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Wet, Cold Feet When Backpacking: How To Keep Your Feet Dry(er) and Warm(er) in Inclement Weather


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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Wet, Cold Feet When Backpacking: How To Keep Your Feet Dry(er) and Warm(er) in Inclement Weather

Viewing 15 posts - 26 through 40 (of 40 total)
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  • #3494708
    I. Chhina
    BPL Member

    @ichhina

    Locale: Puget Sound, WA

    Roger:  That makes sense.

    Beyond just fuel efficiency though, what I meant to ask was how well the MSR stove actually works/doesn’t work in cold temps in comparison to a liquid fuel feed setup when one inverts the canister? I was assuming it would have the same poor fuel vaporization problem that other upright canister stoves have? Does this give similar problems and have to be managed accordingly in cold temps – i.e. by pre-heating the canister under your clothing or running the stove while sitting in a small tin of cold water to prevent canister freezing? Trying to weight the tradeoffs of a) significant overall cook system simplicity v/s b) the greater weight and any cold temp usability limitations.

    #3494716
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    The liquid feed (inverted canister) stove will work down to such a temperature that the fuel in the canister no longer boils. However, life is never that simple: if you have kept the canister just a bit warm in your pack, you could easily be talking about use at -30 C. If you let a bit of radiation from the flames hit the canister – and the canister just being in full view of the flames is almost enough, you could probably go even lower. Of course, you have to get the stove working to get the radiation feedback. Sounds like Catch-22, but not really.

    What we do in practice is to keep the canister next to the water bottle in our packs. This means the canister is above 0 C if the water has not frozen. A canister at that temperature works just fine in the evening. Overnight we keep the canister under our quilt: again warm. The remote inverted canister stove is, in principle, far more reliable.

    However, I must sound a warning about canisters which have been filled in Asia, especially China. There can be dust, dirt and waxes in the fuel, and these can cause (partial) blockages in the jet. I find a regular simple clean of the jet is needed with inverted canister stoves these days. It used not to be this way.

    If you can keep the canister warm then an upright will also work, and there are ways of doing that with copper strips between the flame and the canister body. A search on ‘Moulder strip’ here at BPL, or on ‘alpine bomb’ elsewhere, will show you have that is done. Doubtless, some upright stoves will allow some reflected radiation down to the canister as well: Jerry Adams has a series here at BPL about that. Some quite good results have been had, but they take a bit more care and skill. Practice at home.

    When you have a good windshield around the pot and the stove, you are trapping quite a bit of hot air. That hot air can also provide very good feedback to the canister under the burner. Some care needed: remember the ‘touch test’, but few have ever found a problem there.

    Now, the infra-red stoves like the Reactor. They can provide some radiant feedback, but the body of the burner does block a lot of that feedback. So you may have more trouble with one of those types. A windshield will of course help.

    Simple, ennit? The reality of winter walking is that a fair bit more skill is needed to be safe – but the rewards (scenery, lack of crowds, fun) are worth it.

    Cheers

    #3494720
    I. Chhina
    BPL Member

    @ichhina

    Locale: Puget Sound, WA

    Thanks, Roger for the always thorough and always expert advice on this subject. Agree wholeheartedly about the many rewards of winter multi-day adventuring!

    #3496479
    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member

    @danepacker

    Locale: Mojave Desert

    Wait, I thought this thread was about a footwear article.

    Anyhow, one more plug for diver’s sox.

    The beauty of wearing 3 mm neoprene divers sox is that even if they spring a leak in the seams your feet will still be warm due to the closed cell nature of the neoprene foam.

    #3496480
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Yeah, that was a bit too much thread drift. Someone asked about stoves and I answered. My mistake. Sorry.

    Cheers

    #3497849
    Diane Pinkers
    BPL Member

    @dipink

    Locale: Western Washington

    Ryan tentatively endorses the Altra Neoshell.  Based on my hike yesterday in Mt. Rainier National Park, I’d have to say, do not rely on these shoes for waterproofness.  It was 100% chance of rain, and we knew we were going to get wet, but were still ok with getting outside for a dayhike.  There was quite a bit of standing water on the trail, none over the laces, just large shallow puddles.  As we hiked, we hit the snow line (slush line?)–2 inches of melting slush, as the day was warming as the storm system moved through.  I ended up with completely wet squishy feet, and yes I was wearing gaiters. I usually use Sugru to attach a loop of line to the toe, so that the gaiter hook extends past the laces, and the laces are completely covered, although obviously that is not a waterproof seal.  None of the water/slush was high enough to get into the laces, it all seeped in through the seam between the upper and the sole.  While walking in the slush, my feet were also very, very cold, although once we left those conditions my feet weren’t as cold.

