Dec 6, 2010 at 10:38 am #1266290
I am planning to do some snow shoeing and camping this year. This will be a first for me. I know to camp near the car to give myself an out as a first timer. I expect temps to be between 0* & 30*F. I've got everything covered except for my hands and my feet.
For my hands I'm considering the RBH Designs Vapor Mitt with either the Altitude VaprTherm Liner (double 3d polarguard and I'm strongly favoring this one) or the Hybrid VaprThrm Liner (fleece palm and 3d polarguard). As for my feet, I am a little confused about RBH Design's offerings. The footwear system I'm planning consists of Inov8 310s sized one to one-and-a-half sizes larger than my normal size 10. Originally, I was going to go with a nylon liner sock, a vbl, an insulating sock and a Rocky Gore-Tex over-sock if needed and a neoprene over-boot. I also own a pair of high OR Gaiters. However, based on advice given to a member on a recent thread, I started looking at RBH Designs. They offer a liner sock AND an insulating sock. Are they both vbls as they they infer in the product descriptions? And, if they're both vbls, wouldn't that be over-kill or can you get away with either one or the other with an optional Rocky Gore-Tex sock if conditions become wet? Also, does anyone know of any lightweight snowshoes that are relatively inexpensive yet reliable? I don't want to spend a lot of money on snowshoes until I know if I'll like it.
Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Also, please know that I grew up in the frigid midwest, but I haven't experienced those kinds of temps in 30 years. The winter days here in socal average between 59* & 75*F typically.
Thanks allDec 6, 2010 at 11:00 am #1671383
For the first couple times (experimentation) just go with thin liner socks, produce bags from the grocery store for VBL and some nice heavy wool insulating socks (I like the Smartwool Mountaineer). Rocky Gore-Tex socks are good stuff. Overboots may not be needed unless temps are very low (0* or below for me). I would look at MSR snowshoes. Good stuff and can be had on eBay or Gear Swap here for relatively cheap. Good luck!Dec 6, 2010 at 11:19 am #1671390
Thank you for the recommendations. Are you sure about the grocery bags? I use those a lot for various projects and those things are pretty porous and delicate. Any other suggestions for a VBL?Dec 6, 2010 at 12:06 pm #1671402
@davidlutzLocale: Bay Area
I've heard of people using bread bags……
Or grocery bags……Dec 6, 2010 at 12:09 pm #1671404
Hiking MaltoBPL Member
Many REI's and other sporting good shops will rent snowshoes. If you check around you might find that you can try out a variety of them. Also, I recall a shop in the SF Bay area that sold their rentals at the end of the year.
I have the Rockytop GTX socks on order. I plan to wear them with sock liners and normal trail runners while snowshoeing. I may have to switch to mid weight hiking socks but generally my feet stay very warm while snowshoeing.Dec 6, 2010 at 12:13 pm #1671407
Jeffrey McConnellBPL Member
I'm just curious. Where are you planning on going?Dec 6, 2010 at 12:21 pm #1671414
Thanks Dave and Greg,
You wouldn't happen to remember the name of that shop would you? I will definitely check into rentals.Dec 6, 2010 at 12:24 pm #1671416
@davidlutzLocale: Bay Area
Greg – Did you get out last weekend? Let me know how those Rocky socks work, I've been thinking about getting some.
Back to Kendall's thread..
Sunrise Mountaineering in Livermore occasionally sells off their rental stuff.Dec 6, 2010 at 12:29 pm #1671418
For the first couple of times I was thinking about Big Bear. I've been watching the weather in that area lately and the lowest I've seen lately, temp wise, is 5* F.Dec 6, 2010 at 12:35 pm #1671423
Thanks David… Btw sorry for calling you Matt. I went to school with a Matt Lutz years ago.Dec 6, 2010 at 12:43 pm #1671427
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
As I've said several times here, buying a copy of "Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book" is THE best introduction to winter camping, even if you don't ski, as 2/3 of the book is about winter camping. Fully 1/2 of the info in that slim book is from Mike Clelland's great, cartoonish illustrations.Dec 6, 2010 at 12:44 pm #1671428
Jeffrey McConnellBPL Member
Cool. If you ever decide to go snowshoeing around San Jacinto, I know that they rent snow shoes at the tram station there ($18/day). It may be cheaper at REI if you're a member.Dec 6, 2010 at 12:54 pm #1671433
+1 on the book. Informative, humorous, and if you are a visual learner the pics will make the book's content stick in your brain. Glad I picked it up after reading about it here on BPL.Dec 6, 2010 at 2:24 pm #1671481
@rayestrellaLocale: Northern Minnesota
The REI in Santa Ana (which may have moved to Tustin Ranch by now) rents snowshoes and used to rent boots too. I know as we had to outfit one of Dave's girls for her one and only winter backpacking trip.
