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 Post subject: Shopping list for backcountry camping
PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:42 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2006 4:36 pm
Posts: 382
Location: Lethbridge, AB
I want to get into overnight trips. I'm starting from zero. What would you recommend? Quality and performance matter more than price. Tent, sleeping bag, stove, um? I'm completely new at winter camping... what else do I need. Brand(s)/model(s)?

Thanks in advance.

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 Post subject: Re: Shopping list for backcountry camping
PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 8:33 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:20 pm
Posts: 47
Location: 82 J/11
Im pretty new to snow camping as well.

Go to the mec and grab this, lots'a good stuff in there.

I've already kiboshed the tent idea, in favor of a tarp/bivy combo instead, so you can have mine for cheap.

This is my stove, but we'll see what kind of cook times I can get out of it in the sub-zeros.

I think Helsport, and Western Mountaineering are two of the better brands but this is what i've been using as a bag. Its a bit bulky and the zippers suck, but I highly recommend it.

Hopefully others with a bit more experience chime in, i meant to start this thread myself but got lazy. :oops:

Getting any turns in around Fernie yet?
Kananaskis is still pretty sketchy, but the slackcountry around Sunshine isn't looking too terrible.


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 Post subject: Re: Shopping list for backcountry camping
PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 10:10 am
Posts: 1203
Location: Denver
dude, wtf is up with that sleeping bag. and is that a naked chic in it?

As far as stoves, cant go wrong with jetboil.

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 Post subject: Re: Shopping list for backcountry camping
PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 6:09 pm
Posts: 388
Location: Chamonix, France
Here are some of the things I've learned:

There's lot's to do at camp in winter conditions, and for me the key to do things slowly and carefully so that I don't have to repeat anything, and I don't forget anything. In the long run this is a time saver and helps to feel rested and in control instead of tired and overwhelmed. If I take 2 minutes to think about what I need to do for the next 10 and it'll really be 10 and not 30.

Don't skimp on a mat, it's as important as a sleeping bag if not more. I have this mat but I think they have nicer models now. It weighs as much as a 3 season one because of the aerogel mumbo jumbo, but it is bulky being a closed cell one. The 4 season thermarest is also decent, and Big Agnes makes very well reviewed sleeping pad + bag combos. If you do go with the fancy pancy one, don't overinflate the back rest. I thought it was a horrible mat till I learned it should be flush with the closed cell foam, not bulging out.

Note that the warmlite bag is designed to be used in expedition type scenarios: day in day out of subzero temperatures, 24/7, and you pay a lot for that design and construction. It's reputedly very good (never seen one myself), but there are some very modestly priced bags out there, too. If you like the design concept the big agnes ones are sort of similar, but much simpler and cheaper. It doesn't have boobies built in though.

For cooking i like the MSR dragonfly. By cooking I mean not just boiling water and heating up instant food, but stuff like rice and pancakes. I also have a snow peak gigapower (shave half an ounce for $20 with the titanium version!!! OMG YES!) gas stove which works great and weighs virtually nothing (yes, the steel version weighs nothing too :roll:). I'd start with canister stoves and work up to a fancier stove after you're sick of the taste of MSG. It's not a waste because they complement eachother very well.

A silicone spatula, a large double walled cup and one of these nifty sporks are all I bring other than that for eating/drinking. If your pot is a nonstick one, tea and coffee make great soap substitute, and you can't taste the food leftovers after you've scrubbed with the silicone spatula or some snow. I like the JetBoil pot but not their stoves. I bent the fins to make it fit on the MSR dragonfly and it works very well with the gigapower stove too. I don't like titanium pots, the difference in weight between an aluminum and a titanium pot feels to me like the weight of the burnt food I'd be throwing away. Titanium is a bad conductor and the heat doesn't spread well, so it's hard to cook things well with them.

I really like starting the day and going to bed with something warm and sugary to keep me warm. I'm not a morning person, so that really helps to wake up properly. It's a luxury, but I think it might even save time with me.

Clothing wise, the only non obvious thing I'd mention is that I like to use windstopper gloves with a grippy palm and fingers. Something that you can actually do all the things you need at camp without using your bare hands makes a huge difference in comfort and you can wear them under your normal gloves when you're not doing anything. If you sweat in them or get them in the snow, tuck them inside your jacket or something, or they will freeze. Thawing frozen gloves while you try to get warm is the least fun thing I've ever done outdoors.

