Field Notes: Winter Backpacking in Southeast Wyoming

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Field Notes: Winter Backpacking in Southeast Wyoming

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)
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    Ryan Jordan


    Locale: Central Rockies

    Companion forum thread to: Field Notes: Winter Backpacking in Southeast Wyoming

    Lightweight backpacking in winter: field notes from SE Wyoming – tarp camping, firebuilding, wood stove cooking, and more (VIDEO).

    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mojave Desert

    Thanks for that video Ryan.Winter camping is too often seen as an “ordeal” by those inexperienced on how to do it so they avoid this great time of year. “No bugs and no people”

    And, yet once again, I highly recommend “Allen & Mike’s Really Cool Back Country Ski Book” (which is actually about 50% on winter camping) as the best book on the subject for beginners and anybody wanting to brush up on their winter camping skills.

    My take on your tarp is that you need good weather to make it a comfortable shelter.

    ->I use my TT Moment DW solo tent – but to save weight I could use it “fly only” however I’d still need a ground cloth so why not just take the inner tent as well?

    ->With puffy clothing I can take my overstuffed 20 F. WM Megalite down to 10 F. But if temps threaten to go lower I take my LL Bean -20 F. down bag. It is a Long so I have room for boot liners, neoprene foam divers socks VBLs and water (inside closed dry bags). In cold weather I always sleep in a 100 weight fleece balaclava. Also good for cold, windy, nasty days.

    ->My REI FLASH All Season Insulated air mattress is good at R5.3 to around -10 F. Below that I have a Thermarest Ridgerest to go under it.

    ->For travel I use a medium (200 weight) Polartec fleece pullover over polar weight poly base layer and Norwegian wool sweater. A 200 weight fleece vest is available for temperature drops.

    -> for in camp wear I have:

    3/4 side zip Thermolite Micro puffy pants

    But, depending on temperatures my travel pants are either TNF GTX shell ski pants or if it will be colder, Duluth Trading nylon cargo pants W/200 weight fleece lining. Very cozy!

    Eddie Bauer PEAK XV baffled down parka heavier than your Patagonia Fitz Roy but extremely warm, even at -25 F. It’s stuffed in my Sea to Summit pump dry bag so the bag does double duty.

    I’m usually skiing in on Tele skis & skins with Voile’ release bindings and Scarpa T3 plastic backcountry boots. Full coverage Thinsulate insulated “super gaiters” come along for very cold temps.

    ->My snowshoes are MSR Lightning Ascent IF I wear my Sorel Felt pac boots.

    -> extended Leki aluminum hiking poles W/snow baskets

    ->Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti stove W/Inferno woodburning kit & mating 3 cup pot. Hottest wood stove I know with its Inferno “gassifier” wood burning insert. As shown in your video small stoves like this need only finger size sticks for fuel.

    ->My selection of battered and scratched ski goggles will offer at least one decent pair for a trip.       BTW, I’ll pick up a pair of those SMITH IO photochromic goggles since I need a new pair anyway. ANd the women’s size will fit my narrow face better. Hopefully they will fit over my glasses. Thanks for the tip.




    Duane Hall


    Locale: Nova Scotia

    A most enjoyable and informative video.  I picked up some valuable pointers.


    James Marco
    BPL Member


    Locale: Finger Lakes

    Nice video, Thanks!

    Ken Larson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Western Michigan

    Great Job!!

    One Question concerning:

    Hi Ken,

    Thanks for the note and question.  That is the same pair Ryan wore in the BD ski video.  That is a pair we made for Ryan about 10 years ago.  Virtually identical to the way we make them now.  The only difference is that the color is now all black (no neo green), the snap is black, and the material on the sole is a stronger fabric.  The front opening on that pair, and the current design, is still hook and loop.  We do make a shorty version, and that one is a large zipper, with knit cuff.  Let me know if you have any other thoughts/ideas.


    Joel Attaway

    Forty Below Ltd

    Ethan A.
    BPL Member


    Locale: SF Bay Area & New England

    I’ve only had a chance to watch the first 10 minutes and looking forward to the rest tonight. Thank you Ryan and very well done.

    Love the Forty Below Light Energy TR Overboots and have used them over lightweight Keen Growler 200g Thinsulate boots for snowshoeing. They are warm and very durable. I’m looking for a lightweight traction device to protect the bottoms of the overboots in camp and for winter hiking. Any suggestions?

    Joel at Forty Below suggested one of the STABILicers models, of which there are 6. No idea yet how much they weigh:

    I know others who stick with high gaiters instead so that they have the advantage of the traction and durability of their exposed boot soles when they’re not on snowshoes, but I wouldn’t want to give up the warmth of the overboots.

