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View Full Version : February Thru-Hiker: Not a fan of the freezing



Rhapsodist
10-29-2009, 23:03
I've got my TH planned for 2011. I have to start really early because i'll be starting school at the end of August and I can only defer one year. My shelter of choice is a hennessy hammock, and hopefully I'll have a super shelter insert by then. Am I going to freeze?! i've heard people swingin' in all types of weather but I can't sleep when I cold. Nay suggestions for shelter, clothing, or whatever? I'll include teh things I already intend on bringing. let me know if i'm being stupid.

Weight Price
CARRYING - PACK WEIGHT per piece per item
Quan. Item (oz) ($)

SHELTER
1 Sleeping Bag winter wren
1 Emergency Blanket - Texsport Polarshield
1 Sleeping Pad neoair therma rest
10 Stakes for Hammock/Ground Cover
1 50' of Nylon Line
1 Water-proof Compression Sack O.R.- Blue (Slp bag)
1 Hennessey Hammock/sack - Ultra Light Backpacker A-Sym
1 Reflector Survival Blanket


BACKPACK
1 Backpack Osprey Aura 65
1 Equinox Waterproof Pack Cover (large)
Total Backpack & Storage (lbs)
COOKING & WATER APPLIANCES
1 Water Purifier - Patypus
2 Water Bottle - Platypus 1 L
1 Water Bag - Platypus 2.7
1 Cooking Stove - Jetboil PCS
1 Fuel - Primus Bu/Pro Mix Canister (Full)
1 Spork
1 Zippo
1 Food Bag - URSACK (Empty wt)


FIRST-AID, TOILETRIES AND SUNDRIES
3 Extra Headlamp batteries - 3 AAA
1 Duct Tape�*-1/2 Roll in plastic bag
1 1/2 roll of toilet paper
1 Toothbrush
1 Toothpaste
1 Dental Floss
1 Therm-A-Rest Repair Kit
1 Hand mirror (Grooming and signaling)
1 Soap - Dr Bronner ROSE
1 Baby Wipes Travel Pak (10 per pak)
1 Vitamins/Baby Aspirin
1 Bottle of Advil - 100 Tablets
1 Whistle
1 Package of Moleskins
1 Sunglasses
1 Eyeglass Neckholder
1 Money, ID and other documents�

NAVIGATION & COMMUNICATIONS
1 Headlamp/flashlight - Energizer w/batteries
1 Nikon Coolpix 2500 Digital Camera
1 Extra Nikon Battery
1 Suunto Watch
1 Thru Hiker Companion and pens
1 Plastic bags


CLOTHING
1 Raincoat and pants
1 Long underwear Bottoms
1 Long underwear Top
2 Bike Shorts
1 Teva Camp Sandals & backup hiking shoes
2 Bandanas (Also use for towels)
1 Wick Dry SS Tee (1 wearing)
1 Black Waterproof gloves
1 Glove Inserts (Blue)
4 Socks�*- Sleep and Spares (2- pair wearing)
1 Water-proof Compression Sack O.R.- Blue (Clothes)


WEARING - EQUIP. & CLOTHES ON BODY
2 Trekking Poles - Leki
1 Hiking Shoes
1 EMS Pullover
1 Patagonia R4
1 Everyday & Rain hat


TOTAL CARRY AND WEARY Weight (lbs) and Price 23.5 lbs 1629


I feel like I'm over-preparing but I really don't want to die from hypothermia...:(

Ox97GaMe
10-29-2009, 23:53
Rhapso,
There wont be many hikers on the trail in Feb, so you should have plenty of space in the shelters. In the Smokies, you will be required to stay in shelters, so you need to be prepared for that.

As for the hammock, I have hung in Feb in my Hennessey Expedition and stayed warm. I used a semi inflated thermarest under me to help keep the cold away from my body. Some people prefer the underquilt. I am considering getting one of those for my hammock.

The reason I carry the thermarest is that I do a lot of hiking in the Smokies. When I am at a backcountry campsite, I hang the hammock. But sometimes, the distance works out for me to be at a shelter. I have to be prepared for both situations in the park.

Have a great hike. Maybe I will see you out there somewhere.

Blue Jay
10-30-2009, 09:34
I do a lot of winter camping. By far the most important thing is a warm sleeping bag. Screw the weight on that item. Get the best one you can afford. Another "trick" is is keep a few handfuls of high quality dry twigs or kindling and a few tea candles. Practice starting fires with wet wood. Always always have a dry set of clothing. Last but not least, the first sign of hypothermia is that you get stupid. You have to know when that starts to happen and do something about it, maybe get out of the woods.

max patch
10-30-2009, 12:02
A 25 degree rated sleeping bag isn't going to cut it in February.

I have doubts about the neoair being functional in cold conditions. I'd use a closed cell pad for insulation.

