Monday, July 25, 2011

MYOG Snowpegs (and other winter gear)

With the arrival of winter in Australia my thoughts turned to the prospect of getting in some hiking time above the snow line.  There were a number of challenges stemming from this, not least of which was that I was missing quite a few items of gear needed for cold, crappy conditions, including thermal wear, puffy jacket, snow shovel, snow shoes, 4-season tent, etc.  I decided to tackle the shortfall with a combination of shopping and MYOG.  

For base layer thermals I bought polypropylene top, bottom and gloves.  (I had read that thermals made from wool - especially Merino - provide a bit more warmth and are less prone to becoming smelly; however, given I predominantly do my hiking solo, being stinky didn't seem like such an issue, particularly when you consider the steep premium you pay for wool.)

I got a North Face puffy vest and some Manzella overmitts from Paddy Palins and a great fleece top my wife found at a outdoor clothing sale.

For no particularly good reason at all I got a Buff, after noticing some guys raving about them on my fav forum, Bushwalking Australia.  Why not get one? - they're warm, versatile and sort of cool, in a slightly you've-got-tickets-on-yourself-Survivor sort of way.  And I can assure you that online promotions targeting my demographic had nothing to do with my decision.   Really.

For snow shoes I decided to go with the Aussie-made Yowies.  As luck would have it I found a second-hand pair in excellent condition from John at Adventure Rentals in Melbourne.  I found John to be a top bloke who also had plenty of tips for winter hiking.  We had great fun with me trying out the Yowies in a busy inner city Melbourne cafe.

For a snow shovel I went with a snowclaw I picked up ebay.  I liked the fact it's small and light. Should be fine for small digging chores around the camp, or for sitting on when I need a rest on the trail.

The tent I decided to make myself.  I will cover that in another post.

That just left the snow pegs.  I was going to shell out $3-4 a piece at one of the Melbourne adventure stores, until after a little bit of Googling, I came across MYOG instructions for snow pegs from Christian in Germany.(The link is to his blog, which is in German.  Follow the link at the start of his post to get an English translation or else try Babel Fish.).   I figured it would  be a fun, quick project and would probably save a few dollars in the process.

I bought a 1 metre length of 50mm PVC pipe and a can of spray paint for a total of $12 from Bunnings Hardware.

The procedure was pretty straightforward.

First, I cut the pipe into three 330mm segments.  I then marked out three 53mm divisions around the circumference of the pipes, then cut out the peg shapes using a tenon saw, giving me 9 pieces in total.

Next I sawed out the angles at each end of the pegs - with shallower angles at the top of the pegs.

Next step was to measure out the locations for the tie out grooves (3mm from the top) and for the holes (5mm, 8mm, 12mm, 15mm, 18mm and 21mm from the top). 

I then used a round rasp to make the tie-out grooves and a 10mm drill bit to make the holes.

Finally, I used a file and sandpaper to tidy up the edges, then gave them a couple of coats of spraypaint.


Total weight for the 9 pegs (& handy hair tie) is 575 gms (20 oz).

I got to use them for the first time last weekend, at Mt St Gwinear, about 2 hours drive from Melbourne.  They worked great.   I am not sure how they will hold up over time - suspect they might become brittle.  Nevertheless, they should do the trick for this winter.


  1. Looks good mate. Will be neat to see how they go over time!


  2. ...made a set myself.....yellow. work a treat.brilliant myog idea. Every snow camper should make their own!


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