Today I decided I would test my gear to see how it stood up in extreme cold temperatures. When I left for my hike, it was -20 C, or -4 F. When I returned, it was -24 C, or -11.2 F. With the windchill it was -28C when I left and -32C when I returned, which equates to -18.4 F and -25.6 F. So, as you can see, these were great temperatures to test the gear out.
I hiked 8.2 km’s in 3 hours and the good news is that the gear worked pretty well. I was exceptionally happy that my feet and hands were completely warm during the whole hike and perhaps the coldest part of me was my eyebrows/forehead and my arms. Both of which can be easily fixed by utilizing googles and clothing. Additionally, there is currently about three feet of snow, so hiking was fun. I decided again my snowshoes, which I probably will not the next time.
What Outdoors Gear was I Wearing?
(All have links to Amazon Listings or the Manufacturer for more information)
- Hotronic Heated Socks
- Savior Heated Gloves
- Under Armour Cold Gear Base Layer
- Under Armour Post Canyon Waterproof Hiking Boots
- Spyder XTL 10k Waterproof Insulated Snow Pants
- Spyder XTL 20k Gortex Ski Jacket
- ColdAvenger Pro Soft Shell Mask
- Spyder Ski Hat
- A Ski Sweater
- Glove liners
Overall, the comfort of everything was quite good as well. The Cold Avenger did seem to rub against my nose in such a way as that it was bothersome at times and it also seemed to let in a fair amount of cold. Nothing crazy but enough to make me wonder how it will perform in even colder temps. I think I will try and wear a balaclava or some other ski mask type device under it next time to see how well that works. The Hotronic socks I set at a temp of 2 and there was no issue at all. The Savior Gloves I turned on at level 3 for about 5 minutes and then turned them off. This seemed to work really well and would keep my hands warm for at least a 1/2 hour. This tells me the gloves themselves are really well built and retain the heat. It is advisable however to wear liners with the gloves as there is heat loss between the fingers. The liners seem to alleviate that. Mine even have holes in them and it still worked, so nothing crazy is needed.
When it comes to clothing, you cannot beat Under Armour and Spyder. They just simply make some of the best outdoors clothing around. No real issues to discuss about these at all.
Outdoors Gear Changes I would Like to See
About the only thing I would like to see changed about any of this gear comes into play with the power for the Hotronic Socks and Savior Gloves. While both of these are simply fantastic, I would definitely like to see the ability to charge them using USB. Yes, I realize it will take eons to do but when you are on the trail and you are hunkering down for the night, you have all night to charge them up from your USB packs. Even a little charge is better than none. Currently, they both require standard household AC in order to charge them. This makes them non-functional for me when it comes to thru-hiking. Yes, I do not do a lot of that in the winter but when I do, it sure would be nice to have that extra little charge. I carry a solar panel with me that hangs off my pack and charges my USB power pack. There is no way to utilize this for either the socks or the gloves and I would sacrifice phone power in order to stay warm when it is -20C or below.
As you can see, my gear line up is pretty good and it definitely proved itself quite well. Unfortunately, this cold snap is coming to an end and therefore I cannot test any further, but when it returns, I will update this page with more information.