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Topic: Sleeping colder... need a warmer bag, Options< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 2:37 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm guessing it's an age thing but I seem to be sleeping colder than I used to.  I've had a couple of too-cold nights in the last 6 months, both backpacking and car-camping, and using different sleeping bags.  So, I've decided that I have to adjust my sleep system.

My quandary is what to do about my 3-season sleeping bag.

I have a 3 year-old Feathered Friends 30-degree bag that I've loved.  But I've now had 3 too-cold nights at around 40-45 degrees.  I've been in a tent all 3 times.  I bumped up my pad's R-value to 4.  Still a little cold (and I like to be toasty warm to sleep.)

My options are to go to a 20-degree FF bag.  I can keep it at the same weight by paying the big $$$ for the new UL line at FF.  They're using a lighter fabric and a higher fill-count down than the model I have.

I can also move to WM.  A little cheaper than FF but the sizing doesn't fit me as well.  The bag would be lighter but also significantly narrower.  It would also be longer than I need.  FF has a 5'3" woman's size.  WM's generic 'short' is 5'6" and more narrow.

I can also try adding some down to my current bag.  I talked to FF and they suggested adding 3-4 oz.  I could also target the area where I'm getting cold.  That would cost me about $150 total (including shipping and such.)  It would obviously add 3-4oz to my bag weight.

I'm torn.  Thoughts?  What would you do?


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 2:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

For $150, I think you should buy a down jacket and wear it or place it where you are getting cold. Tigger uses all sorts of extras to take a 40* bag down to 0*.  Or, you could add a hot water bottle, a chemical hand warmer, or any other added heat source so your bag captures the heat better.

In addition, maybe it is time to add a CCF under your pad.

Whichever area is getting cold, you obviously are not generating enough heat in the region for the bag to keep you warm.  :)  


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 3:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

:D

Well, that's what I've been doing, supplementing with clothes, that is, but that has consequences I'm not exactly happy about.

On this recent trip, I had a down jacket with me that I used to supplement, but that meant I was missing the key ingredient for my pillow.  I wasn't a happy camper.  I also don't want to sleep in dirty clothes in my bag or, worse, wet ones if it's been raining.

I was using an Exped Downlite 5 pad with an R-value of 4.1.  The coldness I was feeling was distinctly on top, not underneath.  I also really don't want the hit of carrying an additional ccf pad.

In anycase, I think I'm pretty decided on doing something about the bag itself.  Just not sure what...


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 5:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Depends on how much too cold you were. You might want to go with a 15 deg bag.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 6:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Walkinman @ Nov. 19 2013, 5:36 pm)
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Depends on how much too cold you were. You might want to go with a 15 deg bag.

Not very.  Last fall in the Smokies, I just grin-and-beared it and eventually fell asleep.  Once asleep, I was fine and didn't wake up. Last time, I put on another layer of clothes and I was fine.  This time, I wrapped my down jacket around my hips/torso and that did the trick.  Based on that, I'm thinking a 5-10 degree boost will be sufficient.

I just don't want to rely on adding clothes on a regular basis because that's my "buffer" for unexpected cold temps.  The temperatures I experienced on these trips were exactly what I was expecting. If I had to deal with an unusually cold night, it could have been a problem.  I like planning for the "norm" to be lightweight merino baselayers, top and bottom, socks and be snuggly warm, which is what I used to be in the 30-deg bag on 40-deg nights.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 6:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Adding down to your current bag is going to be by far your least expensive option, and leaves you with a bag that you've said you love, just a few ounces heavier.  From an objective standpoint, that seems to me like the obvious way to go.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 8:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TigerFan @ Nov. 19 2013, 2:20 pm)
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Well, that's what I've been doing, supplementing with clothes, that is, but that has consequences I'm not exactly happy about.

On this recent trip, I had a down jacket with me that I used to supplement, but that meant I was missing the key ingredient for my pillow.

I'd say getting a pillow to free up your down jacket is your least expensive option!

Another vote for the overstuff, otherwise. $150 may seem high for a few oz. of down, but it's still very cheap compared to a premium down bag.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 9:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've found that more layers actually makes me colder.

I've also found that trying to sleep in socks or other clothing items that are even slightly sweaty chills me and putting on dry stuff does away with the chill.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 9:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(AlmostThere @ Nov. 19 2013, 9:15 pm)
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I've found that more layers actually makes me colder.

I've also found that trying to sleep in socks or other clothing items that are even slightly sweaty chills me and putting on dry stuff does away with the chill.

I hear ya.  I usually hike with dedicated sleepwear, lightweight wool baselayer top and bottom, and thin merino socks.  I'm careful to keep them and my bag nice and dry -- nice to have that guaranteed warm, dry and clean sleep setup at the end of the day.

In any case, I've been taking the same stuff for a while now and my bag is relatively new and it's clean, so I think my metabolism has just changed a little.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 10:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm thinking Owen's post has the best process, choices.

