Forums Splitboard Talk Forum 17 nights snow camping, touring and boot drying
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  • #629445
    2068 Posts

    Hopefully you’re cuddle buddy gets wet though. :drool:

    @russman wrote:

    I was going to mention that a cuddle buddy could increase warmth just enough to dry stuff out! 😆

    235 Posts

    “cuddle bunny” – nice!

    Oh, more on the silica gel idea:

    It has an adsorption limit of 40% of its own weight, so you might need a couple of kilos of the stuff for that long. I have no idea what weight of water is left in a pair of boots at the end of a day. if it’s 50ml per pair per day after you’ve left the worst waft out, you’d need 2kgs of gel per person. obviously double that for 50ml per boot. I can easily imagine it being that much.

    Anyone ever weighed their boots dry and wet?

    All that aside, I don’t know if the adsorption rate is fast enough in cold temps for it to be a viable solution for overnight drying.

    I emailed that chemical firm and this is their response:

    Ed – rates of moisture take up will depend so much on conditions that there are no standard curves.
    The more surface area for the moisture be raken up the quicker the take up. It will also depend on the sachet material and the outside humidity.

    One slight word of warning – while not wishing to dampen(!?) your enthusiasm – over the years we have been supplying Silica Gel to two companies have marketed your idea using our product – ‘Bootsnake’ and Dampire (who marketed under a number of trade names)
    Both these companies failed – one owing us a considerable amount of money. We still have samples of the products they were trying to sell.

    He offered me some samples. I might take him up on the offer. I’ll keep you posted on that too.

    709 Posts

    Russman, Did you just offer to cuddle with Ned in a snowbank somewhere :scratch:

    It’s not gay as long as yer both splitboarders… It’s the 12th commandment.

    “Thine may snuggle with another bro in a snow cave IF thou is a splitboarder”

    Messin w/ ya holmes :thumpsup:

    235 Posts

    “Thine may snuggle with another bro in a snow cave IF thou is a splitboarder”

    Reminded me of this bloody amazing story. Nansen + cuddle bunny lost in the Arctic for two years. WELL worth a read:

    Thou mayst snuggle with another bro in a hole in the ground for 9 months through an arctic winter if thou ist pretty much buggered anyway.

    709 Posts

    That is an amazing story…

    Those norwegian explorer dudes TOTALLY hooked up in that greasy sleeping bag :scratch:

    “those aren’t two pillows!!”

    235 Posts

    Deposit paid. Woo. Excitement overwhelmed by trepidation and self-protective pessimism aout how it might turn out to be the worst snow year on record etc, etc, etc…


    All the same though: :bananas: !

    I emailed Dan Milner (the humourously grumpy photographer in Deeper 1st AK bit) and got some decent stuff back. Will post it when I’m on the other computer.

    235 Posts

    edited the thread title to reflect the emphasis on boot drying!

    Found this in an interview with Andrew MacLean:

    One last question specifically about your Patagonia expedition but also all your expedition ski mountaineering in general. I remember reading about the Patagonia expedition, where you were talking about ‘semi-frozen mud sludge’ in your tent and the abominable weather, and I found myself wondering how you keep your feet dry, and warm, and healthy on these expeditions.

    AM: I try to dry my liners out all the time, so I will come into the tent and pull my liners out of my shells and then I’ll leave the shells outside in the vestibule, kind of tipped over and I dry the inside of the shells out just to get all the frost out of them, so that way it doesn’t just keep accumulating a lot of ice in there. Then I will try wearing my liners a little bit, just inside the tent, and I also spend a lot of time with my liners just stuck inside my sleeping bag, giving them a chance to dry out.

    I also go through and just wipe out the inside of the liner, just to kind of get any condensation out of them. Another trick I do is I might have water bottles with hot water in them and I put those inside of the liners, and that kind of helps drive the moisture out of them. I also use a little—it’s kind of like a pot cozy that fits over the top of the stove, and it has an asbestos or fireproof material that directs all of the heat up through a central cone and if my boots get wet, I’ll put the liners over the top of that asbestos cone and really dry them out. Keeping your feet warm and dry is a big part of winter camping.

    Do you take a second pair of boots or down booties?
    AM: No. I bring just one pair of boots and then I will bring a pair of over-boots that I use mainly just for walking around camp. So, I might pull my liners out of the shells and then I’ll put the liners inside gaiters and walk around in those.

    235 Posts

    And the mail from Dan Milner:

    Any bits of kit or clothing that would have made your life easier?

