Author Topic: Winter camping - pack size?  (Read 1685 times)

Chump

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Winter camping - pack size?
« on: 09:54:03, 05/01/20 »
Hi folks,


I'm just back from my first winter camp in the Highlands. Although the weather was exceptionally mild, I took most of what I think I would need for a more typical January camp (bearing in mind that I feel the cold). However, I struggled to squeeze it all into my 70 litre pack (and I left the crampons and insulated trousers at home). So, to get a feel for what I'm aiming for, my question is:


What size pack should I be expecting to fit all of my Scottish winter mountain camping kit into, for say 1 or 2 nights?


Thanks in advance for any help, advice or suggestions.  O0








gunwharfman

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Re: Winter camping - pack size?
« Reply #1 on: 11:21:01, 05/01/20 »
My bags have never been bigger than 50L, I always have space even when fully packed. I don't take cooking gear with me though so for me that's a space saver and I always have my tent secured to the outside of my bag and that's a space saver as well. I'm sure the answer to your question is what are you packing in the first place to warrant a 70L bag?

vghikers

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Re: Winter camping - pack size?
« Reply #2 on: 15:00:06, 05/01/20 »
For a solo winter camp I have a 48l pack which takes everything I need including Microspikes. It has a large stretch mesh pocket on the back where I put the tent fly, pegs and maybe the odd small stashable item, everything else goes fairly comfortably in the main compartment.

If your 70l pack is bulging, do you have one of those old very bulky synthetic sleeping bags?. I feel the cold these days (getting old!) but I have the benefit of a superb 900 fill-power down bag that keeps the weight to 1kg and the size quite small, combined with other layers it's enough to keep me warm. The best synthetics have advanced a lot in recent times and are not that far behind now, but the old types were very big.

I take a pan, gas and stove for boiling water (not a large cookset) and that combination also packs fairly small.

Post a list of your contents including brands/models and we'll have a better idea.

Chump

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Re: Winter camping - pack size?
« Reply #3 on: 18:33:41, 06/01/20 »
Ok, here is what I can remember:


Pack - Lightwave Ultrahike 70l
Sleeping Bag - Rab Neutrino Endurance 800
Tent - Hilleberg Akto + pegs
Pad - A Multimat one similar to a full length Thermarest Prolite (going to upgrade to an Neoair X-therm or similar)
Cooking - Ti 500ml pan, 30ml Speedster burner, Ti spoon, lighter, Aluminium windscreen/pot rest + base from Speedster Stoves, fuel in 250ml bottle (not full)
Sleeping clothes - 200g/m2 top and long johns + wool socks
Hygiene - toothbrush, travel toothpaste, 2x tissue packets, lighter, ~25ml alcohol gel, lip balm, ~30ml hand cream
Food - ~1.5kg for dinner, breakfast and 2 x lunches
Magazine
Head torch - small, not sure what brand (mostly for reading, to keep my emergency day walk one fully charged).
Pack liner - 2x rubble sacks


Winter mountain day stuff:
Berghaus Deluge over trousers
Bergans Superlett jacket
Alpkit Heiko Primaloft Silver (60g/m2)
Keela belay jacket Primaloft Gold (133g/m2)
Fleece hat
Softshell gloves
Buffalo pile mitts
Extremities overmitts (I don't like this glove system and will update when the current ones wear out)
Fleece buff (for covering face in case of severe wind + hail or spindrift)
ME mittens (spares in case of others wetting or blowing away)[/size]
Ski goggles[/size]
Map + A5 case
Compass
FAK
2x 500ml Nalgenes (the pockets on my pack are too small for 1  larger bottle)
Bothy bag (brought because I was leaving the tent low down)
Head torch - Black Diamond Storm


With the kit above, I would plan to camp low down and then just take the day walk stuff to the summit/ridge/plateau or whatever. I'd aim for the day stuff to cope with full on winter conditions e.g. Cairngorm plateau (to use a bit of a cliche) - hence the extra gloves, extra insulation etc. Obviously, ice axe and crampons would be part of the kit in those conditions.


Anyhow...I'm interested to hear people's (more experienced) opinions.

richardh1905

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Re: Winter camping - pack size?
« Reply #4 on: 20:39:59, 06/01/20 »
Maybe a bit overboard on the gloves/mitts, but other than that I don't think that I would want to leave much behind for camping/day walking in full on winter conditions in the Highlands.

