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PinkEagles
12-19-2016, 00:33
Hi Everyone!

I'm trying to finish dialing in my clothing for an early March NOBO start. Below is the clothing I have from previous backpacking trips, but the lowest I've taken it is to the low 30s without rain/snow. I was fine hiking in those temperatures with this setup, but once we stopped moving and tried to sleep I got pretty cold with every piece of clothing on (minus the rain jacket). I'm thinking I'm going to need to upgrade some things to deal with the more extreme cold that will be on the trail in March. I have since gotten a sleeping bag liner and a light balaclava, but haven't tested those with the rest of my system yet. I'm mostly wondering which pieces I should get warmer versions of.

Also, the jackets I have are pretty heavy and I know I can get something with a better warmth:weight ratio. I've put the weight next to the things that there are definitely warmer and lighter versions of so you can factor that in to whether you think it would be worth it to upgrade or not. I would like to avoid replacing as much as possible to save money, but I don't want to die out there either. Any thoughts, examples of what you're doing, and what has worked for you in the past would be helpful! Thanks in advance and can't wait to see y'all on the trail!

ZPacks 20 Degree Down Sleeping Bag
Therm-a-Rest Women’s NeoAir XLite

Under Armor S/S T-Shirt
OR Essence L/S Lightweight Zip Top (5.29 oz)
GoLite Polartec Flatiron Fleece Jacket (16 oz)
Patagonia Women's Hi-Loft Down Jacket W/ Hood (600 fill) (16.36 oz)

Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms (6.07 oz)
REI Sahara Pants

REI Rain Jacket (14.04)
ZPacks Possum Socks
Seirus XTreme Waterproof Liner Gloves
North Face Beanie

coyote9
12-19-2016, 02:20
Hi Everyone!

I'm trying to finish dialing in my clothing for an early March NOBO start. Below is the clothing I have from previous backpacking trips, but the lowest I've taken it is to the low 30s without rain/snow. I was fine hiking in those temperatures with this setup, but once we stopped moving and tried to sleep I got pretty cold with every piece of clothing on (minus the rain jacket). I'm thinking I'm going to need to upgrade some things to deal with the more extreme cold that will be on the trail in March. I have since gotten a sleeping bag liner and a light balaclava, but haven't tested those with the rest of my system yet. I'm mostly wondering which pieces I should get warmer versions of.

Also, the jackets I have are pretty heavy and I know I can get something with a better warmth:weight ratio. I've put the weight next to the things that there are definitely warmer and lighter versions of so you can factor that in to whether you think it would be worth it to upgrade or not. I would like to avoid replacing as much as possible to save money, but I don't want to die out there either. Any thoughts, examples of what you're doing, and what has worked for you in the past would be helpful! Thanks in advance and can't wait to see y'all on the trail!

ZPacks 20 Degree Down Sleeping Bag
Therm-a-Rest Women’s NeoAir XLite

Under Armor S/S T-Shirt
OR Essence L/S Lightweight Zip Top (5.29 oz)
GoLite Polartec Flatiron Fleece Jacket (16 oz)
Patagonia Women's Hi-Loft Down Jacket W/ Hood (600 fill) (16.36 oz)

Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms (6.07 oz)
REI Sahara Pants

REI Rain Jacket (14.04)
ZPacks Possum Socks
Seirus XTreme Waterproof Liner Gloves
North Face Beanie

All of this looks good to me but being a guy, I sleep warmer. If its super cold though you can put the rain jacket on over your puffy. A neck gaiter or the balaclava should help. I have a smart wool neck gaiter I got from REI garage cheap. Eat a lot of calories before bed and if you have "to go" do it. Once you are back in your bag you'll be warmer. I like a gatoraid bottle with some heated water at my feet too.

coyote9
12-19-2016, 02:22
Im also considering taking some fleece pants. Fleece is bulky but Im so comfy at camp in the cold.

ScareBear
12-19-2016, 06:34
Hi Everyone!

I'm trying to finish dialing in my clothing for an early March NOBO start. Below is the clothing I have from previous backpacking trips, but the lowest I've taken it is to the low 30s without rain/snow. I was fine hiking in those temperatures with this setup, but once we stopped moving and tried to sleep I got pretty cold with every piece of clothing on (minus the rain jacket). I'm thinking I'm going to need to upgrade some things to deal with the more extreme cold that will be on the trail in March. I have since gotten a sleeping bag liner and a light balaclava, but haven't tested those with the rest of my system yet. I'm mostly wondering which pieces I should get warmer versions of.

Also, the jackets I have are pretty heavy and I know I can get something with a better warmth:weight ratio. I've put the weight next to the things that there are definitely warmer and lighter versions of so you can factor that in to whether you think it would be worth it to upgrade or not. I would like to avoid replacing as much as possible to save money, but I don't want to die out there either. Any thoughts, examples of what you're doing, and what has worked for you in the past would be helpful! Thanks in advance and can't wait to see y'all on the trail!

ZPacks 20 Degree Down Sleeping Bag
Therm-a-Rest Women’s NeoAir XLite

Under Armor S/S T-Shirt
OR Essence L/S Lightweight Zip Top (5.29 oz)
GoLite Polartec Flatiron Fleece Jacket (16 oz)
Patagonia Women's Hi-Loft Down Jacket W/ Hood (600 fill) (16.36 oz)

Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms (6.07 oz)
REI Sahara Pants

REI Rain Jacket (14.04)
ZPacks Possum Socks
Seirus XTreme Waterproof Liner Gloves
North Face Beanie

So, I focused on your sleep system and came to the conclusion that you are the coldest sleeper I have met!

Your bag is adequate for 30 degrees, even though it is rated for 20, which is for a man with a hat, shirt and long underwear to be comfortable. Add 10 degrees for a female comfort rating, but that would be right on the edge.

Then, I looked at your mat. It has an R value of 3.2, which is fine for 30 degrees. OK at 20. Lacking below that.

So, then I looked at the final components of your sleep system, your clothes. I just can't picture you in a hat, gloves, mid-weight capilene tights, Sahara pants, a t-shirt, socks, fleece jacket and down jacket with hood inside a 20 degree bag atop a R3.2 mattress and shivering at 30 degrees. I don't know anyone except Dingo's 82 year old mom who would shiver in that sleep system!! I'd say add a rain jacket and rain pants, but.....I still just can't picture it...

