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attroll
09-17-2013, 01:46
Found this nice article about keeping warm at night by Section Hiker (https://www.facebook.com/SectionHikerBlog).
This article was taken from the web site "Section Hiker". You can view the entire article here http://sectionhiker.com/the-art-of-sleeping-warm-at-night/.

Have you even spent a cold night in your sleeping bag because the temperature dropped lower than you expected? Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to increase your comfort level on those cold nights without buying any additional backpacking gear.


Cover your collar bones with an insulated jacket or fleece sweater to prevent hot air from escaping from your sleeping bag when you move around at night. This is often the ONLY thing I need to do to sleep warmer at night.
If you sleep on an inflatable sleeping pad like a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping pad (http://bit.ly/11VXmgR), lie flat on your back, not on your side. Your back will heat up the sleeping pad and keep it warm better than your side because more surface area is in contact with the pad.
Wear a buff over your neck. This will keep you warmer at night and on cool days because it will insulate your neck and the veins that flow close to the surface of your skin.
Wear a fleece hat, even if your sleeping bag has a mummy hood. Your head radiates a lot of body heat because so much blood flows to your brain.
Wear your clothes inside your sleeping bag or under your quilt. I always bring long underwear top of bottom on trips for this purpose, and it keeps the inside of your bag cleaner on multi-day trips.
Shield your sleeping bag from the wind if you’re camping under a tarp and the walls don’t reach all the way to the ground.
Boil some water and pour it into a Nalgene bottle or water reservoir. Place the bottle or reservoir between your legs over your femoral arteries where they flow close to your skin. This will heat up your blood and make you warmer.
Stuff all of your speare clothing into your sleeping bag with you. By filling up the space, your body has less work to do to heat up the insulation.
Eat some fatty food like a candy bar before you go to bed. Your digestion will generate heat to make your warm.
Stay hydrated. You digestion will work better if it has enough water to digest your food.

What other tricks do you have for staying warm on cold nights?

leaftye
09-17-2013, 05:48
Vapor barrier. Using plastic bags for your pack liner? Got a spare too? Cut a head and arm holes into one bag and put it on against your skin, and then put your upper body clothing back on over it. This will help a lot, and possibly more so during the course of the night if there's moisture to drive out of the bag, but if it's still really cold you can use the second bag over your legs. Rain gear can work too.

Sleeping curled up on your side is warmer. That's the sleeping position used for the extreme rating of sleeping bags as defined by EN13537.

Some gear can be placed under your pad. Under the pad because it may be sweaty. A foam sit pad would be ideal. A backpack is nearly as good since most have a foam back pad and large surface area. Flip flops and insoles too.

Thick socks can sometimes cause cold feet when they're tight enough to constrict blood flow, so try taking them off or using fewer layers if your feet seem inexplicably cold.

If you're not sleeping in a shelter, the usual campsite selection guidelines apply. Stay out of saddles and low areas, the first can become a wind tunnel, the latter will be a sink for cold air and humidity. Keep in mind that cold air will rush down a mountain much like water would, so stay out of those paths. Sleep under the edge of a tree, but not on grass, with a thick layer of duff. The tree and closeby low brush will help block the wind and insulate the campsite.

If you know a cold night is coming, don't stand around camp for no reason because it'll make you cold, and takes a long time to warm back up.

moytoy
09-17-2013, 06:10
I go to great lengths to keep my sleep system dry. That includes not exhaling inside my bag. Even if my head is covered I find a way to breath outside my bag.

peakbagger
09-17-2013, 07:18
I find that I have to go to bed warm (not hot). A sleeping bag doesn't generate heat it only reduces body heat from being los tot the surroundings. I find that A short walk or even some light exercise just before I get in the bag, keeps me warmer. Many cold weather camping guides recommend the same.

Starchild
09-17-2013, 07:53
While in a shelter I used my tent as a blanket on top of my bag and that helped a lot. If the sky is clear pitch the tent under tree cover not open to the sky.

garlic08
09-17-2013, 08:19
...Sleeping curled up on your side is warmer. That's the sleeping position used for the extreme rating of sleeping bags as defined by EN13537.

I was going to correct this important point in the OP. More contact with cold ground means more heat conduction from your body.


...Some gear can be placed under your pad. Under the pad because it may be sweaty. A foam sit pad would be ideal. A backpack is nearly as good since most have a foam back pad and large surface area. Flip flops and insoles too.

Thick socks can sometimes cause cold feet when they're tight enough to constrict blood flow, so try taking them off or using fewer layers if your feet seem inexplicably cold.

I find I sleep warmer without extra clothing on my body (YMMV) or in the bag, and moisture control is critical in the long run, so most of my clothing goes under the pad for extra insulation. If you do it right, your body heat may even dry out the clothing under the pad and that's a real bonus in the morning.


