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  1. #1
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    Your 3-day Ski Tour Set-Up? (Tent, Backpack, and Sleeping Bag Advice Needed)

    I'm looking to invest in a solid tent, backpack, and sleeping bag combo for ski touring in both the winter and spring. Essentially, I want something that sleeps two and will allow me to do 2- and 3-day trips around the Sierras and Shasta. $$$ is certainly a consideration.

    Tent: First, is a burly 4-season tent really necessary? I'd like something capable of handling trips to Mt. Shasta or the Pallisades in the Eastern Sierra. But I doubt that I'll be doing much touring when conditions are super stormy. Second, is a 9-10lb. tent too heavy and bulky? Third, any thoughts on REI's Mountain 2 (9lbs) or Mountain 3 (10lbs)? They're cheap right now and I like my current 3-season REI tent (Taj 3).

    Backpack: How big a pack is generally necessary? I'm thinking of something around 50L or 3000ci, maybe the Arc'teryx Khamski. I have an Arc'teryx Bora 80 (80L) that could be used for longer trips, but it seems like a helluva lot of backpack to ski with. I also want something that would work for hut trips--e.g., a three-day trip to Pear Lake.

    Sleeping Bag: I'm thinking a 0-degree down bag is in order. I like what I've read about Big Agnes sleeping bags and integrated pads. Anything else to consider?

    Anyhow, I'd love to hear what kind of touring set-ups others have. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Apr 2004
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    Tent: A BD super light single wall tent made of Epic (I have the Lighthouse) will be fine for most Cali conditions (as long as you don't go out in heavy sleet/rain storms) an weighs less than 4 pounds. If you want something more waterproof, Bibler (also by BD) tents weight a bit more but are more waterproof. Neither are cheap, though.

    Pack: I would use my BD Anarchist 42 for 2-3 day trips if I was packing light. If you don't pack that light, a BCA Alp 55 or something of similar size would be better. Look at Cilogear.com too.

    Bag: I have a down 0 deg bag that I love for Cali. I prefer roomier bags for winter so I can dry off gloves etc in it.

  3. #3
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    As wonderfully light and compressible down is I refuse to buy a down bag. Down is absolutely worthless when wet and takes forever to dry. Synthetic, although a little heavier and bulkier, will still keep you warm when wet AND I've had my bag get dry just by sleeping in it. Just my .02.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AsheanMT View Post
    As wonderfully light and compressible down is I refuse to buy a down bag. Down is absolutely worthless when wet and takes forever to dry. Synthetic, although a little heavier and bulkier, will still keep you warm when wet AND I've had my bag get dry just by sleeping in it. Just my .02.
    I think it depends on where you will use it. Compared to further north in the PNW or AK, and in the NE, Cali is drier and has more sun between storms. Here, I have found that down is not that hard to keep dry if you are careful with it in your pack and tent and hang it up to air out outside when the sun is out.

  5. #5
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    Oct 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by AsheanMT View Post
    As wonderfully light and compressible down is I refuse to buy a down bag. Down is absolutely worthless when wet and takes forever to dry. Synthetic, although a little heavier and bulkier, will still keep you warm when wet AND I've had my bag get dry just by sleeping in it. Just my .02.
    I used to subscribe to that same philosophy but have since changed my stance. How is your bag going to get wet and how wet are we talking?

  6. #6
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    And to the original question, I sure as hell wouldn't want to split a 10 pound tent with just two people.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2007
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    SLC no more.
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    Tent: MHW Kiva Lite, BD MegaLight or something similar. Pyramid shape sheds wind well. You can dig out underneath to make a super roomy space. This lets you have room for sleeping at least two or three and having room to cook without worrying about spilling on or burning your floor. And they're only a few lbs.

    Pack: Lots of options here. I got an Osprey Exposure 50 last year and think it's perfect for what you're talking about.

    Sleeping Bag: I've got a Big Agnes 0 degree down with an insulated pad that slips in the back. Works great. The lack of down on the back of the sleeping bag cuts down on size but with the sleeping pad underneath you don't lose any heat. I highly recommend their stuff.

  8. #8
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    If (and I wouldn't do it) you're actually going to take a 10lb tent you can forget a 3000ci pack. Unless you are a weight weenie about everything else in your pack you are probably looking at 50-60lbs at the very least and those packs tend not to be built for that kind of weight - yeah you can do it, but that don't mean it's meant to be done. Are you doing full 3 day tours or are you skinning in for half a day, skinning and skiing without gear for 1-2 days and then skinning back out? In that case it's not such a big deal. Otherwise you are going to be miserable.

