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Topic: Advice on snowshoeing layers, etc.< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2013, 1:32 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Greetings esteemed fellow outdoor recreationists...

Historically I have chosen to hibernate and/or devote time to other pursuits during the winter.  I ski mostly, or take lowland hikes that don't require snow travel.

This year I have decided to start snowshoeing.  I need some advice on basic layering principles and how to dress.  What kind of boots do I need, socks, long underwear, pants, top layers, gloves.  How to best dress for thermoregulating, etc.  

I have snowshoed only a couple times before and I do own some snowshoes.  The trails I have done were pretty hard packed and short.  I have some basic notion about needing to dress to avoid sweating while moving, and I guess one brings additional layers to put on when you stop, correct?

This year I would like to go to Hurricane Ridge and see some of the great scenery up there, and some other places that friends will introduce me to as well.

Thanks for your help.  If you have some specific recommendations/examples for me, links would be really helpful.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2013, 1:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

wear the same thing you would when cross country skiing.

Ben


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2013, 1:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

When I meant ski, I should have been more specific.  I alpine/downhill ski.  Sorry about that.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2013, 2:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I typically wear a base layer, some type of wicking insulation (like fleece), and a wind-resistant layer (if necessary).  I add puffy insulation and gloves or mitts at rest.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2013, 3:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tRoLLin_mOtOr @ Jan. 03 2013, 1:32 pm)
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This year I have decided to start snowshoeing.  I need some advice on basic layering principles and how to dress.

What kind of boots do I need, socks, long underwear, pants, top layers, gloves.  How to best dress for thermoregulating, etc.  

Boots: Something waterproof, warm, and comfortable (i.e. fits you).  As a specific example I use Sorel Timberwolves.  They are seam sealed, leather, have 400g of Thinsulate (I want to be prepared for the very cold weather in the White Mountains), and even have a D-Ring to attach your gaiters.  Oh yeah, get yourself a pair of gaiters to prevent any snow from slipping into your boots!!
http://www.rei.com/product....166c2c0

Socks: Something warm :D.  Smartwool, REI Brand, etc. many choices.  I personally layer, with a liner sock and a medium weight hiking sock.  You may prefer a different arrangement so experiment! Also, bring at least an extra pair just in case.

Long Underwear: I sweat a lot! Gross? Maybe, but it's vital info in helping me decide how to dress.  I usually strip down to my base layer (on top) while hiking, so personally I still use a lightweight base layer (top and bottom) because I generate so much heat.  If you think you'll need more go medium weight, but not heavyweight or you'll almost guarantee to be soaked.

Pants:  I just use a non-lined softshell pant over the baselayer, and that's it!  Again, I run warm, you may find you want a little more, but remember you're working your legs really hard so they shouldn't need to much more (plus gaiters counts as half a layer).  I also bring full-zip wind pants just in case,

Top: After baselayer, I go light to mid-weight fleece, depending on temps, then a windproof jacket on top. An extra warm layer goes in the pack for stops/just in case.

Gloves: Layer again! I like to use a liner glove mostly.  But I also carry an extra liner glove, in case the first pair gets soaked, and then an insulated mitten for stops/colder weather/descents.  

Just accept the fact that you'll be cold at first, and then warm up and need to strip a layer or two once you warm up.  And then when you stop you'll get cold again (though not as quickly if you've been keeping your sweat minimal) and need to layer back up.

Sorry to be wordy, and I hope this helps!  Just thought I'd be clear too, that to me it's a work in progress - fine tuned over time/experience - and that what I posted above are merely suggestions driven by my own personal choices.  Good luck and enjoy the trails!!


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2013, 4:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks big_load, EastieTrekker!  That explained a lot of what I was wanting to know.  I tend to sweat a lot too, so while that may have been TMI for some, I thought it was good to know.

Also, my old snowshoes are Atlas 30s, I got them years ago sized for the idea that I thought I would be carrying a pack, etc. Are these too big for normal day trip type snowshoes?


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2013, 4:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That's what I wear in deep, fluffy snow, and I don't weigh much by modern standards.  I'd like to have something smaller for packed trails, but I don't have anything smaller.  (I have some 10x56 rawhides, though).
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2013, 5:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Motor:  Are you anywhere close to Silverdale?  I'm co-instructing this course beginning on Sunday if you'd like to attend.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2013, 5:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tRoLLin_mOtOr @ Jan. 03 2013, 4:02 pm)
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Thanks big_load, EastieTrekker!  That explained a lot of what I was wanting to know.  I tend to sweat a lot too, so while that may have been TMI for some, I thought it was good to know.