...If you know a cold night is coming, don't stand around camp for no reason because it'll make you cold, and takes a long time to warm back up.

Most excellent point. The best way to stay warm is to never get cold.


I go to great lengths to keep my sleep system dry. That includes not exhaling inside my bag. Even if my head is covered I find a way to breath outside my bag.

Restating an important point. Your shelter should protect you from the wind, but must not hold moisture in your insulation. I also try to find a few minutes of sun and wind the next day to dry things out, even if they're not obviously wet.

I pay attention to arranging the down in my bag. My bag is unbaffled, which means I can shift the down in the tubes from bottom to top depending on temp. On the coldest nights, I get most of the down on top.

The bottle of hot water is perhaps the best idea. Having that water to sip on during the night is very nice. I take a safety step and store the bottle in a gallon ziplock, after I heard of one mountaineer who had ice crystals form on the lid and it leaked in his bag.

Marta
09-17-2013, 08:46
If you wake up shivering at night and feel the need to pee, get up and do it. Is counter-intuitive, but getting out of your bag, braving the cold, and peeing, will warm you up, and allow you to fall back asleep. Bring a pee bottle or pee container as part of your gear.

FarmerChef
09-17-2013, 10:08
I have a fleece sleeping bag so moisture isn't as big a deal for me (it breathes, so to speak). If it's colder than I expected I pull the bag over my head to trap my warm exhaled air. I do leave a crack open for air exchange or I have a harder time falling asleep. I do the same with my climashield quilt. I go from uncomfortable to toasty in no time.

Sara
09-17-2013, 10:24
I find that A short walk or even some light exercise just before I get in the bag, keeps me warmer.

A couple sit-ups help to warm me up.

Dogwood
09-17-2013, 12:04
First, get beyond the idea that your warmth is simply maintained and preserved by your quilt/sleeping bag. Think sleep system.

First thing when I unload my pack for the night is unbag my quilt/sleeping bag from it's stiff sack, air it out, and fluff it up by massaging it and moving around the down as I think necessary(if able to do this). To some extent this helps with synthetic sleep system insulation too especially if in a stuff sack.. Air can be a great insulator or robber of heat. Then I eat IF I'm eating near where I'm sleeping.

These are excellent ideas that can sometimes make all the difference in sleeping cold or comfortably warm. They take into consideration convective heat loss. "If the sky is clear pitch the tent under tree cover not open to the sky" and "If you're not sleeping in a shelter, the usual campsite selection guidelines apply. Stay out of saddles and low areas, the first can become a wind tunnel, the latter will be a sink for cold air and humidity. Keep in mind that cold air will rush down a mountain much like water would, so stay out of those paths. Sleep under the edge of a tree, but not on grass, with a thick layer of duff. The tree and closeby low brush will help block the wind and insulate the campsite." Consider campsite or sleep site selection carefully. Think about radiating heat to you/back to you via large stones, things that are heat sinks, outcroppings, sleeping under thick low overhead branches like evergreens, next to downed trees, branches, lighting a fire and sleeping near the embers, placing warmed(not overly hot though) relatively clean stones around where you're sleeping/inside your sleeping bag, under a ledge, behind boulders, in a cave, in a grove of dense trees, etc This is all that much more important when tarping, bivying , cowboying and going SUL/minmalist.

If using a quilt(almost all have no hood) be mindful of what you're going to do to prevent unnecessary heat loss through your head, particularly if it's COLD. It's why I'm a fan of sleep systems that have hoods in the COLD(at around 35-40*). Be mindful of preventing heat robbing drafts. IMO, using a quilt effectively needs to take into greater considerations.

I'm also into the habit of extending my quilt/sleeping bag 10-15 degrees lower than their lowest rating so I have to do all I can when the temps are COLD I'm a hiker as they say not a camper so I hike right up until I camp. Within 15-20 mins of stopping hiking I'm in my bag, sometimes sooner. Even if it's been raining I first dry off and then get in my bag. This helps from getting chilled when I stop. Consider this too in your own hiking. Don't hang around at camp doing much unnecessary wandering around. This also means having less need for warmer wandering around camp insulating clothing. For in camp, my sleep system is my main insulation for staying warm.

I very rarely have all this unused extra clothing insulation that so many allude to but if I do it goes over me(after fully lofting that too) typically if it's down(preserve the loft) or over my quilt/bag or is worn. If I'm carrying a rain jacket I typically sleep in it. It's kinda like a VB shirt. BTW, in COLD temps when I'm sleeping I'll be wearing a merino beanie, rain jacket with the hood up, and in my sleeping bag with the hood up. If for some reason I have a bandanna or extra socks with also a beanie the bandanna or socks get wrapped around my ears over the beanie with all the hoods up and cinched. This is especially good if you are quilting in COLD temps under a tarp or cowboying. Also if I'm cowboying and I'm not using my tarp as shelter I'll use it for additional warmth by laying it over me or wrapping myself up in it burrito style(Don't breathe into it) or use it as additional insulation under me. You got to use everything available to stay warm when it's COLD. When NEEDING to stay warm it's about gear/apparel/kit integration. I also like carrying stretch UL nylon running gloves. I wear them to sleep too. All these things used cummulatiively is how I regularly extend the lower temp rating of my sleep system.

