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  1. #1
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    Default A question (or two) for the cold sleepers...

    I have a thermarest neo xlite large
    My quilt is a burrow 20 with 2 oz overfill
    Over and under is polycro and a lunar solo
    Ive had a couple of nites where i couldnt get cozy, approx 25-35 degrees
    My layers are appropriate but my question(s) are..
    Will mylar on top and bottom of my matt boost the warmth?
    (I've read different discussions regarding above but was looking for an answer that wasnt just "theory" but experience)
    A torso length 1/8 thinlight is the only other option it seems i have
    Any other suggestions?
    tia

  2. #2
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    Default

    Honestly,

    Cold sleeps should try a mummy bag.

    Usually solves the problem.

    Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk

  3. #3

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    Youve heard it a hundred times before.
    Theres many factors

    Your hydration level
    Fatigue
    Calorie intake before bed
    Humidity
    Breeze
    Head covering
    Etc, etc

  4. #4
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    Higher r-value pad.
    Suppose for the moment your Burrow's 20F rating is an EN bag rating. Whether it is officially or not, suppose it is, for the sake of argument.
    EN Ratings are predicated on a pad with R-rating nearly 5.0. Yours is 3.2. Even if you can't tell you're losing heat from below you, you probably are, and more insulation below will make a difference. Try it and you'll see. Put a z-lite or something like that under or over your neoair. [I predict the thinlight will not help much, but you can start with that if you like. mylar won't help with conductive heat loss, which is the main kind you have going on below.]

    Now, the Burrow's rating may be optimistic, as well, rather than EN. Plus drafts, etc.

    What exactly are your layers? Again, EN bag ratings presume something - thermal underwear. And fleece PJs are vastly warmer than cotton/poly blends. Again, try them and see. Do some backyard testing.

    Your Burrow may not be EN rated but the same principles apply. If you look at the average person's gear, most pads under-insulate from below in those temps. People are also unlikely to wear fleece PJs. This leads many to complain about how their bag was too optimistically rated.

    I'm a VERY cold sleeper and discovered that just TWO changes (fleece PJs plus R=6.1 worth of CCF beneath me) enabled me be TOASTY at 25F, when during the fall, Duofold thermals + R=3.5 of CCF below me, I was actually chilly at 40F. Those two changes made all the difference to me. YMMV, but give it a try, you might be surprised. Granted, it's bulky, but that's the price for sleeping toasty warm in the 20s, at least for me. Good luck!

  5. #5
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    Default

    Thanks TZ.
    I've a couple things i am gonna try
    1 thing is for sure.
    A cold night out there is miserable!

  6. #6

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    Second the higher r-value pad.
    The XLite is the common denominator in many an underperforming sleep system.
    1. If you're going to combine a CCF pad with your XLite, put the CCF on bottom. Protects the inflatable, which also depends on reflective materials, so you don't want something between you and it to begin with.
    2. Get a pad with some actual insulation if you upgrade. It's the same thing over and over(and over!) with cold sleepers and NeoAirs that use baffles and reflective mylar or whatever. They don't stop air movement when you move around, and cold sleepers obviously radiate less heat to be reflected.

    As far as experience, I'm not a cold sleeper, much the opposite, but the pad is absolutely key. When I used a 3/4 length pad in low temps, I was a "only my feet get cold" sleeper. That ended when I switched to a full length pad.
    I've actually managed to get some sleep in a 40F bag when temps unexpectedly dropped into the teens on a plain old ZLite. I also got up and hiked out in the dark from an overnighter because I could not sleep in the same bag at 38F when first trying an uninsulated Big Agnes Air Core.

    Keep in mind, as a cold sleeper, that you produce less heat than an average or warm sleeper. That sounds like common sense, but what people forget is that EN ratings are established by using a heated mannequin, and r-values with heated plates(at least per Thermarest). If you don't produce as much heat, those change for you. Less produced means a higher percentage needs to be retained-so both your bag and pad require more insulative value.

  7. #7
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    Default

    I'm a cold sleeper. I stick to a mummy bag durring colder weather. I only use a very lightweight quilt in the summer time.

  8. #8

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    RainMan told me that using any sort of tarp or cover over a down bag results in condensation and a wet bag. Haven't tried it based on his advice.

    Now, what I have tried is a very thin fleece bag over my 20* down, and that helped keep things tolerable at around 30. Honestly, the only thing that has worked for me at 30* is a Western Mountaineering 20* Ultralight and LLBean merino wool baselayers, and fleece socks. (and sometimes a puffy). I'm a VERY cold sleeper.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  9. #9

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    Anything below about 35* and I need to zip my quilt up to be a mummy bag.

  10. #10
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    https://sectionhiker.com/sea-to-summ...ng-mat-review/

    Interesting information that may be helpful to you

  11. #11

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    I was a camping newbie before hitting the AT, so a lot of the little things I learned on the forum, like proper hydration, calorie intake before sleep, setting the foot of my tent into the wind, not choosing a hollow where the cold will collect and pool, were very helpful. Some things I did to keep warm, with the quilt, was making sure it was fastened properly around my neck, which drew in the sides along my lower body, this should be a feature of a properly sized quilt. I would often tuck my spare clothing underneath the sleeping pad, which is slightly warmer, and has the added benefit of leveling an imperfect slope. Wool basewear and dedicated sleeping socks that are very old and floppy loose, so as not to restrict circulation. Tossing my compactor bag/pack liner over my feet, which yeah, could create some added moisture, but it's only over a small portion of the bag, leaving the rest to breathe properly. Then doing maintenance at lunch stops the following day, if it's dry/windy/sunny. Air out your bag/tent/gear when you run into nice conditions.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    https://sectionhiker.com/sea-to-summ...ng-mat-review/