    I have a Mountain Hardwear EV2. Pricey as hell but it's ridiculously bomber and just over 4.5lbs in you pack. Taken mine to AK, Bolivia, Cascades, Sierras without a tear or any other problems. However, if you also want a tent that will take you deep into spring, those BDs are pretty solid and hella light. Since $$$ is a consideration go with the BD Firstlight. Half the price of an EV2 and only 3lbs, but you will be cozy with your partner. You can find it as cheap as $255. $100 more than some of the tents you were talking about, but $100 to save 6-7lbs is the best cost/benefit ratio you can find when it comes to this kind of gear. Don't take a 3 season tent into the sierras before late May.

    If you know how to be careful when you're out there you can get away with a down bag. But if you're careless you are screwed. If you're new to multi-day touring/mountaineering I'd go with a synthetic. When it comes to temp rating, remember that you're probably taking along a belay type jacket anyway - and maybe even a pair of puffy pants, which you can always put on should it get really cold.

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the sleeping pad. In my experience, once you are on snow this is more important than the temp rating on your sleeping bag. One closed cell foam + a thermarest type pad is what I like. Yes, it's heavier, but when you spend 10+ hours a day in a tent on snow you need to be warm. Guys I climb and ski with have had good results with just an Exped type mats, though.

    In general, enjoying your tours means hauling less weight. Hauling less weight means having a good understanding of the environment you are going into, and that comes with experience. I'm sure you'll take about 15lbs of shit on your first trip that you'll come back wondering why you packed. It sucks if you just spent lots of dough on stuff you don't need, so hold off on buying a bunch of gear right off the bat. Assuming that you are new to overnight winter trips in the mountains, I would sign up for a guided trip/class where the focus is on teaching the students to go out on their own. If you are willing to learn and the guide is willing to teach your learning curve will be very steep and you'll avoid tons of things that result in shitty trips.

    Enjoy. Once you get everything dialed it's heaven out there.
    Last edited by riggs; 10-05-2008 at 04:09 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    4,114
    from experience, i prefer to not do multi-day winter/spring snow camping/skiing trips in the sierra when its stormy or w/ a chance of snow in the forecast (unless the exit is really easy/safe/straight forward).

    w/ that in mind, i use a -5 F* down bag (marmot), sil BD betamid, and a lightweight 60L pack (old osprey aether60). that size pack's worked great for me for 5-6 day spring trips, too.

    i have been tentbound in a blizzard for 4 days in the sierra. we had two tents, a mtn hardware 4 season (one of the trango's) and a mtn hardware 3+ season. even though we were relatively sheltered from the winds, the heavier 4 season tent was handling the gusts and snowload much better than the 3+ season tent.

    enjoy

  10. #10
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    Dec 2006
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    Thanks for everyone's advice so far.

    I'm curious though about the I-frame style tents (Biblers, Firstlight, etc.), but I'm not sure about the optional vestibule. I've always used my vestibule to cook and store gear. If you get, for example, a Firstlight without a vestibule, is there room inside for gear?

  11. #11
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    Apr 2004
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    Tarp tents are noisy in the wind, even if set up well.

    Bibler Eldorado/BD Lighthouse are the same size and bigger than the I-House/Firstlight. I can fit the former comfortably, not the latter, at 5'11". I still need a vestibule for gear.

    I have had good luck with my Exped Downmat 7. Lighter than a Thermarest, smaller compressed than either a thermarest or closed cell foam, and very warmer than both the others used together.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    705
    You need to lighten up your pack weight if you are going to enjoy the trip.

    My ski touring tent of choice is an ultralight sil-nylon pyramid tent. Black Diamond sells them, as do a number of other companies. Mine weighs 1 pound, 9 ounces. I use ski poles for the center pole (connected with the Black Diamond connector) and skis to stake out the corners.

    I've been in high winds and very nasty weather with the pyramid. It has held up well.

    I live in the Rocky mountains, and my ski touring is mostly in Colorado, Utah, and the Tetons. I've found a down bag to work well in these dry climates, even on multi-day trips. A down bag is lighter and more compact than a synthetic, so unless you really are going to be in a lot of wet weather, it's worth it to take down.

    As for a backpack, get something in the 50 liter range that doesn't weigh a ton, and you will be fine.