Since you are so cold with ALL that clothing on at 30 degrees in a 20 degree bag with an R3.2 pad I have some very bad news for you. It's going to be expensive. And, it has not one thing to do with your clothes or a liner....

You are the coldest sleeper I've seen, other than an octogenarian. There is nothing wrong with that, you just have to plan accordingly. And, since your are fine hiking in your clothes at 30 degrees...you need to replace your bag and supplement or replace you air mat.

I say replace your bag because I can't picture anything in a liner, other than a VBL, that will add enough warmth to your bag. For you, a 10 degree liner won't buy you 5 degrees. I would start looking at 10 degree bags and would still advise a good liner. Then, I would go with a higher R value mattress or add a Thermarest Z-lite SOL to your existing air mat. I've heard you should use it ON TOP of your air mat, but I've not tried that...

Sorry for the bad news....I wish there was a better answer. You are already wearing a down jacket in bed, so....I don't think puffball pants are going to do much for you...

ScareBear
12-19-2016, 06:35
I'd also add a better hat. A heavyweight fleece balaclava....

Greenlight
12-19-2016, 07:04
I'm not familiar with that sleeping bag, but perhaps it is too narrow at the shoulders and is constricting your insulation layers making them less effective. You might reconsider your base layer, too. If you can find a military surplus store and ask them where the "snivel gear" is, try to find a pair of Dri Duke moisture control long underwear. It's 12 percent Invista-lora experimental fabric I've not seen anywhere else but in this product. Invista is the company that makes Thermolite and Coolmax tech fabrics. They're quite warm and with them as the basis of your sleep clothing, you may get good results. Good news is you can find them on eBay for around 12 bucks per piece. And again your local military surplus store probably has them. They were fielded to the Army and the Marines.


So, I focused on your sleep system and came to the conclusion that you are the coldest sleeper I have met!

Your bag is adequate for 30 degrees, even though it is rated for 20, which is for a man with a hat, shirt and long underwear to be comfortable. Add 10 degrees for a female comfort rating, but that would be right on the edge.

Then, I looked at your mat. It has an R value of 3.2, which is fine for 30 degrees. OK at 20. Lacking below that.

So, then I looked at the final components of your sleep system, your clothes. I just can't picture you in a hat, gloves, mid-weight capilene tights, Sahara pants, a t-shirt, socks, fleece jacket and down jacket with hood inside a 20 degree bag atop a R3.2 mattress and shivering at 30 degrees. I don't know anyone except Dingo's 82 year old mom who would shiver in that sleep system!! I'd say add a rain jacket and rain pants, but.....I still just can't picture it...

Since you are so cold with ALL that clothing on at 30 degrees in a 20 degree bag with an R3.2 pad I have some very bad news for you. It's going to be expensive. And, it has not one thing to do with your clothes or a liner....

You are the coldest sleeper I've seen, other than an octogenarian. There is nothing wrong with that, you just have to plan accordingly. And, since your are fine hiking in your clothes at 30 degrees...you need to replace your bag and supplement or replace you air mat.

I say replace your bag because I can't picture anything in a liner, other than a VBL, that will add enough warmth to your bag. For you, a 10 degree liner won't buy you 5 degrees. I would start looking at 10 degree bags and would still advise a good liner. Then, I would go with a higher R value mattress or add a Thermarest Z-lite SOL to your existing air mat. I've heard you should use it ON TOP of your air mat, but I've not tried that...

Sorry for the bad news....I wish there was a better answer. You are already wearing a down jacket in bed, so....I don't think puffball pants are going to do much for you...

Engine
12-19-2016, 08:01
The women's Thermarest Neoair Xlite is actually rated at R3.9 versus R3.2 for the other versions. But, if you were to add a closed cell foam pad under your inflatable, you might be surprised by how much insulation it adds under you. Supposedly, the Granite Gear 1/4" foam pad adds about R1.5 for very little extra weight (bulky though).

My wife is very cold sleeper and she's sleeping well in the low twenties with the women's Neoair and a 1/8" GG foam pad under it. In addition, she has a 10* EE quilt and an STS Thermoreactor Extreme liner. She sleeps in lightweight long johns, down booties, her down jacket, and a fleece cap.

If your sleeping gear isn't warm enough, with an early March start, you might want to consider a very light down summer bag for use inside your current bag, as long as it fits without being too constricting. If it gets too tight, you'll lose insulation instead of gaining it.

BTW, the fleece pants mentioned above are a good idea, my wife uses hers when sitting around camp and if her lightweight long johns are enough in bed at night.

bigcranky
12-19-2016, 08:04
So, then I looked at the final components of your sleep system, your clothes. I just can't picture you in a hat, gloves, mid-weight capilene tights, Sahara pants, a t-shirt, socks, fleece jacket and down jacket with hood inside a 20 degree bag atop a R3.2 mattress and shivering at 30 degrees. I don't know anyone except Dingo's 82 year old mom who would shiver in that sleep system!! I'd say add a rain jacket and rain pants, but.....I still just can't picture it...

Yeah, my lovely wife would be shivering too.

I know everybody says to just wear all your clothes to bed, including rain gear, but I disagree -- what do you do when your rain gear is soaking wet? And long pants in particular will be wet and muddy every day. And thin nylon pants don't add a lot of warmth in the bag anyway.

To the OP:

You probably need a warmer sleeping pad. The Neoair Xlite is great, but it's not warm enough for winter. You could get a cheap closed cell foam pad and put it on top of the Neoair.

You need something warm for your legs when not hiking. Down pants are awesome, but any sort of fleece would work too. This will also help extend the range of your sleeping bag, as you'll wear them to bed on cold nights.

Get a pair of Goosefeet down booties to wear in your bag. Wear clean, dry, light weight wool socks under them. If you carry a small closed cell foam sit pad (extremely useful), put it down inside your sleeping bag at night, under your feet -- adds enough additional insulation from the ground to make a noticeable difference.

Bring something for your neck. A merino wool Buff is great, and makes a nice holiday gift :) I usually bring a light beanie for hiking and a warmer hat for camp, though you could wear your down parka hood all the time.

