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  1. #1

    Default Is this dumb: A 40 degree bag plus polyester blanket?

    I'm just trying to save myself money on a 20degree bag, so I'm wondering if anyone thinks it's a safe idea to use a backpacking 40degree bag PLUS a polyester military-style "woobie" or blanket. This thing here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/USGI-Militar...-/390867972622 It's strictly a money thing, I have no philosophical arguments in my favor. I do sleep pretty warm and my hope is to purchase a decent 1 person backpacking tent, although I haven't found one yet and might do something else if it's cheaper. I plan to start my hike the second or third week in June if that helps. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

  2. #2
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    It will add warmth and weight and cost, I don't know how much of either it will add.

    You might consider a fleece blanket, I used one during the summer months on my thru, NY to NH section (no sleeping bag). Much cheaper, may be lighter IDK.

    You might also consider the cost and weight of a low end new synthetic bag of desired temperature rating compared to your 40F. This is especially true if your 40F bag is not all that light to start with.

    Finally know what you can do if it gets too cold, what you can use and what you have. In shelters I occasionally wrapped my tent around my 18F bag (nighttime temps in single digits), made a huge difference and kept snow off of it. When it was getting chilly in the summer heading north and just had the fleece I got under the bathtub floor in my tent. And spooning can be fun depending on who is next to you.

  3. #3

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    I use the exact poncho liner in the same manner you described. Can't say for sure what 'degrees' it adds, but it sure does make a difference.

    I'd give it at least a 10 degree rating, in a sleeping bag.

  4. #4
    Garlic
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    Some people have a problem layering in or over a sleeping bag. If you cram too much in there, the insulation gets compressed, you can't move around and you end up colder. If you throw something too heavy over the bag, the bag insulation can get compressed and might not breath correctly and get damp. Loft and ventilation are critical for any insulation system. Some people make it work just fine though.

    As with anything new you bring into the backcountry, it's best to test it first and/or have a bail-out plan if it doesn't work.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    Some people have a problem layering in or over a sleeping bag. If you cram too much in there, the insulation gets compressed, you can't move around and you end up colder. If you throw something too heavy over the bag, the bag insulation can get compressed and might not breath correctly and get damp. Loft and ventilation are critical for any insulation system. Some people make it work just fine though.

    As with anything new you bring into the backcountry, it's best to test it first and/or have a bail-out plan if it doesn't work.
    Definitely. For my setup I wouldn't put much else in other than my poncho liner, although now that we keep talking about it, it does run a bit heavy... might have to do some research and get me an actual silk liner :-D

  6. #6
    Registered User WalkingStick75's Avatar
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    Might consider using an emergency blanket inside your bag. They are lightweight and cheap. While hiking the International AT a few years ago my 40 degree bag was not keeping me warm at night so I covered my bag at night with my rain jacket which proved to be sufficient to keep me warm.
    WalkingStick"75"

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    Like Bemental said, the poncho liner inside the bag will take a 40degree bag down to about 30, plus there will less space for your body to heat. I've done it.

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    Check on ebay for a warmer sleeping bag. I found a very nice 20 deg Big Agnes Mistic bag and pad for less than $100. Very warm, roomy and about 3 pounds.

  9. #9
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    Silk liners are nice but kinda pricey (at least for me) ..

    so instead I got some fleece fabric for 12 bucks and had my mom make me a liner based upon my bag's shape...

    her fifteen minutes using sewing machine and my 12 bucks have done well the last three years...

  10. #10

    Default

    Thanks for all the replies but I guess I was really wondering whether I'm dumb from a temperature standpoint. Meaning: do you think I'll be warm enough on the CT starting mid-June with the 40 degree synthetic bag and the poncho liner?

  11. #11
    Garlic
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    Does "warm enough" mean surviving the trip or being nice and comfortable every night? Has your bag been tested to EN 13573 standards? Do you have the experience to keep your bag and liner dry in all conditions? Will you be well hydrated, and well fed every night, and not exhausted and depleted? Will you have the endurance to continue hiking down to a lower elevation if needed? Will you pay attention to weather forecasts and "bail out" if needed? There are too many variables for someone else to answer your question.