Also, my old snowshoes are Atlas 30s, I got them years ago sized for the idea that I thought I would be carrying a pack, etc. Are these too big for normal day trip type snowshoes?

I have them.  There fine.  I was out this am.  Started out at 8 degrees.  Finished @15 degrees.  Had medium w tights with gortex shell pants.  Med w shirt, heavy w fleece, hard shell over that.  Gloves and hat that covered my ears.  Was shedding layers after it got warm.  Is 15 warm?

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2013, 5:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

snowshoeing is higher-output on a more consistent level than hiking or downhill skiing.  while you're moving, you are going to tend to be on the warm side, relatively speaking.  like going for a run in the winter.  as a result, you may want slightly lighter base layers, and you will definitely want things that wick or handle moisture reasonably well.  similar to any other activity.  i find that i like having warmer socks, but that i tend to be fine with lighter-weight hats and gloves.  i usually carry light wind pants and a windshirt, and a somewhat warmer top layer, in a small backpack, to throw on if i stop for more than a little bit or if the weather is windy or turning colder.

you can use a pretty wide variety of boots.  they tend to get snow accumulating or splashing around, so fairly water resistant and warm enough to ward off cold toes.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2013, 6:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I usually wear a either 3 or 4 layers on top and two on the bottom. On top I usually wear a Patagonia Cap 1 and/or Cap 2 and then a Patagonia R1 top. If I get cold when stopped I throw on a Down jacket. On the bottom I wear either a Lt or Medium Wt baselayer  and then a pair of North Face Hiking Pants. I also wear a pair of OR Croc gaiters. For Boots I wear a pair of Keen Insulated high top boots and some Smartwool snowboard socks (med. Cushion) .
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 1:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ Jan. 03 2013, 2:13 pm)
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I typically wear a base layer, some type of wicking insulation (like fleece), and a wind-resistant layer (if necessary).  I add puffy insulation and gloves or mitts at rest.

Same with me.  I always take a neck gaiter and an extra pair of gloves, mittens actually, and extra socks.  I throw in a balaclava as well in addition to a wool baseball hat and a fleece/wool stocking cap. Gaiters are essential in deep snow IMO.   Also, one of the most useful clothing items I have, and I use it every season of the year, is a very thin nylon wind shirt. Perfect for a top layer.  Cuts the wind without adding unnessary warmth. I find that if I'm snowshoeing or x-country skiing at all rigorously, that a base layer and a wind shell is about is about all I need to stay comfortable uless it's very cold.  I believe the biggest  problem most winter hikers/snow shoers/x-county skiers make is to overdress and then soak themselves from their own sweat.   That doesn't mean you shouldn't take plenty of insulating layers, but like others have mentioned, they're for times at rest.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 1:31 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hoosierdaddy @ Jan. 03 2013, 5:01 pm)
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Motor:  Are you anywhere close to Silverdale?  I'm co-instructing this course beginning on Sunday if you'd like to attend.

Sounds like a great course.  Wish I was in your area. I'd sign up.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 2:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hoosierdaddy @ Jan. 03 2013, 2:01 pm)
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Motor:  Are you anywhere close to Silverdale?  I'm co-instructing this course beginning on Sunday if you'd like to attend.

Thanks for the info Hoosierdaddy, this sounds like a great opportunity!  I live near Seattle, but am somewhat tempted to go for a boat ride over to your side and come to the class this weekend.

Can I just show up with my checkbook?

I looked at the info and was a bit unclear on what is covered in the first class, vs. later classes.  Is there more info on the schedule somewhere?


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 2:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I don't do much snowshoe-ing (Is that a word?) but I run trails quite a bit in the winter time.  Depending on speed, the two have roughly the same energy requirements and associated heat generation.

I regularly run and/or snowshoe in temps down to the single digits Fahrenheit.  Typically, I wear a sock liner with a wool sock over it, trail running shoes, a pair of cold weather tights like the Under Armour ColdGear II, an Under Armour BaseMap 2.0 shirt with a Nike DRI Fit wool shirt over it.  I also usually wear a microfleece beanie and similar gloves.

On a "normal" day with the temp in the upper teens or lower 20's, I work hard enough to be sweaty when I return to my vehicle.

If you go more slowly, dress in similar layers and carry a pack in case you need to remove a layer.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 3:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks to everyone for all your replies, I really appreciate the info and advice!

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 04 2013, 6:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tRoLLin_mOtOr @ Jan. 04 2013, 11:02 am)
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(hoosierdaddy @ Jan. 03 2013, 2:01 pm)
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Motor:  Are you anywhere close to Silverdale?  I'm co-instructing this course beginning on Sunday if you'd like to attend.

