
Pad: 4 mil plastic ground cloth, folded moving blanket with a thermarest air pad wrapped inside, and my Ridgerest (closed cell foam) on top of that for a mat. (read here – I like to be warm and I am cheap).
Bag: USMC Gortex Bivy with a 15F Sierra Designs sleeping bag inside of that. I don't zip this up and sleep under it like a quilt unless it drops below the 20F mark.
Clothing: I where poly pro top and bottom (may also carry fleece), dry sox with wool hat, and facemask with wool mittens. The best part is this is all modular. Where what you need, when you need it.
The set up is good to 0F, maybe lower.
If tempatures are going to be lower I use the complete USMC sleep system because it is good to -30F. This has two bags that actually zip the bivy and bags altogether. It is about 7 lbs complete. No light. But a great system.
We usually base camp and then do lots of day long side trips. So like I said weight for me isn't an issue.
Enjoy!Jan 4, 2008 at 10:43 am #1414819
I love this website! What a wealth of knowledge. Thanks so much! I will start looking at your suggestions and will report back with anymore questions.
Thanks again!Jan 4, 2008 at 3:38 pm #1414854
@lithiummetalmanLocale: Cesspool Central!
Reader Review section is awesome
Cannot go wrong with a Mountaineering Westerneering bags
Some things that have worked (for me so far)for temps down to single digits
-2 sleeping pads: foam pad combined with a Thermarest inflatable
-2 sleeping bags: a 25 degree Western Mountaineering Ultralite 25 combined with TNF Propel 40 degree (no zippered footbox)
feet: over sized fleece socks combined with wool liners
legs: thermals base combined with insulated track warmers
upper: thermal base + shirt with heavier "wind shirt" – Montbell Thermawrap parka used as a blanket over torso / shoulders, sandwiched between the two sleeping bags
head: fleece beanie
Weather: If I know it's going to be clear and windless then I sleep on top of my bivy (Integral Designs Salathe), with the sleeping pads inside the bivy, that way if the weather / wind decides to turn nasty I can dive into the bivy without much fuss.
The system changes depending on what activities I am doing.
Experimenting is definitley the way to go, be safeJan 4, 2008 at 6:01 pm #1414880
What bivy do you use? This is another item that I currently do not own but know I will need to buy before venturing out on a winter hike. How much do they add to the temp. rating of your sleeping bag?Jan 4, 2008 at 6:03 pm #1414881
okay, sorry, you did mention the bivy you used (what can I say, it's Friday!)
Still curious as to the added temp. rating though.Jan 10, 2008 at 2:16 pm #1415623
@lithiummetalmanLocale: Cesspool Central!
Hi Lindsay, sorry for the late reply (limited internet access)
I use a Integral Designs Salathe (not the lightest thing, but effective), it adds maybe 10 degrees of warmth?
Just to let you know, it's a squeeze inside the bivy with everything sandwiched together! If I know that I am going to be out for more than a nite with the bivy & weight is not too much an issue then I leave my down sleeping bag at home and rent a 0 degree Marmot in it's stead.
Hope this helps!
cheers!Jan 21, 2008 at 10:48 pm #1417124
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Buy "Allen and Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book"
It's absolutly THE best book on the subject of winter camping (and some skiiing info, of course). Plus it's small, filled with cartoonish but informative illustrations on every page and has a very good equipment list.
As a former Nordic Ski Patroller and Army ROTC winter survival instructor I can say this is the info you must have befor doing any winter camping.
EricJan 22, 2008 at 6:55 am #1417147
@arichardson6Locale: North East
It must be true that people like to change things up. You went from nordic ski patroller to the Mojave! Though I guess it is not too far from some snow! :)
Edit: Also, I will have to check that book out for next winter when I have hopefully gathered enough gear to do an overnighter!Jan 22, 2008 at 7:26 am #1417153
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
"THE" really cool backcountry ski book just so happens to be written by a fellow BPL member, Mike Clelland! In case that's any reason to pick it up. Allen & Mike's book is a great primer on winter camping and backcountry ski touring.Jan 22, 2008 at 7:31 am #1417155
@chadnscLocale: Duluth, Minnesota
I just ordered it!
I hope the wife forgives me for spending more money. I will just explain to her that this book will keep of my wee parts frostbite free and functioning. That should keep her happy. :)
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