    Personally I would not hike the high country in CO without a 20F bag tested to industry standards, but that does not mean you can't make your system work. It sounds like others have.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  12. #12
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    My thoughts about 40 degree nights or cooler with dampness in the air you will be cold. I take a hat, gloves, socks, baselayers top and bottom to sleep in. I would recommend the new Sierra backcountry bed sleeping bag. You can use it for really warm nights down to 20. Also get yourself a x-therm sleeping pad the added heat bouncing back is awesome. Plus you can slide the pad into the bottom of the bag so it doesn't allow you to lose the pad in the middle of the night. This doesn't address money concerns but to do that become a member at Rei. They offer 20-25 percent off coupons at least once a year. I always get something nice with that.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #13
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    Last year, I switched from a 20 degree bag to a 32 degree bag (Western Mountaineering SummerLite @ 1 lb 3 oz). I was never cold in my 20 degree bag on the CT over a 5 year period as I just put on my long johns, coat, hat and gloves on colder nights and be more than warm enough.

    To save weight and backpack space, I switched to the 32 degree bag last year. There were a couple nights that I woke up a bit chilly from 4-5 AM even with the long johns, hat, gloves, etc.

    As with anything on the CT, it's about trade-offs. This year, I will stick with the 32 degree bag as the weight reduction and smaller bag size is more important than being a bit chilly on a couple mornings. The more compact sleeping bag has allowed me to reduce backpack size and save more weight. But, everyone is different and I am typically a warm sleeper. My wife would NEVER hit the CT with a 32 degree bag.

    I have no idea how much the polyester blanket would reduce that temp rating from your 40 degree bag,

    Ron

  14. #14
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Of all the things I personally wouldn't skimp on, a warm, comfortable night's sleep is it. Scrimp, save, be nice to Grandma, whatever it takes to get a good bag.

  15. #15
    Registered User StubbleJumper's Avatar
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    Default

    If you have a 40-degree bag, you'll definitely want some sort of supplementary insulation. A 40-degree bag will probably not be comfortable at 40-degrees, but likely will only be good down to something like 48-degrees. It will go below 48 on most nights in Colorado (the first couple days out of Denver are warmer). In fact you should plan for night time temps to go down to the low-30s on a couple of occasions.

    If you have enough clothing, add your polyester blanket and use the hot water bottle trick, you can definitely extend your temperature range but I'm not sure how you'd do at 35 degrees. You might wake up at 4am and need to break camp and start hiking just to warm up.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by StubbleJumper View Post
    If you have a 40-degree bag, you'll definitely want some sort of supplementary insulation. A 40-degree bag will probably not be comfortable at 40-degrees, but likely will only be good down to something like 48-degrees. It will go below 48 on most nights in Colorado (the first couple days out of Denver are warmer). In fact you should plan for night time temps to go down to the low-30s on a couple of occasions. If you have enough clothing, add your polyester blanket and use the hot water bottle trick, you can definitely extend your temperature range but I'm not sure how you'd do at 35 degrees. You might wake up at 4am and need to break camp and start hiking just to warm up.
    Thanks. Yours and a couple other replies were very helpful. It sounds like the general feeling is that my idea is borderline dumb. So I'll look into my options, maybe hope for something on local craigslist. I really appreciate the responses even if it didn't work out how I'd hoped.

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Soggybottom View Post
    My thoughts about 40 degree nights or cooler with dampness in the air you will be cold. I take a hat, gloves, socks, baselayers top and bottom to sleep in. I would recommend the new Sierra backcountry bed sleeping bag. You can use it for really warm nights down to 20. Also get yourself a x-therm sleeping pad the added heat bouncing back is awesome. Plus you can slide the pad into the bottom of the bag so it doesn't allow you to lose the pad in the middle of the night. This doesn't address money concerns but to do that become a member at Rei. They offer 20-25 percent off coupons at least once a year. I always get something nice with that. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    That bag costs more than my entire gear budget!

  18. #18

    Default

    A good 20 degree bag would be ideal, but assuming it really is a 40 degree bag and you have some camping skills and a decent shelter your plan won't be a safety concern. I've used the sleeping bag plus poncho liner idea too, and the poncho liner added significant warmth. If there's enough room in the bag I'd put the liner inside, if there isn't, over the top. I sewed my poncho liner into a sleeping bag configuration so I could "double bag."

    Sleeping in a warm balaclava, long underwear and warm socks and also your warm jacket (if that works for you) will all add significant warmth. If you get cold the hot water bottle idea will allow you to sleep but I'd expect to sleep warm most nights without it.

    Again, get a 20 degree bag if you can afford it, but your plan will work if necessary.

  19. #19
    Registered User DavidNH's Avatar
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    a sleeping bag is not where you want to save on cost. A warm comfy nites sleep is crucial to a successful hike!

  20. #20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Colter View Post
    Sleeping in a warm balaclava, long underwear and warm socks and also your warm jacket (if that works for you) will all add significant warmth. If you get cold the hot water bottle idea will allow you to sleep but I'd expect to sleep warm most nights without it.
    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.

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