I’m already thinking about winter backpacking and have been out on a few training hikes with a heavier pack during the past two weeks. It’s always a shock for me to go from a 10-12 pound summer pack to a 25-35 pound winter pack and as I get older I’m finding I need more time to adjust to the increased weight.
Some of the projects I have in store for this winter are:
- Building igloos for overnight camping on top of a few 4,000 footers such as Mount Hale and Mt Zealand with my new Grand Shelter’s ICEBOX – I love watching the stars from the tops of mountains in winter.
- Co-leading a few Appalachian Mountain Club winter hiking and backpacking trips as part of the Boston Chapter’s Winter Hiking Program. This is starting soon, so be sure to sign up!
- Switching to my old Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus backpack to see what design mods I need to make it into a winter pack. I’m intrigued by the design problem of creating a sub 2 pound winter pack capable of carrying 40 pound loads and I’m interested to see how far one can push an ultralight design for winter use. This might involve cutting off mesh or sewing on a few more attachment points to the MP+, but I feel it’s already pretty close to what I need when used with its aluminum stay.
- Getting my winter backpacking and mountaineering gear list under 25 pounds: swapping out my 4 pound winter pack for a 24 ounce Mariposa Plus helped, but I also just scored a pair of CAMP XLC Nanotech Crampons (16.6 ounces) to replace my Black Diamond Sabertooths Pros (41.6 ounces), saving even more weight. I’ll publish a full gear list in the next week or so when I get a chance to document it.
- More experiments using a soft shoe system for winter, including Forty-Below’s shorty overboots and a vapor barrier liner instead of mountaineering boots. I’ve already started testing insulated trail runners like the Salomon Speedcross 3 CS to go with them.
That’s just a sampling of what I’m likely to do this winter, which never seems long enough somehow.