The liner gloves are just light fleece gloves, not very warm on their own. I prefer Windblock fleece for the windblocking, and I usually take a light pair for hiking and a warmer pair for in camp and on breaks. Zpacks makes a good cuben fiber rain mitt that would work over the gloves you already have.

Jackets: You have a 1-lb fleece and a 1-lb down parka. Can you wear them at the same time? I find a 7-oz microfleece pullover works better under my down parka, and they can be found cheap from lots of companies.

The down parka is ok, not the lightest or most efficient out there. If you wanted to spend a lot of money you could get a lot more warmth for the pound, but I don't think it's required at this point.

I bring merino wool base layers, top and bottom, for sleeping, and keep them completely dry inside my sleeping bag stuff sack. I'm not sure reading your list what you have for base layers for hiking versus for camp.

ScareBear
12-19-2016, 08:18
The women's Thermarest Neoair Xlite is actually rated at R3.9 versus R3.2 for the other versions. But, if you were to add a closed cell foam pad under your inflatable, you might be surprised by how much insulation it adds under you. Supposedly, the Granite Gear 1/4" foam pad adds about R1.5 for very little extra weight (bulky though).

My wife is very cold sleeper and she's sleeping well in the low twenties with the women's Neoair and a 1/8" GG foam pad under it. In addition, she has a 10* EE quilt and an STS Thermoreactor Extreme liner. She sleeps in lightweight long johns, down booties, her down jacket, and a fleece cap.

If your sleeping gear isn't warm enough, with an early March start, you might want to consider a very light down summer bag for use inside your current bag, as long as it fits without being too constricting. If it gets too tight, you'll lose insulation instead of gaining it.

BTW, the fleece pants mentioned above are a good idea, my wife uses hers when sitting around camp and if her lightweight long johns are enough in bed at night.

Yep. Your wife is a very cold sleeper!! I've hiked hundreds of miles with two different women and neither of them was more than 10 degrees off on the comfort rating of their bag with socks, thermal underwear, long sleeve t and heavyweight fleece balaclava. And one of them has a body fat of less than 15 percent! They each coped with the cold with a thermal liner just fine( in other words a thermal liner at 30 for a 30 degree bag). But, everyone's physiology is different. And, just a few degrees can make all the difference. Women should always, IMHO, go for a bag at least 10 degrees warmer than expected temps. With a really cold sleeper like Engine's gal and OP, maybe 15 or 20 degrees is in order...just sayin! Instead of fleece pants, try these http://www.montbell.us/products/disp.php?p_id=2301217 for superior warmth in the bag...or around camp...

Hikingjim
12-19-2016, 10:53
Some thoughts/options, working with what you have:

that 3.9 r value sleeping pad isn't bad. You could add 1/4 or 1/8 foam below it then send it home later. This would cost you hardly anything instead of getting a new mat. It would not be a big weight issue, but a bit of a bulk issue.

You could add a top quilt (40f or something) to throw on top of your bag, and this weight would be <1lb. Then send that home around May. Your liner may work as well, but I don't have great confidence in liner temp ratings. I suggested a quilt on top instead of a summer bag inside your bag because of the compression issue; I doubt a summer bag + zpack bag would be too comfortable and may compress, and it would limit the option to add other clothes like your down jacket to your sleep mix

yes, those jackets are a bit heavy & bulky. So if you have some extra $$ you can cut a bit of weight off of those pieces, but yeah, it's tough to find a light & warm down jacket that isn't expensive.

I have used all kinds of combinations of my gear in the winter. It will feel good when it warms up and you can send some of this stuff home!

colorado_rob
12-19-2016, 10:57
Yeah, my lovely wife would be shivering too.

I know everybody says to just wear all your clothes to bed, including rain gear, but I disagree -- what do you do when your rain gear is soaking wet? And long pants in particular will be wet and muddy every day. And thin nylon pants don't add a lot of warmth in the bag anyway.

To the OP:

You probably need a warmer sleeping pad. The Neoair Xlite is great, but it's not warm enough for winter. You could get a cheap closed cell foam pad and put it on top of the Neoair.

You need something warm for your legs when not hiking. Down pants are awesome, but any sort of fleece would work too. This will also help extend the range of your sleeping bag, as you'll wear them to bed on cold nights.

Get a pair of Goosefeet down booties to wear in your bag. Wear clean, dry, light weight wool socks under them. If you carry a small closed cell foam sit pad (extremely useful), put it down inside your sleeping bag at night, under your feet -- adds enough additional insulation from the ground to make a noticeable difference.

Bring something for your neck. A merino wool Buff is great, and makes a nice holiday gift :) I usually bring a light beanie for hiking and a warmer hat for camp, though you could wear your down parka hood all the time.

The liner gloves are just light fleece gloves, not very warm on their own. I prefer Windblock fleece for the windblocking, and I usually take a light pair for hiking and a warmer pair for in camp and on breaks. Zpacks makes a good cuben fiber rain mitt that would work over the gloves you already have.

Jackets: You have a 1-lb fleece and a 1-lb down parka. Can you wear them at the same time? I find a 7-oz microfleece pullover works better under my down parka, and they can be found cheap from lots of companies.

The down parka is ok, not the lightest or most efficient out there. If you wanted to spend a lot of money you could get a lot more warmth for the pound, but I don't think it's required at this point.

I bring merino wool base layers, top and bottom, for sleeping, and keep them completely dry inside my sleeping bag stuff sack. I'm not sure reading your list what you have for base layers for hiking versus for camp.

One nit (for the OP, not BC): You don't mention your tent? What tent are you carrying? A single wall tent is not as warm as a traditional double wall, probably 5-7 degrees difference.

I was going to type in my recommendations, based on what my wife would be bringing for an early March start, but I noticed that BC said pretty much what I would say.

First, I think you have a fine kit, I'd tweak it slightly, but folks carrying a kit like this will be comfortable 90% of the nights, and no, you're not in danger and you're not going to die... there is a prevalent paranoia on WB about sleeping bag warmth, like if you have a 20 degree bag and ig gets down to 15 one night, you're in some sort of "danger". The worst case, and it's unlikely, is that you have a chilly night and lose a bit of sleep, in which case, you bail to a town if such conditions persist, warm up, and try again. An unlikely scenario, but again, not "dangerous". My wife sleeps nearly as cold as you, and again, your kit is very similar in warmth to what she would/will bring to an early March AT start.

