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Pack Winterizing

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing. Gear Classifieds
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Postby CO Native » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:50 am

Holy Schist wrote:Maybe smarter too


I doubt that.
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Postby GravityPilot » Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:56 am

Like any other time of the year how much water I carry depends on the outing. In general I carry less water in the winter. It's all around me and I don't want the weight. Usually for the typical ski descent, tour, or alpine climb I'll pack a Nalagene and a collapsible platypus bottle. Only now and then will I carry a bladder. I've had some issues with the hose freezing only a few times, but it was nothing that some duct tape and some foam couldn't fix. Regardless of how I'm carrying it I almost always put Cytomax in the Nalagene, also I carry the bottles in my pack rather than hanging them on the outside. I do this for a couple of reasons, namely to help ration my liquid and I hate stuff swinging around when I'm skinning.

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Postby Scott P » Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:59 am

I agree that the camelbacks are just not a good idea. They still freeze with those insulators, but you can thread them through your sleeve. Even so, the valve will freeze.

I have to disagree somewhat about the jackets for nalgene bottles. I've had them freeze solid on several occasions with the jacket again. We got pretty dehydrated on Silverheels because we couldn't drink frozen water. It was cold, but not extremely cold. When we left it was -14F when we started.

Here are my notes from the climb with highlights about the OR nalgene "insulator":

Written December 11: I camped at Hoosier Pass at -14F, and the next morning, I met up with SP member Cgueck, and we climbed Silverheels via the Hoosier Ridge/North Face Spur. That route had lots of extra elevation gain, but pretty good snow conditions. We actually reached the summit around 2pm, but Cgueck was faster than me and arrived on the summit 10 minutes earlier. It was cold and windy, with the chill factor around -50F or so, so we only spent a few minutes up there eating lunch.

We then descended the NW ridge and then climbed Heartbreak Hill. Since climbing back up to the ridge would cause us an extra 600 feet of elevation gain and since we just climb Heartbreak Hill, I thought it would be a good idea to make a beeline to Hoosier Pass and cross the basin. Big mistake. We should have climbed back up to the ridge, and I was pretty dumb for suggesting the other route. We had also ditched our snowshoes after the first 30 minutes of the climb in the morning, so we didn't have them with us.

That route really sucked, and we got back to the vehicles two hours past the time it got dark and we were both exhausted. Both of us were also dehydrated because our water had frozen solid long before the end of the day. Everyone should remember that Nalgene water bottle jackets are completely worthless for cold weather and if its cold, your water will freeze solid even with the "insulating" jacket. I had a mountaineering thermos as well, but the lid was so frozen I couldn’t open it, though I could hear liquid inside. Cgueck’s water was frozen solid as well. I was also sore from the "incident" on North Star the day before. It was cold and windy, but not as bad as the day before on North Star.


Note that I also started out with hot water.

Anyway, her's a good way to test the Nalgene jackets or other devices. Fill your bottle with water and place it in the freezer overnight (24 hours is best) and see if it freezes. Anyone can try this, but trust me, the Nalgene will freeze (try it for verification). Everyone try it and post the results. :wink:

If it's cold, I would recommend one of these:

http://www.rei.com/product/752887

They will not freeze. If it's cold you have to be careful though. Wipe the bottle dry before screwing the lid on. This will avoid getting it frozen stuck. As long as you do this, you will be fine.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.

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Postby walder » Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:07 am

On day hikes I use warm water and wear the bladder on the inside of my jacket, between base and fleece.

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Postby Yog » Thu Oct 11, 2007 2:11 pm

Some really great information posted here. I do use camelbacks in the winter, but like what was said already, they will freeze and have frozen on me which is a bummer. I have learned 1.) drink often 2.) blow back the water out of the tube 3.) I run the tube down between my inner layer and the bare skin of my chest. Usually, I've only had problems with the nozzle freezing if I forget to blow back the water into the resevoir. It only takes one time of forgetting and then you are SOL. Keeping the nozzle on my chest usually keeps that part from freezing. Eventually, the hose will build up with ice...then switch to the backup.