Get rid of the pee(outside of your body) when in your sleep system. It takes body heat to keep that liquid warm. If I have a pee bottle(sometimes it's my water bottle!) I carefully urinate into it(keep it clean, good luck women), tightly seal it, and use it in your sleeping bag as a heat source. Saves cooking fuel in heating up separate water for this purpose.

Carefully consider getting a less loose fitting bag/quilt or a stretch bag like Mont Bell makes. Get the correct length bag/quilt too. Be careful here though that you don't get something too tight either. Again, in my use there's more to consider when you start playing with quilt sleeping systems in COLD temps(below 30-35*).

Sleep with your empty pack under your feet or with you in your empty pack cinched up to you knees.

Use whatever you have to insulate from the ground. I usually use my WR/WP maps under me and/or dry leaves,/leaves, softish evergreen boughs, pine straw, lots of flat rocks to make a bed(return rocks when done), cardboard(if in town stealthing in the COLD), etc can help.

Get warm/warmer by exercising before getting into sleep system.

Eat before sleeping.

daddytwosticks
09-17-2013, 12:14
His first point is dead on. My WM Megalite doesn't have a collar-thingy. Simply putting extra clothing up around my neck and shoulders is all it takes to keep me warm if I start to get chilled. :)

Malto
09-17-2013, 12:28
One important thing I learned is to underdressing when first going to bed. If you completely layer up for the expected low temperature then you are likely to sweat, causing you to get colder later. If you get cold add a layer later in the night.

second, I have become a huge believer in VBL. I use my rain suit over my thin base layer with the insulating layer on the outside. I also made up VBL socks as well and these are likely the best ounce or two of winter weight that I carry.

Dogwood
09-17-2013, 12:33
His first point is dead on. My WM Megalite doesn't have a collar-thingy. Simply putting extra clothing up around my neck and shoulders is all it takes to keep me warm if I start to get chilled. :)

The WM Megalite is considered by most a warm season sleepping bag as such the designers saw little/no need for a draft collar. It's also designed for those that want more room. A 64" shoulder girth is quite large. You wanted a larger/more roomier bag you got it with the Megalite. One of the trade offs is that extra space needs to be warmed up and kept warm and the seal around the shoulders needs to be taken in context with your shoulder width. I get your pt though about sealing drafts around the neck/shoulders.

Another Kevin
09-17-2013, 13:45
Sleep on as much gear as possible. If I'm pushing the ratings of things, I have any unworn clothing, my empty pack, and possibly my rain suit under my sleeping pad. If anything has got wet, it goes under the pad too. Everything I wear has at least some insulating quality even when wet, and the body heat that comes through the pad will help dry it some.

Sleep in dry clothes. If something has gotten wet, put it back on in the morning so that your sleeping clothes are dry.

If I'm carrying my Camelbak, and possibly might get freezing temperatures in the night, I wrap it in my rain jacket or rain pants and use it as a pillow. Since I'm a side sleeper, it's surprisingly comfortable - a little like a waterbed for the head.

In windy conditions, your tent needs a windbreak. Pile brush or bank snow on the upwind side if necessary.

In the eastern US in most seasons, sleep on the east side of hills, half way up. Ridges get windy and valleys get cold, and the prevailing wind comes out of the west in fair weather. If snow impends, set up on the south side of a hill instead. Snow first blows in out of the northeast. After a snowstorm, camp on the east side again. Snowstorms are frequently followed by northwest gales blowing the snow..

Odd Man Out
09-17-2013, 15:50
I find that I have to go to bed warm (not hot). A sleeping bag doesn't generate heat it only reduces body heat from being los tot the surroundings. I find that A short walk or even some light exercise just before I get in the bag, keeps me warmer. Many cold weather camping guides recommend the same.

I was taught the opposite. If my metabolism is ramped up and I crawl into my bag, I sweat and then I get cold. I was taught that when going to bed, lie on top of your bag and relax (lie very still). I'm surprised sometimes how long I can lie there without getting cold. I find this to be the most relaxing and favorite part of the day. Then as you starting to feel cold, crawl into the bag. Laying on top of the bag will have warmed it up, but all the moisture will have dissipated. Mostly it is just your skin that will have chilled. Your core temp will not be significantly affected. But the warmed bag against the chilled skin feels really warm and toasty. This may not be the best idea when it's really cold. I don't have a lot of winter experience. For for three season camping, it works for me.

mikec
09-17-2013, 16:11
I take two or three iron oxide hand warmers with me when backpacking. Just throw one or two in your bag when you go to sleep and your bag internal temperature will go up by 10 degrees. If it is a really cold night, throw another one or two in around two or three in the morning. Next morning, just tear open the small hand warmer bag, dump out the iron oxide (it will blend in with the dirt) and either pack out the bag or burn it.