So +1 on most of BC's post, actually, pretty much all of it, with the following exceptions:

Fleece pants are heavy, and probably unnecessary. Maybe just two "pair" (why is one single garment a "pair"?) of "long johns", at least one merino wool. One for hiking if needed, the other for sleeping, doubling up if necessary a time or two.

Both of us always carry liner gloves, to be used with another hand layer with your choice of heavier gloves, but thin liners are great on their own for moderate temps.

For the "cheap closed cell foam", get a mere 1/4" UL pad. We carry the neo-air/1/4" pad combo for most of the year out here in CO, only nixing the 1/4" pad supplement in the summer. The neoair rolls up nice and tight in the 1/4" pad, making a roll about 4" or less in diameter and rides vertically on the outside of our packs. With a bigger pack, it would fit inside I'm sure (our packs are small). neither absorbs water, but our pack covers accommodate the roll and packs easily.

I particularly agree on nixing the heavy fleece, go with a microfleece and keep the heavier down parka. Or spend some bucks, and for a total upper body warmth kit carry a combo of: Merino wool 1/4 zip long sleeve shirt, a micro fleece 2nd layer, a UL down vest, such as a MHW ghost wisperer, a synthetic insulated jacket, such as the Mont Bell thermawrap (or Patagonia equivalent), and your outer shell rain jacket. This is basically my wife's upper body kit for these conditions. Nice and versatile, many combinations or all at once occasionally.

PinkEagles
12-19-2016, 13:03
Hey thanks so much for your help everyone! I should also add that my biggest worry was that a 600 fill down jacket just wouldn't be enough for that time.

To CR, I am carrying a ZPacks Hexamid, so a single wall tent.

I think I'll start by adding a heavier balaclava and the closed cell foam. Down booties are also a great idea. Now that I'm thinking about it the only parts that were really cold were my feet and my head, because the bag doesn't have a hood.

I've read a lot about how cold/wet/icy the trail is in early March, and coming from San Diego it's tricky to practice for those conditions. I don't mind being uncomfortable, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't walking into it horribly ill equipped.

Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to write out such thoughtful answers!

colorado_rob
12-19-2016, 13:12
Hey thanks so much for your help everyone! I should also add that my biggest worry was that a 600 fill down jacket just wouldn't be enough for that time.Sounds like you're set. BTW, a jacket being merely "600 fill" vs. say, 800 fill, just means that the down is denser, or heavier per given fluffed volume. It has not a whole lot to do with warmth. Warmth comes from loft. A 1" loft in a down jacket will be very nearly as warm with 600 fill as with 800 fill, it will just be heavier. (there is a slight 2nd order effect of being slightly less insulating with denser, heavier down, but it is slight)

bigcranky
12-19-2016, 17:13
I think I'll start by adding a heavier balaclava and the closed cell foam. Down booties are also a great idea. Now that I'm thinking about it the only parts that were really cold were my feet and my head, because the bag doesn't have a hood.

Yeah, I forgot about that. A sleeping bag hood makes a difference in the winter.

One thing I usually recommend is to not wear one's down jacket to bed, but instead to open it wide and drape it over one's torso inside the bag. This provides a lot more coverage - I can get from my shoulders well over my hips -- and one doesn't lose the insulating ability of the down crushed under one's body. This won't work for you unless you get a separate down or synthetic hood to wear with the bag - you pretty much have to wear the parka with the hood up. One advantage to that is the hood moves with you if you roll on your side.

PennyPincher
12-19-2016, 18:02
Having lived and backpacked in NH and the Whites and being a cold sleeper myself as a woman here's what I have used and learned.

Start with layers for your core. If your core is warm your heart will pump blood to your extremities. If your extremities are covered and cold, your core is working too hard to keep itself warm. That being said here is what I wore when sitting around Big Bend last week after the sun went down and temps got down to low 40's. REI silk long johns - lightweight set, a tech wick LS shirt over that, a SS techwick, an REI zip up "thermal" layer and then a puffy jacket (probably REI) - it's super light and not very bulky. I probably would have been better changing the zip up for a fleece to give me some loft. Also on lower half some heavier pants as we were day hiking and car camping but otherwise I would have used just my hiking pants. If the hiking pants didn't keep me warm I would have added my rain pants. I have worn my rain pants many more times for heat conservation than protection from rain/water. I also used a sit pad for the very first time of just a thin closed cell foam. Worth 10x it's weight in gold. My bag is 25 year old down, always well cared for but probably lost a 1/4 of it's filling over time. I bought a Sea to Summit Silk bag liner as an added layer of protection and only weighs about 4? ounces. Once I got in my bag I took off the pants and threw on a pair of shorts. My lower half was fine. Then I started taking off upper layers. Usually the top 2 layers came off immediately so I wouldn't sweat and so I had some "space" in my bag to actually warm up. I also have a mountain hardwear heavy weight "buff." Something like this but heavier and probably a dozen years old. http://www.mountainhardwear.com/stretch-rappel-bandana-1617301.html?cgid=womens-accessories-headwear&dwvar_1617301_variationColor=051#start=19

It's all I use for head wear for cold weather though I do not go out backpacking in "winter" in New England that way where I would be in the cold and weather for extended days. I suppose I could with that. It's the best thing I have found and stays in my winter jacket left pocket year round. It's a little closer to this but can actually cover my entire head down to and including my neck. I have never had to wear it while sleeping but have worn it when getting into the bag at night.
http://www.mountainhardwear.com/micro-neck-gaiter-OM5790.html?cgid=mens-accessories-headwear&dwvar_OM5790_variationColor=010#start=7

Everyone says "you pack your fears." Yes, I fear being cold. If I'm moving I know I can stay warm with only a fraction of this clothing but when getting ready for sleep, I need all this. Sleeping I think I could be comfortable down close to Zero but have never tested it.

hikehunter
12-19-2016, 19:19
I mostly agree with the folks that have replied, they have suggested much of what I would. Make sure you have a good ground cloth to put down first (footprint) it will take the punishment not you tent or sleeping pad. You will need to put it down first if you go to a shelter. The only other thing would be the weatherproof mitten shells. They stop the wet and wind. The are very light and in March they could be worth 50 times their weight in gold. Good luck, Have Fun & Hike Safe.