Blissful
10-30-2009, 12:11
You're gonna be cold in your hammock unless you're used to winter conditions. Take a tent and use your hammock in the summer.
Agree - need a good sleeping bag at least 15 degree and need a liner.
Leave home the repair kit, flashlight (you have your headlamp), extra batteries, (you can get batteries in towns), moleskin (you have duct tape), mirror (look at yourself in town - :), sunglasses, skip bike shorts and wear convertible pants (what are you hiking in? - need camp clothes and hiking clothes separate)
Bandanas make lousy towels, IMO. I like the MSR towels personally and they dry quick. I did keep one bandana as a "tissue"
Crocs are preferred - sandals are heavy and you dont need back up shoes
You must have a jacket - down or otherwise (what is patagonia r4?).
You're not gonna wanna carry a whole bottle of Advil, just get enough between resupply points.

Blissful
10-30-2009, 12:16
Rhapso,
In the Smokies, you will be required to stay in shelters, so you need to be prepared for that.



If shelters are full with reservations and thru hiker space is taken, then you can camp if you're a thru hiker

Slo-go'en
10-30-2009, 12:34
I'm not a big fan of Nalgine bottles, but in cold weather, the large lid and wide mouth make them easier to use and open if they start to freeze up. Plus you can get insulating sleeves for them.

I agree with Ox97game to leave the hammock home until the weather warms up. You'd be better off with a bivy sack and the tarp from the hammock. The bivy adds a few degrees to your bag and helps keep it dry if snow or rain is blowing into the shelter.

Your probably a bit light on clothing. I would add at least a vest, down or micropuff, a long sleeve shirt to hike in and a second T shirt. 2 bike shorts - instead of underware? Spare hiking boots? No need to carry those. You might not get much use out of the sandals either until it warms up. Bic lighter - always carry two. Zippos don't work well in the cold and you need fuel for it. Bandanas don't work very well as towels, get a shammy type.

You have a year or so to prepare. Get your gear together and do some practice hikes next fall when it starts to get cold. This time of year in Maine (late Oct, early Nov) might be similer to conditions in the south in Febuary, or at least close enough to let you know if you need to change something.

Jester2000
10-30-2009, 13:27
I do a lot of winter camping. By far the most important thing is a warm sleeping bag. Screw the weight on that item. Get the best one you can afford. Another "trick" is is keep a few handfuls of high quality dry twigs or kindling and a few tea candles. Practice starting fires with wet wood. Always always have a dry set of clothing. Last but not least, the first sign of hypothermia is that you get stupid. You have to know when that starts to happen and do something about it, maybe get out of the woods.

If you're hammocking, what you have under you is as important as the sleeping bag -- the bottom of the sleeping bag's insulation (what little there is) is flattened, and there's cold air underneath you. There are plenty of folks in the hammock forum that camp in the cold and have various homemade and purchased solutions, though. They're the experts on that -- you should definitely post there.

As for the rest of the gear, a caveat: no one here is an expert on you, so take everything with a grain of salt.

But I would: go with disposeable lighters rather than the zippo (carry two), Nalgenes instead of the Platy bottles, at least at the beginning (wider mouth as already mentioned, but can be filled with boiling water and used as a hot water bottle in your sleeping bag if you're really cold). I'd keep the extra batteries, probably not carry as much toilet paper (you'll get pretty good at estimating how much you'll use between towns, in the beginning you'll probably carry more than you need), carry the (small) travel toothpaste, lose the mirror, carry less Advil, and ditch 1 pair of socks (always keeping one dry pair for camp/sleeping and rotating the other 2 when hiking). I'd also carry (maybe it's there and I missed it) a good fleecy hat to sleep in.

Ultimately, though, carry what makes you happy. If that mirror makes you happy, take it. Same with everything else.

njordan2
10-30-2009, 14:04
Far and away the most important item in arctic camping, (and when the wind chill factor is -20F with 4 feet of snow, as it often is in February in the mountains, it is considered arctic camping), is your SLEEPING BAG.
Second is your SHELTER.
Third is your ability to START A FIRE.

For the sleeping bag I prefer modern synthetics. When they get wet, they can still insulate you and dry out. Down does not do this. But if one is diligent enough to keep down dry, and many people do, then it is a better insulator for the weight and compressed volume.

Now for the shelter. I recommend you treat yourself to an actual tent with rainfly. Sure it will be heavier than just a poncho converted to a hooch, but the extra 3 pounds is worth it. But no matter what you do, have some sort of a shelter. The minimum would be your hammock with a rain cover and something underneath it.

For starting fires, bring wooden matches and a butane lighter. It is easier to light a fire with a match that you can insert into a little hollow of tinder than it is with a lighter. Butane is easier to light when extremely cold than naptha. The trick is to put the plastic lighter in your mouth, under your arm pit, or down your pants, (just be careful what order you do this in!), to warm it up enough to light, then light a match with the lighter and start a fire.

take-a-knee
10-30-2009, 14:16
I think you'll be fine with a Winter Wren, since, unless you are really a cold sleeper. I can sleep in a standard Wren to 25, they work great in a hammock, especially a Hennessy.