Dogwood
09-17-2013, 20:07
"Everything I wear has at least some insulating quality even when wet, and the body heat that comes through the pad will help dry it some."

I think this is true too even with drenched down sleeping bags. Recently, on the PT I hiked until 1 a.m. After a 35+ mile day I was spent. I was having a hard time finding a suitable place to camp even after intently looking for a decent site. I picked a poor spot on a slope. It rained heavily all night. I was under a tarp w/ good coverage but my down bag got drenched as the the slope I was on became a waterfall. I dried out the tarp the next day but the down sleeping bag would have taken a wk in the sun to dry out. I gently loosely placed it in my pack. The next night I wore my rain pants and rain jacket while wiggling into the wet down sleeping bag then wrapped myself up in the dry tarp around the sleeping bag. Slept comfortably burrito style.

Those iron oxide hand, feet, body warmers are oxygen activated. Make sure the ones you buy or use are new and completely sealed in their original packaging or they may night work as well or even at all if the air has gotten to them. I store them in a sealed ziploc if bringing them along.

Meriadoc
09-17-2013, 20:48
While in a shelter I used my tent as a blanket on top of my bag and that helped a lot. If the sky is clear pitch the tent under tree cover not open to the sky.

Be careful with this. Covering a sleeping bag with any vapor barrier (i.e. a tent, tarp, emergency blanket) will trap moisture from your body in the sleeping bag. This can be disastrous with down.

MuddyWaters
09-17-2013, 21:55
Sleeping curled up on your side is warmer. That's the sleeping position used for the extreme rating of sleeping bags as defined by EN13537.




Totally agree. When pushing a sleep system past its limits, Im warmer on my side than my back. When on my back, I can feel the heat escaping from my topside. Reducing the horizontal body surface area makes me feel noticeably warmer.

Del Q
09-17-2013, 22:22
I sleep in a tent, one of the things that has worked for both improved comfort and insulation is prepping my tent spot with a THICK pile of leaves, pine needles where & when available. Like 6" thick or more.

And yes, in the morning I spread everything back out to make the area look as if nobody had been there.

ny breakfast
01-21-2015, 18:46
i did leg lifts in my sleeping bag to warm up one night seemed to do the trick better then anything else 20 degree bag -16 degree night

handlebar
01-21-2015, 21:14
Was out last Fri in -4*F---a bit lower than my 0*-rated down bag. I do always use a silk liner (partly for warmth, partly to keep bag cleaner). After eating and making my tea, I boiled, separately, 2 liter Nalgenes, one for the toes, one for between my legs. I had my down jacket around my shoulders and two hats with the hood cinched tight. Wore 200 wt long johns, and long sleeve top along with lightweight wool liner socks. Stayed reasonably warm. The same technique with the addition of a wool balaclava and my Marmot Dri-Clime wind shirt (which is all I wear over base layer while hiking in temps below 20*) got me thru a -12*F night last winter and I still had the rain jacket in reserve. It was very hard getting out of the bag for the middle of the night pee.

One problem I do notice in such cold weather is that the moisture in my breath condenses in my beard and moustache. I keep a bandana handy to wipe them so as to keep the adjoining part of the bag dry.

Connie
01-21-2015, 21:58
Botach still has PolarWrap Full Head Cover (balaclava).

I have a Half Mask and a Full Head Cover.

I regard PolarWrap as essential gear. I had a PsolarEX before that. Now, there are these other brands: Cold Avenger and CT Mask. I don't know anything about CT Mask. If I could only have Cold Avenger, I would also wear a Turtle Fur or Buff. The AVa Lung is another, breathing warmer air with the air intake worn inside clothing.

These warm air masks use out-breath warmth to pre-heat the in-breath, greatly helping keep core warmth.

The other benefit is no condensation, or, less condensation on the inside surface of the tarp or tent.

More importantly, little or no condensation from breath on the sleeping bag or sleeping quilt.

I do the other strategies to keep warm. I regard this item as important essential cold weather equipment.

http://www.exmask.com/Talus-ColdAvenger/

Lyle
01-21-2015, 22:45
After a hat and something to block the drafts around your shoulder, the most effective insulation to add to your bag, in my opinion, are down booties. They are much more effective than heavy wool socks which often tend to reduce circulation due to constriction of your ankles and feet. Usually the first place we feel cold is our feet.

Do not, however, try to keep your feet warm unless you have protected your head and neck, it will be a futile attempt.