Migrating Bird
12-19-2016, 19:56
My daughter just introduced me to "reuseable heat packs" https://www.amazon.com/HEAT-WAVE-Instant-Reusable-Warmers/dp/B000E48LVM for example.
The cons are they are pricey, a little heavy and only last for an hour or so. The pluses are they generate a tremendous amount of heat in that hour. There is a clicker inside and once clicked the heat is nearly instant. A couple in your frozen boots in the morning, mitts or thrown in your sleeping bag before you got in would be a great a back up. You can re heat on the trail or when in town.
Best of luck and have a great hike.

Venchka
12-19-2016, 20:40
Follow up to what ScarBear said:
From the ground up and inside out:
NeoAir Xtherm Large. Unless you're tiny and narrow in which case the Regular size might work. After decades of putting up with 20" pads, the extra width of the Large is heavenly.
Closed cell foam pad. Optional if required.
Head to toe, or as much as possible:
Silk layer. Merino wool layer.
Down Booties. Optional.
If you're still cold, add more of the stuff you already have. Try not to add so much that you can't move.
Sleeping bag:
Western Mountaineering.
Versalite. 10 degrees.
Antelope MF. 5 degrees.
Both bags are built on the same interior pattern. Ample room without excessive space to heat up. Most comfortable!
I own the Antelope and Alpinlite. The best sleeping bags on earth. Very conservatively rated.
Don't buy a pack until you have your gear dialed in. I have no idea what size pack you're going to need to hold your March sleep system.
Unverified by me, but possibly good for you.
A 30 degree quilt over your 20 degree bag. Might work.
Wayne



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

cmoulder
12-19-2016, 22:09
introduced me to "reuseable heat packs" https://www.amazon.com/HEAT-WAVE-Ins.../dp/B000E48LVM (https://www.amazon.com/HEAT-WAVE-Instant-Reusable-Warmers/dp/B000E48LVM) for example.

In order to reuse them, here are the instructions: "Boil in water for 20 minutes, then simmer for 10 to reuse."

Not at all practical in the field. If depending upon an external heat source on an actual hike, the hot Nalgene bottle is far more practical, although it's best to have clothing and sleep systems that are not dependent upon external heat.

Engine
12-20-2016, 07:13
So +1 on most of BC's post, actually, pretty much all of it, with the following exceptions:

...Fleece pants are heavy, and probably unnecessary. Maybe just two "pair" (why is one single garment a "pair"?) of "long johns", at least one merino wool. One for hiking if needed, the other for sleeping, doubling up if necessary a time or two...

My wife's fleece pants weigh in at 6.7 ounces in size small, maybe an ounce heavier than her midweight long john bottoms. They are both warmer and have the added benefit of being wearable around town.

Engine
12-20-2016, 07:19
...I've read a lot about how cold/wet/icy the trail is in early March, and coming from San Diego it's tricky to practice for those conditions. I don't mind being uncomfortable, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't walking into it horribly ill equipped....

We are gong to carry a set of microspikes for any real icy conditions that may show up. Many will say this is overkill and not needed, but I view them as a 12-ounce insurance policy against a possible hike ending injury. We'll send them home with our winter items after Roan mountain, if not before.

ScareBear
12-20-2016, 08:32
We are gong to carry a set of microspikes for any real icy conditions that may show up. Many will say this is overkill and not needed, but I view them as a 12-ounce insurance policy against a possible hike ending injury. We'll send them home with our winter items after Roan mountain, if not before.

Insurance against racking up zero's because the trail is too icy/snowy....ice storms are not uncommon at all...

colorado_rob
12-20-2016, 09:38
We are gong to carry a set of microspikes for any real icy conditions that may show up. Many will say this is overkill and not needed, but I view them as a 12-ounce insurance policy against a possible hike ending injury. We'll send them home with our winter items after Roan mountain, if not before. absolutely agree, we'd be carrying ours for an early march start.


My wife's fleece pants weigh in at 6.7 ounces in size small, maybe an ounce heavier than her midweight long john bottoms. They are both warmer and have the added benefit of being wearable around town. cool, mine are 22 ounces, stupid heavy, light fleece pants sound great. I carry a microfleece top, about 7.5 ounces, vs my 20 ounce fleece jacket. Kinda analogous. .. i didn't realize there are microfleece pants.

Engine
12-20-2016, 10:12
absolutely agree, we'd be carrying ours for an early march start.

cool, mine are 22 ounces, stupid heavy, light fleece pants sound great. I carry a microfleece top, about 7.5 ounces, vs my 20 ounce fleece jacket. Kinda analogous. .. i didn't realize there are microfleece pants.

They're really nice for what she uses them for, no bells of whistles beyond the right rear zip hip pocket.

http://www.backcountry.com/the-north-face-tka-100-microvelour-pant-womens?CMP_SKU=TNF01L0&MER=0406&skid=TNF01L0-TNDAGRHE-XLR&CMP_ID=SH_CNXTY&mv_pc=r111&003=7163333&010=TNF01L0-TNDAGRHE-XLR&utm_source=Shopzilla&utm_medium=CSE&mr:referralID=e2b8277c-c6bd-11e6-bac4-005056941669

colorado_rob
12-20-2016, 10:20
They're really nice for what she uses them for, no bells of whistles beyond the right rear zip hip pocket.

http://www.backcountry.com/the-north-face-tka-100-microvelour-pant-womens?CMP_SKU=TNF01L0&MER=0406&skid=TNF01L0-TNDAGRHE-XLR&CMP_ID=SH_CNXTY&mv_pc=r111&003=7163333&010=TNF01L0-TNDAGRHE-XLR&utm_source=Shopzilla&utm_medium=CSE&mr:referralID=e2b8277c-c6bd-11e6-bac4-005056941669Outstanding! thanks. BTW, that TKA 100 fabric is precisely what I call "microfleece".

Engine
12-20-2016, 12:52
Outstanding! thanks. BTW, that TKA 100 fabric is precisely what I call "microfleece".

