[pct-l] [John Muir Trail]Insulated shell for snow travel?

ned at mountaineducation.org ned at mountaineducation.org
Wed Oct 5 16:27:27 CDT 2016

Hi, Larry!


Well, that is going to depend on a number of environmental and personal things. For example,


1.       How much do you sweat when snowshoeing?

2.       Will there be much wind anticipated?

3.       How cold could it be?

4.       Do you get cold easily?

5.       Will you be wearing a full over-night pack?

6.       Will fleece do instead of down?

7.       How well does Gore-Tex do on you in the wet and cold?


If you sweat a lot, pretty much any waterproof shell is going to hold in too much moisture and you will get wet in such a cold environment. 


Going with a waterproof/breathable shell like Gore-Tex may help to let some of that moisture out, but that will depend on how thick the insulating layer is underneath and whether your heat will be sufficient to drive it through that layer and out the Gore membrane.


You can minimize sweating by slowing down or taking frequent breaks.


If you can’t stand a waterproof shell and it’s not actively snowing, maybe consider a simple wind shell over an insulating layer. This works well for me. 


I can get cold easily, so on really cold mornings, I don’t really get out of my thick down parka. I just throw the pack over it and head out, waiting for my inner furnace to heat me up enough to transition to something lighter. (Yes, I usually carry different layers of mid-insulation from a synthetic Tee shirt to a thin fleece or wool shirt, to the down parka, each able to be comfortably worn under a wind or Gore shell).


If there is a lot of wind, I don’t leave the tent or car without full insulation under Gore shells top and bottom when on snow.


Carrying a full pack makes the engine run hotter, so if I’m starting a 10-mile day over snow, I’ll start out with thinner insulation and maybe no shell, depending on wind and temperature.


The best insulated shell for me may be different for you! Know how you respond (heat and sweat) to work in a cold environment, how well the different types of insulation work for you under those conditions, and whether a wind shell will do a good enough job to keep you warm, but not wet.


We often talk about “micro-climates” when it comes to staying warm in the cold. The most important micro-climate is the one next to your skin! Only you know how to manage that one!


Did that help?



Ned Tibbits, Director

Mountain Education, Inc.

 <mailto:ned at mountaineducation.org> ned at mountaineducation.org 


From: johnmuirtrail at yahoogroups.com [mailto:johnmuirtrail at yahoogroups.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2016 10:26 AM
To: John Muir Trail YahooGroups <johnmuirtrail at yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [John Muir Trail]Insulated shell for snow travel?



Ned, or other snow travel experts,


What is the best insulated shell to get for snow shoeing?





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