Another Kevin
01-22-2015, 12:20
I still need to work out how not to roll over in my sleep and bury my face in the sleeping bag hood. If I'm out in subzero, I always seem to do that and fill the hood with condensation. Wearing a balaclava doesn't seem to help much because all that moisture has to go somewhere. The ColdAvenger thing looks as if it would be worth a try for when I'm out in the biting wind. It might help keep my goggles from frosting up, which is a problem with just a balaclava or a conventional facemask. I can't see myself sleeping in it, though,

Connie
01-22-2015, 12:29
ColdAvenger Amazon shows DeWalt goggles that appear to be well ventiated.

http://www.amazon.com/Coldavenger-CAP-REG-BLK-ColdAvenger-Softshell-Half-Mask/dp/B001SARMZW

DeWalt has a dark lens, as well:

http://www.amazon.com/Dewalt-DPG82-21C-Concealer-Anti-Fog-Safety/dp/B000RKQ1O2/ref=pd_sim_hi_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1PX399SWXY810AC8MRV8

If I got the Pro model for the wind, either half mask or full head cover, I think I would order the foam insert to keep my eyeglasses clear. Maybe not needed.

I didn't need anything extra for their Psolar EX model I had for a number of years, I liked that one, under Turtle Fur neckwear, or not. I didn't care how stupid it looked. The improvement to my comfort and warmth was considerable. I like how it rinsed out under a stream of running water. I also liked I felt the need to do that only one time.

Another Kevin
01-22-2015, 15:29
So far, the only goggles that I've been able to wear comfortably over my glasses are the ESS Striker Land Ops Goggles. They're also the best I've had at staying free of frost, but still not really satisfactory. They have the foam all the way around, and have clear, amber and smoke lenses.

I see that http://www.scandinavian-hiking.com/2012/05/fixing-talus-coldavenger.html reports that the ColdAvenger also has the problem of fogging/frosting the goggles. I wonder how well the updated version (with the nose wire) works.

indexfinger
01-28-2015, 07:26
Having enough food during the day and eating something in the evening can help you keep warm. My experience is that if I sleep in the bag and I'm hungry, I'll feel like there's about 10 degrees difference in temperature from when I eat enough.

Being well hydrated also helps you keep warm, but drinking in the evening can make you get up to urinate few times during the night.

I had a cheep synthetic winter bag that was not enough for anything below zero Celsius. So, I bought a thin, cheep spring bag and used it within the thicker winter bag - it worked down to about minus 10 Celsius.

Tipi Walter
01-28-2015, 10:25
Staying warm on a winter trip is in part related to air humidity and cold temps. 20F in bone dry conditions vs 20F in high humid conditions are two different beasts, the latter testing the loft and insulating power of your geese items---bag, parka, down pants etc.

On my last trip I had many days at 35F with nonstop rain which cut into me and got me to shivering. Then when the so-called "arctic blast" hit the sky was clear for several days and the temps plummeted to 0F or below.

The way to stay warm in such temps (when out backpacking) is to go overkill with your geese. Carry a -15F sleeping bag, use an Exped downmat (rated at 8R), carry a down parka and down pants etc. Overkill is the best system in the long run, as air humidity will take a nice lofted at-home bone dry -15F bag and turn it into a 0F bag at best since moisture in the air reduces its loft and warmth.

Other tricks---
** Carry several 3 hour candles to use in the tent to keep the hands and fingers thawed when needed. Use common sense and keep careful tabs on the open flame.

** In the morning at -5F boil up a liter of hot tea and put into your nalgene water bottle and place this inside your down parka inner pocket and THEN start packing up. The hardest part of cold weather camping is packing up in the morning. This bottle will be there when you need it as you roll up stuff and take down the tent---to place against your face and to cup in your hands as you strike camp. Later it is your drinking water.

** The down filled Exped downmat makes a huge difference in warmth on winter trips. It's not a perfect pad as it's prone to getting blown baffles but nothing comes close to its warmth and will augment any bag you use.

Just some thoughts.

swjohnsey
01-28-2015, 12:37
I go to great lengths to keep my sleep system dry. That includes not exhaling inside my bag. Even if my head is covered I find a way to breath outside my bag.

Yep, use the bag the way it was designed. It is amazing how much moisture accumulates in a bag from just your breathe.

Tipi Walter
01-28-2015, 14:19
Yep, use the bag the way it was designed. It is amazing how much moisture accumulates in a bag from just your breathe.

And it's also vital on a long uninterrupted drip (i.e. no town laundry mats) to make a morning habit of hanging out your bag for an hour as you cook breakfast and slowly pack your gear. String up a line if possible (or hang from a tree branch)---get into the habit of hauling out the bag and hanging it, as long as the weather cooperates. It can be cold and cloudy but still the sleeping bag with dry out or "sublimate" or whatever very well and keep the shell dry.

http://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpacking2011/Tipi-Walter-Citico-Snow/i-5mcrTMc/0/L/TRIP%20118%20124-L.jpg
Hang out the bag every morning.