    – Insulated puff pants .. lifesaver. Without them your legs get so cold in the evenings. And a puffa jacket obviously. Helly Hansen hooded baselayer is amazing for core warmth in camp. Down booties and mitts too.
    – You need a thermorest PLUS a closed cell insulated matt if you have space to take it… If you just take a thermorest you stay insulate and comfy in bed, but the snow underneath gets melted and ends up like a hammock after a couple of days. Closed cell matt under your thermorest sorts that out and makes it all warmer.
    – Sleeping bag.. take one rated to -20c (depends on when you’re going)
    – A thin goretex or pertex bivvi bag too (really light) over your sleeping bag stops your down sleeping bag getting damp from frost that will fall off the inside of the tent. Synthetic bags can be ok without.
    – A screw top wide mouth 750ml plastic bottle is good for pissing in without getting out of your sleeping bag in the middle of the night. Sounds bad, but its true. Depends on who you’re sharing a tent with I guess! You can piss into it without getting out of your sleeping bag.. carefully!
    – Headtorch obviously.
    – Wet wipes for .. well you know… washing.
    – A frame to make your thermorest into a chair is good if you have to sit around in a storm…!

    Put batteries and anything else you don’t want to freeze inside your sleeping bag at night. It goes against guidelines but a longer sleeping bag than you usually would have helps fit stuff in. Depends how much you need to put in there. Grab your clothes in the morning and stuff them into your sleeping bag to warm em up before needing to put them on.

    Heat water in the evening and put in a water bottle as a hot water bottle inside your sleeping bag when you go to bed.. getting into a freezing cold bag is one of the worst bits of it before your body heat warms it up!

    Boot drying can be a pain.
    If its sunny and you get back to camp in time, just putting them out in the sun can help… we didn’t take extra liners (though you could I guess)… we didn’t take driers or heaters either. Just put dry socks on for sleeping in and put your liners back on inside your sleeping bag. They will be pretty much dry by morning. Its weird sleeping in them, but its the only thing you can do. Never leave them out over night, you’ll get frost bite when you put them back on! Your outer boots will be frozen hard, but that’s just part of it. Getting your feet into them is almost impossible. Take plenty of changes of sock. Old socks hold the moisture.

    17 Posts

    +1 for down booties and a couple pair of “camp” socks. These must stay dry at all costs so you always have a dry comfy pair. When you get to camp, change into your dry stuff right away and put your wet socks and liners inside your coat on top of your shoulders where your body heat will drive out the moisture. Against your inner thighs inside your warm layer/over base layer works too. And at night bring ’em into your bag, maybe not on your feet but against your torso.
    I disagree about letting your liners freeze. Pretty hard to warm them up in that type of climate once this happens and frostbite is a big concern.
    Keep all your batteries (if possible) on you all the time. I have a base layer with chest pocket that works great for this. If you expect consistent temps below zero maybe go with a headlamp that has a extended power supply you can tuck into your coat while it’s in use.
    Obviously a camelback is out. If it’s as cold as it sounds like up there I wouldn’t worry too much about down as with those types of temperatures there will be very little liquid water around to threaten your feathers. I was once on a ski trip in northern Quebec and with temps around -20F to -40F our guide wore a cotton anorak as his shell all week. He was rad.

    947 Posts

    Bring bread bags for vapor barrier liners, and even if you don’t like the idea of trenchfoot over 17 days. Wearing them only on sparing days when you know you’ll sweat a lot could save you a ton drying effort. By not wearing them everyday, you’ll avoid the trenchfoot thing pretty easily.

    2068 Posts

    I can’t imagine paying to put myself through that without the intent of scoring primo lines.

    235 Posts

    Me neither!

    Scoring Primo Lines is absolutely, 100% the main aim of the trip!

    2068 Posts

    Ooops, I thought I was the NOLS course thread. 17 days of snow camping with the intent of scoring lines…bring it! Make sure you post pictures!!

    875 Posts

    @nedrapier wrote:

    And 18 days in vapor barrier socks sounds a bit trench footy.

    Caveat, I haven’t read every post in this thread meticulously.

    I wore a VB sock every day in AK for 19 straight days. Minimal worry of trench foot if you take good precautions.

    I alternated 3 pairs of polypro liners under the VB and then a heavy wool sock over. Once in camp and the tent was up I would remove the liners and VB, turn the VB inside out, let my feet dry for a few minutes and then put on a fresh (dry) pair of liners with a little Gold Bond foot powder in them + the wool sock + liners and put the whole combo in an insulated overboot to walk around camp in (much more cush than your shells). By having 3 pairs of liners I didn’t have to dry out the wet liners in my bag as they wouldn’t get worn for 2 days. The foot powder helped tremendously. Also, a few days before we departed I applied anti-perspirant/deodorant to my feet, which I typically do before extended trips as it helps to reduce sweating. VBs are not for everyone, but IMHO they are the warmest way to go and help to keep your wool+liners dry which is huge.