And, I'm noting your last post about bag being clean and dry but I'll mention that I've had "bag failure" on the top of a quality down bag after 2 nights of body vapor buildup, no sun drying (storming, cloudy). Problem addressed that evening by flipping the bag over, putting on down sweater -- but still a tough, memorable lesson.

FWIW, I've seen similar metabolism changes in myself.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 10:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Eric H @ Nov. 19 2013, 10:07 pm)
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I'm thinking Owen's post has the best process, choices.

And, I'm noting your last post about bag being clean and dry but I'll mention that I've had "bag failure" on the top of a quality down bag after 2 nights of body vapor buildup, no sun drying (storming, cloudy). Problem addressed that evening by flipping the bag over, putting on down sweater -- but still a tough, memorable lesson.

FWIW, I've seen similar metabolism changes in myself.

I've been hoping they were isolated events.  Maybe I'd gone to bed a little hungry, maybe dehydrated, maybe a damp night, whatever.  And it's not as if I've been miserable.  But I don't have any hikes planned for the next few months (not a winter backpacker), so if I'm going to send off my bag for overfill, this is a good time.  It's also not a bad time if I need to ask Santa for a new bag...  :)

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 11:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A pair of down booties and a down hood have made the most difference to my warmth and pushing my bag's rating.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2013, 9:16 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

When was the last time you washed it?

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2013, 9:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TigerFan @ Nov. 19 2013, 9:41 pm)
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In any case, I've been taking the same stuff for a while now and my bag is relatively new and it's clean, so I think my metabolism has just changed a little.

My first guess was that you had an older bag that lost loft, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2013, 9:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It can look clean, but I've found that as much as I have used my down gear, a wash restored loft I didn't notice was missing....

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2013, 10:47 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Assuming you are wearing a warm hat....I would go w/the extra fill....especially if you have your pillow dialed in.

I have never had a cold nights sleep...honestly...but I have had some of the most wretched nights ever if I cannot get the right pillow set up....

It continues to this day....


Of course, when I get that set up perfected, my metabolism will slow down and I'll start getting cold.....


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2013, 11:24 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(AlmostThere @ Nov. 20 2013, 9:58 am)
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It can look clean, but I've found that as much as I have used my down gear, a wash restored loft I didn't notice was missing....

You're right.  I've been adamant that it's clean but took a good look at it while putting gear away and I think it's lost some loft.  Washing it is on my list for the weekend.


(wcolucci @ Nov. 20 2013, 10:47 am)
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Assuming you are wearing a warm hat....I would go w/the extra fill....especially if you have your pillow dialed in.

I have never had a cold nights sleep...honestly...but I have had some of the most wretched nights ever if I cannot get the right pillow set up....

It continues to this day....

Of course, when I get that set up perfected, my metabolism will slow down and I'll start getting cold.....

Yup... that's how it goes!  :D   I surveyed all my failed pillows purchases and finally made THE pillow I've been searching for.  I'm really happy with it, so not willing to mess with it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2013, 12:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Buy a wide range of bags, and a llama to carry them all.  I believe you are a few years younger than I am, and I have been all over the place for several years, overheating this night  freezing that night--all in very similar temps and conditions.  It's making me crazy!  I'm considering a quilt, in hopes it will be easier to adjust.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2013, 6:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RebeccaD @ Nov. 21 2013, 12:00 am)
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Buy a wide range of bags, and a llama to carry them all.  I believe you are a few years younger than I am, and I have been all over the place for several years, overheating this night  freezing that night--all in very similar temps and conditions.  It's making me crazy!  I'm considering a quilt, in hopes it will be easier to adjust.

Actually, I think I'm the one who's older by a few (will be 52 in a few months) but I'm pretty sure we're in the same place on this.  Though, for me, it hasn't been so up-and-down... just a stready downward slide...   :D


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2013, 7:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Though, for me, it hasn't been so up-and-down... just a stready downward slide...

yeah but when you get to my age the hill gets a lot steeper...yikes!!


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2013, 10:18 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TigerFan @ Nov. 21 2013, 3:39 am)
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(RebeccaD @ Nov. 21 2013, 12:00 am)
QUOTE
Buy a wide range of bags, and a llama to carry them all.  I believe you are a few years younger than I am, and I have been all over the place for several years, overheating this night  freezing that night--all in very similar temps and conditions.  It's making me crazy!  I'm considering a quilt, in hopes it will be easier to adjust.

Actually, I think I'm the one who's older by a few (will be 52 in a few months) but I'm pretty sure we're in the same place on this.  Though, for me, it hasn't been so up-and-down... just a stready downward slide...   :D

LOL! I still want the llama.  Or for my teens to get big, like my brothers did, and carry my gear for me.