300winmag
02-07-2015, 23:01
ALSO:

1. Air out & dry your sleeping bag morning & afternoon. Damp bags are cold bags.
2. Increase temp rating of a down bag by having the maker overstuff it (if a made in USA bag)
3. Buy a mummy-shaped quilt large enough to fit over your bag W/O squeezing its insulation. This quilt, depending on its loft, can increase the temp rating of your bag by as much as 40 F.
4. Zip up the main zipper and cinch down the hood of your GTX or eVent parka, then pull it over the foot of your bag to keep it dry from tent floor & wall condensation. This also gives a bit more warmth to the foot of the bag.
5. Place clothing under your mattress for more insulation. Place 3" to 4" of dry leaves or boughs under your tent floor for the same (or better) effect.
6. Wear thin gloves to bed for more heat retention.

ShelterLeopard
02-09-2015, 20:28
When I started my thru (in mid Feb, when it was damned cold) I was putting on several layers every night and FREEZING. I finally starting just wearing a thin layer of long underwear with no extra layers, and found that I slept way warmer because my body heat could escape my clothing and heat my sleeping bag. I also avoided sweating that way. (Before, I'd sweat but get clammy and cold). Definitely try to keep your body well insultaed from the ground. I have a neoair, which does a poor job of keeping heat in the baffles, so I also sleep with a 2 1/2 foot section of a thin foam pad on top of the neoair.

Mr. Green
04-09-2015, 15:57
Those are all good points, though to nit pick, pee is less than 100dF so heating up water is much more effective with greater radiant value. Although, why pour it out once its warm right? It comes down to, how much room is in that sleeping bag? Pee bottles are beneficial during periods of precipitation; the obvious value during rain, but also during snow storms. Going out to pee and bringing back (even a little) snow on your clothes etc. is not worth it. Using a bag liner while winter camping (25dF-0-and below) is great for added heat retention, but also as an important comfort layer between you and your gear you're keeping in your bag. Put your water, toiletries, electronics, etc. between your liner and your bag. Just as effective, and much more comfortable!

tim.hiker
04-09-2015, 18:27
hand and body pocket warmers they work great it just take 2 a night and it will surprise you how much warmer it will be in your sleeping bag....

JimBlue
07-22-2015, 00:59
I found out years ago if you put one sheet of newspaper, or use a newsprint advert you get in the mail, between myself and an air mattress or cot, it blocks surges of cold coming up from below. It works in air about 50F with a breeze. I haven't tried it in freezing weather.

JimBlue
07-22-2015, 01:03
Yep, use the bag the way it was designed. It is amazing how much moisture accumulates in a bag from just your breathe.

Been some tmie since I read the article, but at least a pint of moisture per night sounds about right. I've had damp sleeping bag problems when I scoot down in the bag in my sleep because my knit cap came off.

OleDawg
01-25-2016, 17:42
I totally agree, Meriadoc. I pulled my tent fly over my down sleeping bag while sleeping in a shelter in a spring ice storm. When I awoke there was heavy condensation between the bag and my tent fly. Luckily the weather broke the next day, and I was able to air and dry my bag in the sun at the next shelter.

Leo L.
01-28-2016, 13:20
To add to the many good points made here, I have another two or three tricks for really cold nights not mentioned yet:

- I have a very old mummy shape bivi bag that never has been waterproof, its basically just a thin nylon layer. When its really cold and windy I put this on the outside and this adds some 2-3 degrees to the comfort

- Usually I carry a down jacket for all the evening camp chores. After creeping into the sleeping bag the last piece of clothing I take off is this down jacket, and I stuff it into the thermarest stuff sack to form a nice pillow.
In reverse, getting out of the sleeping bag the first thing I take is the (still warmed up) down jacket.

- When its really cold, I spread the down jacket over the sleeping bag and tuck the long sleeves under the Thermarest. This way the jacket stays in place atop the bag during all nightly movements.

RangerZ
01-29-2016, 13:14
And it's also vital on a long uninterrupted drip (i.e. no town laundry mats) to make a morning habit of hanging out your bag for an hour as you cook breakfast and slowly pack your gear. String up a line if possible (or hang from a tree branch)---get into the habit of hauling out the bag and hanging it, as long as the weather cooperates. It can be cold and cloudy but still the sleeping bag with dry out or "sublimate" or whatever very well and keep the shell dry.

http://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpacking2011/Tipi-Walter-Citico-Snow/i-5mcrTMc/0/L/TRIP%20118%20124-L.jpg
Hang out the bag every morning.


