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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by newToThrough View Post
    Do you bring a balaclava on summer hikes? I wouldn't think to bring a balaclava if the temperature is over zero Farenheit, usually. For head warmth, I was just going to bring one of those headband/earmuff thingies. And as far as a warm jacket goes, I was planning on a fleece vest, fleece zip-up, and windbreaker/rain jacket. Am I doing this wrong? I only have about $250 to spend on gear, including sleeping, tent, rain clothes, and warm jacket. I think I have almost everything else, including a food budget for the trip.

    When you are cold, wet, and borderline hypothermic, you will want WAY more insulation than you think you need right now.
    If your insulation is marginal, it can take hours to warm up when you are cold and chilled.
    If your insulation is a bit overkill, it is much much quicker.

    I have a down hood I use with my quilt, only usually when temps are below 30. But when you are cold and chilled at 45F, its a furnace for my head. Worth the weight even if I dont think I need it.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by newToThrough View Post
    Do you bring a balaclava on summer hikes? I wouldn't think to bring a balaclava if the temperature is over zero Farenheit, usually. For head warmth, I was just going to bring one of those headband/earmuff thingies. And as far as a warm jacket goes, I was planning on a fleece vest, fleece zip-up, and windbreaker/rain jacket. Am I doing this wrong? I only have about $250 to spend on gear, including sleeping, tent, rain clothes, and warm jacket. I think I have almost everything else, including a food budget for the trip.
    A lightweight balaclava is part of my sleep system. A balaclava might be the most warmth for the weight of any item you can a carry because it can cover your head and neck and part of your face depending on how you wear it. I wear it for sleeping on cold nights and have worn it countless times on cold mornings or cool evenings, especially if I've been wet all day. If hiking in the warmest part of summer at low elevation I might not take it, otherwise it's a standard piece of gear for me.

    Starting in CT in June you should be fine warmth-wise with what you're planning to bring especially if you add a balaclava. If you're going all the way to the end you'll have time to tweak your system. Although I think Grandma Gatewood is not the example for wise gear choices, she did show that you don't need fancy and expensive backpacking gear.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colter View Post
    A lightweight balaclava is part of my sleep system.
    Thanks to you and everyone again for the great replies. What would you (and the previous poster) think about a light fleece balaclava? Do you think that would cover the bases both while sleeping and in any cold weather that might arise? It's not like a mountaineering wool balaclava but I do have one and it sounds like it might do the trick? Or would a wool cap (tuke in canadian-speak) be better, even though it doesn't cover the face?

  4. #24
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newToThrough View Post
    That bag costs more than my entire gear budget!
    "That bag", if treated right, will last for decades. The cost per night becomes insignificant. The benefits of sleeping well are HUGE. Add a good, comfortable, light, WARM pad underneath and you'll be good to go in most summer conditions. Proper sleeping attire is a given in any sleep system.
    I bought a quality down bag from REI in the mid-70s. I used that bag at elevation in Colorado on several trips over the years. My granddaughter will be using it for the second year in the Grayson Highlands next month. Quality down bags are very inexpensive over the long haul.
    Pay me know or pay me later. Buy quality once.

    Wayne
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  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by newToThrough View Post
    What would you (and the previous poster) think about a light fleece balaclava?
    A light fleece balaclava is what I carry.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    "That bag", if treated right, will last for decades. The cost per night becomes insignificant. The benefits of sleeping well are HUGE. Add a good, comfortable, light, WARM pad underneath and you'll be good to go in most summer conditions. Proper sleeping attire is a given in any sleep system.
    I bought a quality down bag from REI in the mid-70s. I used that bag at elevation in Colorado on several trips over the years. My granddaughter will be using it for the second year in the Grayson Highlands next month. Quality down bags are very inexpensive over the long haul.
    Pay me know or pay me later. Buy quality once.

    Wayne
    Oh! Oh! Oh! Over here. Pick me !!! Pick me !!! LONG WINDED ANSWER ALERT "Why, back in my day..."

    Yes. What Wayne said. And others. Beg, borrow, or steal your way into a good bag rated lower than expected temps.

