Feedback on my winter gear list / setup
Dec 4, 2021 at 11:46 pm #3733989
As is the case for many others the last couple of years, my interest in backpacking, hiking, mountain e-biking, packrafting, and spending time outdoors have gone through the roof.
The road from a very heavy backpack and down to a more lightweight backpack have been a tricky, but important one. My winter setup have gone from 31 kg (ca 68 lbs) to about 17-18 kg (37 lbs – ish). The weight includes everything that goes into my backpack, including 1 litre of water and a food bag for 1-2 days.
I know that some of the weight included in that weight can can be trimmed of lies in the food (not dryfood), but I do not like eating only freeze dried meals from a bag.
Even though I have managed to leave a lot of gear and luxury items at home, I would like to see if there if even more that I could try to optimize – but still keep the style of backpacking/level of comfort that I would like to have.
Therefore, I was hoping that some of you that are more experienced than me, could take a look at my pack list and see if you have any suggestions that could get the weight down even more, but still try to keep the same style of backpacking.
The place of backpacking that this list is tailored to is below the tree-line in Norway in the region of Telemark/Viken/Oppland/Oslo (eastern part of the country).
I have listed the measured or estimated weight on some, but not all, of the items below in grams. Thank you for any input that you can give me!
Slingfin Crossbow 2
Foam sleeping mat
Fuel bottle 1 liter inkl bensin
Fuel Bottle 750ml
Plate for stove (avoid snow melting)
Nalgene with thermo sleeve and water
Pissing bottle (grønn nalgene)
Head lights Silva Exceed 3xt
First aid kit
GSI Coffee filter
Sea to summit coffe mug
Sea to summit Plate
HMG Southwest 4400
Knife – morakniv companion
Stol helinox chair zero
Optimus Weekend He Cook set
2 pairs thick socks
2 sets merino wool underwear
Gloves or mittens
Base camp cap
Mountain equipment compressor pants
Hard shell jacket
Soft or hardshell pants
Western mountaineering down booties
Komperdell carbon trekking poles
HenrikDec 7, 2021 at 9:21 am #3734177
It is not clear to me why you have a bivy and the tent, Is the bivy used to augment your sleeping system?
Depending on the type of surfaces you pitching the Crossbow on, you might not need the footprint.
There is also the option of leaving the crossing bow behind and using the lighter weight pitch configuration for the SlingFin.
Strike igniter = fire steel, yes?
You have multiple tool/knives. Do you need the Leatherman and the the Companion? I assume that you are also building fires and using the Companion to make tinder. The Companion is a great knife but perhaps the Eldris could do the job at less weight.
The chair is a luxury item but many of us know consider them necessary to enjoy to the trip itself. :-)
You don’t say how long your trips are. You have a lot of electronics on the list. Perhaps for a shorter trip of a few days, just leave all the electronics at home. Or just take a fully charged Garmin inReach to let folks at home know where you are.
How many pots and pans are in the Optimus cookset. When winter camping, I just take a cup, bowl, and one 2 liter pot.Dec 7, 2021 at 11:29 am #3734201MarcusBPL Member
First, the website LighterPack.com allows you to enter all your gear and weights, then it displays a graph so you can visually see what categories in your pack consume the most weight. Getting all my gear in a spreadsheet like this was very helpful in identifying where I can/should cut weight.
I see a couple items that are easy to cut weight on –
If you replace your batter y pack with a Nitecore NB10000, that only weighs ~150g. Also the Nitecore NU25 headlamp is much much lighter than your current one, ~60g. As mentioned your knife is rather heavy. Could you get away with one ~60g?
Good luck with the lightening!Dec 7, 2021 at 12:29 pm #3734205
Correction. I looked up what a Zenbivy is. It is a sleeping quilt so disregard my comment.Dec 8, 2021 at 1:47 am #3734247
Thank you for the input – both of you!
The Crossbow might be pitched directly onto snow without the footprint – I agree on that point. However – in lack of snow, it’s hard to predict what kind of ground I have to pitch the tent on. But I’ll put a note on my pack list so that I don’t bring a footprint when the snow Is nice and thick – good suggestion.
The lighter pitch – are you thinking of leaving behind the webtruss? If so; I agree. Most of the time, the weather below the tree line isn’t so bad that I need to use it. Also the guylines appear to be very thick, and perhaps too thick for what’s needed below the tree-line. Maybe I should replace them with something thinner.
Strike igniter is a fire steel – yes :)
I don’t need all the functionality of the leatherman – just the pliers really. The morakniv is not really used for making firewood, just cooking and something that might be useful, somehow. I make firewood mostly by breaking the branches. I could probably be fine without the morakniv entirely, and just use the knife on the leatherman. Thanks for the tips about ligher knives – I’ll consider that!