I started doing this after reading this here before. I take down my bear bag and turn the line into a clothes line - bag, mat, night base layer, tent fly and footprint - it looks like wash day.

Tipi Walter
01-29-2016, 13:47
I started doing this after reading this here before. I take down my bear bag and turn the line into a clothes line - bag, mat, night base layer, tent fly and footprint - it looks like wash day.

I equate to hanging out my down bag in the morning when it's 0F to the discipline needed to remove clothing as you hike to keep your layers from sweating out. It's just one more chore that needs to be done on winter trips longer than 2 or 3 days. A dry bag is a happy bag.

https://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpacking2010/10-Days-In-The-Cold/i-bBDrgZ6/0/M/TRIP%20117%20080-M.jpg
Sometimes I use my bear line to hang out the bag, other times just a handy tree limb.


https://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpacking2009/In-The-Citico-With-Hootyhoo/i-7WdvhJN/0/M/trip%2090%20049-M.jpg
This pic shows what -10F looks like atop a 5,000 foot North Carolina mountain in Jan. 2009. Hang your bags, boys. This time I'm using the bear line.

Dogwood
01-29-2016, 13:59
Have you considered there are other approaches Tipi? VBL's, hydrophobic downs, different shells(DWR's, WP, etc), synthetic insulation, etc. For someone like you going out for 21 days straight it might make sense to consider other approaches than going "heavy with the geese" or expecting to always being able to remove moisture from a down bag in winter by air drying over 21 days.

Tipi Walter
01-29-2016, 14:29
In-tent condensation is just a fact of life when winter camping no matter if you use a VBL or have different bag shells. I won't touch the new hydrophobic down bags as it's an untested technology and so far unused by the best bag makers like WM and Feathered Friends. Plus, no one knows the long term use of such chemicals and outgassing with human inhalation etc.

As far as your quote "expecting to always being able to remove moisture from a down bag" is a sort of misnomer as my examples of morning bag-hanging is to dry off a bag's shell and not used to eliminate in-bag moisture which is minimal at best.

Here's what happens with the geese on a long winter trip in the Southeast mountains of TN, Georgia, NC and Virginia:
** You start the trip on Day 1 with a bone dry fully lofted down bag.
** Day 3 brings a sleetstorm with some in-tent condensation and a slightly less lofted bag. Day 4 dawns clear and dry so you hang out the bag before shove off to dry off the bag shell.

** Day 6 is in a bone dry 15F wind and all goose items return to high loft.
** Day 10 gets hits with a 4 day blizzard with consequent in-tent condensation ice etc. Bag loses some loft due to high air humidity but still keeps you warm at -10F when zipped up properly.

** Day 14 still sees heavy wet snow on the tent producing the worst conditions for tent condensation. Bag shell stays moist because it cannot be hung out during the day. Loft is a little less than its peak high.
** Day 15 returns to bone dry winds and the bag returns to high loft.

Point is, these cycles repeat themselves continuously and offer no challenge to winter backpackers using down items. Hanging out the bag every morning if possible is just that little nudge the bag needs for the shell to stay dry.

"Going heavy with the geese" is another subject entirely. There are four choices in butt cold temps for a winter backpacker---
** Use a hot tent like a Kifaru with a woodstove and don't bring so much geese.
** Bail into a town and get a motel room when temps hit subzero.
** Get a -15F down bag, a 2+lb down parka, down pants and perhaps down booties and use these items for in-camp warmth and as a substitute for the "woodstove".
** Depend on a campfire for survival.

The more geese the warmer a winter backpacker is in camp, and with enough goose down a backpacker can stay out in severe cold snaps without needing to rely on a camp fire for survival. Plus, at -10F the warmest place in camp is not sitting by a campfire (and throwing hot ashes on your tent and down clothing), but sitting up on your sleeping pads partially under your down bag and in your down parka.

Tipi Walter
01-29-2016, 14:34
Oh and btw, another tip: Always shake your sleeping bag a couple dozen times after you pull it out of its stuff sack. This is always an arriving-at-camp ritual. I grab the bag by the bottom of the zipper at the footbox and up by the top of the zipper by the neck opening and shake it around 30 times to fluff up the compressed down clusters. Then I shake out the stuffed down parka and down pants.

Dogwood
01-29-2016, 15:07
In-tent condensation is just a fact of life when winter camping no matter...

Could the type of tent one chooses or for that matter type of winter shelter one uses, how well one is able to vent it, where one sets it up, where one tends to camp(east coast Mid Atlantic states in early wet spring, winter, or late fall, upper mid west, higher elev southeast, Alaska, etc), how much time one actually spends in it, what one actually does in it, what one stores in it, how one sleeps, metabolism..........factor into internal condensation? I'm asking because I don't usually have a massive internal condensation problem inside a tent in winter as you say you're having even in the east. Admittedly, I'm not usually out for 21 days straight on the east coast though either.