A slightly more obvious tip is that wool is costly but it smells a lot better after several days of use. I like merino underwear. On one two week trpi I used two pairs of boxers and one pair of longjohns. Just don't write embarrassing testimonials on the internet or girls won't like you anymore.

An emergency bivy can be really useful for extra heating inside the sleeping bag and weighs nothing. I always carry it and I've used it several times (no emergencies yet). It is noisy and stuffy compared to a sleeping bag though. I wouldn't wear it outside though, because it'll trap the moisture you sweat and let the down absorb it.

If you use nalgenes, make sure to keep them upside down or in the bag with you overnight. If you use a camelback empty it and sleep with it or the tube will freeze.

Don't let your down stuff get wet. It's impossible to dry and collapses to virtually nothing.

If you are cold at night, eat a candy bar. The more fat/protein the more it'll heat you up due to metabolic activity. Remember to drink a lot too. Sleeping with a hat, socks or even your boot liners is also helpful.

Keep your headlamp somewhere consistent, so that you never have to look for it when you actually need it (that is the same pocket of your pack and a consistent place in the tent).

For camping on snow, take the time to make a nice platform with your shovel. It really helps to sleep well.

If you bury deadman anchors for the tent's guylines, don't bury them too deep, it's incredible how much they strengthen within a few hours of freezing, and if you do it too deep it's a lot of work to break them down.

Lastly, lots of people get into winter camping only to find out it's not for them and sell virtually unused stuff on ebay. I got a $600 sleeping bag for $250, virtually new.

I think those are all the resolutions for the stupid mistakes I can remember making. Have fun!


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 Post subject: Re: Shopping list for backcountry camping
PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 10:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 6:09 pm
Posts: 388
Location: Chamonix, France
HikeforTurns: you should check out their somewhat NSFW catalog. Apparently you're supposed to use all that gear naked, especially when nordic skiing.

I have a strange feeling, like the website is a little dated or something.


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 Post subject: Re: Shopping list for backcountry camping
PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:07 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 3:00 pm
Posts: 293
Location: Northern CA
This is a topic that I can sink my teeth into! I should mention that I'm a rep for several outdoor manufactures such as Deuter, Nemo Equipment, Snow Peak, Kahtoola and a few others. Here's my recommendation on some quality winter camping gear...

1) Osprey Exposure 66ltr Backpack (or something of simular volume & can also carry a board and avi gear)
2) Nemo Equipment Tenshi Tent or Nano Tent w/ Winter Kit
3) Snow Peak White Gas Stove or LI Backpacking Stove (aka the Metal Crab)
4) Snow Peak Pack & Save Ti 2ltr Pot (for melting snow & boiling H2O only)
5) Snow Peak Double-Wall Ti Mug w/ Lid
6) GSI Lexan Rehydrate Spoon (long-length spoon for eating right out of the food bag)
7) ThermaRest Pro 4 Regular Sleeping Pad
8 ) ThermaRest ZRest Seat
9) Petzl MyoBelt XP Headlamp
10) Mtn. Hardwear Phantom 0 or 15 Degree Sleeping Bag
11) ThermaRest Travel Pillow Case
12) Antigravity Pouch Cozy (completely dehydrate food during winter conditions)
13) MSR Heat Exchanger (fits SP Pack & Save Pot)
14) SMC T-Anchor or Sno Tent Stakes
15) Sierra Designs Primaloft or Down Booties
16) Nalgene 32oz Bottle (dedicated to pee in)

I'm sure I'll think of some more products to add to this list , but I think it covers the majority of what you may need. Pardon some of my bias recommendations, but what kind of rep would I be if I didn't plug my brands. I tried to list every winter specific item or something that's ideal for winter applications that I either personally use or know to be ideal. The key with winter gear is keeping the weight at a minimum without sacraficing durability, comfort and safety. What ever set-up you end up getting, just make sure to first try it out and make sure it's fits you, be it the backpack, sleeping bag or tent. Remember fit = comfort! Good luck! Mark

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 Post subject: Re: Shopping list for backcountry camping
PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:02 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:43 pm
Posts: 395
Location: Seattle
Depending on what sort of camping you intend on doing (base camp vs mountaineering), I highly recommend something like the BD Megamid or MH Kiva. They make great snow shelters, or if you're taking a tent, make a great cook tent/secondary seating area under cover.

What we've done is flatten/pack down the snow a bit, then pitch the tarp, and excavate underneath, making for some nice roomy area. If sleeping in one though, I'd recommend a lightweight bivy sack to keep your bag dry.

