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  1. #1

    Default Sleeping bag dilemma

    I guess I'm a freak, but I can't seem to find a bag that keeps me warm. I realize that the temprature ratings are subjective, but my thermostat is WAY off of the recommendations. In a 45 degree bag w/liner and clothes, I froze at 50 degrees. Twice in a 15 degree bag w/liner and clothes I froze in the upper twenties.

    Could it be that I might really need a negative 40 degree bag for winter camping? A 15 degree bag for summer? It just seems so wrong! Please advise.

    The Billman
    ;) If we aren't supposed to eat animals, how come they're made out of meat?

  2. #2
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    Default

    Could be with clothes on you might be sweating a bit and therefore causing yourself to actually be colder. That seems to be the case with me. I sleep with little on as possible and my body heat warms the inside of the bag and I stay warm.

  3. #3

    Default

    Are you using a good ground pad? Are you in a mummy bag with the hood up over your head and just your face sticking out, and/or are you wearing a balaclava (best) or another warm hat?

    While I agree that it's best not to wear so much clothes inside your bag that you sweat, when it's cold I'm usually wearing long underwear and fleece inside my bag.

    All that said, it is simply a fact of life that some people sleep colder than others, all things being equal, and sleeping bag temp ratings are general and undependable guidelines.

  4. #4
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    Good suggestions above. Start with the pad - was it thick enough for conditions? (Pads are for insulation first, comfort second.)

    Did the bag fit you tightly? You may have been wearing so much clothing that it compressed the insulation in the bag.

    Otherwise, the next step is a hat or balaclava. But like Colter said, some folks (like me) just sleep cold.

  5. #5
    Registered User LIhikers's Avatar
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    Default And with the pad......

    ....use one that is long enough to get your feet up off the ground. I've found that to be a big part of keeping warm.

  6. #6

    Default

    Another suggestion-
    Try eating a snack before turning in... the extra calories will help your body to make more heat. Staying well hydrated helps also.

    Perkolady

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    Default welcome billman

    Wow, I have the same problem keeping warm. In all my years of sleeping out, I have never felt warm. My latest $$$$$$ Montbel kept me perfectly cold at 29 F when the bag is "Rated" for 32 F.

    My plan now is to finish my down quilt with 1 1/2 inches of loft to suppliment the bag. Maybe this will work.

  8. #8
    Registered User hammock engineer's Avatar
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    I second the Montbell. Pricey but worth it. I got the super strech #2, rated from 5 to 20 degrees. I had it to 15 without a problem. The long weighs around 2 lbs.

  9. #9
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    As someone who sold probably 10,000 sleeping bags in my career let me say a few words about temp ratings...Firstly they assume a long list of ideal conditions and factors..They assume you are filling up most of the bag but not over filling it..That you are using a nice insulating ground pad..That you are sheltered from excess air movement in a tent or somewhere..Some bags have more filling on top than the bottom so if you turn on your side you`ll lose warmth...Some bags are made to zip together and the draft tube inside the zipper is on the wrong side if you use the bag solo and you lose heat out there...But then some people just take the cold better or worse than others...Avoid bags with excess stiching as these are all cold spots in synthetic bags (Down bags generally have a baffle system)

  10. #10
    www.hikersupply.com
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by billman
    I guess I'm a freak, but I can't seem to find a bag that keeps me warm. I realize that the temprature ratings are subjective, but my thermostat is WAY off of the recommendations. In a 45 degree bag w/liner and clothes, I froze at 50 degrees. Twice in a 15 degree bag w/liner and clothes I froze in the upper twenties.

    Could it be that I might really need a negative 40 degree bag for winter camping? A 15 degree bag for summer? It just seems so wrong! Please advise.

    The Billman
    I think that you just need to learn a few more things about sleeping bag dynamics.

    You need to eat more protine like beans and peanut butter about 2 hours before going to sleep. Additionally, you might be getting cold by getting to warm. If you break a sweat inside of the bag and the bag fibers get saturated you might get chilled. It is better to wear a wicking base layer and use a lighter sleeping bag.

    Some people are just cold. I am never cold, but about 1 in every 10 nights that I spend in the woods I feel cold in the midlde of the night. I just roll over and go back to sleep and forget about it. It is not like I am going to die or anything.

    90% of being warm on the trail with close to the right gear is being mentally warm.

    MENTAL TOUGHNESS IS NOT SOMEHTING YOU CAN BUY OR TEACH SOME ONE.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by billman
    Could it be that I might really need a negative 40 degree bag for winter camping? A 15 degree bag for summer? It just seems so wrong! Please advise.
    I guess there is still the question of your sleeping pad. Without a decent bed pad, you can expect to be very cold in all but the warmest nights. If your pad is fine then maybe it is as you describe above. I does seem wrong but temperature ratings are more for relative comparison than anything else. If you sleep moderately warm then the ratings are about right. They may not exactly apply to us. You may simply "sleep cold". I know that I sleep way warm... I can winter camp in a 20 deg bag. I've recorded a minus 7 deg in a 20 deg bag before... It was an uncomfortably cold night but I slept just the same. Don't envy me though -that also means that I can tuck my feet into the bottom of a 20 deg bag and drape the -unzipped- remainder over me like a blanket and wind up sweating all night unless the temps get down to freezing.