    On the side of Pike's peak, I got caught out in a sudden below zero howling wind rain one night. Yes, it was my fault. Whatever.
    I had a Marmot Always Summer. It's rated at 45 (I think). But with the tent(maybe an old Kelty ? ) shoving my legs inside my backpack, long johns and a fleece tobaggin/stocking cap, and socks on my hands, it went okay. It sure wasn't fun though.

    I did the exact same trip with my Western Mountaineering bag (Extreme Lite Ultralite rated at 20) bought used here for the same price as the Marmot was new and it was colder temps that night (below 0) but I slept good.

    I use a silk liner. Sometimes, when I can remember it. Not so much for warmth. (It does help) but keeping from stinking that bag up so bad that even I don't want to get in it at night. The liner will air out while breaking/setting up camp quicker than a bag.

    Then there was this last time I was coming out of Canada in December. I was in my pickup. It was nasty cold. I couldn't get a hotel due to the holidays and got caught between motels all being full. I pulled that Phantom 0 out made by Mountain Hardware. (also bought here used), climbed in the back seat of the truck and went right to sleep. A midnight bathroom run was freezing immediately on the ground it was so cold. Took the money not spent on a motel room and bought a Soto Micro regulator stove a couple of days later though.

    I have somehow managed to freeze my ass off all over this world. Listen to these guys. Buy quality. Don't want to dick with getting goose down wet? Look at a Cat's Meow or similar. But until I trust the synthetics to do what that Western mountaineering bag does, I'll just keep double bagging mine to keep it dry. If the Phantom wasn't so damn bulky and heavier, I'd carry it all the time.

    If the bag you get is quality, in good shape.( most of them have a no question asked warranty) it'll bring a premium price back if you want to sell it later. It's an investment.

    Ditto on the pad also. The only engine that is making heat is you laying there. No air conditioning, space heater, or fireplace. You. And that handful of nuts you ate and a water bottle full of hot water either curled under your toes or football clutched into your gut right before bed. With heat being sucked away from the biggest surface touching which is underneath you, a pad isn't about the soft comfort taking away from the cowboy hard ass mentality, it's the insulation. Get that potato chip bag crinkling one I got. I swear if it would only pop one damn hole it would be outta here! it just won't though. Quality. And hatefulness. Just keeps on tormenting me. But that's better than listening to somebody shivering and tossing and turning in a tent close to you at night all night long. Hard to sleep that way. Spooning would help probably but sometimes it just doesn't seem as fun as it sounds...

    Told ja it was long winded. With the high waters here, I wimped out of my overnighter after running into the biggest batch of mosquitos ever seen this evening and am back in the cabin drinking beer and living vicariously through all of ya'll.

    Rolex

  7. #27
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Rolex reinforced one way to get quality gear below retail: buy low mileage gear at forums like Whiteblaze and others. Or be patient and wait for really good sales, either at stores or online. It happens.
    Good luck.

    Wayne


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  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolex View Post
    Yes. What Wayne said. And others. Beg, borrow, or steal your way into a good bag rated lower than expected temps.
    I appreciate the feedback. But what people don't seem to be hearing is that I can't afford a better pack. My hike starts in a few weeks (or never) and sure I'm checking local craigslist but unless I luck out and find what you're recommending, I've got to go with what I can get my hands on or just not-go. Although I have no desire to freeze to death, it's certainly preferable to begging, borrowing, or stealing. What I'm here to determine is how likely that is and whether that likelyhood is high enough to cancel the through-hike and feel like a loser for the rest of my life. Now that I write that, I realize that maybe that, too, is worse then freezing to death. But not worse than getting frostbite and having to live with it, I suppose.

  9. #29

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    Since no one else has said it, yes, it is dumb.