Sure thing. Fleece has started to find it's way back into my gear again as well. I have a microfleece 1/4 zip which I really like...maybe the most comfortable piece of gear I own.

She has a Mountain Hardware 1/4 zip pullover made of a very similar material that she loves as well. If it's bitter cold, she can layer with her Patagonia lightweight Capilene t-shirt, Midweight Capilene 1/4 zip, the MH 1/4 zip, and finally her MH Ghost Whisperer hooded jacket. She adds her Marmot Precip jacket over all of that if it blowing hard.

Gearing up to Keep her warm enough during the day and night has been a huge part of my pre thru-hike planning (and purchasing :D). Much of our gear was perfect for late early May through late October in the southern Appalachians, but it fell short of meeting our needs for early March.

Tipi Walter
12-20-2016, 13:03
We are gong to carry a set of microspikes for any real icy conditions that may show up. Many will say this is overkill and not needed, but I view them as a 12-ounce insurance policy against a possible hike ending injury. We'll send them home with our winter items after Roan mountain, if not before.

Microspikes are part of my standard load for any trips in January and February, possibly March. Certainly March. Plus, if you want to really stay out all winter and not have to bail into a town, bring a snow shovel. A shovel will encourage daily packing, daily moving and daily setting up in deep snow on a daily basis. Why? Because it will allow you to properly prepare a tent site. It doesn't help in postholing but it's great otherwise.

Part of winter kit---Voile XLM shovel, microspikes, MLD eVent shell mitts.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2015-Trips-161/Welcome-to-2015/i-PNChWZw/0/XL/Winter%202015%20008-XL.jpg

Engine
12-20-2016, 13:21
Insurance against racking up zero's because the trail is too icy/snowy....ice storms are not uncommon at all...

Absolutely, and while zeros in town waiting out weather aren't fun, zeros in a shelter because you cannot navigate the icy trail can be downright dangerous.

Engine
12-20-2016, 13:22
Microspikes are part of my standard load for any trips in January and February, possibly March. Certainly March. Plus, if you want to really stay out all winter and not have to bail into a town, bring a snow shovel. A shovel will encourage daily packing, daily moving and daily setting up in deep snow on a daily basis. Why? Because it will allow you to properly prepare a tent site. It doesn't help in postholing but it's great otherwise.

Part of winter kit---Voile XLM shovel, microspikes, MLD eVent shell mitts.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2015-Trips-161/Welcome-to-2015/i-PNChWZw/0/XL/Winter%202015%20008-XL.jpg

I will definitely consider it, especially when I just looked and saw this is less than 9 ounces.

http://www.campsaver.com/crest-snow-shovel

Engine
12-20-2016, 13:23
To the OP, it would appear I have completely hijacked your thread. I apologize, that was not my intention.

Tipi Walter
12-20-2016, 13:24
Absolutely, and while zeros in town waiting out weather aren't fun, zeros in a shelter because you cannot navigate the icy trail can be downright dangerous.

Dangerous? In what way? I've spent dozens of zero days in my tent during winter Hell Storms. In fact, knowing when to hunker in can be a life-saver.

Engine
12-20-2016, 13:28
Dangerous? In what way? I've spent dozens of zero days in my tent during winter Hell Storms. In fact, knowing when to hunker in can be a life-saver.

I agree for a well-stocked hiker, but when thru-hiking with only 1 extra day of food in the pack, not being able to move for days on end could really stink. Maybe "suck" would have been a better description of the consequences than "dangerous".

Huli
12-20-2016, 14:08
Upgrade to Patagonia capalene thermal weight bottoms and hooded top, they are much better than mid. A down beanie to sleep in does much more than it sounds like.

IIRC, for a small fee z packs will overstuff your bag if you send it back.

If you are still worried, add a ridge rest UNDER your pad. The cold ground really saps warmth out.

What is your shelter?

Tipi Walter
12-20-2016, 14:13
No big deal but I have found thru testing and experience that a CCF pad works better (warmer) on top of the inflatable pad. At least my Thermarest Solar pad does.

Engine
12-20-2016, 15:14
No big deal but I have found thru testing and experience that a CCF pad works better (warmer) on top of the inflatable pad. At least my Thermarest Solar pad does.

I've read and heard that both above and below are better, depends on who you ask. I have a hard time understanding what difference it makes since R-values are cumulative, wouldn't you get the same effect either way?

The only reason I put my CCF pad under the inflatable is that it seems to help keep the slippery inflatable from moving all over the tent floor.

colorado_rob
12-20-2016, 15:44
I've read and heard that both above and below are better, depends on who you ask. I have a hard time understanding what difference it makes since R-values are cumulative, wouldn't you get the same effect either way?

The only reason I put my CCF pad under the inflatable is that it seems to help keep the slippery inflatable from moving all over the tent floor.I find no difference, but conditions change and hard to be totally objective, and theoretically it should make no difference, we've argued this over and over, dog gone it, I'm going to test this sometime, I have a thought experiment that should work well, and my backyard is nice and frozen right now....

Venchka
12-20-2016, 16:21
I agree for a well-stocked hiker, but when thru-hiking with only 1 extra day of food in the pack, not being able to move for days on end could really stink. Maybe "suck" would have been a better description of the consequences than "dangerous".

That is one of the definitions of stupid light. Especially in winter.
Tuna straight out of the foil pouch isn't one of my favorite things. I stash a couple in my pack (bottom of my food bag) for a special occasion. Like when the manure hits the ventilator. Things will have to be pretty grim before I eat the tuna.
Wayne



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ScareBear
12-20-2016, 18:56
Absolutely, and while zeros in town waiting out weather aren't fun, zeros in a shelter because you cannot navigate the icy trail can be downright dangerous.

I think the Sheriff and some 5th Ranger's had to bring food to some stranded by the ice storms in Feb and March 2014, on Section 1 in Georgia...to start a thru hike in February at Springer without traction aids is just ounce-wise and pound-foolish...

Engine
12-21-2016, 06:26
That is one of the definitions of stupid light. Especially in winter.
Tuna straight out of the foil pouch isn't one of my favorite things. I stash a couple in my pack (bottom of my food bag) for a special occasion. Like when the manure hits the ventilator. Things will have to be pretty grim before I eat the tuna.
Wayne

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Getting down to your last day of food is stupid light? The point I was making (albeit, not very well) was that you can't necessarily know when you'll be stranded, and if it happened toward the end of a resupply stretch, you could easily end up going without food for a day or so while you waited on weather to change. In the winter, not eating could be a problem.


