For fast hiking, there are some things you need on a hike and things you don’t…. but first you need to understand the adventure you have coming. In this case, I was headed to the top of Mt. Agassiz (13,899 ft. ) in early summer 2017 and, with a proper winter that year, I knew that meant there would still be snow at elevation. Here is what I took and why I decided to lug it up there.
Bivy Sac (aka – Sleeping bag for your sleeping bag) – It is a super lightweight, pack friendly alternative to a tent but you want to make sure it’s a waterproof and hopefully insulated… you won’t regret it. Price can be an issue for some and for “roominess” is not your friend… It kind of felt like a coffin. Still. You overcome that and you’re set.
3 or 4 Season Sleeping Bag – The lighter the bag the better. But don’t sacrifice weight for warmth. Nothing you carry should have a temperature rating above 30 degrees and I recommend a 25-degree bag (it’s what I use). If you’re a cold sleeper, I recommend a silk liner to keep your toes warm.
Sleeping Pad – If you can get an insulated pad do it! Cold weather or warm weather, an insulated pad adds a layer between you and the ground. You can also get a pad that you don’t have to blow up to cut down on ‘ounces’ and effort – unlike mine. But for winter camping, I like my sleep pads like my winter jackets… puffy and lightweight.
Snow Shovel – You might be asking… “How is snow shovel sleeping gear?”. Well, in the high alpine environment, where there is snow into summer… you may need to ‘make’ your flat spot to sleep… fast. That means digging out a space as large as your bivy plus a little extra for the heck of it. Keeps you out of the wind and snow even helps you insulate.
Hammock – Full disclosure, I did not use this at all. It looked like it would be fun to take but I left it in the car once I saw how much snow there was. However, it was great in Colorado during the late summer!
AH TIP: You can bring as much stuff as you want… just don’t be stupid and leave most of it in the car. *No food stays! You carry all that junk up that mountain! Thar be bears!