    Enjoy your trip, can’t wait for the TR

    165 Venture Divide/Spark Frankenburners/La Sportiva Spantiks
    163W Jones Solution/Phantom Alphas/Dynafit TLT5s
    162 Furberg


    Tom Burt
    52 Posts

    I have sweaty feet and I have used VBL’s all of my trips to the mountains. I go with a super thin sock, silk or synthetic, then my vbl then a wool sock outside of the vbl. yes your feet get wet but your boot stays dry and your feet generally stay warm. bring two pairs of both types of socks and vbl’s so they can dry. The thin socks dry fast and just turn the vbl inside out to dry.

    Yes waterproof the outside of your boots to keep as much moisture out of them. If you maintain your boots they will maintain their dryness. If you really do not want to wear vbl’s as most don’t. Just sleep with your liners in your bag up by your upper body and they will dry.


    726 Posts

    @Tom Burt wrote:

    … Just sleep with your liners in your bag up by your upper body and they will dry.

    Agreed, Tom. Laying your socks out on the major heat centers of your body works pretty well (if your socks are thin enough). I usually put them in my underwear and let my carotid artery dry them. Keeps me smelling minty fresh too. Ugh.


    709 Posts

    I bet after sleeping w/ your boots up by yer face… You’ll start to wonder why your face smells like onions, and toe jam! :puke:

    225 Posts

    Word of caution: I dried my socks out over my shoulders in the evenings, over my base layer and under my puffy. I developed some uncomfortable sores on my shoulders in these locations.

    I’ve done a winter with a bag with a larger foot box for storing a NOLS instructor’s amount of gear (water, long range radio batteries, socks, boot liners). I’ve also done some extended snowboard camping trips with a bag sized to fit me more precisely. I was fine just packing things in around me in the closely fit bag – you find a way to get it all in and there is less space to heat. This made a positive difference particularly for foot warmth.

    When getting a bag bivy, unless it’s for sleeping out in the open, go with a very breathable bivy rather than a very waterproof one. For snowcave camping I found the Montbell drytec bag cover to be perfect – except for the lack of a zipper, but I don’t mind it.

    Sorry, getting off topic; here’s another thread chock full of good extended winter camping info:

    Back to feet: 11 days in soft boots hashed my feet pretty good. I wish I’d brought more blister care. I like the gold bond powder idea a lot.

    For nalgenes, make sure you get these and not the Lexan ones:
    Lexan ones will leak, are heavier, and don’t do as well in the cold.

    9 Posts

    Sounds like a great trip. I, too, sleep with my liners in the bag to dry & keep ’em under my coat when hanging around camp. Works just fine . Get out of the damp boots as soon you’re in camp and get into dry socks & boots before the chill sets in. Enjoy the trip!

    235 Posts

    Well, I didn’t get trench foot.

    Bad weather cut our trip short a bit, spent 15 nights camping, but 5 of those were at the airstrip with a warm room to dry boots. If they’d done anything to need drying after!

    I bought some of these very well reviewed vapour barrier socks and was very disappointed. Lucky I tried them out on a couple of tours before I went.

    Maybe I got a bad pair, but they looked a bit like they’d been made at primary school! “No matter,” I thought, “these are supposed to be awesome” I had to jiggle them into my boot a bit to make sure that they’re not rucked up to much in any one place, but I was onto a losing battle. Rucking all over the shop (yes, I did have the right size!).

    They did feel pretty good once I’d tightened up my boots, the insulation packs down and you don’t notice the rucking. Until you’ve been skinning for an hour. I had the narrowest, longest blisters I’ve ever seen along the lines of the seams and the folds and rucks. They let a fair bit of moisture through as well.

    Tried them with thin wool socks underneath the next day. New blisters in new places. Didn’t take them to Greenland.

    I picked up a bunch of thickish, quality placcy bags from the duty free at Reykjavik airport and wore them between socks and boots.

    They worked a treat! Bit of care needed to make sure I didn’t poke my big toe through the end, but otherwise great. The little bit of extra slip from the plastic meant I had no hotspots on my feet at all the whole time, and the boots were relatively new. I left my liners in the boots the whole time, and brought them into the tent over night, snow very carefully banged and brushed off.

    The boots got a bit soggy towards the end of the trip, as the temps rose and the snow got wetter, but the bags meant that my feet weren’t getting cold and wet straight away, just through that day’s sweat.

    The other three took their liners out, left the outers in the porch, and had the liners near, but not in their sleeping bags. Mornings all started with a great deal of swearing from them and blood spilt from the guy in hard boots while they forced the liners back in the frozen outers.

    Full TR to come when I’ve got through all the photos. It’ll probably be less wordy, and they’ll be no sock chat! Here a couple of teasers. (EcoBrad, you’ll be delighted to know we did score some primo lines!)

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