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NCYankee
01-08-2009, 10:42
This morning I got into a debate with a coworker over gear and figured I would post here regarding it. For simple one or two night overnight trips in the summer I normally carry just a simple cotton sleeping bag liner instead of carrying a sleeping bag.

Does anyone else do the same? I’m talking warm Carolina temps here…

Hooch
01-08-2009, 10:44
I know folks wh have been inclined to do so, but I'm not that brave. I still carry a top quilt and some form of underinsulation to go under my hammock.

Alligator
01-08-2009, 11:12
I carried a fleece liner one week in summer in "hot humid" NJ and was cold. I don't recommend it myself.

snowhoe
01-08-2009, 11:17
I agree I wouldnt take a liner only. Wait one time I took a fleece blanket but it might have been a little more bigger than a liner. Who cares if thats the way you roll than do it. Dont let anyone here stop you.

Hooch
01-08-2009, 11:19
Who cares if thats the way you roll than do it. Dont let anyone here stop you...........from freezing to death. Just kidding. :D

budforester
01-08-2009, 11:23
This morning I got into a debate with a coworker over gear and figured I would post here regarding it. For simple one or two night overnight trips in the summer I normally carry just a simple cotton sleeping bag liner instead of carrying a sleeping bag.

Does anyone else do the same? I’m talking warm Carolina temps here…

Doesn't work for me: summer nights are warm and humid here, but can get cool in thundershowers. Cotton gets damp with dew and fog. I take a poncho liner to roll up in.

NCYankee
01-08-2009, 11:45
Cotton gets damp with dew and fog.


That's been the problem that I have had in the past and makes for a crappy second evening.

JAK
01-08-2009, 11:48
I think it depends somewhat on the rest of your clothing and gear, and the temperature of course, and where you sleep. Temperatures can vary quite a bit which side of a hill you sleep on and how far up and so forth. The Australian Aboriginies traditionally slept naked. Not sure how cold that can be done, but certainly not down to freezing, and not in rain. Something you can try in your living room though.

knicksin2010
01-08-2009, 11:50
I wouldn’t carry a cotton liner, but I’ve done extended summer trips with a liner bag and a light fleece jacket.

Tipi Walter
01-08-2009, 11:50
Warm Carolina temps could mean anything. A simple cotton liner sounds neat and looks good on paper and on the back. What about a Carolina summer at 6000 feet? Mt Mitchell? Roan Mt? A hundred other high elevation camps? What about a typical mountain summer rainstorm when the temps dip to the 50s? I saw snow once on May 19 and way down south of Asheville I had snow on April 29. If a piece of gear dictakes your destination, dump it.

Blissful
01-08-2009, 11:57
I wouldn't want cotton in a damp conditions with droppings temps, like some t-storms can generate.

DDuhon
01-08-2009, 12:02
My standard summer 2-4 day trip (checking weather ahead--helps a little) is a half blue foam pad, a single sheet sewn part way into a sack--used a high thread count egyptian cotton single, and a high tech mummy liner. And I often wear base layer stuff, and it mostly works. Have not been so cold as to have sleeping problems.

JAK
01-08-2009, 12:03
If a piece of gear dictakes your destination, dump it.I don't agree completely with that.
I like having to be a little strategic in where I bed down, like a deer.

Hooch
01-08-2009, 12:10
Cotton kills. Avoid it like the plague in almost any backpacking application other than bandanas.

JAK
01-08-2009, 12:13
A couple of summers ago I slept in a light merino sweater, flannel boxers, a fleece blanket, a 1oz walmart nylon sheet, with a blue foam pad and inside a kids tent with my daughter. It rained and was damp but didn't get that cold. My recolection was that the light nylon shell made a siginificant difference, even inside a tent, rather than the fleece alone, and that the light merino sweater was something that could be worn very effectively day and night, though we were never in direct sun. There was another summer trip I had a fleece liner inside a gortex bivy on a blue foam pad and that was very cold the first night on Long Beach at Long Beach Brook, but not so bad on the following nights in the woods half-way up hillsides. I think you can learn alot in summer by building your own nonsleeping bag solutions. You don't always end up saving weight, except with kids maybe.

JAK
01-08-2009, 12:15
Cotton kills. Avoid it like the plague in almost any backpacking application other than bandanas.Cotton has its backpacking applications, like anything else.