How do you get on with the speedster burner, by the way?

Chump

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Re: Winter camping - pack size?
« Reply #5 on: 21:24:50, 06/01/20 »
I meant to say before - thanks for the replies so far  :)


richardh1905, I like the Speedster a lot. Granted, it's my first alcohol stove, but I find it easy to use and it boils water in reasonable time. The only disadvantages compared to my Pocket Rocket are that it's not as easy to light and a bit more susceptible to wind - but I guess that's true for all alcohol stoves (and the pot stand/ wind shield solves the latter anyway. I'm not sure how well it will work in winter yet though - I may will switch back to gas once I've been camping in properly cold temps. It was pretty cheap to buy all the parts, and meths is far cheeper to run than gas canisters. I don't recommend the 100ml fuel bottles sold by the company though - they leak quite badly when not upright.


I don't like my glove system - it's too fiddly and relies on overmitts which are irritating when doing basic things like taking a map out of a pocket. I reckon one light and one one thick pair of waterproof gloves, perhaps still with the spare pair of mittens, would work better. I'll wear out my current ones first though!

April

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Re: Winter camping - pack size?
« Reply #6 on: 21:26:12, 06/01/20 »
For me, size isn't that important  ;)

It is the weight versus comfort that I try to balance and it doesn't matter if your pack is 48l or 70l.

I agree with Richard about your gear, except for the extra gloves, I would be taking similar stuff for winter, no down mind  :)

Our packs are wearing out (Osprey Exos 55/58) and we are looking to replace them this year. I will be getting a 55l bag of some sort most likely and will use it all year round.

What is FAK though?  :-[
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

jimbob

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Re: Winter camping - pack size?
« Reply #7 on: 22:15:30, 06/01/20 »
FAK = first aid kit possibly
Too little, too late, too bad......

forgotmyoldpassword

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Re: Winter camping - pack size?
« Reply #8 on: 22:47:43, 06/01/20 »
I meant to say before - thanks for the replies so far  :)


richardh1905, I like the Speedster a lot. Granted, it's my first alcohol stove, but I find it easy to use and it boils water in reasonable time. The only disadvantages compared to my Pocket Rocket are that it's not as easy to light and a bit more susceptible to wind - but I guess that's true for all alcohol stoves (and the pot stand/ wind shield solves the latter anyway. I'm not sure how well it will work in winter yet though - I may will switch back to gas once I've been camping in properly cold temps. It was pretty cheap to buy all the parts, and meths is far cheeper to run than gas canisters. I don't recommend the 100ml fuel bottles sold by the company though - they leak quite badly when not upright.


I don't like my glove system - it's too fiddly and relies on overmitts which are irritating when doing basic things like taking a map out of a pocket. I reckon one light and one one thick pair of waterproof gloves, perhaps still with the spare pair of mittens, would work better. I'll wear out my current ones first though!


It works pretty well in winter but be aware you'll want to raise the burner off the ground or deal with heat loss through that contact with the ground, which is a linear loss of energy which affects alcohol stoves more due to the boil times.  Big fan of that stove - not least because I can't be bothered with gas canisters running out mid trip and have a cupboard full of half used ones I'll likely save for car camping.  Overall though, I've gotten quite attached to the relaxing whisper of an alcohol stove versus the jet engine gas stove.  I don't know how to say it, but it just seems more 'outdoorsy' when you're sat enjoying the views.  Agree with the fuel bottles, they're garbage, I use a small nalgene spice bottle with a washer to act as a seal. 


« Last Edit: 12:41:39, 07/01/20 by forgotmyoldpassword »

April

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Re: Winter camping - pack size?
« Reply #9 on: 08:06:12, 07/01/20 »
FAK = first aid kit possibly

Thanks jimbob  :)
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

richardh1905

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Re: Winter camping - pack size?
« Reply #10 on: 08:12:54, 07/01/20 »
richardh1905, I like the Speedster a lot. Granted, it's my first alcohol stove, but I find it easy to use and it boils water in reasonable time. The only disadvantages compared to my Pocket Rocket are that it's not as easy to light and a bit more susceptible to wind - but I guess that's true for all alcohol stoves (and the pot stand/ wind shield solves the latter anyway. I'm not sure how well it will work in winter yet though - I may will switch back to gas once I've been camping in properly cold temps. It was pretty cheap to buy all the parts, and meths is far cheeper to run than gas canisters. I don't recommend the 100ml fuel bottles sold by the company though - they leak quite badly when not upright.