Backup: I carry a bullet thermos full of hot tea, and a back up Nalgene or two in an insulater, carried upside down for if my camel back hose freezes and/or I run out of water. (I drink a lot of water)

All water is hot or at least warm when starting out on my winter trips. If you are camping overnight I'd prolly leave the camelbak at home as it would most likely be frozen, dead-weight.
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Postby mtnmike » Thu Oct 11, 2007 4:01 pm

Camelbaks may not work in winter -- but one of these does!
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I got one of these North Face 'Flask' heated hydration rigs and it's been pretty impressive in the winter when most other hydration setups will freeze.
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Postby rlw49 » Thu Oct 11, 2007 4:06 pm

Thanks all, very good ideas. At least I know where I can start on my experimenting to see what works for me. Most of my hikes/snowshoe will be in the 4-8 hour duration. I just didn't want to carry a stove or have to suck on an ice cube.

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Postby firsttracks » Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:26 pm

Scott P wrote:Both of us were also dehydrated because our water had frozen solid long before the end of the day. Everyone should remember that Nalgene water bottle jackets are completely worthless for cold weather and if its cold, your water will freeze solid even with the "insulating" jacket.


Scott P: You are correct that bottles will freeze solid with the insulating jacket. BUT, water bottle jackets are NOT completely worthless. This is simply a heat transfer problem (for my fellow engineers out there). By adding insulation, you decrease the thermal conductivity between the water temperature and the outside temperature. Eventually, the water temperature will reach the outside temperature (and freeze), but the insulators will increase the amount of time that water stays water (and not ice).

By thinking of this as a heat transfer problem, you gain additional insight into keeping your water in liquid form:

1. Increase the initial water temperature. (Start with hot water.)
2. Increase the external temperature. (Keep your water bottles in your coat, close to your body.)
3. Decrease the thermal conductivity. (Water bottle parka.)

I hope this helps.

-Ryan

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Postby Scott P » Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:45 pm

BUT, water bottle jackets are NOT completely worthless.


You are correct. OK, just "mostly" instead of completely. If it is really cold it still takes a matter of a few hours to freeze solid and I would still go with the thermos.

Anyway, as I said anyone can try the simple experiment in the freezer tonight. :wink:

I will do so tonight and post the results. I'll use the thermos and Nalgene jacket and take before and after temps and photos. My son Kessler like to do experiements anyway. :wink:

My proposal is to use two Nalgene bottles with jackets, one with water at an initial temperature of 68 (room) and one at 150. I'll do the same thing with my thermos.

They will be left in the freezer at 0 degrees for 12 hours, chosen because it is about the average climbing day in winter. The freezer is at about 0F and the average temperature on Pikes Peak (the only 14er where average temperatures are avaialble is 2F in January, very close to the temperature of the freezer. It should provide very good simulated conditions of what is experienced on an average January day on a 14er.

I'll provide photographs and write up the results.

Just for fun. :wink: Let's get a big group together to do it. :D
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.

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Postby rlw49 » Thu Oct 11, 2007 6:43 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but won't heated water freeze faster than room temp or cold water. Something to do with change in entropy. That doesn't take into account the insulation. Just being picky.

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Postby firsttracks » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:00 pm

Scott P wrote:My proposal is to use two Nalgene bottles with jackets, one with water at an initial temperature of 68 (room) and one at 150. I'll do the same thing with my thermos.

They will be left in the freezer at 0 degrees for 12 hours, chosen because it is about the average climbing day in winter.


This will be fun. My only suggestion: 12 hours might be long enough to make everything freeze. I'd suggest taking intermediate temperatures at 4 and 8 hours (or every hour, if you'd like!) to make sure that you capture the effect of the extra insulation. Alternatively, you can record the time it took for the bottle to completely freeze.

-Ryan

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Postby cushman » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:05 pm

rlw49 wrote:Something to do with change in entropy.

You down with entropy?
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