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PostPosted: January 10th, 2003, 12:02 pm 
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Joined: May 14th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
all the concerns raised so far are well-founded. it's a matter of risk management (as lightjay is fond of saying). admittedly, winter camping requires a greater degree of caution and greater degree of skill to handle unforeseen mishaps. during an early spring outing last year, my friend got hit hard with food poisoning (i think that's what it was). he was immobilized, and even with four sleeping bags, he couldn't get warm (he wasn't able to generate heat). we constructed a makeshift campfire tent (read, human reflector oven) with a big tarp and all was well. :smile:

you know what? looking back, it wasn't weight that's brought this issue to my mind. yesterday, while i was walking to work, i thought to myself what a marvelous thing down is, too bad it's so darn expensive. then i asked myself all these questions, why pay for a down parka and a down sleeping bag? why don't i just get a best 800+ fill down parka and skip the bag? actually, i'm not sure why i'm asking. i'm plenty warm using both my summer (-1C) and autumn/spring bag (-7C) together. i guess it was more out of curiosity.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: mettle on 2003-01-10 12:04 ]</font>


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PostPosted: January 11th, 2003, 7:52 pm 
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Joined: October 9th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Thunder bay, Ontario Canada
I have done alot of backpacking and have been trying very hard at getting the weight thing down. For me its not the getting down to so little that you go out with only a very few lbs...its that put I have to be comfortable..For instance I will not give up my tent for a tarp. I want to feel walls around me, safe from the little critters that might walk over my face at nite, or flying biting things. I like idea of being in a tent..I love it...But I will buy a good light weight two person for when I go out with a friend ( who doesn't have a tent). Now I am looking for the best single person tent I can afford...I am not worrying about weight one bit when it comes to winter camping especially when I am pulling the gear on a taboggan...Winter gear like clothes weights alot more then summer clothes.There a saftey factor in both summer and winter hiking, but hiking for me seems to be alittle more "dangerous". don't know if that is the correct work...


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PostPosted: January 11th, 2003, 10:52 pm 
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Location: Thunder bay, Ontario Canada
re. last post..that is winter hiking is a bit more dangerous..because of the cold..


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PostPosted: January 12th, 2003, 1:42 pm 
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Location: London, Ontario Canada
If you're looking for a good single person tent, have you considered a bivy sack for your sleeping bag? Most of them have a supported hood over your face so the closed in feeling is not too bad. The last time I was reading about them, the weight was under 3lbs.

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PostPosted: January 12th, 2003, 8:29 pm 
Someone mentioned battery heated socks. I've used these in my ski boots when i was with the Canadian Ski Patrol. On really cold days they kept my feet toasty all day while other people had to go in and thaw out evry couple of hours. I used rechargable D cells and they were good for an 8 hour day. The only time I took off my boots and shut them off was during lunch to give my feet a rest. I've also used them in rubber boots when fishing in the spring. I suppose you could use them in a sleeping bag for short winter trips but would have to carry additionl batteries.

Dave


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PostPosted: January 15th, 2003, 12:08 pm 
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Joined: October 29th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Livingston Montana- On the Banks of the Yellowstone River
Be prepared. Never trust your batteries. You should always be prepared in case of emergency. Suppose your stuck there longer than anticipated and your batteries go out... you will get cold.
I always bring the warmest bag as well as down cloths and heavy wool pants and plenty of layers.


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PostPosted: January 15th, 2003, 3:11 pm 
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On 2003-01-10 08:17, Sir Campsalot wrote:

Forget this ultralight thing....



I thought Richard had a policy against using profane language at CCR? OK, I guess badmouthing the concept of lightweight tripping is not obscene just heresy. :wink:

Look lightweight tripping is about managing risk. That means when the consequences of a negative event become more significant, as in extreme cold, you take the appropriate gear. You can be safe still travel light, or lighter than some folks who feel they have to take everything including a kitchen sink.

A heavy and bulky parka, even down (and I have one) is probably not a good choice fo any but the most extreme conditions. With too much insulation and lack of venting you are likely to start sweating, resulting in severe heat loss when your activity level is lower. Probably what happened to Sir Camps. Better to employ layers under a windproof breathable shell so that you can easily control body temperature and sweating. A down jacket or vest and even pants can be added for periods of inactivity. These are lightweight but effective itmes.

One other point. Experimenting with winter camping methods and gear should be done in your back yard. Then it's a quick trip to the warm if things don't work out. You don't want your first attempt at building and sleeping in a Quinzee to be at 4:00 on a January day six hours from your car.

