Ryan Jordan


November in Montana is exciting because of the promise of snow.

Before November, you have to go to high elevations to find snow, like in this photo, which is my camp in Maloney Basin in the Anaconda-Pintlar Wilderness with the Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp on the night of November 1, 2012.

The promise of snow has me excited more this year than in years past, because of a number of projects I want to work on, like:

  • Camping with a flat, Cuben Fiber tarp in winter.
  • Catching trout on a Tenkara rod when ice is floating down the river.
  • Testing the new Alpacka Dry Suit in a packraft while dodging icebergs in the whitewater of the Gallatin River’s Mad Mile.
  • Hiking in Kahtoola Microspikes on steep, icy trails.
  • Introducing my son to backcountry skiing in remote couloirs.
  • Firebuilding in awful conditions.

You see, for me, winter doesn’t mean putting gear a way, it just means changing gears.

A lot of people have anxiety over cold temperatures and snow, but I really like the beauty that winter brings. I want to share that beauty, and help you enjoy winter, too. That’s why I’m making some intentional efforts to bring solid winter backcountry education to the members of BPL this year. We have cool stuff coming about nordic skiing, base layer technologies, winter shelters, traction devices, and gear made with goose feathers.

Here’s a sneak peak at one of my favorite skunkworks projects this winter: a 12 oz down parka shelled with breathable Cuben Fiber. (Yes, it’s rather warm, and not 3-season-ish at all):