Sleeping bag or not?
Ill be departing springer mt may 1 for my summer long hike. Instead of taking my western mountaineering 20degree ultralite down bag or my 30degree marmot synthetic bag I'm thinking of cutting the weight by just sleeping in my down jacket and base layers. I'll be hammock camping any suggestions?
I think you're going to want a sleeping bag, at least a light one. I hiked with a hammock through june and july last summer and was pretty cold at night, esp. at higher elevations. Now, in July, I didn't anything because it was so hot even at night, and I was in Northern VA at that point where it's lower elevation. I didn't use a pad or bag in the last 2 weeks of July.
But even in June I needed a warm bag and pad for the hammock to be comfortable. I don't know for sure, but it was probably in the upper 40's most nights.
That being said, it's really different for different people. I heard of one guy who didn't have a sleeping bag and when he got cold at night, just got up and started hiking again
We started at Springer on June 4, 2003, and had frost on our hammock tarps the first few nights. For a May 1 start, I would certainly expect some nights in the 40s, and a few nights below that. I had a 40-F bag and a 3/4-length Ridgerest and froze for the first week.
If you have a good closed cell foam pad, one that is wide enough to wrap around your shoulders, then you might be able to survive with a down jacket and base layers. But I would be freezing my arse off in those conditions. Again.
Having a warm head and neck system, like a wool hood and neck tube, and wind or rain hood over it, will go a long way in making summer systems warmer. Your face and neck stay closer to 98.6 F than other parts like your hands and feet, so if it is 40F the temperature differential is more in these areas so you have more heat loss there. With conditioning you can allow your legs and arms to get down to 80F maybe 70F, but your head and neck will remain 90F or more. So in theory you need about 50% more loft in the head and neck regions compared to legs and arms. Of course you should tuck your arms in with your body anyway, but for your thighs downward its something to keep in mind. Not a good idea below freezing, but above freezing there is no risk of frostbite, just hypothermia.
Diet makes a difference also. Your last meal should be the main meal of the day, and in you want to avoid simple sugars that digest too quickly. Fats, protiens, and fibres will digest slower and give off more heat through the process of digestion. Some fibres move things along but others slow things up. You don't need to go overboard on fibres, just saying stuff like lentils and oats combined with fats and protiens will keep you warm longer through the night than fats and protiens alone, or fats and protiens combined with simpler sugars and starches. If you are losing weight you will actually need more clothes, as you will be producing less heat through digestion. The body fat does provide insulation, but it isn't evenly distributed.
Practice at home. 40F is something you should be able to get alot of practice with. In winter you can start by sleeping naked at room temperature, with the heat off so the temperature will drop to 65F, 60F, 55F, and so forth. It's alot easier on a padded couch than a cold hard floor because only half your body is exposed. To be as realistic as possible sleep on a cold floor with just your sleeping pad, or hang a hammock if that's your thing. Once you figure out how low you can go naked you can figure things out from there. First add your hiking clothing all over, especially head and neck, then see what you need from there. At some point you are going to have to take this outside or the wife and kids gets right upset. Bridge parties get a real kick out of the naked part though.
Sleeping naked at 60F, even 50F is alot easier on a padded couch
If you think you don't need a sleeping bag then you definitely don't need a down jacket.
If you insist on a down jacket, you could try one of those elephant feet, (foots?).
I've used light wool and fleece blankets down to 40F, just for fun. Doubled as clothing, but still heavier overall. Summertime is the time to try stuff like that, but perhaps not on a long section or thru-hike.
Go on a weather website and find out the typical temperautres in those locations [and at those elevations] and then camp in your backyard when the temps are similar.
I tried to get by in mid weight wool base layers and a down vest in the Whites this past summer while using my JRB BMB hammock and I ended up having to break out the emergency space blanket and put my lower torso into my empty pack. So...not very successful.
Thanks users for your ideas. I've decided to convert my western mountaineering into a under quilt and use layers to insult me as well. I'm going to find some cooler temps to test this idea out!
Yep....Hammock hiking is very attractive. A hammock is comfortable,portable and lightweight. But I think in these day, it could be very cold in night for hammock camping. However, I believe you can solve the problem to keep warm in night by using underquilt or something else. One word, wish you enjoy hammock hiking.
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