Gifts For The Backcountry Traveler

Post by blogger | November 23, 2014      
Getting cozy at DIA, or was it Dulles, maybe Munich?

Getting cozy at DIA, or was it Dulles, maybe Munich?

Unexpected airline delays and layovers are way too common these days. It seems Lou and I experience them on almost every backcountry ski trip we take. They’ve become less painful since we’ve started adding a sleeping bag to our carry on luggage. My bag of choice is Mountain Equipment’s Helium 400.

The 28 degree bag weighs in at 29 oz. It’s also a cozy cocoon for hut trips where you’re dealing with maybe a cold, but not subzero cabin.

Features I like:

  • Weight: 29 oz and very puffy.
  • Fit: Close fit with tapered lower leg shaves off excess bagginess. Baffled trapezoid foot piece is roomy and keeps my toes warm.
  • Hood: Baffled, anatomically designed hood has almost enough loft to feel like a pillow.
  • Neck collar: Inner baffled neck collar with snap button can be snugged up with elastic drawcord to trap in heat on colder nights.
  • Zipper: Sewn in a way that it doesn’t snag, and I’m rough on zippers. 3/4 length is adequate, and I like it when the zipper doesn’t go down to the toe box.
  • Weight and construction: Often durability is sacrificed on on lightweight gear. But I used the Helium 400 bag extensively for the past year and it’s held up surprisingly well. It continues to have excellent loft and there are no snags in the lightweight material. Admittedly though, I’ve only used it with a pad or mat.
  • The Helium isn’t made with water resistant treated down which would be an improvement that would make this bag more versatile. Overall, for sheltered bivvys, I love it as it is.

    Weighs in at 6.1 oz and packs down as small as a smartphone.

    Klymit Inertia sleeping pad weighs in at 7 oz and packs down as small as a smartphone.

    For the size of a smartphone, you can add terabits of comfort
    with Klymit Inertia sleeping pad. Ultra lightweight at 7 oz and surprisingly comfortable, it gets fully inflated with 10 breaths.

    WildSnow Field HQ update:

    Lou installed a higher resolution webcam at WildSnow Field Office HQ in Marble. We still need to improve the snow stake so it’s easier to read. I think we might just mark every 4 inches with a bold line (4 inches equals approximately 10 centimeters). We’ll also paint bold lines on the visible structure 12 inches apart so overall snow depth can be estimated. If there’s not too much snow on the satellite dish, the camera will take photos between 6:00 and 7:30 every morning. Check it out at

    Recap of WildSnow posts for the week of 11/17-11/21 2014:

    Turiano Publishes Most Expensive Guidebook in the World–Review

    Scott Alpride Airbag Backpack — Unboxed!

    Early Season Storm Chasing — Hit And Miss On Mt. Hood

    Backcountry Skiing News Roundup

    Holiday Cheer — Mama Pat’s Eggnog


    Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


    2 Responses to “Gifts For The Backcountry Traveler”

    1. Mitch R. November 24th, 2014 7:17 pm

      Having just slept in an airport last week, I liked and just picked up one of those sleeping pads. It will go with my sleeping bag liner and eyeshades in my carry on at all times.

    2. stephen November 25th, 2014 1:57 am

      The link doesn’t seem to go to the right mat – is it this one: or this one: that you’re talking about?

      Thanks 🙂

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