    Here is a gear list from a 5 day, 4 night high mountain ski tour last season:

    Clothing
    Capilene 3 zip T top
    Patagonia “Dragonfly” windbreaker
    Montbell UL Thermawrap jacket
    Golite “Coal” jacket.
    Thermax boxers
    Patagonia Mixmaster pants
    Balaclava
    Buff headband
    Cloudveil softshell hat
    2 pair Smartwool ski socks
    Garmont “Mega Ride” boots
    OR Supercouloir Gloves
    Extra pile liners for Gloves

    Personal Gear
    Avalanche Pack with ABS and Avalung
    North Face sunglasses
    Uvex pocket goggles
    3 liter Camelback
    Mammut Lucido TX1 headlamp
    Suunto Vector altimeter watch (around neck)
    Leatherman “squirt” tool
    Ricoh GR II Digital camera
    Sunscreen
    Compass
    6 paper towels in ziplock bag
    Nalgene Canteen Pee bottle
    Toothbrush/paste
    three extra AAA batteries (for Tracker and Camera)
    Pouch (attached to pack strap)


    Lunches
    25 energy gels, 5 shot blocks
    15 energy bars
    Summer Sausage
    Dried Apricots
    10 sports drink mixes

    Ski Gear
    Life Link ski poles with powder baskets
    Goode BC95 skis with Dynafit bindings
    Tracker Avalanche beacon with new batteries
    Ortovox Grizzly Folding shovel
    Rutschblock cord
    Ski skins with “cheater sheets”
    Velcro ski strap


    Personal Camping Gear
    Oricaso mug
    3/4 length Karrimat pad
    Thin Evazote pad 1/2 length
    Marmot Helium 15 degree down sleeping bag/ID compression stuffsack
    GSI Rehydrate lexan spoon

    Group Gear:
    Sil-nylon Pyramid tent with Black Diamond pole connecter
    MSR Reactor stove
    4 Fuel canisters
    1st aid kit
    Duct tape
    Lighters
    Map
    Firestarter
    Blue wax, purple wax, cork, and scraper
    Skin Wax
    1 gallon zip-lock freezer bag


    Group Food (Breakfasts and dinners)
    8 freeze dried dinners
    24 oatmeal
    10 hot drink mixes

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    South Lake Tahoe
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    Kai,
    How do you like your Goodes? How long have you had them? Any durability problems?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    705
    Quote Originally Posted by harpo-the-skier View Post
    Kai,
    How do you like your Goodes? How long have you had them? Any durability problems?

    I've had them one season. About 20 days on them, most all of those in the backcountry. No durability issues to date. They are a very good all-conditions touring ski. They are not really exceptional at anything, but are pretty good at most everything. They are wide enough to ski powder well, and stiff enough to hold a good edge on ice. In really heavy chopped-up crud, their light weight is a liability, and they can get tossed around a bit more than a heavier ski. Overall, however, I'm pleasantly surprised with their downhill performance.

    The light weight is simply fantastic for the uphill. On long tours in particular, it makes a big difference. It's like hiking in trail runners as opposed to heavy boots.

    One strange thing about them is that they collect snow on the top-sheet more than any other ski I've used. I'm not sure why this is, but I do find that I am often banging snow off the tops of the skis as it accumulates there for some reason.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    North Vancouver/Whistler
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    11,263
    Tent,

    I've gotten by with a 3-season MSR Hubba Hubba. It's small and splits up nicely with 2 people. The key is to dig it down. When i really want to go light I just snow cave or dig a slit trench, put a siltarp over it and hunker down.

    I've used a 40l pack for a 3 day trip. I'll use a 60l pack if its a traverse and Im going to be meadow-skipping and don't really care too much about pack weight or bulk then I might add more comfort.

    Sleeping bag. While I hear other's concerns about down, I use a 0 deg CELSIUS down bag and a goretex overbag that adds about 5 degrees or so so of warmth and a silk sheet. I would guess that's about a minus 7 to minus 10 CELSIUS system. I use a 3/4 Exped down mat and the 3/4 foamy stuffed into the backpad of my pack on which to sleep and then put the pack down at my feet. I sleep in all my clothes. With this system i've been fine in temps as low as minus 15 minus 20 overnight. Not toasty warm but didn't feel like i was going to die by any means.

    I tour mostly on the west coast of Canada and the central interior

    Quote Originally Posted by AKbruin View Post
    I'm looking to invest in a solid tent, backpack, and sleeping bag combo for ski touring in both the winter and spring. Essentially, I want something that sleeps two and will allow me to do 2- and 3-day trips around the Sierras and Shasta. $$$ is certainly a consideration.

    Tent: First, is a burly 4-season tent really necessary? I'd like something capable of handling trips to Mt. Shasta or the Pallisades in the Eastern Sierra. But I doubt that I'll be doing much touring when conditions are super stormy. Second, is a 9-10lb. tent too heavy and bulky? Third, any thoughts on REI's Mountain 2 (9lbs) or Mountain 3 (10lbs)? They're cheap right now and I like my current 3-season REI tent (Taj 3).

    Backpack: How big a pack is generally necessary? I'm thinking of something around 50L or 3000ci, maybe the Arc'teryx Khamski. I have an Arc'teryx Bora 80 (80L) that could be used for longer trips, but it seems like a helluva lot of backpack to ski with. I also want something that would work for hut trips--e.g., a three-day trip to Pear Lake.