    Happy camping!
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." -Feynman

  12. #12
    Registered User Mother Nature's Avatar
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    I had a real problem with cold myself in the past and completely agree with all of the above suggestions.

    Experimenting with things that worked for me I found that I needed the sleeping pad to extend beneath my feet. I also wear a light pair of wool socks to bed year round. I carry a pair of hand warmers in my pack on shorter hikes and I have had nights that I used them. There is nothing like a handwarmer tucked under the fold of turtleneck (never next to your skin) to get things warmed up.

    In warmer weather (50-75 degrees) when I needed to vent body heat during the night I still felt chilled as air would flow down my neck. I solved that problem with a lightweight scarf over my head and shoulders.

    The biggest problem I found in cold weather was that fleece caused me to sweat terribly after I had warmed up and I awoke during the night shivering. I switched to natural fibers to sleep such as SmartWool or silk and that has helped tremendously.

    Hope some of these tips help!

    Mother Nature
    Sue Buak

  13. #13

    Default Let me rephrase the question.

    I understand HOW to stay warm. I understand HOW a sleeping bag works. I understand HOW to maximize the warmth potential of a bag. I understand HOW caloric intake regulates body heat.

    What I DON'T understand is WHY my body cools down so much during sleep. I was wondering if anyone else experienced this and if they had overcome it. I apologize for being to non-specific.

    Oh, and by the way, Twofiddy. I found it interesting that you suggested I might not be mentally tough enough. Well, to that I say, my phone number is 770-242-2662. Why not give me a call? We can arrange to meet at a trailhead and I'll give you a shot at the title.
    ;) If we aren't supposed to eat animals, how come they're made out of meat?

  14. #14
    GA-->ME 2005 MacGyver2005's Avatar
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    Default

    Billman, try giving more specifics of what you are using. What pad, what bag, what shelter, and what clothing? Also, what are your dimensions...if you don't mind. Age, weight, ethnicity, height, fitness level? All of this plays a factor.

    As for Twofiddy, I'd ignore him. If he thinks he can stay 90% warm by thinking happy thoughts, obviously there are deeper underlying issues.

  15. #15
    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billman
    Oh, and by the way, Twofiddy. I found it interesting that you suggested I might not be mentally tough enough. Well, to that I say, my phone number is 770-242-2662. Why not give me a call? We can arrange to meet at a trailhead and I'll give you a shot at the title.
    learn to ignore people like 250 and your time here at WB will be much more enjoyable. billman, even if you arent mentally tough, at least you can spell.
    The only thing better than mountains, is mountains where you haven't been.

    amongnature.blogspot.com

  16. #16
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    Default

    With age, hydration becomes a critical factor. Drink before you sleep, even if it causes night visits to the bushes.

  17. #17

    Exclamation Okay, let's try this

    Quote Originally Posted by billman
    I understand HOW to stay warm. I understand HOW a sleeping bag works. I understand HOW to maximize the warmth potential of a bag. I understand HOW caloric intake regulates body heat.

    What I DON'T understand is WHY my body cools down so much during sleep. I was wondering if anyone else experienced this and if they had overcome it. I apologize for being to non-specific.

    I have been practicing sleeping "cool" by using a sheet and not a light blanket (since you live in Atlanta, you understand how hot it is right now) and not under AirConditioning (I don't have it anyway, so that's easy).

    I tend to get cold when my bladder gets full. It takes a lot of heat to keep the contents warm, I've been told. If I wake up, I empty the bladder and drink some water to keep from getting dehydrated (which can wake you up or keep you from getting a good night's sleep) and go back to sleep.

    Have you had your blood pressure checked? Low BP could cause you to sleep cold. Do you snore? You might be waking yourself up (I have done this on occasion) and think that you woke up because you were cold.

    Another idea: Wrap your torso in a jacket or drape a jacket over your torso. Maybe you get cold because your heart is having to pump blood to your torso at the expense of the rest of your body.

    If all else fails: wear fleece socks, wear fleece mittens, and wear a fleece balaclava. You'd be surprised at how a pair of gloves or mittens keeps the rest of you warm. I don't have central heat in my house and I can be perfectly content in nearly freezing weather under a feather comforter when I wear my fleece gloves, socks and balaclava .

    Hope this helps, HapKiDo
    HapKiDo
    Priority Change in 2007
    GA>ME2008
    If the weather cooperates!

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