Stephanie Hurlburt
+ Your AuthorsArchive @sehurlburt Businesses: @_binomial @artbysehurlburt Instagram: 🏳️‍🌈 She/her Dec. 29, 2020 3 min read

Taking stock of winter backpacking supplies

Oooh yes I also want to test out this battery insulator, to see how effective it is at extending battery life

The first trek is just in my backyard lol but I'm going to basically pretend its the woods and prepare for that. Better to freeze my ass off in the backyard and learn the hard lessons there rather than in the middle of the forests

Since heat is extra important in the winter, I think I’ll bring an extra case of waterproof matches and a firestarter knife. And of course good to have a can of gas on hand.

One tricky consideration is the solar panel. It's pretty flaky and low power. I could stick with it and deal, get a decent upgrade, get a badass upgrade if I'm willing to pack on an extra 5 lbs, or get a heavy super badass solar panel that wouldn't be practical for long hikes.

I always say "it's only 5 lbs" until I go out with the pack and curse myself the entire time and say I'm never ever doing this again, you fool, until I get amnesia and go back to thinking "it's only 5 lbs"

Weight test for my bag (so not all these items). 24 pounds without water, clothes, or food. Oooof. Doable, but pretty harsh. 🤔

20 or less is no problem for me, 30 and up is painful/risky, and I notice every pound between 20 and 30.

This is what 24 pounds worth of gear looks like. Hmm.


Clothing plans for 10 F lows: snow jacket, snow pants, sweater, wool base layers, wool socks, snow gloves, winter boots, hat, sunglasses

Purely theoretical since I spent most of my life in mild climates, that’s what test runs are for. I think it leans on overkill. We’ll find out

Almost ready!

The more I look into it the more this seems too low calorie. I think I'll bring a chocolate bar and maybe some cheese for day of. Someone once told me they'd bring cheesecake for mountain climbing treks, using the snow as a freezer along the way- kinda silly feeling yet brilliant

Winter camping test is happening tonight! I was trying to wait for it to get super cold and snowy again but a low of 25 F will have to do

It’s 35 F now. At this temp the setup and clothing seems luxuriously warm and a no-brainer that it’ll work out. We’ll see as temps drop a bit, I’m optimistic.

One bit of advice that stayed with me was "stay warm, don't get warm," from an REI article. So if I feel myself getting cold I can warm myself up as a temporary solution but ultimately it means I'm not prepping right and need to change up my gear/clothing/setup for next time.

Interesting battery data: while I was sleeping, my iphone battery went from 100% to 27% yet this external battery stayed at 3/4 charge the whole night. Wonder why. 🤔 25 F low. Did not test my battery insulator sleeve, wanted to see the results without it.

Gear looks good. No issues with plastic, even things like sunscreen look fine, gas stove works just fine. It seems 20’s F is still pretty high, not as much worry about things becoming rapidly frozen solid.

Overall I think this experiment was surprisingly successful! And as a byproduct, most my gear is organized and ready to go for the next trip. Next step is taking all this to the forest. Probably a short overnight trip, but I'm also feeling confident I can do a longer trip too.

Handy battery life thread for fellow campers btw! I won't be dealing with temps lower than -20 C, so it seems my main concern is managing usage and making sure it's warm as possible during usage.

You can follow @sehurlburt.


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