    Sleeping Bag: I'm thinking a 0-degree down bag is in order. I like what I've read about Big Agnes sleeping bags and integrated pads. Anything else to consider?

    Anyhow, I'd love to hear what kind of touring set-ups others have. Thanks in advance.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    North Vancouver/Whistler
    Posts
    11,263
    Kai, I had Goode 90s before I broke them (jumped off something and landed on a stump - my fault). They always collected snow on the topsheets too. I sprayed them down with some silicone spray. Actually used the Pedro's bike shine stuff. That helped repel snow.

  17. #17
    Hugh Conway Guest
    For hut touring in CA (Ostrander, Pear Lake) I use a 40L pack and a 0C down bag.

    Otherwise a bigger pack (Bora 50), maybe a 0F bag, and a BD Firstlight. The firstlight is cozy insise, you need the vestibule for gear storage. Honestly the 10lb tents are for kids/expeditions. You don't want to drag that thing around, it packs big, carries heavy, just a pia.

    On longer trips down bags don't necessarily get to dry and accumulate moisture. Not good when your 20F bag suddenly starts acting like a 40F bag and you are sick.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Couloirfornia
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    AKBruin,

    For this...: http://telemarktalk.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=45185

    ...I used the following:

    Tent: MH Kiva Light

    Pack: Osprey Exposure 50

    Bag: Kelty 0 Degree Down (~600 fill, and heavier than I'd like, but the long helps with drying liners) (I want a new one)

    I probably could've gotten by with a bit of a smaller bag, but we took a bunch of climbing gear too (alpine rack, harnesses, screws, tools, helmets, etc.), so the extra room was nice. I also have a heavier Sierra Designs Nightwatch (3-4 season convertible) that can weather pretty decent storms.

    My buddy had a down bag and an MH pack... one of their newer alpine packs that comes with two hipbelts, can't remember which.
    Last edited by SCUTSKI; 10-06-2008 at 03:17 PM. Reason: Fixing link...
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest_Hemingway View Post
    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCUTSKI View Post
    AKBruin,

    For this http://telemarktalk.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=45185 I used the following:
    Dude, that lead in tele boots looks gnar as hell. Nice tr.

  20. #20
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    Apr 2004
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    Scutski, I can't get your link to work. Can you fix it?

  21. #21
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    I could improve on this, but probably wont bother/cant afford to.

    Tent: Integral Designs Mk1
    . You will struggle to get two big people and certainly no packs at all.

    Bag: Western Mountaineering Versalite

    Pack: 50L

    Pad: mid-winter I use a 3/4 length Thermarest plus a Z-lite.

    Extras for warmth: silk liner. Super light and small Mont Bell bag outer shell.

    I sleep in my gortex pants, but not my gortex jacket as it tends to stop my body warmth from lofting the bag.

    When winter multi-day touring I don’t take a down jacket of any sort: I am either moving or in my bag. I do take a micro-puff vest and sleep in it. Plus down booties.

    The most comfortable I have been was in a big sized wide synthetic bag (Mountain Hardware Lamina). It has way more room to move and the synthetic insulation was soft and padded to lay on, unlike down. In that instance I was in a stationary camp and the extra weight and bulk didn't matter much
    Life is not lift served.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    3,544
    Quote Originally Posted by harpo-the-skier View Post
    Scutski, I can't get your link to work. Can you fix it?
    If you cut and paste it in the address bar, it'll work. Sweet TR, Scutski. Way to bag Dade. That's the kind of thing I aspire to, although perahps without the mountaineering element.

    I'm somewhat intrigued by the pyramid design, but I'm not sure how one deals with a floorless tent. Do you need bivies for the sleeping bags?

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    time out
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    Nalgene Canteen Pee bottle
    ewwww...... One morning you're going to make a tragic error in your mid-sleep stupor... I've seen it more than a few times.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Plains
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    327
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^
    tyvek sheet cut to size (as in the building material). run it through a washing machine once to make it quiet. tyvek is a vapor barrier, so it isn't completely waterproof, but you're putting in on snow to begin with so not an issue in my experience. Combine that with the fact that you and your bag will be on a sleeping pad and it's fine.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    29,978
    Mostly been said already but....

    Osprey Exposure 50. A much bigger pack is just going to tempt you to carry too much stuff.

    Either a syn 20 degree bag or 0 degree down - the weight is a wash, mostly just a choice based on forecast dampness/coldness. Sometimes adding a Mountain Hardwear bag cover to either. 3/4 Thermarest plus a short ridge rest type foam pad.
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
    And there will come a day when our ancestors look back...........

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