  10. #30
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    I got this for my son as a summer/fall bag. It is part of a 4 piece system and is rather big and roomy, but is compact. It is probably a thinsulate type of material. It is better than a cheap bag should be. If I were in a tent wearing a base layer and toboggan I wouldn't be afraid to take it into the 20's. With a fleece or other layer you could take it rather low. They are available from multiple sources and I remember getting mine for under $30

    http://www.amazon.com/Military-Outdo...ZRNCMAW468T1SK

  11. #31
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newToThrough View Post
    I appreciate the feedback. But what people don't seem to be hearing is that I can't afford a better pack. My hike starts in a few weeks (or never) and sure I'm checking local craigslist but unless I luck out and find what you're recommending, I've got to go with what I can get my hands on or just not-go. Although I have no desire to freeze to death, it's certainly preferable to begging, borrowing, or stealing. What I'm here to determine is how likely that is and whether that likelyhood is high enough to cancel the through-hike and feel like a loser for the rest of my life. Now that I write that, I realize that maybe that, too, is worse then freezing to death. But not worse than getting frostbite and having to live with it, I suppose.
    I hear you. Been there. Done that. Still blaming myself and saying, "Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda."
    Several folks on other forums have said good things about inexpensive 30 degree down bags from Walmart. Check it out.
    By all means, "Just do it!!!"
    Good luck and all the best to you.

    Wayne


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  12. #32

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    I started in Denver with a 20 deg quilt. The first week of so I thought that it was too much. However, as I got into the higher sections and colder night time temps, I was appreciative that I had it.

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by hikeandbike5 View Post
    Since no one else has said it, yes, it is dumb.
    Thank you for your honesty. Saves time.

  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nooga View Post
    I started in Denver with a 20 deg quilt. The first week of so I thought that it was too much. However, as I got into the higher sections and colder night time temps, I was appreciative that I had it.
    That's good to know. Exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for, in addition to lots of other thorough replies, which I appreciate. Okay, I'll keep scouring craigslist and hope for the best.

  15. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    I hear you. Been there. Done that. Still blaming myself and saying, "Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda." By all means, "Just do it!!!"
    Thanks for the encouragement! I'm pretty well set on doing it. At this point, the question is whether I'm going to have to carry 50lbs in order to stay alive and comfortable (other than the 50lbs, that is.)

  16. #36
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    Here is what you do. Pretend you are standing out in 0 degree weather. What clothes do you need to stay alive? Choose several layers--ideally 2-3 thin layers, a puffy insulating layer (down, primaloft, fleece) and then a shell (like goretex.) Lose everything cotton (remember "cotton kills") that you have and go with synthetics or wool/silk (because they will still insulate when wet.) If the bag does not keep you warm, wear all of your clothes. Remember that you have all of the clothes. Hopefully this helps. I hate being cold.

  17. #37
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newToThrough View Post
    Thanks for the encouragement! I'm pretty well set on doing it. At this point, the question is whether I'm going to have to carry 50lbs in order to stay alive and comfortable (other than the 50lbs, that is.)
    50 pounds: Been there & done that too. Wore the T-shirt yesterday for a 6 mile workout.
    Best thing you can do in Colorado is carry high and sleep low. You'll be warmer that way.
    I once cycle toured through Utah, Wyoming & Idaho in mid-July. To save weight, I left my down bag at home and carried a healthy, high-tech sleeping bag liner, wool arm and leg warmers, down vest, hat and gloves. I was fine except for a damp night in Yellowstone. Merely uncomfortable, not life threatening.
    Avoid the really high places at night. You'll be fine.

    Wayne
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  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdogsid View Post
    Here is what you do. Pretend you are standing out in 0 degree weather. What clothes do you need to stay alive? Choose several layers--ideally 2-3 thin layers, a puffy insulating layer (down, primaloft, fleece) and then a shell (like goretex.) Lose everything cotton (remember "cotton kills") that you have and go with synthetics or wool/silk (because they will still insulate when wet.) If the bag does not keep you warm, wear all of your clothes. Remember that you have all of the clothes. Hopefully this helps. I hate being cold.
    Oooh, that's smart. Thank you for that.

  19. #39

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    I have had success sleeping in a 40F bag wearing a down coat and fleece pants and a balaclava. I shelled out for a thermarest neoair xlite last year and was amazed at how it trapped my warmth. It helps I have a husband who generates a lot of hot air in the tent, as well.

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