I sympathize with the basic problem, though.  I hate being cold.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2013, 7:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I can see it now . . . gracefully aging Forum members demand magazine gives major space to llama reviews, care, feeding and technique . . . Backpacker Magazine  transitions to Llamapacker Magazine  :D      Cover story reads "Two week llama packing trip in the Wind Rivers: here's how"
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2013, 8:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I would go with a down jacket because you can wear it during the day as well, saving weight. Hot water bottles work extremely well. Also, reserving the down jacket for your pillow doesn't make sense to me. I've never understood the advice to "fill a stuff bag with extra clothing to make a pillow." What extra clothing? If it's cold, I'm wearing it all.

For car camping maybe you can add a fleece liner (if it will fit inside your sleeping bag).
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(TrailTramper @ Nov. 21 2013, 8:26 pm)
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I would go with a down jacket because you can wear it during the day as well, saving weight. Hot water bottles work extremely well. Also, reserving the down jacket for your pillow doesn't make sense to me. I've never understood the advice to "fill a stuff bag with extra clothing to make a pillow." What extra clothing? If it's cold, I'm wearing it all.

For car camping maybe you can add a fleece liner (if it will fit inside your sleeping bag).

Well, I'm not a winter backpacker, so if I have my down jacket, it's just for cold evenings at camp.  I might pull it out for a long lunch on a cold day but I don't think I've ever had it on when carrying my pack, so the weight point is probably moot for me.  Whether I'm carrying the extra few ounces in the sleeping bag, pillow or jacket, it's going to be *in* my pack either way.

In any case, I'm not trying to figure out a way to extend the rating of my bag.  I'm going to get a warmer bag or make my current bag warmer.  Adding down to my current bag is cheaper but it obviously won't change the baffle height.  A new bag is expensive but there are lighter materials now available, so I could get a warmer bag at the same weight as my current bag.

Not worried about car camping.  I have all sorts of warm but heavy car camping bags.  I just mentioned it to show that the constant factor was me, not a particular sleeping bag.


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Western Mountaineering is coming out with a new model in January...called the Terralite, I think.  Wide dimensions, even in the 5'6" length. 29 oz total weight, and around a 20-25F rating. You may want to check it out as more info becomes available.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 22 2013, 8:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Eat five pounds of candy just before bed.

Of course, you can never have enough sleeping bags so buying another is a good plan too.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 05 2013, 1:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have this same problem, but am just a car camper. Last summer (June) in the Sierras (Sequoia NP, 5,500 ft.) I about froze my heinie off in an inexpensive synthetic mummy bag I picked up before I left. Had to wear way to much clothing in it to sleep comfortably, and this was on an airbed type mattress. This year I'm going to try a medium weight base layer under flannel and see if that works. Investing in down bag just is not fiscally practical at this point, as I no longer backpack.
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(jhansman @ Dec. 05 2013, 1:15 pm)
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I have this same problem, but am just a car camper. Last summer (June) in the Sierras (Sequoia NP, 5,500 ft.) I about froze my heinie off in an inexpensive synthetic mummy bag I picked up before I left. Had to wear way to much clothing in it to sleep comfortably, and this was on an airbed type mattress. This year I'm going to try a medium weight base layer under flannel and see if that works. Investing in down bag just is not fiscally practical at this point, as I no longer backpack.

The "airbed type mattress" was very likely the culprit.  This essentially lets cold air circulate freely underneath you, pulling your body heat away.  Try putting a pile of blankets, or something with insulative qualities that won't compress too much, between you and the mattress.
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(jhansman @ Dec. 05 2013, 1:15 pm)
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I have this same problem, but am just a car camper. Last summer (June) in the Sierras (Sequoia NP, 5,500 ft.) I about froze my heinie off in an inexpensive synthetic mummy bag I picked up before I left. Had to wear way to much clothing in it to sleep comfortably, and this was on an airbed type mattress. This year I'm going to try a medium weight base layer under flannel and see if that works. Investing in down bag just is not fiscally practical at this point, as I no longer backpack.

The air mattress may be a big part of your problem and adding a CCF layer would be an inexpensive boost.  Also, for car camping, no reason why you can't just bring some extra wool blankets and such from home.

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(TigerFan @ Dec. 05 2013, 3:08 pm)
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(jhansman @ Dec. 05 2013, 1:15 pm)
QUOTE
I have this same problem, but am just a car camper. Last summer (June) in the Sierras (Sequoia NP, 5,500 ft.) I about froze my heinie off in an inexpensive synthetic mummy bag I picked up before I left. Had to wear way to much clothing in it to sleep comfortably, and this was on an airbed type mattress. This year I'm going to try a medium weight base layer under flannel and see if that works. Investing in down bag just is not fiscally practical at this point, as I no longer backpack.

The air mattress may be a big part of your problem and adding a CCF layer would be an inexpensive boost.  Also, for car camping, no reason why you can't just bring some extra wool blankets and such from home.

You know, as I was writing that post, the very same thought occurred. The only other time we used them was at sea level, and the night was mild. Didn't occur to me that the air in the mattress would be the same as the ambiient temp. Doh!
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