Hooch
01-08-2009, 12:23
Cotton has its backpacking applications, like anything else.Anything? Show me how a 500 pound anvil has a backpacking application then, please. That said, speaking as someone who was born, raised and continues to live in North Carolina, I know how rapidly the weather is prone to change in the mountains and that sleeping in a cotton sheet, or any version thereof, is a bad idea. Encouraging people to sleep in something that has almost no insulative property, particularly when wet, is nothing short of poorly considered and irresponsible.

JAK
01-08-2009, 12:25
I wouldn't use cotton in this application however.
I would use fleece or wool, under a light nylon wind shell, under a rain poncho/tarp.
Flannel boxers are ok however. One pair is manageable, and hygenic. Works for me.
Some folks swear by cotton anoraks in winter, for subzero. Doesn't work for me.

I always carry a blue foam pad, but for day hikes I know carry a wool blanket instead, as it is more versatile and about the same volume, though heavier. It usually needs a bit of a groundsheet, but light plastic is often sufficient. Something to consider anyway.

JAK
01-08-2009, 12:29
Anything? Show me how a 500 pound anvil has a backpacking application then, please. That said, speaking as someone who was born, raised and continues to live in North Carolina, I know how rapidly the weather is prone to change in the mountains and that sleeping in a cotton sheet, or any version thereof, is a bad idea. Encouraging people to sleep in something that has almost no insulative property, particularly when wet, is nothing short of poorly considered and irresponsible.I wouldn't use cotton in this application either, but cotton does have some applications in backpacking.

Roots
01-08-2009, 12:31
I have hiked in the summer here (western NC mtns) and it be 90 during the day and at night on a mtn top it be 35 to 40 degrees. I have to use something more than a liner. I can't imagine not having my sleeping bag. I'd rather carry the extra weight. :)

Hooch
01-08-2009, 12:34
I wouldn't use cotton in this application either, but cotton does have some applications in backpacking.I respectfully disagree. It's not known as "killer cotton" for nothing.

NCYankee
01-08-2009, 12:38
I guess a good example of my case was this summer I took my wife on a simple overnight in South Mountain State Park... The weather ahead of time was in the mid 90's during the day and overnight it was in the mid 80's with no rain in the forecast. I brought a liner and was plenty warm (who likes sleeping in the 80's anyway), but pretty dewy in the morning from the humidity. I slept in a pair of boxers in the liner.

I guess the simple answer to my question and my debate with know-it-all coworker is simply that it depends on the specifics of the situation...

I'm not suggesting to go out in a cotton liner with the 19 degree lows that we are expecting to get next week, but I also wouldn't bring a +15* bag for practical warm weather summer uses either.

Maybe to be safe I should invest in a quilt.

Tipi Walter
01-08-2009, 12:40
I don't agree completely with that.
I like having to be a little strategic in where I bed down, like a deer.

Primitive sleeping strategies are great for some, and what comes to mind are debris huts using dead leaves as insulation, lean-tos filled with leaves as protection, etc. Rock overhangs, natural insulation, etc. Backpacking while depending on expending energy to arrange a sleeping "nest" can be a wet, dirty and uncomfortable endeavor. In the snow or during a rainstorm stuff will get wet, gloves and bag, clothing. I'll stick with the tent and the bag.

My basic point is that a piece of gear should give enough freedom to allow a person to camp at 100 degrees atop a dry scrub ridge or at 5500 feet in a winter windstorm at zero degrees, or even on a mountaintop during a summer storm. If a cotton liner won't work for the latter, well, there goes one more spot to avoid. You'll pick and choose yourself out of a trip.


Anything? Show me how a 500 pound anvil has a backpacking application then, please. That said, speaking as someone who was born, raised and continues to live in North Carolina, I know how rapidly the weather is prone to change in the mountains and that sleeping in a cotton sheet, or any version thereof, is a bad idea. Encouraging people to sleep in something that has almost no insulative property, particularly when wet, is nothing short of poorly considered and irresponsible.

Agreeable post. Even with a down bag for summer trips I may start out with it off but by morning it's over me like a blanket. Lowered metabolism, cooling body temps, etc. There's just not enough insulating qualities to a cotton sheet, even in the summer.