My trips are not so long, about 1-2 days for the most part, due to home commitments. However, I plan for a 7 day trip next year. I think I should buy the Garmin inReach as pointed out, it’s seems like a good insurance policy.
The optimus weekend he cookset has just one pot and one pan. Weighs in at only 284grams total. Sometimes I leave the little frying pan behind, and bring the MSR Quick Skillet instead.
Thank you for the tips about LigherPack.com – I’ll definitely check that one out.
The Nitecore products seem very attractive. However I see that the headlamps have short amount of battery-time. In Norway the sun, today, goes down at 3pm. So there are many hours of darkness that the headlight is needed. But maybe, two rechargeable batteries, in combination with the battery pack, can supply enough electricity to last two nights. I’ll try to find some sort of calculation method online. My Silva headlight has a huge battery and can go up to 60hours with 80lumen in -5 celsius (theoretically). By experience, with mixed use, it lasts two nights.
I’ll check out if I can get away with both the reduced battery pack, and the lighter headlamp, or at least with a lighter headlamp that can be recharged by my existing large battery pack. Thanks for the tips!
HenrikDec 8, 2021 at 5:48 am #3734251dirtbagBPL Member
U don’t necessarily need head lamp on when “sun goes down”. Your eyes will adjust accordingly if you let them. Use headlamp sparingly.Dec 8, 2021 at 8:31 am #3734261
Henrik, If pitching on snow, I would not use a footprint. if you cannot always pitch on snow, then yes I agree you might need to bring the footprint although there might be lighter after market options like DCF footprint from Z packs
In reference to the lighter pitch, I was thinking of the pitch without the crossbow which the SlingFin website say saves 3.5 oz or 98 grams.
I am not sure you want to go this route, but I got my winter pack weight without consumables like food, fuel and water, into the 20 to 21 kg range by leaving the tent behind and using a pyramid shelter. I tried various mids from different vendors and ended up with a Mountain Laurel Designs DuoMid. If you can dig down into the snow a bit, you can create a winter palace for one.Dec 8, 2021 at 8:36 am #3734262
In winter, I take personally take beefier headlamp than in the other three seasons. You cannot sleep the whole night because night is so long and sometimes I read. Often it is overcast, so there is hardly any ambient light from stars or the moon to see when you go out to do your business in the middle of the night. If a big storm hits and you need to reconfigure your pitch in the the night, you need an electric light.Dec 8, 2021 at 8:53 am #3734263dirtbagBPL Member
I agree.. and the Nitecore would be more then suffice for all the above. You could always put it in red light mode to read and do things locally too, which saves battery life tremendously. Im not saying ditch the head lamp…Dec 18, 2021 at 8:07 am #3735033
Thanks for the input so far. I was unaware of Nitecore – which seem to have a lot of interesting gear. The NU25 is interesting, but seem to have less battery runtime then I prefer.
I have made some purchases now that will bring the weight somewhat down – the Nitecore NU32, the Toaks Titanium 1,3litre (for snowmelting – replaces my snow melting pot S2S x pot 4litre), and the Nitecore NB10000.
In addition I am going to replace some of the guylines on the Crossbow 2 that appear to be slightly overkill.
Other than that, I’m uncertain. Maybe I also will be getting the therm a rest x therm large as I am going to backpack in temperatures around -20 to -25 degrees celsius. I guess the R value of 6.9 will be preferable in those temperatures, compared to my existing sleeping pad that has an R value of 5. Seems to be a 100gram-ish weight difference there that will bring the weight a bit down.
The role of the knife is still not clear to me. Maybe I will be leaving the knife behind and just rely on the leatherman. As mentioned – i don’t use the knife for making firewood (but maybe this will change over time). If cutting up larger dead trees, I guess the “manual” chain saw or an axe will be more suitable.Dec 18, 2021 at 2:30 pm #3735087
battery run time. Sounds like you need for sure power for two long winter nights plus headroom for in case of emergency.
You might research the rated run time of headlamps that use 2AA or 3AAA lithium non rechargeable batteries vs the various rechargable options.
I use a USB rechargeable headlamp in the 3 seasons, but for winter use 3 AAA Lithium non rechargeables in my Petzl headlamp plus another 3AAAs as backup.
Last time I checked such a chart, the non-rechargeables had about 2X the milliamp hour capacity of best rechargeables. But perhaps rechargeable chemistry has improved lately.Dec 18, 2021 at 5:53 pm #3735095Roger CaffinBPL Member
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
I make my own headlamps (yeah, MYOG nut). So I can define the brightness.
I use a single AA Lithium battery and it will last for a year or two.
The BIG mistake so many people make is to buy a high-powered floodlight instead of a small headlight. You simply do NOT need all those lumens to operate inside your tent or to go for a short walk outside. Go for the dimmest setting and let your eyes adapt.
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