Glenn's Thoughts on Clothing, Packs, and Sleeping Bags
Choosing the Right Clothing
Comfort and safety during a camping trip can be greatly
increased by choosing the right clothing. The "right" clothing does not have to
be expensive high tech but as with everything else the more you expect out of your
clothing the more it is going to cost. When advising youth (or their parents) on the
appropriate clothing for your outing, keep in mind the activities that you are planning.
Choose your clothing to match:
- Do you need warmth or cooling?
Some materials are good for both, others are not.
Cotton may be great when you are hot and sweaty but it provides little or no warmth. Wool
on the other hand can be used both summer and winter.
- Does your clothing have to be water resistant, waterproof or windproof?
confuse water resistant with waterproof. You might not see the difference running from the
house to a car but if you must live and function in the rain the difference can be
uncomfortably obvious. Wind proofing is a key to staying warm.
- What you are going to do
- High or low activity
If you are going to participate in high exertion activities for
long periods (skiing, snowshoeing) then all your layers including the outer lay must
breath (let your sweat out)
- High or low wear
Some high tech fabrics do amazing things with water and heat but
shred on contact with rocks and dirt.
- Safety nets / proximity to indoors
If the going gets tough can you bail out! Or are you in for the duration? If it is the
later then your clothing must be up to the extremes that you may encounter.
- How much you sweat
Moisture is the enemy in cold weather. Make sure your clothing can deal with it
Wear clothing in layers!
Do not rely on a single layer (heavy coat) to provide all
your warmth. If you get too hot you can not easily remove it without risking a chill.
Several lighter layers permit easier temperature control.
Know characteristics of fabrics.
High wear resistance
|Shirts and pants during Summer months
Damp or wet weather
Dangerous during Winter
||Wicks water away from the skin
warmth when wet
|Warmth in cool and cold weather for all
clothing (socks to toque)
||Wicks water away
|Underwear (can be worn 24 hours a day
because it does not get wet), socks
||Wicks water away
|Mid layer upper and lower.
||Wind resistant, crease resistant, water
resistant, snow resistant
||Mixed with nylon or cotton
it makes good
pants and shirts
|Light weight outerwear
||Flammable, doesn't breath
||Light and absorbs little water,
dries quickly and stays relatively warm when wet.
||Sweaters , Scarves
|Coated nylon and polyester
||Water proof but not breathable
||Outerwear for low activity, downpours
|Gore-tex and other laments
||Waterproof and breathable
||Outerwear for rain and snow, socks
Same questions as clothing - What are you going to do,
where are you going to do it, and what is the weather going to be?
Pick the pack for the occasion
- Day pack for one day outing
A good daypack has a waist strap and a chest strap.
Frame pack (internal or external) for weekend or longer backpacking
Internal frame packs are the most popular and easiest to adjust to your body shape and
External frame packs are mostly found in very cheap packs (limited adjustment, poorly
made) and very expensive, high load capacity packs, made for expeditions.
Equipment bag (duffel, hockey) for drive-in stationary camps
Easy to store in a tent and when the zipper runs the length of the bag, easy to find
Make sure the pack fits.
Proper construction includes
- Compression straps
- Ability to move the pack away from your back
- Chest strap
- Wear resistant material such as cordura bottoms and heavy duty waterproof nylon bags
- Padded waist strap
- Adjustable shoulder strap attachment to allow for growth of the youth
- Heavy-duty zippers and reinforced, double stitched stress points.
If you intend to camp during the winter as well as the
other seasons then you need 2 sleeping bags.
- one 3 season bag rated 0° to -5°, and one winter bag rated -25°
- two 3 season bags (one should be larger to permit one within the other for winter use)
Sleeping bags come in several shapes and are filled with several different types of
||Best for summer use and limited fall and
||Provides lots of room
||Good fall and spring, limited winter use.
|Less constricting than mummy
||Best for winter, too warm for summer
||Bag must turn with you.
||This is the ultimate filling when it comes
to weight to insulating quality (unless you are allergic to it). It is also the most
expensive, hardest to maintain and looses it insulating qualities when wet. Highly
compressible into very small package.
||Many are approaching down in weight to
warmth. They are easier to maintain and respond well to cleaning. Compresses well.
What to look for in cold weather bags
- Manufacture's rating of -5° to -25° (do not take the sales person's word unless you
are confident they know what they are talking about)
- Zipper baffles
- Hood with draw string
- Tapered shape (barrel or mummy)
- Baffling between inner and outer layer (no stitch-through)