This is an equipment list for snowkiting far enough away from the road that you could not walk or skin back that day. It might even make your shorter days dryer and warmer. I’ve noticed a bunch of kiters coming from areas with roadside only access or coastal kiting who could read this list over and be a few steps ahead when they get here and plan on skinning up to the epic stuff. The Jackson Hole Kiters are always looking for extra stuff for people. Even if you never plan on a multi day trip you might still find the overnight list useful as general knowledge. Just a couple of weeks ago I spent the night out unexpectedly but luckily was equipped. I was actually following a fellow Jackson Hole Kiter myself so it could happen to you too!
If you haven’t figured out how to roll your kite up and leave the bar attached without getting tangled 100 out 100 times when you pack it, it’s time to figure it out. You should skin uphill to your launch, pump the kite, ride away downhill unrolling your lines to swing your kite and go. You should NOT pump your kite, post hole your bar out unrolling lines, then post hole the lines back to the kite then tie them on straight while it’s blowing 25mph and -15f with your freaking bare hands, then post hole back to the bar, then post hole out to the side to launch. If you insist on the post hole method then you might want to stay roadside or get way left behind. Think about a transition where you go from kite to skin and back to kite. You’ll be an hour behind. Snowboarders, you strap your board on before you launch the kite. I know I’m preaching to the choir out there, but it needs to be said over and over.
I’m not really going over food, but I usually grab whatever is in my kitchen and shove it in my down coat pockets. I especially like a quick access zip lock baggie with a chunk of sausage and cheese, throw some crackers in the other pocket. There’s a banana and some almonds, and some Hershey’s chocolate, and some oatmeal for camping, some ramen in the corner there…
This isn't the only way to do things, but it's light, fast, dry, and warm. Hope this helps and feel free to add any tips or tricks!
Basics For any long day…
-Splitboard, skins, poles/ski’s AT or Tele, skins and poles
-Shell - breathable waterproof Gore-Tex, I like the Patagonia Pow Slayer
-Pants - breathable waterproof Gore-Tex are ideal
-Packable down coat (I have the Patagonia Fitz Roy for example), I always take it whenever I go off the beaten path. Even stopping for snacks and water with a down coat is awesome and they weigh nothing and pack quickly. If you leave snacks and such in the pockets, when you stop to snack you’re warm and have snacks on hand.
-Glasses- Better for skinning, even if your goggles are up on your helmet. Sometimes your goggles are fogged or iced and you can whip out your glasses just so you can keep up with the crew.
-Beanie – back up for dry headwear, nice for hiking, skinning, and sleeping.
-Balaclava – It’s nice if it easily fits in a pocket. I leave a thin one of these in my coat pocket all the time. I rarely wear it, but if it’s negative temps + wind you need to worry about all your exposed skin for frost bite. It adds a bit of coziness when you’re hanging around camp in the cold as well.
-Gloves – This is the ultimate tip right here. http://www.kincoworkgloves.com/lined-le
... nit-wrist/ this glove is one amazing glove. Buy a pair or two of these (try them on for perfect fit, all Larges are not the same) buy some Snow Seal, throw them both in the microwave for about a min each. Just get them hot enough that you can barely put your hand inside and the Snow Seal is hot to the touch. Ovens work too. Put the hot gloves on and take a lotion sized scoop and pretend you’re putting lotion on your hands. Once they’re coated (even on the fabric part) toss them in the freezer for a min and then check them out. You might have to heat them 2 times because they can cool quick. They’ll be a little sticky and smooth at first, but they’ll get soft and awesome. When it’s cold try to get into the habit of putting your gloves up under your coat when you take them off so you don’t misplace them and they don’t ever freeze all the way. I used to carry spare gloves and down mitts until I figured these out. The cuff specifically works well to stay dry. Since your coat goes over the glove the snow easily falls out of your sleeve often keeping you dryer and warmer than a gauntlet style glove, and there’s no tucking the coat into the glove every time you slip the glove off. Also, the wax and leather combination works perfect for handling the sticky on skins for skis and splitboards.
-Layers – I can do a 0F overnight trip with one set of capeline midweight bottoms and midweight tops pretty comfortably. I used to take extra stuff, but I wouldn’t use it since it was colder to change. As long as you can stay dry you should be ok. For 2 days add a set of clean long undies, and go expedition weight for negative temperatures. I basically want to be wearing everything at night around camp and skinning with the lightest layering under my shells. The idea is to not sweat. You’ll obviously always sweat, but notice as you’re touring and kiting how wet you’re getting. If you are too wet to dry off quickly you’ll need to stop and vent to lose moisture. Wipe off the snow from your crashes. As the sun sets and you roll into camp you should be thinking about how to get perfectly dry quickly, where you’ll vent your zippers and shovel camp. Shovel until you start to get comfortably warm then stop and work on the smaller camp tasks like lighting a stove where you’ll get cold quickly. Once you are dry zip vents and go to the Down Coat. Keep shoveling and doing tasks, but at an energy saving rate so you stay comfortably warm.