Thanks for the info Hoosierdaddy, this sounds like a great opportunity!  I live near Seattle, but am somewhat tempted to go for a boat ride over to your side and come to the class this weekend.

Can I just show up with my checkbook?

I looked at the info and was a bit unclear on what is covered in the first class, vs. later classes.  Is there more info on the schedule somewhere?

Yeah, just showing up is fine.

I see what you're talking about with a non-distinct break down of instruction topic. (I'll have to talk with the main instructor about clarifiying this for the future)

Basically the "advanced" portion includes a LOT of ice axe hands-on training, glissading techniques, proper travel (movement) in various terrain types both with and without snowshoes, much more in depth avalanche awareness including beacon use, winter emergency survival.  There is also a seperate section of winter camping techniques, including building snow structures. (Yes, we will sleep in a snow cave!)


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(tRoLLin_mOtOr @ Jan. 03 2013, 9:32 am)
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Greetings esteemed fellow outdoor recreationists...

Historically I have chosen to hibernate and/or devote time to other pursuits during the winter.  I ski mostly, or take lowland hikes that don't require snow travel.

This year I have decided to start snowshoeing.  I need some advice on basic layering principles and how to dress.  What kind of boots do I need, socks, long underwear, pants, top layers, gloves.  How to best dress for thermoregulating, etc.  

I have snowshoed only a couple times before and I do own some snowshoes.  The trails I have done were pretty hard packed and short.  I have some basic notion about needing to dress to avoid sweating while moving, and I guess one brings additional layers to put on when you stop, correct?

This year I would like to go to Hurricane Ridge and see some of the great scenery up there, and some other places that friends will introduce me to as well.

Thanks for your help.  If you have some specific recommendations/examples for me, links would be really helpful.

Hey trollin motor

Depends on the temperatures. I've snowshoed at 30degrees, and I've snowshoed at minus 30 degrees. What works best is completely different at different temperature ranges.

How far I'm going, climbing, breaking trail, etc totally change the gear I might want.

Obviously, basic layering guidelines apply. And a warm puffy down jacket to throw on for breaks.

And, above all, measuring one's own condition and trying to stay within a comfort zone seem to work well for me.

Cheers

Carl


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 06 2013, 10:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi Carl!  Thanks for the reply, much appreciated.  What I just learned today echoes much of your advice.

I just spent the day at the Kitsap Outdoors Meetup and Kitsap Mountaineers Snow Travel and Winter Camping class that Hoosierdaddy suggested in this thread the other day.  He was one of the instructors for the class, and it was nice to meet someone from the website and put a face with a name.  

It was really great, I learned a bunch about dressing and gearing up properly for snowshoe trips and winter camping. The remaining installments will include a few snowshoe outings, an overnight camping trip, a snow cave trip, and learning more about avalanches, ice axe use, and self arrest techniques.

The only downside I can see will be the cost of new gear I will need to acquire!  I do have a lot of equipment that I can make do with to get me started, but if I keep getting out in the winter it will definitely require some upgrades and some additional gear.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 07 2013, 7:56 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Check out Sierra Trading Post and especially ebay for deals on baselayers like Smartwool, Patagonia and Icebreaker. Plus you should be able to find deals on gaiters and other gear on ebay. I never pay full price on any of my gear.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 07 2013, 11:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks QCHIKER!  STP is a good resource to know about.  Last year I got some great deals directly from Patagonia's website on base layers.  The guys running our class also recommended Craigslist for gear too.

From a link hoosierdaddy sent me, I scored some MSR Denali 'shoes and a pair of trekking poles for $60!  Also did a little shopping at the REIs, to find out that the winter boots were on sale and saved 1/3 off the price of some new insulated Vasque boots.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 07 2013, 11:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sounds like you are set for snowshoeing hope you have as much fun and enjoy getting out as much as I do.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 13 2013, 10:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Just to update everyone - today a friend and I went out for my first snowshoe of the year, we went to Source Lake near Snoqualmie Pass outside Seattle.  About 5 miles R/T with about 800' of elevation.

The MSR Denali 'shoes I got on Craigslist were great.  Super light and I used them on the way in with the extension tails, and then removed them for the trip out.  The insulated Vasque boots I picked up at REI were warm and comfortable. It nice to know how to layer properly so as to not overheat.  

It was great to put all the advice to use from you all here, and from the winter snow travel class I am taking.  Thanks again.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 13 2013, 10:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

It is so good to hear that you are getting out there and doing it safely and with proper gear.
I love winter backpacking and I think if more people got good advice and gear more people would be out there in this wonderful 'fourth season.'


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