I've had a most exciting email arrive a few weeks ago; I've been invited to a 5 day winter trip to Jamtland, Sweden! It involves snow shoeing and camping in a Nature reserve in Jamtland, at temperatures that would be cruel to your pets, but most welcome when you're as passionate about the outdoors as I am. It obviously helps working in an outdoors shop, as I have access to the latest and greatest gear to then go and test to their limits. As luck would have it, the conditions is forecasted to be the coldest it's been in 5 years... with temperatures of -21 C and below expected.
I'll give a brief run down of my kit without getting to bogged down in the details. Follow the links to the product that I have listed!
The back pack I've chosen for my trip is a Xenith 88 from Osprey as I would need the space for all my layers and winter walking equipment. This bag is test sample and very much appreciated; thanks Osprey! This is the updated model for 2018, that amongst a series of improvements has the new Airscape back panel made from corrugated closed cell foam. I have been using the Talon 11 and 22 with the same technology and have been very pleased with the over all performance. The Xenith has been designed to carry a lot of weight which was part of the decision of taking it. Multiple entry points makes the main compartment more user friendly for finding kit in a hurry.
Next on the list is my sleeping bag and mat. I have opted for the Rab Andes 800 with a Reactor thermal liner from Sea to Summit. The mat I'll be using is a Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm and a Z-Lite. The Andes has a rating of -22C and the NeoAir has an R-rating of 5.7. With the additional insulation from a second mat and thermal liner I think I'll be comfortable and won't have to run around camp to get warmed up during the night.
As far as insulation goes, I've been lent the Positron from Rab. This jacket is as good as I could get without opting for a full polar expedition suit. The box wall construction and 275g of 800fill power goose down will do the job just fine. I'm not expecting to feel the cold in this jacket, especially combined with my multiple other layers.
My boots will be my trusty Altberg Nordkapps. This isn't supposed to be a snow boot, however I have waxed them to the max and will wear a pair of Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy socks and a pair of Merino Superfeet for the extra insulation. I have been reassured by the guides that this would do the trick due to the snow being very dry.
My biggest concern is my hands, My circulation is relatively poor so I'm coffering as many conditions as possible. I have 4 pairs packed, Mountain Mitts, Mountain Equipment's Super Alpine, Icebreaker Quantum gloves and a Pair of Silk Liners. I will report back how it worked out.
It has been suggested to use a soft shell jacket to walk in and I have an amazing jacket. The Vulcan from Mountain Equipment that has been a staple of my layering in the UK. It has a fleece lining that makes it very warm when active.
The rest of the list is standard merino base layers, waterproof shell top and bottom as an extra layer to protect against wind chill! Gaiters, Hat and never leave without at least two Buffs. I've summarised the additional extras to my kit below:
Repair kit for mats / Duck tape / Wind Boiler / Balaclava / Walking Poles / Snow Shovel / Expedition food / HydroFlask / Woolly Hats / Ski Goggles / Polarised sunglasses / Mountain Whistle / Compass / Suunto ambit 3 / Black Diamond Spot Headtorch / Biltong / Packet Soup / Hot chocolate / Rusks
Braam - Bristol Store Manager
"We look forward to hearing how your trip goes Braam - thanks a lot for this great write up!"