Totally Random Thoughts From 25 Days In The Cold

+32 to a low of -36 to a high of +25 is a ridiculous amount of swing in temps.

Moisture is a real issue.

Wear less. Be cool while active.

Below zero is different. Below 15 is another world. Below 30 is insanity.

White gas MSR stoves just work.

VBLs (vapor barrier liners) are real and required and they work.

You must have a way of dealing with accumulating frozen moisture in your bag.
Either VBL clothing, a VBL bag, or a way to warm it every couple of days.

Studs would have been nice.

I really don't like touring on flat bars, but I do like them for technical riding.

Below 10 and moist fingers freeze.

When your nose hairs freeze it is getting cold.

A fatbike will take you wherever you want to go, period, end of story.

When the moisture begins to freeze away from your skin (trust me you will know when it is happening) things are getting bad.

When a one-mile, low-effort ride results in frozen obstacles all over your face and you can't feel your fingers or toes it is time to regroup.

The Thermarest Neo X is awesome.

Pogies work until they don't. You still need gloves and sometimes they are way too warm.

A wool buff is invaluable, but will freeze solid.

I still can't figure out how to protect my face and keep my lenses from fogging.

Wear your boots to bed.

Coffee, no matter how cold outside, made freshly from grounds, brightens my day.

Below zero, just about all food will freeze and it will become a daily challenge figuring out how to cook it.

The Bryjne fishnet is the best baselayer I have ever used.

Buy a Patagonia Houdini. You won't regret it. Then buy the Patagonia Capilene 4 hoody.

Shoot your DSLR with autofocus turned off. It will save you a tremendous amount of battery and profoundly change the way you photograph.

Bring an insulated coffee mug and a small thermos; hot goes to cold very, very quickly.

Nalgene water bottle insulators are okay and they hang nicely from your handlebars, but still must be stored in your sleeping bag to keep them from freezing.

Hot peppers make everything you cook taste better.

The constant shower of ice particles raining down on your face each time you move in your tent gets old and cold very fast.

Your rear hub WILL stop working somewhere around -30 unless you change the lube in the hub.

Panniers freeze in extreme cold and begin to be very difficult to roll shut and clip closed.

Lara Bars and Cliff Bloks don't freeze, but eggs, sausage, cheese, and carrots do.


This post first appeared on Glenn's blog, The Traveling Vagabond.

This post filed under topics: Bikepacking Explore Glenn Charles Mukluk Snow Biking Sponsored Riders Touring Travel

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Glenn Charles

Glenn Charles

Glenn Charles spent his first 40 years living what he thought was the American Dream; he now says he’s living life. Traveling by bike and kayak, he finds new ways to explore the world, meet new people and grow as a person. As he travels 50,000+ miles by human power, he hopes to inspire others to reconnect with nature and lead simpler, happier lives.


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Quinn | March 8th, 2013

I noticed you mentioned about keeping your face warm, and fogging lenses, I have had good luck with one of These for the past 5 years-

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Glenn Charles | March 18th, 2013

Quinn, thanks. I will definitely check that out.  Cheers, Glenn

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