The tram to SJSP is a pretty good trip for just starting out as you can be to Round Valley in a few hours tops and it is usually well traveled.
Have fun Kendell. Winter adds a whole new level to your hiking.Dec 6, 2010 at 2:27 pm #1671482
Eric LOL You are correct sir. In fact, I have seen you recommend that book on several occasions. My apologies. I'll definitely pick it up. :) I assume it's on Amazon?Dec 6, 2010 at 4:23 pm #1671516
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
(1) If you can stay 100% dry, it is not too hard to stay warm. So, try hard not to sweat excessively, step in any streams, or get much snow on your clothing.
(2) Make sure that you have a reliable stove so that you can make a quick hot drink any time you get chilled.
–B.G.–Dec 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm #1671540
>I've heard of people using bread bags……
>Or grocery bags……
What about using a Subway sandwich bag as a VBL? They are tube shaped and fairly durable.
MikeDec 6, 2010 at 5:59 pm #1671561
Kendall, I'm in the same boat as you, trying to figure out my extremities. I'll be going to Vermont, expecting temps around 0*F for most of the time, plus (or minus!) windchill…I'll be using 40below overboots, vb. socks and light trail runners for my feet.
I think you will be fine with most anything around 25-30*, at least for moving. your inov8's plus warm socks should e fine. But you will need to keep the system dry, or at least keep it from freezing at night.
Michael, good call on the subway bags. Two bags per day, plus one extra is three, get a free foot-long with each $5 bag…three footlongs per day…three meals per day…
I think i've got my menu worked out for the trip too!
just a thought, but if you wear vb. socks, then you don't need wp/b socks, just another waterproof layer as there shouldn't be any moisture inside it. could save some $ and just go liner-plastic bag-thick sock-plastic bag. Bring extras, but it should still be lighter than wp/b socks unless you're heading out for a long time.Dec 8, 2010 at 2:44 pm #1672325
Thanks everyone for the advice and tips.
Eric, I ordered the book yesterday.
B.G., S Long &
Raymond, Thanks for the REI rental tip and the good wishes.
I really like the subway or bread bag idea. And, Will, 2 bags per foot sounds like a good system. And, you're right, it would be lighter than a vbl and Rocky Gore-Tex Sock not to mention taking up less space. I decided to carry a G4 for all my insulated gear. Just got it today on BPL.
Jeff, I will definitely consider San Jacinto for snow shoeing.
Thanks all. If anyone else has any suggestions, I'm open to them.Dec 15, 2010 at 9:43 am #1674458
I owe you all an apology. I started this thread completely absent-minded of the fact that many of my questions were answered in an earlier thread begun by Dave Chenault on 10/03/2010. Also, Dave's VERY informative article was extremely helpful to me. I have been so INCREDIBLY busy with work since last spring that I often forget what goes on in the rest of my life. I am very sorry if I wasted anyone's time.
Thanks you to those of you who contributed their invaluable advice.
KendallDec 15, 2010 at 12:41 pm #1674501
@catsnackLocale: Smoky Mountains
They way I see it, no apologies needed! Some people are either not too handy with the search function or don't feel like messing with it. Plus, it is good to get some of this information back up to the top of the list so it is easy to find. I wasn't even looking for it, but I learned some cool alternatives to my current methods! I'm sure other people will find (or have already found) this simply by browsing, and learned something along the way. Enjoy your outings and stay safe!Dec 16, 2010 at 7:39 am #1674672
@davecLocale: The West Slope
Kendall, subway bags make good VBL liners. I've had them last for up to 10 days worth of trips. Trim them to the level of your outer, insulating sock so they don't flop around.Dec 16, 2010 at 7:47 pm #1674916
I really appreciate that.Dec 16, 2010 at 7:50 pm #1674918
Thanks Dave. I live about a block from Subway. Guess I'll make it part of my holiday diet. Hahaha!Dec 16, 2010 at 8:06 pm #1674927
@rosierabbitLocale: Pacific Northwest
Kendall – I just noticed this thread and would like to chime in on another idea for keeping your feet warm and dry. I use Inov8 310's for 3 seasons, but when I'm in snow I switch to my Keen Growlers. Keeping the shoe itself dry makes a BIG difference. I wear a liner sock and an outer wool-blend sock from Costco. Plus MLD gaiters. That's all I need. Mr. B and I are out in snow all winter long, usually 2 days a week, sometimes 3. When I can find someone to actually backpack in the snow with me, I still use the same sock and boot system. It's simple and it works well for me.
Have fun with your snow adventures!
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