Thanks for the reply - I have a fancy Primus multifuel stove (a retirement gift from my employer), but it is not the lightest (despite being the titanium version), and it roars like a jet engine. Am tempted by Speedster burner + stand combo - cheap and very light for short trips. Having said that, I left the stove behind when I wild camped last summer, and didn't miss it at all. Might be a different matter in winter!

Quote from: forgotmyoldpassword
Overall though, I've gotten quite attached to the relaxing whisper of an alcohol stove versus the jet engine gas stove.  I don't know how to say it, but it just seems more 'outdoorsy' when you're sat enjoying the views.

I can appreciate that - my primus certainly shatters the peace of a wild camp.


Chump

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Re: Winter camping - pack size?
« Reply #11 on: 20:57:14, 07/01/20 »
Haha, I agree that the alcohol stove is more peaceful and 'outdoorsy'. I heard some geese flying overhead in the moonlight while boiling water for hot chocolate the other night - I would have been oblivious with the gas stove roaring away. I also think I like the alcohol stove because it's less 'beginnery' as well  8)


Yeah FAK = First Aid Kit.


forgotmyoldpassword, thanks for the advice regarding insulating the burner off the ground. I also have a box of half-used cartridges, but I'll prob never really get round to using them.


April, I agree with weight v comfort. Just trying to get an idea of what's reasonable to aim for. Will your 55l pack also be for winter camping in mountainous terrain?


I'm slightly reassured by the fact that in The Cairngorms in Winter Chris Townsend has a big-looking pack - at least 70l I'd say. He did a YouTube video of his winter day walk stuff, but I'm still waiting for one of his winter camping gear.

Owen

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Re: Winter camping - pack size?
« Reply #12 on: 11:54:43, 08/01/20 »
Ok, here is what I can remember:


Pack - Lightwave Ultrahike 70l
Sleeping Bag - Rab Neutrino Endurance 800

Alpkit Heiko Primaloft Silver (60g/m2)
Keela belay jacket Primaloft Gold (133g/m2)
t


Three bulky items taking up most of the room in your rucksack. Nothing wrong with that but they will need a bigger sack.

April

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Re: Winter camping - pack size?
« Reply #13 on: 18:47:40, 08/01/20 »
Just trying to get an idea of what's reasonable to aim for. Will your 55l pack also be for winter camping in mountainous terrain?

We camp in the Lake District in the winter, have microspikes, crampons and ice axe to take if necessary. We don't have the luxury of wild camping in valleys however, the etiquette in the Lake District is to pitch above 450m, which we do try to adhere to. I have a 55l Osprey Exos, beefy has a 58l one. We take a 2 man tent and one stove, kettle and gas between us. Along with our other normal camping gear we also take lightweight chairs, dog food for Squeaky and an extra dog coat. Beefy also sometimes takes 3 cameras, a drone and 2 tripods.

I think I would struggle to fit all the things I wanted to take in it if I was going out solo in winter, the chair does take up extra room. In summer my gear fits fine though if I go out solo.

Some people will scoff at the size of our packs and tell us a smaller pack would be sufficient. Well, we take what we want to take when we camp and take no notice of what others do  ;)

If the gear you want to take needs a 70l pack, why does it matter? If you need a bigger pack to take the things you want to take that is fine too, you are the one carrying it all.

You need to have a look at Andy Wardle's You Tube channel. He takes what he wants when he camps and his pack is pretty hefty even in summer. See here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgKxNV8RwVZXOW9RCnp1vsA/videos?disable_polymer=1
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

Chump

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Re: Winter camping - pack size?
« Reply #14 on: 19:28:43, 08/01/20 »
April, thanks for that info - useful to know/ think about. I'd rather take much less gear in a smaller pack (and hopefully I'll get it down a bit yet) - but, unhelpfully, I feel the cold a lot. I tend to spend more time hanging around standing still than most folk while watching wildlife, stargazing etc. I guess it helps to split the weight between two people as well.


Owen, I'd add the Akto to the bulky things I carry as well. Frustratingly, as I just mentioned, I feel the cold - so I find lots of insulation to be necessary.