- Mar 2, 2018 at 6:43 pm #3521847
As I get packed up for a routine winter trip today, I’m definitely packing some fears. I do these trips every winter, just a short trip out to a public rental cabin, and really they’re nothing all that adventurous or extraordinary. And yet, I really get Sam McGee right now, and so pack extra mittens, several packs of hand warmers, and replace all my felt boot liners. Hauling most of it on a sled is easy. The only stuff on my back are a few snacks, a few pieces of gear to add if the wind picks up, and my water, to keep it from freezing, close to my back. And my headlamp, although we’re going to try to arrive before dark; from past experience I know this doesn’t always happen in a group trip.
So there isn’t the need to make it as light a load as I would if it were on my back. I know in my head I don’t need some of it, and won’t use it, and really don’t need to bring it, but worrying about the cold hands makes me pack it anyway. I think I’ll bring along my copy of Robert Service, just to read about that glowing hot cabin!
I’ll bet I’m not alone in just obstinately refusing to not pack a fear or two. Besides there’s a snowstorm on the way, to arrive mid-weekend. The down mittens just went in the pack!Mar 2, 2018 at 7:38 pm #3521863
Remember (or learn) to put glide wax on the bottom of the sled. It makes a big difference.Mar 2, 2018 at 7:47 pm #3521866
Some extra mittens and some boot liners on the sled? That really doesn’t sound like you are going nuts with your fears, Karen.
Have a great trip! It sounds like fun!Mar 2, 2018 at 8:36 pm #3521876
I just did one more run through while waiting for pickup, and offloaded a couple of things and some food, way too much of that! I guess that is a good way to cut back, making one more last minute review. Keeping my luxury item – a luxury model thermarest. I’d never pack it on my back, it’s a beast, but it’s pretty sweet to sleep on. That’s not a fear item though, it ranks up there with the heavy fruitcake and the flask of bourbon. Thanks David, I’ll try the glide wax, never used it before but will this time.Mar 2, 2018 at 8:50 pm #3521879
Oh man I want some fruitcake now.Mar 2, 2018 at 9:03 pm #3521882
For some routes in some conditions, yeah, it doesn’t matter much how much is in the sled or the boat. Say, across a frozen lake, with minimal snow on top of the ice. But I packed heavy for a family cabin trip one time (heavy kitchen and food items, firewood, propane cylinder, etc) figuring, “the sled will slide regardless of how much is in it”. Nope, not always. The added weight compressed the snow more – work that ultimately I was doing as I pulled it. And the weight always makes you work harder on the uphills.
So for dodgier trails, sometimes I’ll put some weight in my pack so I have more traction for my feet and the sled needs less pull on the uphills (and pushes me less on the downhills).
The other way my sled outperforms the others along is I put a collar around the rim of it. Think of a top-loading pack. I put grommets along the edge of a better-than-blue-tarp corresponding to the corners and a few along each side and laced the tarp under the lip of the sled with 4 mm cord. It’s a little more bother to load it, but I can fold the collar down snugly around the load, keeping any snow off the contents, and lash it down with straps (better), cordage, or bungies (not as good).
Sleeping bags and clothing make great insulation if you want to keep warm things warm (or cold things cold). That and a hot water bottle can allow you to bring salad greens or other items usually at risk of freezing on a winter trip. Alternately, lots of cold things are easy to take in winter – like ice cream sundaes. If the cabin has a wood stove, you can bake a frozen pizza on top of it under an aluminum foil tent. We did that a number of times when the kids were small and we wanted to keep the trips short, fun and tasty.Mar 2, 2018 at 9:06 pm #3521886
The quick way to securely pack a sled without a collar is to:
spread a tarp over the sled
dump everything inside
fold the tarp over the load
run 2 or 3 bungies over the wrapped load.Mar 5, 2018 at 3:54 am #3522408
Back from a quick weekend winter trip! We celebrated a friend’s 50th birthday. Warm weather – low of about 5 F. the first night out, and a high today of 20 on our return, but it felt even warmer with spring sun.
I used all my gear except those extra down mittens! But I’m glad I brought them nonetheless because both my ski gloves and my other mittens ended up quite wet with sweat, and it was good to know I had the down ones just in case. We got a late start and didn’t reach the cabin until after dark. The previous inhabitants left us with only a few sticks of kindling and no wood, but we had hauled in enough to keep warm overnight, until we had time the next day to look for wood in daylight. The next cabin renters will have an evening’s worth of wood to get started, thanks to our expedition on day two.
I did put the glide wax on my sled, and my friends thought it was sliding better than the others, but I also had a lighter load than any of them. Most overpacked food, lots and lots of food! We had preplanned on a shared spreadsheet but people just brought more anyway. Crazy amounts of food. Two gallons of lentil soup for 4 women? Not complaining- I didn’t have to haul it! And my one cup serving was delicious. I brought only my assigned meal and a few snacks to share, plus my own lunches. Does this happen on other group trips? How do you get people not to bring so much food? Oh well, as I said, I wasn’t asked to haul it, and the haulers didn’t complain. I did haul out all the trash, since I didn’t have food to bring home.
I put my sled together with stretchy nautical cord, and permanently attached it with Xs going over each section, so that all I had to do was slide my stuff under the bungees. I had a regular waterproof pack cover on my pack. My mukluks were under the pack cover, with the stretchy cords on top. I should have taken a photo! Our trail was quite hilly, but everything stayed on well. I also piled on plenty of cut birch; that is not light!
I wore a day pack on my back for my down jacket, hand warmers, and water. The pack also kept me a bit warmer. I put the jacket on for our rest breaks. I could have used a better ski jacket for active movement, I definitely got cold quickly when stopping. I did find my merino base layer was far superior while snowshoeing than my spare polypros, which were fine in the cabin.
i love the idea of ice cream sundaes! Although if it were minus 20 that might be less exciting.Mar 5, 2018 at 11:15 pm #3522537
Gary MBPL Member
We all pack our fears, I just threw a bunch of stuff in my pack for a weekend with the scouts once, and when I got back I told a group of Webloes to go through my pack to see what I was afraid of most. One scout piped up with “your afraid of the Dark” I checked and sure enough I had no less than 6 little flashlights.Mar 5, 2018 at 11:35 pm #3522539
Jenny ABPL Member
@jenniferaLocale: Front Range
Karen, sounds like a fun trip! Also sounds like you offloaded just the right amount of stuff and that you had what you really needed. You sounded well-prepared.
Your comments on trying to get people to stick to preplanned food amounts caught my attention. (There was an earlier thread on one of the forums that dealt with group gear/food and being uncomfortable relying on other, potentially less experienced folk and feeling obligated to shoulder extra items that others had brought along.) I have pretty much quit going on trips with people who insist that I participate in their idea of fun, which often centers around ridiculous quantities of gourmet foods, often not repackaged efficiently or at all, and all too often not all consumed on the trip. I have worked hard to trim my loads and don’t take kindly to carrying others’ gear or food just because there is room in my pack. There is, and I planned it that way!
I generally don’t buy in to other peoples’ ideas of “fun” in the backcountry if that means cooking and cleaning up after gourmet meals, and usually hauling out a fair amount of uneaten food. I don’t think you can “get” people to easily change their perceptions of what they think is “enough.” That comes from experience!
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.