Hence, the microspikes.

Venchka
12-21-2016, 09:25
Getting down to your last day of food is stupid light? The point I was making (albeit, not very well) was that you can't necessarily know when you'll be stranded, and if it happened toward the end of a resupply stretch, you could easily end up going without food for a day or so while you waited on weather to change. In the winter, not eating could be a problem.

Getting down to your last day of food is stupid light? The point I was making (albeit, not very well) was that you can't necessarily know when you'll be stranded, and if it happened toward the end of a resupply stretch, you could easily end up going without food for a day or so while you waited on weather to change. In the winter, not eating could be a problem.


Hence, the microspikes.

It's all relative. Do what works for you. I'll do what works for me.
It's all good.
Wayne



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Engine
12-21-2016, 10:03
It's all relative. Do what works for you. I'll do what works for me.
It's all good.
Wayne

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I'm NOT trying to be argumentative, I just don't understand what point you're trying to make.

Venchka
12-21-2016, 10:08
A stash of just in case emergency rations tucked away in my pack.
Wayne


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Tipi Walter
12-21-2016, 10:36
Getting down to your last day of food is stupid light? The point I was making (albeit, not very well) was that you can't necessarily know when you'll be stranded, and if it happened toward the end of a resupply stretch, you could easily end up going without food for a day or so while you waited on weather to change. In the winter, not eating could be a problem.


Hence, the microspikes.

Regarding food, every backpacker should study the plight of Steve Frazier---

THE RESCUE STORY OF STEVE FRAZIER
Steve planned a 5 day backpacking trip into Yosemite NP on Oct 28 2008. He hikes 20 miles in and sets up camp. A 3 day snowstorm dumps 2 feet of snow and he can't find the trail, " . . . effectively trapping him at that location." What does he do? Does he stumble and posthole for 5 miles and dies in a heap? Does he call 911? Does he strip naked and run screaming from camp? Naw, this is what Frazier does---

He spends the next 12 days hunkered down in his tent and making his last 2 days of food last 12. He finally gets spotted after missing his plane flight on Nov 9. This is a great story!

"I had to pull a Frazier" is now in my lexicon and has become my new winter mantra. It's how you survive being stuck in place---by hunkering in and waiting. 12 days seems excessive but he did it. In deep snow and during a series of blizzards the best place to be is inside your tent. Where else will you be warm and dry? Packing up and leaving in deep snow when the trail is gone and you're postholing a half mile in an hour is not and will never be as good as pulling a Frazier and sitting put. Hunkering in.

Hosh
12-21-2016, 11:01
Hum, doesn't sound like he had snow shoes. Should be standard carry for a western trip, even in shoulder season, especially at elevation.

Did they charge him for the SAR?

Engine
12-21-2016, 11:40
A stash of just in case emergency rations tucked away in my pack.
Wayne


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Sorry, talk to text sometimes messes things up. It should have said NOT trying to be argumentative.

In one of my earlier posts above I mentioned the extra day of food, but it was buried in the message and probably easily missed.

Engine
12-21-2016, 11:42
Regarding food, every backpacker should study the plight of Steve Frazier---

THE RESCUE STORY OF STEVE FRAZIER
Steve planned a 5 day backpacking trip into Yosemite NP on Oct 28 2008. He hikes 20 miles in and sets up camp. A 3 day snowstorm dumps 2 feet of snow and he can't find the trail, " . . . effectively trapping him at that location." What does he do? Does he stumble and posthole for 5 miles and dies in a heap? Does he call 911? Does he strip naked and run screaming from camp? Naw, this is what Frazier does---

He spends the next 12 days hunkered down in his tent and making his last 2 days of food last 12. He finally gets spotted after missing his plane flight on Nov 9. This is a great story!

"I had to pull a Frazier" is now in my lexicon and has become my new winter mantra. It's how you survive being stuck in place---by hunkering in and waiting. 12 days seems excessive but he did it. In deep snow and during a series of blizzards the best place to be is inside your tent. Where else will you be warm and dry? Packing up and leaving in deep snow when the trail is gone and you're postholing a half mile in an hour is not and will never be as good as pulling a Frazier and sitting put. Hunkering in.

It seems Frazier had the most important thing a hiker can carry with him...common sense.

colorado_rob
12-21-2016, 12:29
That is a good story, thanks for sharing, Tipi. As much of a gram weenie as I am, I do carry just a bit more sustenance on winter trips. But I probably would have had to stretch one day of food to twelve...

egilbe
12-21-2016, 13:03
It seems Frazier had the most important thing a hiker can carry with him...common sense.
Except he didnt check the weather forecast for the area...

Engine
12-21-2016, 13:12
Except he didnt check the weather forecast for the area...

Do we know that for sure?

Venchka
12-21-2016, 15:04
Sorry, talk to text sometimes messes things up. It should have said NOT trying to be argumentative.

In one of my earlier posts above I mentioned the extra day of food, but it was buried in the message and probably easily missed.

No worries. I just hope I never get down to a 1 day ration of food. I make a pile of what I believe is X days worth of food. I always seem to have some left over. Most of my leftovers are no cooking required. Perfect for "pulling a Frazier".
Wayne


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egilbe
12-21-2016, 15:18
Do we know that for sure?

I would think someone with common sense would take more food if a storm was forecasted. I know I would :-)

Engine
12-21-2016, 18:47
I would think someone with common sense would take more food if a storm was forecasted. I know I would :-)

The point I was trying to make was related to the possibility of a jacked up forecast. Meteorologists get it badly wrong from time to time...think March 13, 1993.

Huli
12-22-2016, 16:18
I've read and heard that both above and below are better, depends on who you ask. I have a hard time understanding what difference it makes since R-values are cumulative, wouldn't you get the same effect either way?

The only reason I put my CCF pad under the inflatable is that it seems to help keep the slippery inflatable from moving all over the tent floor.
The sliding and puncture protection are the two reasons I always say under. Nice advice!

Furlough
12-22-2016, 23:03
Great Thread PinkEagles. I have picked up a few useful tips from a few folks.