And last one. I find that a layered approach to sleeping bags helps to control moisture as well as proving a cheaper four season sleep system. A lighter synthetic overbag is easier to dry than a single heavier bag. The inner bag stays dry since the dew point occurs in the second bag. I remember a recent record setting polar explorer mentioning that he and his partner's single synthetic bags made especially for them weighed 70 lbs by the end of the expedition due to condensed moisture. I think that would have to be considered a design failure even though they came back in good health. Just make sure you are not losing loft (and insulation) by sqeezing the inner bag with a tight outer that is not designed for this purpose. My synthetic -12 C bag inside an overbag that is supposed to give 10 degrees additional rating is quite comfortable at -27 C in a Quinzee, wearing wool or polyester LJs and a tuque, less protection in a tent. You can stay warm and travel light but find out what works for you in controlled conditions. Jay


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PostPosted: January 15th, 2003, 3:17 pm 
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Oops, yeah that was me. And didn't see Mettle's comment until now. Right on, it's always about risk managment, the stakes are just a lot higher in the winter. Jay


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PostPosted: January 15th, 2003, 3:31 pm 
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Debbie, I travel pretty light (look for previous posts about the 17lb solo weekend pack) but also prefer a full tent too. For three season use, you might look at the MSR Zoid 1.0 tent, full fly, 3lbs, has a vestibule for gear, a small person can sit up in it and looks like it is very well made. I don't have one (yet) but have checked it out. Only potential drawback is that it is a hoop tent, i.e., not freestanding, must be well staked out to get a taut pitch. This has not proven to be a problem with Canadian Shield camping with my current solo tent that is a little smaller. Jay


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PostPosted: January 15th, 2003, 3:50 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
i've never used a vapour barrier liner before. it seems wrong to not let the body "breathe". however, having a bag weigh 70 pounds due to condensed moisture is quite shocking and is causing me to rethink my aversion to vb's, especially on longer trips. other than a heated tent or stinking up your sleeping bag with smoke, i find it difficult to dry a sleeping bag in the winter. you can't count on sunny days.


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PostPosted: January 15th, 2003, 3:55 pm 
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Joined: August 27th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: roseville, Minnesota usa
Hey Debbie,
One of my fondest winter camping memories is from sleeping outside on a tarp. Lying there nice and warm, staring up at the stars...it was wonderful. Usually I take a tent. But you never know you might like it. Try it sometime.
rob


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PostPosted: January 15th, 2003, 4:00 pm 
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Joined: August 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Cheltenham, Ontario Canada
Hi, Debbie:

The caveat, of course, it what you can afford.

I think it's February that Backpacker offers its annual gear guide. If it's anything like the last 12 years, Stephenson's Warmlite tents will have the most size at the least weight, and they are bona-fide mountain tents, capable of withstanding anything any other tent can handle.

Mine, a 3RS is 52 sq. ft. and weighs under four pounds with ground sheet and pegs.

But there's that caveat: they cost.

kk


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PostPosted: January 15th, 2003, 9:12 pm 
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There have been several comments on VBLs (vapour barrier liners). For what it's worth here are a few very personal comments.

I have tried them several times at the instigation of a friend who loves them.
I can't stand them! VBLs are just too clammy and damp for my liking. As a result, I just don't sleep well. They are definately an acqired habit.It's like sleeping in a really big plastic bag. And no, all of the moisture doesn't just escape out the top or you would have one soggy or iced up sleeping bag hood in the morning.

Yes, they stop a dew point problem and ice from forming in the outer layer of your bag but then you can always pass that on to a lighter synthetic outer bag. I have also found that this isn't a real problem for me until at least day 5 or better and most of my winter trips are less than that. (I try saving holidays for canoe trips.)

I have to laugh at my friend. You can actually see the moisture steaming off of him when climbing out of his vbl on the morning. He has to sleep bare because his polypros have too much moisture in them in the morning to be of any use if he tries wearing them inside a vbl. Great idea for a morning wake up - butt naked at twenty below in a pup tent. Sure. On the other hand, my friend thinks I'm wimp anyway. :razz:

It's one of those trade offs if your tripping and on the move everyday. Not a problem with static hot tent camping of course. But then a lot of us are winter trippers not just campers.

cheers, Ted


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PostPosted: January 15th, 2003, 9:57 pm 
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Location: Big Flats, New York USA
Ted, thanks for the observations. I've been considering a VBL, but the moisture buildup you describe seems like a real problem for some people (like me). When hiking with my breathable rain jacket on I will literally form puddles in the sleeves, while my buddy will stays dry in his. I've grown to despise having to put my rain jacket on.

I'm going to try the extra bag over my winter bag this weekend. The forecast is perfect for camping, snow on the ground and -18oC. Very unusual for us, I can't wait.

Tony


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2003, 10:18 am 
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Location: Two Harbors, Minnesota USA
The idea of using a vapor barrior in the sleeping bag originated, I beieve, with mountaineers in the 1970's, possibly to reduce moisture buildup in down bags. I don't know of anyone using one today, and from my experience in camping in temps as low as -40 C, I can't imagine crawling out of the sleeping bag into the cold air either damp or wet. The evaporation would cool your body so quickly as to put you at grave risk of hypothermia and/or frostbite.

The buildup of moisture in synthetic filled sleeping bags will sublimate out of the bag on sunny days, even at low temperatures. The darker the bag, the more heat it will absorb
for drying.

Vapor barriers are great to use on feet, however. They really reduce the amount of moisture that will accumulate in pack boot or Mukluk liners or ski boots. Just put on a THIN pair of liner socks (polypro or olefin), put on vapor barrier over these (bread bags works well), and finally, put on a pair of heavy socks. In the evening around the campfire take off the whole works, shake the moisture out of the vapor barrier bags (let it freeze first), and quickly dry out the liner socks by the fire. Keep them in your pocket for safe keeping overnight to put on warm and dry in the morning.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ghommes on 2003-01-20 12:08 ]</font>


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