And, I get you have some reliability on weather cycles because you camp in a restrained geographical area knowing quite well where you are but not all of us camp or hike in such a way. Some of us negotiate a wider range of weather variables.

I did mention different shells(DWR's, WP, etc). Just because WM and FF chooses to protect their down lofts in winter bag designs by offering some of the highest quality water resistant, wind resistant, DWRed, WP, etc fabrics, temp rate slightly conservative, etc that does not mean they are necessarily vehemently against hydrophobically treated down either. It's mainly they take a different design approach. One that works for them in a larger scheme of design.

Tipi Walter
01-29-2016, 15:20
I hope WM and Feathered Friends NEVER go the down-tek technology route or I'll have to find another supplier of my down items such as Valandre. Here's WM's take on the new waterproof down subject---

http://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/83532/

As far as in-tent condensation, I was out in December 2015 during a 75 hour rainstorm in cold temps and luckily brought my double wall four season tent which repelled inner fly condensation which dripped down onto my yellow inner tent---

https://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpack-2015-Trips-161/Three-Citico-Nuts/i-JsKbmbC/0/L/TRIP%20170%20016-L.jpg
This is all the water which would've fallen onto my gear thru the night had I been using a single wall tent. Not wanted and not good. Of course, as you say, condensation variables are all over the map but if a person is out long enough in all 4 seasons in all conditions he will see terribly wet condensation once in a while.

egilbe
01-29-2016, 15:39
Andrew Skurka found that on extended trips in subzero weather, by day four or five, his sleeping bag wasn't keeping him as warm as on day one or two. He would have to bail into town to dry his sleeping bag. He found the solution was using VBL's when it was cold. He could stay out longer and only go into town when he needed supplies.

Tipi Walter
01-29-2016, 15:55
We don't have that problem in the Southeast as the VBL solution is claustrophobic and clammy in my experience though I hear it's needed with a down bag in temps at -20F or below for days at a time. Think arctic travel. "Cold" in the NC and TN mountains is 10F and often 0F and rarely -10F at 5,000 feet, somewhat lower on 6,500 peaks like Mt LeConte. In fact, my second winter picture above was taken at -10F when Mt LeConte had -21F that same morning.

Thankfully I do not need the VBL solution as my down bag gets fully lofted now and again no matter how long the trip becomes---because we get low humidity sunny days at 30F for days at a time. In fact, 95% of all my winter nights are spent in the tent with my Puma bag unzipped and used as a quilt blanket. I sleep much better this way but will zip up and get mummified if the temps go south to -10F or -15F.

And btw, my pic mentioned above was taken on Day 8 of a winter trip and the bag is clearly dry and fully lofted as apparent in the pic. This is because the outside air though while very cold was very dry.

Dogwood
01-29-2016, 16:34
Andrew Skurka found that on extended trips in subzero weather, by day four or five, his sleeping bag wasn't keeping him as warm as on day one or two. He would have to bail into town to dry his sleeping bag. He found the solution was using VBL's when it was cold. He could stay out longer and only go into town when he needed supplies.

That's exactly what I referred to above. I've been experimenting with VBLs more often as result of being influenced by Andrew. Even when not having dedicated VBL's with me I've found sleeping in layered dry rain pants and a jacket or wind pants and wind jacket, etc reduces my down loft loss as well. It's not perfect but it can definitely help maintaining loft. Andrew did an article or two on VBL's I think anyone should consider that stays out as long as someone like Tipi often does. I think Buck Nelson commented on one of those thread's Q&A's offering what he does which is quite similar to my approach. BTW, Andrew is sometimes wearing his VBL's other than just for when he's sleeping.

Valandre doesn't get much love on this site. I guess it's because it's French made? They are stratospheric in price? I had a Shocking Blue. A work of art. Came real close to buying a Mirage 1/4 zip but the dimensions were off for me and my style. I've seen the Bloody Mary and Lafayette in use and I'd say the same for that. The European climbers/hikers I've known like their Lafayettes. Traded the SB for a FF Snowbunting EX which works for me down to -15 F inside a CF MLD SoloMid XL in winter w/ just so so under insulation on snow and not wearing a huge puffy amount of sleep clothing.

I'm jus sayin there are different ways of approaching winter warmth.

Traillium
01-29-2016, 17:03
Oh and btw, another tip: Always shake your sleeping bag a couple dozen times after you pull it out of its stuff sack. This is always an arriving-at-camp ritual. I grab the bag by the bottom of the zipper at the footbox and up by the top of the zipper by the neck opening and shake it around 30 times to fluff up the compressed down clusters. Then I shake out the stuffed down parka and down pants.

This!



Bruce Traillium

Barryalkar
07-12-2019, 03:40
The art of myth cool
Author: grim

Summary:An article I wrote after MWC05. Probably my most famous one