Furlough

nsherry61
12-23-2016, 09:21
I've read and heard that both above and below are better, depends on who you ask. I have a hard time understanding what difference it makes since R-values are cumulative, wouldn't you get the same effect either way?

The only reason I put my CCF pad under the inflatable is that it seems to help keep the slippery inflatable from moving all over the tent floor.
I can only speak from my experience, but when the temps are below zero, and I'm sleeping on the ground, not the snow, having my CCF pad on top of my inflatable provides for a comfortable night's sleep whereas putting my inflatable on top of my CCF leads to being miserable and cold.

I agree that R-values should be cumulative, but, there is definitely something more going on here.
The effectiveness or need of the CCF on top, may depend on the design of the inflatable.
The difference in warmth between CCF on top or bottom may not matter in less extreme cold conditions (like sleeping on snow vs. ground).
I have not noticed a critical difference in warmth when sleeping on the snow in a tent, but wow, sleeping on open frozen ground the difference was more than small.

Engine
12-23-2016, 10:41
I can only speak from my experience, but when the temps are below zero, and I'm sleeping on the ground, not the snow, having my CCF pad on top of my inflatable provides for a comfortable night's sleep whereas putting my inflatable on top of my CCF leads to being miserable and cold.

I agree that R-values should be cumulative, but, there is definitely something more going on here.
The effectiveness or need of the CCF on top, may depend on the design of the inflatable.
The difference in warmth between CCF on top or bottom may not matter in less extreme cold conditions (like sleeping on snow vs. ground).
I have not noticed a critical difference in warmth when sleeping on the snow in a tent, but wow, sleeping on open frozen ground the difference was more than small.

If we ever get a serious cold front this far south, we're planning a shakedown hike or two next month. I will test it both ways...now, I'm curious.

Tipi Walter
12-23-2016, 11:14
I can only speak from my experience, but when the temps are below zero, and I'm sleeping on the ground, not the snow, having my CCF pad on top of my inflatable provides for a comfortable night's sleep whereas putting my inflatable on top of my CCF leads to being miserable and cold.

I agree that R-values should be cumulative, but, there is definitely something more going on here.
The effectiveness or need of the CCF on top, may depend on the design of the inflatable.
The difference in warmth between CCF on top or bottom may not matter in less extreme cold conditions (like sleeping on snow vs. ground).
I have not noticed a critical difference in warmth when sleeping on the snow in a tent, but wow, sleeping on open frozen ground the difference was more than small.

Exactly what I said. And of course we're talking about extreme cold, otherwise just a regular R4 inflatable works good enough as a stand-alone.

I think the reason the CCF works best on top is because these kind of pads are real insulators and keep in heat very well. Think of your foam pot cozy and how well it works. So, with the CCF on top we get good insulation quickly while the inflatable underneath offers the outstanding comfort we need for a good night's sleep. Both together provide both warmth and comfort---warmth being vital at 0F.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2015-Trips-161/Three-Citico-Nuts/i-Js9ShDV/0/XL/TRIP%20170%20074-XL.jpg
Here's my standard setup during cold winter trips---a Ridgerest Solar pad at 3.5R coupled when needed with my 4R Thermarest. The inflatable is super comfy and the Solar pad offers both in-tent sit-pad for cooking etc and offers more warmth in deep cold when placed on top of the inflatable, as mentioned.

Plus, when and if the inflatable pad dies in the field, the Solar pad can be doubled up and folded to offer 7R as a stand alone pad so the trip doesn't have to be cancelled.

Tipi Walter
12-23-2016, 11:18
Oh and let's not forget how a CCF pad offers full comfy reststops when thrown against the pack---

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2016-Trips-171/21-Days-on-Warriors-Passage/i-Vjx2mMh/0/XL/P1000545-XL.jpg

meat803
01-04-2017, 08:36
I thru hiked in 2015 started March 8th. Saw cold rain around hiawassee and snow in the Smokey's.

I took way too much cold gear at beginning. Top and bottom Patagonia thermal underwear, R2 fleece, 900 fill puffy, beanie, wool buff, gloves, rain jacket, and wind pants.

I'm considering thru hiking again next year and if I do I'm only taking fleece jacket, thermal top, beanie, wool buff, gloves, and obviously rain jacket.

The thermal, fleece, and rain jacket will keep your core plenty warm for this part of the country. Your legs will be radiating heat from hiking all day and so that need coverage. Head gear is your choosing but neccecary especially with your quilt. I had same quilt. The wool buff is very versatile and with a beanie will keep you covered. I had warm waterproof gloves which were a godsend especially in the morning and Smokey's. I also had waterproof socks that were amazing in the slush of melting snow but they obviously did the last more than a day and leaked. Once through the Smokey's, the cold is done for the most part. Held onto most of my winter gear until the shanny's although kinda overkill. Picked it back up in the whites.

Tipi Walter
01-04-2017, 10:35
Except he didnt check the weather forecast for the area...


I would think someone with common sense would take more food if a storm was forecasted. I know I would :-)


The point I was trying to make was related to the possibility of a jacked up forecast. Meteorologists get it badly wrong from time to time...think March 13, 1993.

I was out backpacking during that storm in 1993 and traversing the trail up to my North Carolina ridgetop tipi where luckily I had a woodstove. It was a tough situation but I got thru it okay and stayed warm and alive although dangit I tipped over my pee bucket in the middle of the night and splashed urine all over my door entrance floor. It was the best of times . . . etc. I also had a high nail in a tree limb by the tipi where I hung wet items to dry and the deep snow caused the trail under the limb to rise by two feet so when I rushed outside to get something in the middle of the night my forehead banged into this nail and gouged a hole in my forehead with some blood loss. I guess I actually poked open my third eye????? More study needed.

Actually, the point of this post is that the wee'tards (weathermen) get it wrong often and you just can't rely on their forecasts. Plus, on a backpacking trip longer than 5 days they WILL NOT have a forecast that is reliable. The best solution for long winter expedition trips is to carry a little radio and listen to the daily reports. If a big arctic Southeastern blast is coming (we had such a polar vortex in January 2014) they'll let you know the day before so you can find a place to "make your stand" and hunker in your tent for the duration.