    I’m going back to Inov-8 Roclite boots for conditions where I don’t need an insulated boot for snow, but need better waterproofness for wintery conditions.  I’ll use the Altra NeoShells for conditions where I expect it to be wet, but not for walking up trails that have turned into a drainage ditch.

    #3497851
    Diane Pinkers
    BPL Member

    @dipink

    Locale: Western Washington

    P.S.–There’s also a good review of the NeoShells on the TrailGroove blog.

    http://www.trailgroove.com/blogs/

    #3497868
    Paul S.
    BPL Member

    @pschontz

    Locale: PNW

    From what I’ve read the Altra NeoShell shoes don’t have a liner, only WP outer, so water comes in through the laces and tongue.  Might be fine in dry snow but that’s about it.

    #3497900
    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member

    @danepacker

    Locale: Mojave Desert

    What Diane sed. Plus this is tending towards the ridiculous for winter use. The only time I’ve ever used anything that low for winter was a GTX lined racing XC boot. And even then I was on skis that put me 2″ above groomed snow, not wading through snow.

    For winter hiking & snowshoeing you truly need at least a “mid” height over-the-ankle boot. Warmer ankles, where blood vessels are much closer to the skin, are important unless you are going at 75% to 100% effort.

    Eric B.

    #3497913
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    I don’t really agree with Eric about any need for mid-heights. We wear fairly ordianry low0cut joggers when we are snow shoeing, but with some precautions: for snow we use GTX-lined joggers; we wear WP synthetic snow-shedding covers (aka ‘spats’) over the shoes; we wear GTX gaiters with straps under the shoes. Works fine for us.

    On the other hand, I do most certainly agree with Eric about keeping warm blood flowing through the feet. Essential.

    Cheers

    #3501513
    Edgar H
    Spectator

    @eh

    Capsaicin cream used by arthritis sufferers will force the capillaries of your skin to remain dilated,  you’ll lose more heat through your feet,  eat more calories,  and your feet will stay warmer.

    Or you can experiment with dry, ground cayenne pepper,  but the cream gives you a much better chance at calibrating… the dry pepper won’t do anything till your feet start sweating,  use too much ground pepper and you’ll be stopping frequently to break through ice and soak your steaming feet while wringing out your socks in ice water.

    Also heat water, put it into a bottle and put it into the foot of your sleeping bag.

    #3503466
    Richard DeLong
    BPL Member

    @legkohod

    Locale: Eastern Europe / Caucasus

    Problem solved: light plastic galoshes with sewn-in gaiter. Worry only about drying your socks, not the shoes themselves. Socks are a lot easier to dry, and you can always take an extra pair or two.  

    #3503468
    Richard DeLong
    BPL Member

    @legkohod

    Locale: Eastern Europe / Caucasus

    (about the above) My friend makes these at http://www.kvntrek.com/en/catalog/?g=14, and inside there’s a strap with strong velcro to secure the shoe around your foot.

    #3504176
    tom c
    BPL Member

    @teepee

    While winter backpacking the following works wonders for drying out your gear:

    • simply spread flat anything wet between your upper and lower pads

    When shown this the first time, i was astonished to wake up to almost things having dried pretty much completely!

     

    Of course, this assumes full-on winter camping (eg, must be prepared to sleep on a snow surface at some point, versus the ground) where it’s common to supplement your pad with a second 1/2″ foam 3/4 length.

    • Admittedly, I’m pretty new to ultralight … but for sleeping on snow, with very cold nights, a foamy plus insulated air mattress seems pretty much required to achieve the necessary warmth.
    #3504229
    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member

    @danepacker

    Locale: Mojave Desert

    Welll Tom… maybe with a ribbed Ridgerest CFC pad beneath a self-inflating, foam filled mattress or especially ribbed air mattress like a Neo-Air it would work. This would permit air circulation for the moisture to move out. I will try it this winter.

    In winter I’ve often put my pants shirt and other day clothes beneath my Thermarest Trail Pro, which I use for winter temps above -10 F. Seems to work well.

     

     

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