    BPL Member


    Love it. I really enjoy watching all of your videos and reading trip reports. Thanks for all you do.  Im sure it’s not easy. Please keep posting more videos of your trips!! Would you ever consider bringing a hammock and tarp instead of sleeping on ground?

    Chris K
    BPL Member


    Agreed – great piece.

    Seeing something as simple as a local overnight well-described in detail is unexpectedly easy to watch. Ryan, your narrative and editorial talents are well served by the video medium, definitely keep it up.

    Also, nice to see what you guys talked about on the backcountry camera/video podcast put into practice so well.

    No Limu, just Doug
    BPL Member


    Locale: The Cascades

    @mountainwalker: “I’m looking for a lightweight traction device to protect the bottoms of the overboots in camp and for winter hiking. Any suggestions?”

    It looks like Ryan is wearing STABILicers Hike Macro traction ice cleats in his video.

    Nathan V
    BPL Member


    Locale: The Great Lake State

    Thanks Ryan, I’m just getting into winter camping, and learned a bunch of valuable tips from this.

    Jeff McWilliams
    BPL Member


    Locale: Midwest

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>What were your synthetic insulated pants when in camp?</p>

    Ryan Jordan


    Locale: Central Rockies

    Jeff – those were some DIY pants I made. Full length separating zips, Climashield Apex insulation, Pertex Shield fabric on the outside, Quantum on the inside, elastic cuffs and waist with a snap/zip fly and a drawcord at the waist as well.

    To everyone else, thanks for jumping in and helping answer questions, and thank you for the kind comments. It was really fun shooting the video, and putting it together, and for me at least, it’s pretty neat to go back and relive it like this. I tried not to edit too much in order to provide a flavor of what it was like as much as possible. I’m looking forward to doing more of these in this kind of style, which was very enjoyable.

    James Marco
    BPL Member


    Locale: Finger Lakes

    Yeah, reminiscent of the old Arctic Hike, years ago.  Anyway, we could use more of this.


    Jack Whiting
    BPL Member


    Locale: (null)

    I can’t seem to understand the brand of cleats you’re wearing with the overboots.  Can you help?

    Link .
    BPL Member


    Jack he has clickable links that take you directly to what gear he is using. just like the one I am putting here

    STABILicers Hike Macro Traction Ice Cleats .

    Gary Dunckel
    BPL Member


    Locale: Boulder

    Ryan, that was a darned good video production. Lots of good discussion about the gear and your technique. Now you should talk Danny Milks into offering the Byrnje ‘fish net’ base layers on Massdrop, so that we po’ folk can afford to buy a set.

    Edit – Dan Dursten told me that Danny Milks no longer works for Massdrop.

    Ethan A.
    BPL Member


    Locale: SF Bay Area & New England

    Thanks Doug for pointing out the cleats model.

    Ryan, are you happy with the STABILicers Hike Macro? Why did you choose that particular model? Do you usually leave the removable 1/2″ cleats on? Seemed like the removable 1/2 in. cleats might have made your footing a little more difficult when you were climbing over rock.

    I’m still waiting to receive weight/pair for their models and will share them once I get them. Wish they’d list them on the website.


    Adam G
    BPL Member


    It’s interesting to see how winter backpacking in Wyoming is completely different than winter camping up in Washington. Water easily available? Rocks not completely covered in snow or sheets of ice requiring instep crampons? Walking on snow without snowshoes in which you’re still postholing 3 feet down? Dry wood available for burning? Where is this magical place?

    Curt Peterson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Thank you for this! So much to relate to. I’ve been there so many nights – but kinda fun to be sitting in my living room watching this on a 55″ TV with a fire going instead of actually being there :)

    Two things caught my attention:

    1. I’m now all in on a small titanium stove. I always thought they were kinda dumb, but now I’m thinking the psychological benefits of a real wood flame are worth another look.
    2. Watching you blow into a fire at the end of a long, cold night made me want to magically transmit a bellows into my TV directly to you. No, it’s not the lightest. Yes, there are other options than can do similar. But this really “just works” and for an ounce or so it’s magic when a fire is much, much more than just a heat source.

    Again, thank you, Ryan!

    Curt Peterson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Oh – and I LOVED the Bluegrass camp breakdown music!

    Patrick Podenski
    BPL Member


    Nice video!

    As others have mentioned, during the winter up here in the PNW, we don’t have access to running water and firewood due to our snow volumes (although more similar in Eastern Washington). The joy of waking up to the sunrise in the winter in a backcountry camp is definitely something that we enjoy as well.

    Thanks for making the video with great detail on gear, etc.


    Dennis Downing
    BPL Member


    Locale: Western USA

    Thanks for a great video! The timecodes, gear lists and all the tutorials are very helpful. Obviously a lot of work went into making this video and the after documentation. Please keep up the good work!

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