MYOG: Winter Splitboarding Day Trip Pack

I've been on a bit of a pack kick lately and sewed up two new ones in the course of about a month. I shared pictures of my "Franken-ruck" recently but what follows was a previous work.

It's a bit more detailed and includes a foam framesheet in a tight-fitting sleeve, a probe/shovel handle/saw pocket, a daisy chain on the front, two rows of PALS on the bottom, simple hip stabilizer belt, and hooking top closure mechanism.

Fabrics employed are 1000d Cordura (both coated and uncoated), 200d Cordura, VX-21, spinnaker, silnylon, and then various bits of webbing and other notions.

I've had this out for one long day in the backcountry with standard avalanche gear, ten essentials, et al and it absolutely swallows everything up. I carried my split in a-frame very comfortably (using ski strap at top tips).

I did not include a small organizer pocket inside nor do a lid for this pack and I could see that being a future update.

Weight is +/- 20 oz.
Volume is 37 liters up to the collar




MYOG: Frameless Franken-ruck

I built a new ski pack a couple weeks ago (haven’t shared photos or written about it yet) and with my pack building motivation running high I decided to move right into a project I’ve had on my bucket list for a long time.

I’ve heavily modified multiple Golite Jam Packs but have always yearned for the utter simplicity of a ruck styled after Jardine’s original design that manifested itself commercially as the Golite Breeze. I borrowed elements pretty heavily from my beloved ULA Conduit and Amp packs, some tidbits from Risk’s JJPack, as well as the inspiration of myriad other MYOG frameless rucks I’ve seen over the years.







Splitboarding the Bridgers

Got out for a great nine mile tour on Saturday in the Bridger Range with a buddy visiting from town. Snow conditions were stellar and after much on-the-ground analysis and two snowpits we felt comfortable picking a thousand foot avalanche path as our line of descent.  All in all we were out for around six hours under beautiful sunny skies.  I forgot the memory card for my SLR so my apologies for the phone can pics.








Winter Picnics

My wife and I have had a trend going this winter in which we break up our XC ski jaunts and hikes with a midday campfire and picnic. When the weather is cold a warming fire makes for a much more enjoyable lunch break. Besides, building campfires is just plain fun!

DIY Pogies for Winter Cycling






Winter bicycling can be cold in Bozeman and I gave my Bar Mitts to my wife so a set of pogies was in order.  I ride a Surly Open Bar mustache style handlebar on both my daily commuter and fatbike so I built these to work with both.

I designed, patterned, and sewed these in a little under six hours this weekend.  Inside is a very soft fleece over a layer of continuous filament polyester insulation.  Outside is a water-shedding nylon ripstop with 1000d Multicam Cordura trims.  The fleece, ripstop, and insulation set me back about $10 and the Multicam was scrap so aside from the time commitment these were pretty cheap.

My Go To Backpacking Cookset

Nielson Brown Outdoors did a simple write-up about cookpots a few days ago and it got me to thinking I haven’t really written about what I’ve come to call my “go to” cook set up. There’s nothing special about it, and it’s not the most minimal or the lightest kit out there – but it works for me in terms of volume, weight, ease-of-use, and comfort. I do have other setups that I take out with me in exceptional conditions such as winter or when I’m trying to travel SUL but time and time again the setup below is what I use.


  1. Antigravity Gear alcohol fuel bottle
  2. Trail Designs Caldera Cone
  3. MSR aluminum pot gripper
  4. Trail Designs Caldera stove
  5. Snowpeak 900mL (handles removed, DIY lid)
  6. Backpacking Light Short-handled Titanium Spoon
  7. Backpacking Light 475 mL Trapper’s Mug


I’ve come to really appreciate this setup. I roll the Caldera Cone up and place it into the pot. Next the Trapper’s Mug sits inside that with the stove at it’s bottom, the fuel bottle atop that, and the spoon and gripper alongside it.  The lid fits atop all of it and it’s gets perfectly fitted into a silnylon stuff sack I sewed up a few years ago.

It would be very easy to argue that this kit could be minimized from seven items to four but I like having the 475 mL mug for coffee or whisky for sipping on while I’m preparing my meal.  The pot gripper is so sturdy and easy to use that the weight penalty is worth it to me.  And lastly although there are many who use stoves that don’t require a stand of any type I will argue then near-perfection that is the Trail Designs Caldera with great vigor.  It’s speed in heat transfer, nearly untippable nature, and general cleverness are well worth it’s weight in my ruck.