-Ski Socks – I like a clean pair a day, but as you push multi days you’ll have to sleep with moist socks on to dry them out here and there.
-Shovel - Standard collapsible avy shovel, you’ll use your shovel to stay warm and vent your layers as you work on your camp, and it’s very necessary as Avalanche safety gear. You need to enjoy the sculpting of snow to keep warm. Sometimes I’ll dig just to stay warm for no reason while I wait for someone in the cold or something. A Lifty at a ski resort can work 7 days a week 8 hours a day outside staying warm with a shovel and basic layers. You’ll put your stove on your shovel blade to keep it from melting down in the snow while you cook and melt snow. Sometimes you want your shovel, but it’s under the stove.
-Rescue Probe necessary for Avalanche safety (you can use it to decide where to dig camp, I like deep snow for diggin all night, if you’re making a fire dig to the ground right off)
-Avalanche Beacon – necessary in any steep terrain. Along with an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe comes some basic but formal training. Ultimately you’ll learn how to judge the snowpack and assess layers to ultimately look for dangerous slopes as you tour the back country. People always say go with someone experienced and that’s true, but you should always think to yourself that if you get separated, you’re properly equipped gear and knowledge. So give thought to snowpack. It’ll help you find better kiting conditions if you keep your eye on that stuff anyways.
-Ditty bag - accessory cord (you may have to tie your ski to your foot one day and or fix a …) zip tie, kite bladder patch(for kite, sleeping pad, ripped down coat) Swiss Army knife, tooth brush, ibuprofen (help you sleep if you’re sore),soft ear plugs(snoring buddy, flapping windy tent…)2 lighters(you have to melt water so back that up) and headlamp (I’ll say this one again).
-Water Bottle –
-Large pack, Mountain Hardwear BMG (my pack) I fit everything here inside my pack, except my shovel, probe, kite pump and harness. I pack sleeping bag on the bottom no stuff sack for convenience; stove and kitchen stuff next, tent no stuff sack, then kite on top. I slide the bar in first still attached to the kite and the kite in last. Down coat is in the outside pocket for access. Harness is strapped on the very back. The small stuff is in the top pocket, and down coat pockets.
-0F or warmer down sleeping bag (ideally bag should be within 15F of actual forecasted temps)
-Sleeping Pad (I’ve been trying out one of those Big Agnes Air Core pads. It rolls up small enough to fit inside my pack)
-2 person single wall breathable tent is my favorite (any bigger and you’ll really have to squeeze it into your pack. They’re easy to set up and there’s no bother with a fly.
-Unleaded fuel stove, MSR XGK for me its 20 years old and still kicking. Don’t use it in your tent, and check it if you haven’t used it in a while. I like to have my own stove, even if everyone else thinks they can share one.
-Estimate 20oz of fuel per day... You can make that go 2 days, but sometimes the wind and cold hurt the efficiency and use extra fuel. Canister stoves don’t melt snow efficiently at high altitudes and cold temps, though I hear they’re improving.
-Larger size pot with lid (easier for melting snow)
-A plastic measuring cup that can take heat (use as a bowl and water scoop to fill water bottles from your pot)
-Headlamp (check batteries, take extras, even 2 headlamps… always important)
-Down Booties (http://www.westernmountaineering.com
) the expedition ones with the gators rule for stomping around in snow. I pull up the gator and tighten it around my leg then pull my pants down over the top. Works great.
-3 water bottles, one to keep full of water and drink which is like a 32oz and 2 smaller capable of hot water. The 2 are for hot water to keep your boots from freezing so get appropriate bottles…boil pot of water, fill water bottle, quickly put the water bottle in your boot, stuff wet sock on top. Put your down booties on with clean socks for the night. Put boots in your empty pack or stuff sack and pile snow on it (I often put my helmet with goggles in that bag) the water should be room temperature the next morning easily, and you don’t have to waste time melting snow for coffee, breakfast, and your day. Get the boots on quick once you dig them up and get the water in use so it doesn’t freeze. You’ll never thaw out a frozen bottle of water. Needing the water in the morning helps you get your boots on. I empty those 2 bottles before I move and carry the one full one. That’s all you get because even if you kept one extra full one might freeze before you could drink it depending on the temps. Test this stuff at home. I had a water bottle cap not fit right and spill the hot water into my boot just a couple days ago.
-Extra batteries – Keep batteries warm, in pockets, sleep with them and such. AAA’s in headlamps seem to do pretty well in the cold so I don’t bother sleeping with them.