Slo-go'en
01-08-2009, 12:49
Cotton has its backpacking applications, like anything else.

But not many. Though we did get by with cotton blends, like 50-50 T-shirts, Dickies work clothes and suplimented with wool for many years.

Alligator
01-08-2009, 12:52
...
My basic point is that a piece of gear should give enough freedom to allow a person to camp at 100 degrees atop a dry scrub ridge or at 5500 feet in a winter windstorm at zero degrees, or even on a mountaintop during a summer storm. If a cotton liner won't work for the latter, well, there goes one more spot to avoid. You'll pick and choose yourself out of a trip.
...Your statement about dumping gear is too simplistic. If a person has alternative gear to choose from, then pick the gear suited for the trip. I have summer gear. That doesn't mean I should chuck it because I can't use it in the winter.


I guess the simple answer to my question and my debate with know-it-all coworker is simply that it depends on the specifics of the situation...Yes.

I made a quilt myself, it's a good option.

JAK
01-08-2009, 12:56
I respectfully disagree. It's not known as "killer cotton" for nothing.Inexperienced folks often carry too much of it, and for the wrong applications, but that's not saying it can't be used appropriately for some things. It has some useful properties and applications. I think the trick is not to carry more than 1 or 2 cotton items, but that is also over-generalizing. It's good that we can disagree.

JAK
01-08-2009, 13:04
I wouldn't use a cotton liner for a bedroll, but I think its good to take advantage of microclimates. The topography here is quite different though. By chosing a microclimate I am simply hiking another 500m for go from sea level to 250' or 500', or maybe the other way around if its really hot and buggy. Getting off a mountain in the Applachians would be quite different, and for that it makes sense to be prepared for extremes.

Alligator
01-08-2009, 13:05
I'm pretty sure cotton is recommended for desert like conditions. Check that out though before your bones get parched. Granted, none of that on the AT but something to consider.

Tipi Walter
01-08-2009, 13:41
Your statement about dumping gear is too simplistic. If a person has alternative gear to choose from, then pick the gear suited for the trip. I have summer gear. That doesn't mean I should chuck it because I can't use it in the winter.

Yes.

I made a quilt myself, it's a good option.

I was thinking more in terms of living out and not having alternative gear or even a place to keep alternative gear. In other words, one item for all conditions. This would only be relevant for those backpackers who are "homeless" or living out permanently whether on the AT or in some wilderness or in the woods around some town. Pertinent only to a tiny percentage of backpackers.

snowhoe
01-08-2009, 14:04
Nothing like hiking all day and when you get to camp and putting on a cotton T-shirt. In summer I mean.

Tipi Walter
01-08-2009, 14:09
For years all I used were cotton t-shirts and military cotton blend BDUs or full cotton fatigues for backpacking. But I always had polypro tops and bottoms. Poverty used to dictate taking cotton.

JAK
01-08-2009, 14:12
I think I know where Tipi is coming from. Even on a 2 day trip I often like to have enough gear for the worst a month has to offer, even if I only have enough food for the weekend, and the weather forecast is favourable. However, sometimes I like to go fast and light, and in such instances be prepared to be somewhat miserable if it turns nasty, but still safe. In the summer it is fun to go primitive, as long as your still prepared for the worst, whatever that is. In the winter I might go light on a short ski trip, and go by forecast rather than climate extreme, but still prepared, just not to the same extreme.

On a thru-hike I think it would be aesthethically pleasing, and not completely impractical, to carry more or less the same kit the entire trip, as long as you didn't start too early or finish too late. It wouldn't hurt to purchase or discard a few key items along the way also. It would be fun, for example, to see what you might be able to pickup in a thrift store on one end of a mountain range, and drop it off someplace on the other end. I doubt there is much of a case for this on the AT, but if I was doing a hike down in South America, for example, it would be nice to supplement my basic kit with some local items from time to time. With my luck I might still run into more Made-In-China labels that hand-made ponchos etc. Perhaps I need to go hiking in China. Then I would be certain to be able to buy local. lol

budforester
01-08-2009, 15:51
The Australian Aboriginies traditionally slept naked. Not sure how cold that can be done, but certainly not down to freezing, and not in rain.

Yeah, it apparently works OK; they just drag another dog under the cover. A bad one might be described as a "three- dog" night.

