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hikernutcasey
03-01-2018, 12:49
So I am a 3 season camper 95% of the time but occasionally will venture out in the winter for a night if the weather isn't too nasty. I've got a down bag EN rated at 23 degrees and use a silk liner. If I took my 40 degree summer synthetic bad and draped it over the top like a quilt being careful not to compress my down bag would that add much warmth? I also carry a closed cell foam pad to put under my xlite pad. Am I going to freeze to death if it gets down in the teens?

Leo L.
03-01-2018, 12:57
Suppose you'll not freeze to death, maybe just shiver through the coldest part of the night.

Why not test run the setup in the backyard? Or anywhere high up on the mountain road where you'll have the very same conditions, but in close proximity to the car?

Feral Bill
03-01-2018, 13:47
If your synthetic bag is not too heavy (re: compressing down bag) it should work well. Of course, you can use the down bag as the top instead. Like Leo says, give it a try. And, yes, a double layer below is equally important.

hikernutcasey
03-01-2018, 14:31
If your synthetic bag is not too heavy (re: compressing down bag) it should work well. Of course, you can use the down bag as the top instead. Like Leo says, give it a try. And, yes, a double layer below is equally important.That brings up an interesting point, I have always read to put the synthetic bag on top for a condensation barrier. Is that a major concern? It seems like putting the less lofty bag inside makes sense because then you wouldn't be compressing the loft of the other bag at all. Does that make sense?

Leo L.
03-01-2018, 15:06
For the weight, synthetic should go inside (for better loft)
For the condensation, synthetic might be better outside (for quick drying)
But then, if the down bag is a very good and modern one, with "waterproof" down, it could as well be outside and not suffer too much from condensation (especially drying out quick).
And finally, the design and cut of both might give the decision: You can only use the more slim bag inside, and the wide cut outside, if you decide, for optimum performance, to use both bags as real bags. Which works by far the best.

hikernutcasey
03-01-2018, 15:58
For the weight, synthetic should go inside (for better loft)
For the condensation, synthetic might be better outside (for quick drying)
But then, if the down bag is a very good and modern one, with "waterproof" down, it could as well be outside and not suffer too much from condensation (especially drying out quick).
And finally, the design and cut of both might give the decision: You can only use the more slim bag inside, and the wide cut outside, if you decide, for optimum performance, to use both bags as real bags. Which works by far the best.If I'm only expecting temps to be in the low teens at worst, would just taking a fleece blanket to put inside my 23 degree bag work? I'm thinking use that on my legs and go to bed with my light puffy jacket and I should be fine???

Sarcasm the elf
03-01-2018, 16:04
Check out the chart in the attached article, it should be a good rough guide.

https://support.enlightenedequipment.com/hc/en-us/articles/115002770588-Layering-Sleep-Systems?mobile_site=true

As you mentioned, absolutely double up on sleeping pads. Both for comfort and in the event that the inflatable fails, which has happened to me in winter before.

Leo L.
03-01-2018, 16:12
When I was younger, I was a bit more adventurous and slept in all possible conditions, in deep freezing, with a medium weight down bag and a single CCF pad. Draped the down jacket over the upper body if I got cold in the night.
Now being an old guy, I much prefer to be really warm and comfortable in the night, and carry double pads and a warm down bag for winter nights, plus keep the down jacket handy if the night were colder than expected. No more shivering for me.
Its up to you what kind of adventure you prefer!

Draping the down jacket over the bag usually is better than wear it inside the bag. Don't forget to tuck the ends of the sleeves under the pad, to keep the jacket from slipping off the top of the bag.

Dogwood
03-01-2018, 16:20
I'm still here. Ive done or still do what the OP described quite often.

What I like you're doing Casey is recognizing sleeping rarely is solely about the bag and even to a greater degree a quilt. You're recognizing a sleep system which is more complex to analyze and make comparisons bit itakes one more thoughtful

Wyoming
03-01-2018, 16:21
hikernut

Another part of the answer to your question is the other gear you are carrying. Remember everything has multiple uses.

So for a cold night you have your wicking t shirt, then your long sleeved base layer, then your puffy down jacket, your gloves, your knit hat (or down hoodie), two pair of socks, and last your rain gear (I usually in very cold circumstances where you use everything you have lay the rain gear partially over the bag on the up wind side to block wind and still let moisture escape). Put all of your clothes on basically.

So if you do the above when added to your bag and the air mattress below you and a tent around you your effective minimum temp has been lowered way down. How far is dependent on your personal physiology of course. But I would get that would get me down into the 10 deg range.

If you think that will not be enough then add in a mid weight base layer top. that will add about 5 more degrees. And so on.

hikernutcasey
03-01-2018, 16:33
Thanks for the input and yes I do plan on wearing my thermals along with a fleece hat. Right now I'm thinking with the closed cell pad under my inflatable, the fleece blanket inside the bag along with wearing my clothes to sleep in will take my 23 degree bag down into the mid teens without much issue. Just to let you all know the trip is this weekend and we will be camping at about 5,600 feet in the Shining Rock Wilderness in NC. I will keep tabs on the temperature and report back Monday.

Leo L.
03-01-2018, 16:39
Another issue to consider is the wind.
If you're using a 3-seasons tent that is more mesh than tent, its important to stay out of the wind when selecting your campspot.

peakbagger
03-01-2018, 16:39
There are also some pretty basic tricks that cold weather campers need to learn. Go to bed warm. Most folks hang around the fire or the shelter for a few hours before going to bed. Their metabolism is slowed way down. Ideally you want to warm up your core just before you go to bed. When we took boy scouts out witner camping, we would go on "night hike" just before bed and make sure they get warmed up. I do jumping jacks. Not enough to sweat but enough so the metabolism was cranked up a bit. The other trick is that a given amount of fuel has far more potential heat than a warmer sleeping bag. If you are backpacking and carrying fuel, you can quickly heat up a bottle of water (make sure your bottle can stand up to the heat, Nalgenes work well). Some people are paranoid and put the bottle in second bag to ensure it doesn't leak. I just wrap my bottle up in something when I got to bed and then slowly unwrap it as it cools down. In unexpected cold conditions, I have left my stove with a pot full of water accessible just outside my bivy so I can heat up another bottle in the middle of the night. Once your core is cooled down a thicker bag really doesn't warm you up again. Worse case if I use up some of my fuel I can cook old school over a fire.

Some folks keep high calorie snacks to eat but its usually an invitation to a mouse to come visit.

In winter conditions I have carried a Jone Hand warmer and some lighter fluid, some folks use stove fuel instead of lighter fluid but I just carry a squeeze bottle. A hand warmer to me is the equivalent of a 20 degree bump in bag rating. Not a good idea in a snow cave but fine in a ventilated tent.

By the way shelters are handy for cover but cold for sleeping especially if they are elevated off the ground. Far better tenting it. The ground temp is frequently higher than the air temp.

MuddyWaters
03-01-2018, 16:47
I've used 20 and 40 together and been ok in teens.
Keeping them together ain't ez
Cold gets between. Ice forms between

Honestly...huge hassle

cmoulder
03-01-2018, 17:25
I've used 20 and 40 together and been ok in teens.
Keeping them together ain't ez
Cold gets between. Ice forms between

Honestly...huge hassle

If you use EE qulits you can use a couple of these (https://enlightenedequipment.com/sub-zero-strap-quilt-layering-strap/) to keep them together and attach to the sleep mat.

I used these with a 40 deg synthetic (Prodigy) and 50 deg down (Revelation) quilts just to test and was totally warm at 14F. (With appropriate ground pads, of course!)

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