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 Post subject: Re: Shopping list for backcountry camping
PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 11:32 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 4:39 pm
Posts: 15
Location: Sydney Australia
HILLEBERG.

google it


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 Post subject: Re: Shopping list for backcountry camping
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:27 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:02 pm
Posts: 752
Location: St. Croix Falls, WI
Yeah, I'm looking at the pics of the sleeping bag, and I'm like... Is that a boob? Or, does that girlish looking hippy have some serious b!tch-t1t$?

Go w Western Mountaineering ,or Marmot for sleeping bags. You can get away on a cold night with a +15 bag, and a exped downmat... then just use an ultralight B.D. winter bivy, and a small sil tarp to keep off the elements....

At least that's what I use, and I sleep like a baby.

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 Post subject: Re: Shopping list for backcountry camping
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:26 pm
Posts: 108
Location: Tahoe
Yoda wrote:
This is a topic that I can sink my teeth into! I should mention that I'm a rep for several outdoor manufactures such as Deuter, Nemo Equipment, Snow Peak, Kahtoola and a few others. Here's my recommendation on some quality winter camping gear..
...
16) Nalgene 32oz Bottle (dedicated to pee in)
...! Mark


Er, why would you need a bottle to pee in?


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 Post subject: Re: Shopping list for backcountry camping
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:43 pm
Posts: 395
Location: Seattle
deejaygee wrote:
Er, why would you need a bottle to pee in?


I suppose that's up to personal preference, but if you need one, make sure it's a Nalgene. Some friends were trying a winter ascent of Mt Washington, and spent the night in a storm. At some point in the night, one of the guys rolled over on his non-nalgene piss bottle and it broke . . . :banghead:

They got off the mountain early the next morning and came straight on home.

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 Post subject: Re: Shopping list for backcountry camping
PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:48 pm
Posts: 114
Ive got a Seirra Designs Arrow Rock bag. Seems to have been a lil damp in the AM at the feet, but probably wasnt the best bag choice for tofino in the summer.

Would have liked something with half zips, and bottom venting. gore to be more water resistant though. I guess I could just get a winter bivy or 4 season tent


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 Post subject: Re: Shopping list for backcountry camping
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:31 pm
Posts: 592
Location: ca. - sierra
hey TP you got some great info here to get you started.

my .02 cents (with the canadian exchange rate probably equals .01)

let me start off by saying you MUST get this book. lots of great info and well written too.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/bookse ... %2DOBannon

so what can i say that hasnt already been said here or in the book?

warmth is the key to comfort if you are comfortable than you can withstand quite a bit more in terms of harsh conditions, which im sure you will encounter on extended tours in your area. also keeping dry is key so extra socks, gloves, etc are very important. since you will already have a huge pack no doubt why not bring along one creature comfort to make it that much more enjoyable. for me its usually some extra food, or junk food and a giant telephoto lens. calories are also very important so make sure you got enough and then some just in case. always check out all your gear before you go and make sure you got everything (dont forget crampons like i did once cuz i was too busy packing my stove and other overnight stuff!)

I agree with nothingmuch about the mat, that is very important for keeping you off the snow and warm!

I use a bivy but one thing to consider is if you gotta ride out a storm or spend an unexpected day or two its pretty tight.

also i really like to bring a snow saw. good for putting up wind breaks fast and fun to try building igloos.

TK nice links some good stuff there for sure!

so here is my "short" overnight list

overnight pack - osprey atmos 50 - i just got it last year and it works great!
> consider the amount of weight and application when looking at packs. try one on loaded up with weight
and make sure its comfy and can take the board in split as well as normal modes.
shelter - bivy or tent - warm but light and simple
sleep stuff - pad or matt and bag. light but warm. i use the exped downmat but its kind of gimicky.
cooking stuff - stove - pan set - utensils - cup for coffee or tea - my pans double as plates if needed
cleaning stuff - snow works well but sometimes soap is nice to have - also some hand sanitizer
food and water - lots of backpack food - i like mac and cheeze a lot these days! any brand. oh and oatmeal, gruel of the gods!
extra clothing - down layers (compresses and lightweight but warm!), socks, long underware, extra hat, gloves, and shades
sun stuff - sun hat, sunscreen, lip stuff
tp and poop bags if packing out - yes we do it here in the US in high use areas
plus all the usual day trip items>
board, boots, skins, wax, poles, avy gear, gps, headlamp !!!, xtra batts, map, axe and crampooooons, warm pants and jacket, goggles, radio.

im sure there is more im forgetting.

also its important to let people know where you are going what your route is and when you will be back! dont just tell them where but include directions if you have them.


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