    Interesting information that may be helpful to you
    I bought this. Was leaking air within three nights of use. I may have bought a dud (it was labelled "pro deal only, not for resale"). It was warm and cushy though but I'm returning it and going back to my trusty Klymit pad

  13. #13
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    Others in older threads have responded much more scientifically than I can about sleep systems. They are right about having a graduated system.
    I have a 23* down bag, z-lite sol, thermarest proline plus, army poncho liners, and a silk bag liner. I also have a roll of reflectix. I’ve mixed and matched all of them.
    I moved away from the z-lite for every day use based on comfort not warmth, same with a S2S pillow instead of a clothes bag. I’ve given up on the bag liner because I didn’t like to shimmy into it and I’d get tangled up in it as I rolled over while asleep. ( It was okay for my legs while watching tv this winter. ). YMMV.
    My basic system is the sleeping bag and the thermarest. In warmer weather I don’t zip it up. In cooler weather I zip up my soft shell and put it over the bottom of my bag like a second foot box. I have taken just my poncho liners but they’re bulky.

    Others are right - don’t put anything that doesn’t breathe over your bag, it will prevent moisture from escaping from your bag and get it wet. I learned this once in the Army when I rolled up in a space blanket and woke up damp and clammy.
    Clothes are also important. I always have a dedicated pair of sleep socks. Based on the season I vary from short to long merino wool underwear to long Underarmor cold gear. I always have a knit cap and in cold weather a balaclava. I’ve also slept in my puffy with gloves.
    I don’t winter camp much but did test things one year. At 17* I was comfortable with the thermarest, z-life and reflectix (R ~ 6 ), sleeping bag plus poncho liners as over quilts, soft shell as foot box, Underarmor, socks, balaclava and knit cap. Last year on 16 April on Tray Mountain I was fine at 27* in my bag with thermarest, soft shell, socks, Underarmor, puffy, balaclava and knit cap. It can take a real act of will power to get out of the bag at those temperatures.

    Unless they’re real wet I put my hiking clothes between the sleeping bag and pad. I sleep with my hiking socks and underwear in the bag; when it’s warm I hang them from a line in the top of my tent. I put any empty stuff sacks under my pad just to keep the out of the way. I typically put my boots at the foot of my tent; I have put them in the bag when it was really cold. The sleeping bag can get crowded.

    I’ve carried hand warmers but haven’t used them in the bag. They’re good for warming up boots in the morning and then inside gloves.

    I think that I first noticed Tipi airing his sleeping bag out in the morning. As soon as I get out of the tent I turn my bag inside out and throw it over the tent.

    i’m restarting north from Pine Grove Furnace SP tomorrow and am taking my bag, thermarest, long sleeve merino wool shirt, soft shell and knit cap. I’m picking up my winter gear in Hanover.


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  14. #14
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    I know this is an old thread but the night temps are dropping a little finally and some lucky folks will be enjoying cooler temps soon so I thought that I might chime in and offer my 1/2 cent.
    if you are a cold sleeper (and I am) don't fight it, carry a couple of more ounces with a higher rated pad and a bag or quilt rated for 15 degrees lower than what you expect. you won't be sorry. another method that worked for me was just an experiment but it went really well. I used one of the Aegismax mummy bags with a thermarest xtherm pad and wore down underwear over a mid weight base layer and thick wool socks and took it down to 23*F and only my toes got a little cold, but not cold enough to keep me from sleeping well. I was comfortable all night. I am not suggesting that anyone do this, it adds a lot of bulk and a little extra weight, it was just a fun experiment to see what could be done on the cheap.
    there are places to save weight but imho if you are not sleeping because your cold you need to invest in some sleeping gear. despite living in florida the highest rated quilt or bag that I have is 20*F, for summer I use one of the costco quilts that I sewed a foot box into or just a cotton sheet.

  15. #15
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    Three thoughts . . .
    1) I'll second, third, or fourth the need for more under-insulation and the chance of needing more on top as a less obvious issue, but possibly still helpful.
    2) Regarding the use of a reflective type Mylar blanket above and/or below your pad . . . don't bother. The your thermarest pad is already using reflected IR as part of it's "insulation" and adding more will likely make little if any difference as your pad is already doing this.
    3) I completely disagree with OwenM regarding the CCF pad on the bottom. Sure, on the bottom protects your x-lite from punctures, but ON TOP significantly improves warmth. The difference is quite striking in extreme cold. It only takes a few minute in below zero temps with a CCF pad on the bottom, and then moved to the top to be rather impressed at how much difference being on top makes. If you are curious, there are probably a half dozen old threads on this site discussing this issue with no convincing explanation as to why, but an overwhelming consensus that it is true.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  16. #16

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    I have found that I need more layers on my core than anywhere else. It used to puzzle me but when you think about it, if you are not warm enough in your core, your body conserves heat there and your extremities get colder due to your body restricting blood flow there. It's a survival reaction as your core contains your vital organs (minus the brain). Can't let them shut down from being too cold. I will often have 3 layers on my core and just 1 layer on my lower body. When I start getting colder I always add another layer to the core first and maybe 1 layer to the lower body until I am comfortable. This may also explain the phenomenon of guys where I lived most of my life (New England) wearing a shirt and sweatshirt and shorts in winter (some even wear sandals at the same time) and being comfortable.
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  17. #17
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    You have to also remember keep in mind the ground temperature and not JUST the overnight air temperature.

    It took a while before I finally caught on to the fact that even though my gear, clothing, and over-night temperatures were very similar, the coldest nights I ever spent in the woods were nights after a recent snow fall where you could still see snow/ice in areas that were mostly shady during the day. So while my campsite didn't have any snow, the ground was still colder than average due to the recent snow fall.

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