Keep one Nalgene for a bag warmer. Get two 32oz Gatorade bottles. I love playtypuses, but I would carry one in FEB.

I'm dubiious about the Neoair, I strongly urge you to spring for the Jacks R'Better 3-season set (Nest underquilt and No-sniveler top quilt) Use the Wren until it warms and then use the top quilt. You'll likely need an evazote pad or a ridgerest in addition to the Nest underneath you until April or later. I'd carry a full ridgerest. I strongly urge you to get this hammock thing worked out NOW, no guesses, you'll most likely get it wrong. Check out www.hammockforums.net

Your pack is likely too small. A ULA Catalyst is light and large enough, You are going on a winter hike.

You didn't say anything about a tarp, the stock Hennessy tarp is woefully inadequate. I'd reccomend a Macat Deluxe from OES. You might also consider a Winter Tarp like the one from Speer Hammocks. OES has a winter tarp in the works. Spinnaker fabric will lighten your load a bit, and you'll wallet a little.

No Ursack required, you ain't above timberline. Get the bear bag line from Anti Gravity Gear and a roll top dry bag for a food bag. Learn the PCT method of hanging and don't be a moron and think you'll figure it out on the trail, you won't. Read the online article at BPLight and practice until you have it down.

I use a homemade gravity filter (7oz) following these directions:

http://www.tothewoods.net/HomemadeGearGravityFilter.html

I use katadyn foil packed tabs for backup, they don't get soaked or freeze.

SawnieRobertson
10-30-2009, 14:29
No one has mentioned protecting your footing in case of ice. If I were going as early as you, I would carry my Stabilizers. Also, about that mirror--after a face plant with blood dripping all over my face one day, I was unable to determine how deeply I was cut. The tiniest of mirrors could have handled that. Look for the kind that is on some key chains. Unless it is one of those Indian summer kinds of weeks that we sometimes get in February, I'll bet that you will prefer the stench to soap and water. Just carry a tiny squirt bottle of Dr. Bonners. A little (wee) snack-sized Ziplock can provide all the "toothpaste" you will need. Save all those delightful extras for when your pack lightens as the weather warms. As each is added, you will feel a deep smile within.
--Kinnickinic

sarahgirl
10-30-2009, 17:54
It's quite possible to winter in a hammock. Really consider an underquilt. You have a year to save for this thing, consider the MW4, or some other type of full lenghth underquilt. I think that's what kayakarl used on his thru and he started in January. As it's been said before, Hammockforums.net has a wealth of information.

kayak karl
10-30-2009, 18:17
I think you'll be fine with a Winter Wren, since, unless you are really a cold sleeper. I can sleep in a standard Wren to 25, they work great in a hammock, especially a Hennessy.

Keep one Nalgene for a bag warmer. Get two 32oz Gatorade bottles. I love playtypuses, but I would carry one in FEB.

I'm dubiious about the Neoair, I strongly urge you to spring for the Jacks R'Better 3-season set (Nest underquilt and No-sniveler top quilt) Use the Wren until it warms and then use the top quilt. You'll likely need an evazote pad or a ridgerest in addition to the Nest underneath you until April or later. I'd carry a full ridgerest. I strongly urge you to get this hammock thing worked out NOW, no guesses, you'll most likely get it wrong. Check out www.hammockforums.net (http://www.hammockforums.net)

Your pack is likely too small. A ULA Catalyst is light and large enough, You are going on a winter hike.

You didn't say anything about a tarp, the stock Hennessy tarp is woefully inadequate. I'd reccomend a Macat Deluxe from OES. You might also consider a Winter Tarp like the one from Speer Hammocks. OES has a winter tarp in the works. Spinnaker fabric will lighten your load a bit, and you'll wallet a little.

No Ursack required, you ain't above timberline. Get the bear bag line from Anti Gravity Gear and a roll top dry bag for a food bag. Learn the PCT method of hanging and don't be a moron and think you'll figure it out on the trail, you won't. Read the online article at BPLight and practice until you have it down.

I use a homemade gravity filter (7oz) following these directions:

http://www.tothewoods.net/HomemadeGearGravityFilter.html

I use katadyn foil packed tabs for backup, they don't get soaked or freeze.
yep, what he said :) take-a knee helped cut my pack weight 5 lb. before i left, but my filter froze on springer:(.

CLOTHING
1 Raincoat and pants
1 Long underwear Bottoms (never wore mine. just carried zip-offs. if cold put on rain pants)
1 Long underwear Top
2 Bike Shorts (why?)
1 Teva Camp Sandals & backup hiking shoes (put backup shoes in a mail drop:))
2 Bandanas (Also use for towels)
1 Wick Dry SS Tee (1 wearing)
1 Black Waterproof gloves (it gets cold. if these a kayaking type they will not cut it)
1 Glove Inserts (Blue)
4 Socks�*- Sleep and Spares (2- pair wearing)
1 Water-proof Compression Sack O.R.- Blue (Clothes)

have fun and STAY DRY,
KK