Oh hi, it’s me, The Real Hiking Viking. As we learned in my previous post, I’m currently en route, SOBO thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. Yes, in Winter. Tomorrow, I’m taking on the Mahoosuc Notch. Wish me luck.
“But it’s gotta be incredibly cold and snowy,” you say. You bet your ass it is. That’s why I have to ensure I’m properly equipped for the harshest of conditions, as the alternative could result in death. For those who are curious, here’s what I’m carrying.
Granite Gear Nimbus Trace 60 Liter (no lid)
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 Platinum (although I will use shelters as often as possible)
Vargo Titanium Tent Stake (shepherds hook with orange fluorescent head)
I utilize this entire sleep system every night. The synthetic overquilt is to provide a moisture/condensation barrier for my down bag. The synthetic insulation can get wet and still retain its insulating properties, much better than hydrophobic down. It is a very warm and effective system. I thank Trauma for his suggestions to use this method as this is what he and Pepper used on their PCT winter hike last year.
Big Agnes Bellyache 17 degree
Enlightened Equipment Prodigy 30 degree synthetic quilt (Climashield)
Thermarest NeoAir X-Lite
I will typically only wear the Woolies 1 & 2 with the MontBell Tachyon Anorak as a vapor barrier between the two underneath my rain jacket. If the day is colder I can add the Woolies 3 Hoodie or my OR Cathode Jacket and/or the Rab Down Hoody depending on conditions. I like to keep a pair of socks and top and bottom dry for sleeping if at all possible. But in emergency situations will wear what I need to in order to be warm. Layering needs to be pretty fluid depending on weather, temperatures, and if I am ascending or descending.
Ibex merino baselayers:
Woolies 1 Zip T-Neck, Woolies 1 Bottom, Woolies 2 Zip T-Neck, Woolies 2 Bottom, Woolies 3 Hoody
Energy Free Tight (winter-weight will stretch tight), Woolies 1 Boxer Brief
MontBell Tachyon Anorak
I use the synthetic insulation overtop of my down jacket in the same way the synthetic overquilt is used.
Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket, Rab Microlight Alpine Down Hoody
I wear both of these all day long.
Outdoor Research Foray Jacket, Outdoor Research Foray Pants
I will wear the liner sock followed by the neoprene sock and then depending on how cold it’s going to be that day I will either wear the medium cushion or the the extra heavy cushion over top of the neoprene sock. Having the neoprene sock as a vapor barrier traps all the sweat and keeps it from reaching my boot so it doesn’t freeze from the inside due to exterior temperatures.
(2) Point 6 expedition tech xheavy mid- calf, (3) Point 6 nordic haymaker medium crew, (3) Point 6 nordic bruce’s no cushion crew, NeoSock Neoprene sock
Asolo TPS 520 GTX (a full size bigger to accommodate the sock layering system).
I wear all three combined in the coldest and wettest conditions.
Ibex Stretch Merino Glove liner, Z-Packs Fleece Mitts, Z-Packs Cuben Fiber Rain Mitt
Mountainsmith Trucker Hat (typical hiking hat), Ibex Meru Beanie (for use during extreme cold days hiking), Z-Packs Fleece Beenie (for sleep), Outdoor Research Ninjaclava (for protecting skin from frostbite in the exposed alpine)
Native Eyewear Sidecar
Leki Summit AS w/ snow baskets
Mountainsmith Swift FX Lumbar Pack (modified to be a chest pack that clips into the shoulder straps)
Fujifilm X-T1 with FUJINON LENS XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
Gossamer Gear Chrome Dome
(2) 32oz Nalgene w/ neoprene sleeves
Snowpeak LiteMax Titanium Stove with Mini Bic Lighter
Vargo Bot 1 liter Titanium pot with neoprene sleeve
Vargo Titanium Long Handle Spoon
Vargo titanium folding knife
MSR Lightning Ascent 25″
Petzl Snowalker 60
Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra
Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter
iPhone 6s Plus w/ waterproof case and headphones
Emergency beacon/Satellite communicator:
Delorme inReach Explorer
Anker PowerCore 16,000 mAh
Black Diamond Storm
AWOL’s AT Guide, Guthook’s Guide: AT Hiker
If you’d like to follow my journey, let’s hangout on Facebook and Instagram.
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