January 18-20 2008 Winter camping at Manistee
21 mile loop over 2 days
1 night car camping.
1 night in the woods.
6 degrees 1st night
0 degrees next night.
ground: 12-18″ of snow
about 4″ of snowfall each night.
10-15 knot winds from the West

In the pack:

  • 2 man tent:Eureka 2xt
  • 2600 cu in Osprey Backpack
  • 0 degree Marmot Never summer bag in compression sack
  • thermaloft air mattress
  • ground cloth
  • jetboil with msr 8 oz isobutane standard mix
  • hiking poles
  • long johns, silk pajama pants, sweatpants, gortex outer shell
  • silk long sleeve base layer, wool long sleeve shirt, long sleeve fleece, winter jacket
  • 2 pairs of wool socks
  • nice toasty hat
  • boots
  • gloves
  • 1 camelback with insulated tube
  • 1 nalgene bottle
  • pillow bag (fleece lined little bag to stuff things into to make a pillow)
  • 1 zippo refillable hand warmer
  • 6 chem hand warmers
  • water tablets
  • matches
  • flask with johnny walker (black, but red will do)
  • 1 extra stuff sack
  • 2 bungee cords
  • 1 small grill wire mesh for cooking steaks/dogs
  • 4 cigars
  • 1 small pot(james carried this)
  • 6 ft nylon cord
  • watch with light
  • food bag with:
  • 2 mac & cheese
  • beef jerky
  • 2 cliff bar
  • tropical mix trail mix
  • powdered milk
  • granola based cereal
  • 4 tea bags
  • coffee
  • jello pudding mix
  • tooth brush (British airways mini with paste)


Lessons Learned:

  • Don’t get out of the sleeping bag! make your food, change your clothes, wash your car, whatever, unless you gotsta gotsta gotsta pee, stay in that damn bag!
  • It would have been nice to keep the warmed up water inside the jacket while hiking with me to keep it from freezing.
  • don’t take off the gloves to manipulate things, especially by the fire, they pick up more and more moisture from the constant freezing and unfreezing.
  • don’t mess with your boots on the trail, too easy to get snow on your socks which makes for very cold toes.
  • use a piece of nylon string to tie the bottom of the gortex shell pants to the boot loops to make a poor man’s gaiters, would keep the snow out pretty well.
  • when its below 20 degrees, niceties be damned, leave those cigars and steaks at home, its about boiling water for food and warmth, and that’s it!
  • wrap the hot water bottle up in your spare fleece and put it under your shirt at night, retains warmth even better, and stays on your chest
  • bring the boots and fuel into the bag about 3 hours before dawn (at your pee break), the fuel WILL burn at 0 degrees ambient temperature for at least 15 minutes, but the canister needs to be well above freezing
  • 1 mac&cheese,4 oz trail mix, 4 oz cereal, 4 oz jerky, 3 cliff bars 2 tea bags / day (plus a lime for scurvy)


Leave it out below 20 degrees:

  • cigars
  • jello mix
  • powdered milk
  • coffee
  • non insulating fleece
  • zippo hand warmer (if its cold enough to need it, you’ll never get it working. better for skiing)
  • camelback(freezes to easy, not as good as a nalgene bottle to snuggle with at night)
  • 2 man tent. not worth leaving anything in the vestabule at these temps.


Work great below 20 degrees:

  • tea bags (cover up the taste of ash from heating up water with a fire)
  • mac & cheese


Wish i had:

  • a nice synthetic vest to keep warm at camp/wrap the head during the windy hike the cheap old navy fleece was worthless
  • 1 man tent
  • 3rd pair of wool socks.
  • extra cliff bar.
  • 1 small pot with handle that attaches to outside of pack. just in case you can’t get the jetboil to work and need to heat snow over a fire.
  • non finger mittens with flip over cover for fingers.
  • some way to hold the nalgene bottle inside your jacket. maybe 3 half liters rather than 2 full.
  • thermometer. John didn’t quite understand the importance of getting the absolute lowest temperature of the night so you can tell your friends how stupid you are. (he measured 7 degrees at 5:30 the last night, but we assume it got about down to 0 degrees by 2:00 AM)
  • a miniature nuclear reactor that fit next to my big toe.