JAK
01-08-2009, 16:08
Yeah, it apparently works OK; they just drag another dog under the cover. A bad one might be described as a "three- dog" night.From what I read they don't always use cover, or dogs. They are acclimatized, and perhaps to a limited degree genetically evolved/adapted, to allow their external skin temperature to drop to very low temperatures and still sleep comfortably. Their outer layer of skin and flesh essentially acts as a layer of clothing. Obviously this doesn't work so well in below freezing conditions, and in rain I would presume they seek shelter. So no cover, no clothes, no ground pad, and no dog. Just skin and flesh and dry ground and clear night sky. Regarding sky, that again I am not sure of, as a clear night sky can be very cold even in a dessert climate. I would imagine they would sleep with some surrounding and overhanging rocks or trees, to take advantage of whatever microclimate might exist there, and to protect them from the open sky. I believe temperatures under 50F can be tollerated in this way, but you have to be conditioned to it. There is no risk of frostbite, and no real risk of hypothermia if you are dry and have clothes to put on and can get up and move around if needed, but most people would not be able to sleep under such conditions. Something worth playing around with on the living room maybe. It's easier if you sink into the couch. The real test would be on a hardwood or tile floor.

JAK
01-08-2009, 16:12
Here is a paper...
SKIN TEMPERATURE OF AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINALS UNDER VARYING ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS, from 1937.
http://www.nature.com/icb/journal/v16/n1/abs/icb19381a.html

It's interesting to read papers from around that time because even the scientists can't help but be somewhat racist. Gives a sense of just how prevalent racism was back then. Anyhow, I will read it and if its any good maybe email it to anyone that can't open the pdf and wants to read it.

Tinker
01-08-2009, 16:19
Cotton kills. Avoid it like the plague in almost any backpacking application other than bandanas.

Cotton is just fine for a low altitude weekend trip in the south unless you have questionable shelter. It may get damp and, after a time, mildew. This:
http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___40146 would be better. As with clothing, layering gives you the most versatility. You might want to get a light cover for the bag: http://www.backcountrygear.com/catalog/bivydetail.cfm/EQ3000 so you could sleep in either one in shorts and a t-shirt, or both together, depending upon the weather.

buckwheat
01-08-2009, 16:39
Show me how a 500 pound anvil has a backpacking application ...

Anvil is used for dropping on Lone Wolf's toes when he ain't alookin'.

:banana

OldStormcrow
01-08-2009, 17:11
Usually you can get by in the summer with the army poncho liners. They don't weigh much at all, dry very quickly and stuff down to about the size of a grapefruit.

Alligator
01-08-2009, 17:25
Cotton is just fine for a low altitude weekend trip in the south unless you have questionable shelter. It may get damp and, after a time, mildew. This:
http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___40146 would be better. As with clothing, layering gives you the most versatility. You might want to get a light cover for the bag: http://www.backcountrygear.com/catalog/bivydetail.cfm/EQ3000 so you could sleep in either one in shorts and a t-shirt, or both together, depending upon the weather.That's the liner I was using and didn't find to be warm enough.:(. I made a quilt that sleeps much warmer than that and weighs almost the same.

Johnny Swank
01-08-2009, 17:27
I've done it, but wouldn't recommend it. You could probably get a cheap Army poncho liner instead and be OK though.

Hell, we carried a sleeping bag all the way down the Mississippi, during the summer no less. A good-sized thunderstorm will cool things down in a hurry.

theinfamousj
01-09-2009, 09:21
This morning I got into a debate with a coworker over gear and figured I would post here regarding it. For simple one or two night overnight trips in the summer I normally carry just a simple cotton sleeping bag liner instead of carrying a sleeping bag.

Does anyone else do the same? I’m talking warm Carolina temps here…

In the summer, in North Carolina, I have done this. I am a cold sleeper, so don't do it at any point but the heat of the summer. One spring, I had to use the emergency space blanket, too, because I got chilly overnight. At the beach (Carolina Beach State Park). Never in the mountains. It gets too cold, too quickly.

But this is not to say that my down bag wasn't in the tent with me, available to be crawled in to/thrown over me at the slightest notion. Would I go out without some warmth backup plan? No.

