Gear list – 10 mile cross country ski trip to Ostrander ski lodge in Yosemite

Hi,I’ve been back and forth with my friends about what gear we’ll be taking on the ski trip.

UPDATE: this trip did not end up going as expected. See trip report here: Recovering from a Canceled Trip.


shelter – bivy sacks or a tent. I’ve found interesting SOL emergency bivys that range from $15-$50. Recommended by one of my friends who has done winter camp trips at Grand Canyon and other areas. There are also more durable bivies if you’re planning on using it regularly or as shelter $65-well hundreds of dollars. Right now, we’re just thinking of using these in case we get stuck out in the snow. It’s ‘only’ 10 miles, but with snow, terrain, and (most importantly) fewer hours of daylight…from the people I’ve spoken to (trip reports online, ski / outdoor clubs, and park recommendations) it’s not uncommon to be hiking in well after dark. ANYONE HAVE RECOMMENDATIONS HERE?

Mainly features – lightweight, waterproof, comfortable size. If it’s a permanent one, I’ll buy one with a no-see-um mesh net. I can live without it being breathable. Why? most of the bivies will get condensation in them if you breathe inside and won’t if you don’t. Keep your mouth outside, get a nice wool / fleece hat and you’ll be fine.

sleeping bag – After my Boundary Waters trip last year, I purchased a lighter 20F sleeping bag (~3.5 lbs). The main advantages of this bag are that it’s synthetic, packs relatively small, and was ~$50. Yes, I was looking at the next cheapest bag (kelty cosmic down 20) and that was $130 on super sale. That would be an awesome bag, but I’m for incremental steps on gear because I want to stay within my budget. I don’t want to buy expensive gear only to realize it’s wrong. I may end up only needing less costly gear (I think it’s often the case /WRITE NEW POST/).

sleeping pad – I don’t really care about the comfort too much. However, if we end up snow camping, I want to be up off the ground to prevent heat loss through conduction. REI flash sleeping pad has been excellent for me. Very, very small, reasonably priced (~$70-80? with REI member coupon), easy to inflate (<1.5 minutes, like very easy, try doing 10-12 breaths. I should make a video showing it because I couldn’t figure out if I needed a pump before I bought it).

water – between three of us, we’ll have a gravity pump and aqua mira tablets. aqua mira because it is one of the few water treatments that can deal with giardia and crypto. Not the lightest option, but it’s convenient. We will also have the option to boil water.


tele skis – after much back and forth we decided to go with tele gear. My friend found an awesome package for renting skis, boots, poles, AND skins. The sticking point for us was skins ($120-$300) online and you have to fit them to your skis. We’d be looking for places to buy them used (craigslist) or just buy a pair. For this specific trip we wanted to go skis for the speed and to play around in once we get access to Ostrander. Didn’t want to carry snowshoes. Received some really good advice from someone who had done the trip saying that one year she went in on hardpack and came back out on 3 ft new. Often if there is new, without skins it’s not an option. Snowshoes were another idea we had, but they are extra weight / not as fast.

goggles – I have some sweet goggles that have a built in camera my girlfriend got me. I’m wearing those

fleece and a wind/water proof shell – After experimenting in 0F and below weather I’ve decided that this fabric combination will work for travel. For actual motion fleece is an awesome fabric. Baselayer as well. I’ve gone running in cold weather living in Minnesota and been warm. There are a lot of types of fleece and base layer options. ANYBODY HAVE RECOMMENDATIONS? Remember: you don’t want to sweat.

In case we get stuck sleeping outside, I’m definitely bring a baselayer, another thin fleece, and a small down (in case we get stuck outside) jacket…old, warm, small.

compass, map, whistle. rope, knife, fire materials (starter, flint, bic lighter). water bladder, water bottle. spoon, collapsible bowl. Decided to skip the avy beacon / probe because we’re not planning on venturing into that type of terrain. Will have shovel.

That’s a BASIC outline of what I’m planning on bringing. Any advice or suggestions would be welcome. Go out and have your own misplaced adventure!


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