Staying warm in the cold while hiking!

Hiking the Appalachian trail in 2019

DoRight and Dyno Mite by Jake Hikes

One question our friends are asking us a lot is, “How are you going to stay warm in sub freezing weather?”  This is a great question I want to address in this post.

The answer is….it is all about the gear!  Having the correct gear on the trail is imperative to success, especially when dealing with cold and rain.

Our cold weather gear includes excellent 850, water resistant (Pertex), down mummy sleeping bags with micro-fiber liners. (We will be wearing layers of clothes along with down jackets and a rain jacket if needed.)

My sleeping bag (pictured to the right) is rated for 10 degrees and Dyno Mite’s is rated at 17.  We both have microfiber liners that add about another 7 degrees to the lower limits.

Our greatest concerning is being cold AND wet.  This should not take place due to our equipment use, BUT, if it does, we have contingencies.

At night, we also will wear head, neck and face gear as needed along with gloves and down booties.  This decreases temperature loss when really cold.  Of course, we will also have on our sleeping clothes that will add to the mix. We will also be sleeping with our water filters and electronics in the foot bags to keep them from freezing.  (Water filters will freeze and become worthless).

If we are “tenting”, the tent adds a few degrees to the mix as well.  You are more exposed in a “shelter” (3 sided wooden structure) than in a tent. If the shelter is empty, we can put the tent in the shelter and have the best of both worlds. (Another reason we are leaving in February!) This keeps the tent from getting wet.  Nothing worse than packing a wet tent!

The coldest recorded temperature in the Smoky mountains was -32 degrees on the top of Mt. LeConte on Jan 13th, 1986.  We will not be camping in either a tent or shelter if it is that cold.  Weather forecasts will tell us a few days out if we are going to get a cold snap like that while on the trail. My big concern is a prolonged snow storm for 2 plus days.  Tenting is not practical if accumulations exceed 2 inches.  A wet snow on the roof of the tent can get heavy fast. (Yes, there are dry snows).

We will not be at high altitudes to be exposed to those temperatures at night.  By researching the data, the coldest we will have to deal with is in single digits. If it is going to be prolonged nasty weather (cold, snow and high winds), then a hikers hostel or motel/hotel will be a good place to wait it out. We call days of no hiking…”Zeros”. A “Nero” is hiking only a few miles a day.

A full video of “What’s in my back pack!” is coming this week! It will be followed by Dyno Mite’s “What’s in her pack!”.  I invite you to comment and let us know if you see anything we are leaving out.  Bear in mind, there will be a little more electronics than most due to our Vlogging.  This is a calculated weight I will have to bear.  Bear? Where?  🙂

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Dudley DoRight


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