The SO only likes to use his "wubbie" (Military Poncho Liner) and will do so in all camping situations and at all times in NC. Sometimes he'll couple it with a sleeping pad if it is exceptionally cold. Methinks he's a bit stubborn on this issue, but since I only take him car camping, I can just toss his hypothermic a** in the car and drive to the nearest motel if ...

RITBlake
01-09-2009, 10:17
That's been the problem that I have had in the past and makes for a crappy second evening.

So you know it's a flawed system, yet you continue to take it out? :-? Hmm...

Christus Cowboy
01-09-2009, 11:27
I carried a fleece liner one week in summer in "hot humid" NJ and was cold. I don't recommend it myself.

I'm with Alligator on this one..... I've carried a fleece liner but only in the middle of July and it worked ok with sleeping pad.... but if the weather turns on you plan on a sleepless night......

NCYankee
01-09-2009, 11:38
So you know it's a flawed system, yet you continue to take it out? :-? Hmm...


Was it a flawed system for a multi night set up when I didn't have time to dry out the liner? Yes.

Do I continue to take it out? Yes, but now for a simple overnight situation. I like the weight savings and once again, I think it depends on situation and location.

RITBlake
01-09-2009, 12:07
Was it a flawed system for a multi night set up when I didn't have time to dry out the liner? Yes.

Do I continue to take it out? Yes, but now for a simple overnight situation. I like the weight savings and once again, I think it depends on situation and location.

NCYankee, maybe you might want to consider a light synthetic bag for your next trip. You can get a 40 or even 50 degree bag, and they are basically just a shell. Much more resistant to water at least. I carried a 40 degree kelty light year bag from Maine to Front Royal, VA before it started to get too cold at night.

TrippinBTM
01-09-2009, 12:27
I don't agree completely with that.
I like having to be a little strategic in where I bed down, like a deer.

Agreed, but it shouldn't mean having to descend a few thousand feet because it's too cold up there, when a simple choice in gear is the only thing that makes that decision necessary.

Cotton does have it's uses. Where it's going to be hot and insulation isn't a big problem (the desert, I'm thinking, at least during the day), use it. Heck, since it holds water so well, it will help with evaporative cooling; soak your shirt at the watering hole and you'll stay cool for a while as it evaporates.

Oh, and to the guy who compared a cotton liner to an anvil. Seriously? :rolleyes:

Also, as someone who has looked into getting some army surplus fatigues for hiking... why does the military use cotton if it is so proven to not insulate when wet?

TrippinBTM
01-09-2009, 19:23
Yeah, it apparently works OK; they just drag another dog under the cover. A bad one might be described as a "three- dog" night.

those were Alaskans, not Aborigines.

River Runner
01-09-2009, 22:38
Also, as someone who has looked into getting some army surplus fatigues for hiking... why does the military use cotton if it is so proven to not insulate when wet?

Seriously? There is no doubt that cotton does not insulate when wet.

Even the military is getting away from cotton in some applications. I believe historically it was used because it was cheap, abundant, and relatively durable. It's really only been in relatively modern times that good alternatives have become available.

theinfamousj
01-10-2009, 21:39
Also, as someone who has looked into getting some army surplus fatigues for hiking... why does the military use cotton if it is so proven to not insulate when wet?

I asked the boyfriend your question. As former army infantry he responded:
Evaporative cooling is right. Think about where we are deployed to? Desert countries. We need all the cooling we can get.

He said that back at home, they have polypro warmth liners to go under their BDUs.

...

As an aside, you wouldn't happen to wear a size medium? Because if you do, he's got several extra BDU sets lying around that he wants gone (as they remind him of being deployed and those are bad memories). Will happily send a set to you if you pay the cost of shipping.

Wise Old Owl
01-10-2009, 21:55
Cotton has its backpacking applications, like anything else.

Uh cheap disposable clothing? wiping out the backpack? Sling? Im missing something here.

I would like the others recommend a cheap non cotton bag thats compact and easy to use in the summer.


On the note of the why the army using cotton uniforms-Price$$$

BigBlue
01-10-2009, 22:34
Tried in a shelter on a hot night going though NY in July and woke up at about 3am freezing my buns. Had to dig out my sleeping bag in the dark to get warm.
Wouldn't recommend it.

Jim Adams
01-11-2009, 01:22
I used a cotton sheet from Pine Grove Furnace to Kent, Conn. on a thru in 1990.
It worked fine.

geek