Nov 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm #1309898
I hiked most of the PCT this summer with a 20 degree wide RevelationX quilt with 2 extra oz of down. I sewed a zipper on the back so it was kind of like the zpacks quilt (ie more like a sleeping bag). I also had a down hood and silk liner. The problem was that I was cold when it was below 35, even when wearing my down jacket and two sets of long underwear. I don't think it has anything to do with Tim's bags, more just with the fact that I am an EXTREMELY cold sleeper.
Now I am trying to figure out my sleep system for the CDT this coming year. I swore on those miserable cold nights on the PCT that I would buy a 5-10ish degree, woman-specific bag for the CDT, complete with a hood and draft collar and everything. On the other hand, my boyfriend (who will hike with me) thinks I should just add down pants and possibly a more substantial down jacket (instead of the patagonia ultralight hoody). He also mentioned the possibility of sewing our own VBL clothes and sending the quilt back for more stuffing (which would also help with open baffle down shifting). We have had some success using our two quilts layered sharing a big agnes tent.
Here are the considerations:
1. The CDT is colder at night.
2. I am switching from sleeping solo in a zpacks hexamid to sharing a BearPaw Luna 2 tarp/shelter. I think the tarp will be less drafty, and having a warm body next to me will definitely help us both stay warm!
3. I am switching to an inflatable pad from a ridgerest.
4. I am trying to keep the cost as low as is possible while still buying gear that is light, effective, and lasts!
So what do you recommend? Should I get more stuffing for the quilt? Add down pants? ANyone have experience with thru hiking sleep systems for couples?Nov 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm #2045316
@jeffreytsimsLocale: So. Cal
I do not have experience with the couples hiking situation, but I do have a pair of WM down pants that I take with me on just about every trip as I am a cold sleeper. I use a 30 degree Revelation with no over fill but when the temp crops I put on the down pants and a GoLite Selkirk 800 fill jacket, Zpacks down hood. I like the ability to always have what I need to sleep comfortably. John over at Borah Gear is now making custom down pants so you could add a ton of down if you think you may need it on really cold nights, and still sleep comfy when the thermometer reads more comfortable.
YMMV but it works well for me.
JefNov 16, 2013 at 7:10 pm #2045318
@m-lLocale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Definitley build and add layers to boost your sleeping bags warmth. Sleep with extra insulation that you are wearing around camp. Its not cost effective or versitale to buy a brand new heavier bag.
I find that a piece of plastic like a 2oz poncho (or a zpacks cloud kilt) draped over the top of my body does wonders trapping the body heat from rising up and away.Nov 16, 2013 at 7:24 pm #2045321
If you check sleeping bags with the European ratings, you'll see that in general they think women sleep about 10* colder than men. Get a warmer bag for sure, and bring your down jacket and pants as well! The moer draft-proof tent and warm body will help, but get the basics right, in case you end up by yourself with a lighter weight, less draft-proof tent or tarp.Nov 16, 2013 at 7:30 pm #2045322
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
I am a cold sleeper too, and I prefer having a lighter sleeping bag with extra clothing over a warmer bag. This allows me more flexibility in temps. I can go from 50 to 30 and adjust. This was very useful for me on a sierra trip this summer where we encountered warm temps in mid elevation canyons and near freezing temps at high lakes.
Down pants and a down jacket combined with a bag would be good.
How heavy/warm is your down jacket? If you really want to avoid getting a new bag I would go straight to a 1 pound winter puffy and some ul down pants. You will be soooo warm in camp, just make sure you have a roomy enough bag/quilt.Nov 16, 2013 at 7:39 pm #2045329
SO what is your opinion of the best down jacket with 5-6 oz down? I have the patagonia ultralight and love it but it isn't quite that warm.Nov 16, 2013 at 8:06 pm #2045343
@nedjursekgmail-comLocale: Pacific Northwest
Was just at the Feathered Friends store in Seattle. Their Spoonbill 2 person bag was out on the shop floor and looked great. You and your boyfriend can each sell a bag or quilt on this forum and use the proceeds towards a Spoonbill. Make him carry it, it is still pretty light. You will save weight and be warm and toasty.Nov 16, 2013 at 8:21 pm #2045355
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
I think you should put more money and ounces into a solid 2-piece sleeping pad system, with a 1/8" CCF pad (or keep your Ridgerest although it will be bulkier) and a full-length (or women-specific 64"-ish) insulated inflatable. You should look at a combination to get to a total R-Value of 5 – 6.
One pad to consider on top would be an Exped DownMat UL, although they are very expensive. Still cheaper than a new quilt, especially since you already have a nice quilt.Nov 16, 2013 at 8:43 pm #2045366
@sschloss1Locale: New England
I thru-hiked the CDT NOBO this year. If you go NOBO (and you should! Glacier is the best possible finishing point, and NM in the spring is nice), a 20-degree bag should suffice. I used a 15-degree quilt and was warm every night. Our coldest night on the entire trip was maybe 25ish, and I doubt I had more than 5 or 6 nights below freezing the entire trip. I had way more cold nights on the PCT than on the CDT.
Of course, we were really careful about campsite selection (always in trees if possible, always up out of valley bottoms if possible, never above treeline, yadda yadda. Most other thru-hikers seemed to throw down anywhere, and I saw a lot of other hikers' journal entries reporting nights in the low 20s, frozen water bottles, etc. Not us.).
Anyway, if you go north, you should find that the CDT is no colder than the PCT. Maybe even warmer. Now, if you go south, that's a whole different story, and you will probably have many, many cold nights in Colorado and NM.Nov 16, 2013 at 10:18 pm #2045380
@cameronLocale: The WOODS
Make sure you have adequate head insulation, no point in having a 15 degree quilt if your head is cold at 25.Nov 16, 2013 at 10:33 pm #2045383
@drusillaLocale: Wild Wild West
I'm a cold sleeper so use silk or wool long undies plus down pants and top puffy if I need it and always have a baklava or fleece hat and possum down gloves and socks. Then I use a quilt or bag rated for the lowest temps I can predict for the trip and a reflective pad or insulated pad.
When I did the CDT SOBO I had a great bag but a terrible pad, had to pick my spots and dig holes for shoulder and hip but I didn't freeze! I was soaked through a lot from the monsoons in the daytime but at least I had a warm place to sleep.Nov 16, 2013 at 11:54 pm #2045388
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
What is under you at night is more important than what's over you.
If your height fits it, the Thermarest Prolite Plus Womens' inflatable pad is the way to go. Makes a great frame sheet for your pack as well.
20 x 66 x 1.5 inches
R = 4.6
Insure your comfort by also carrying:
The Thermarest Fast N Light Repair Kit; $10; 0.38 ounces
20 x 72 x 1/8 inch CCF pad; 3.2 oz.; R = 0.2
Truly multi-purpose, it protects the inflatable from possible punctures (especially in the desert), doubles as a sit pad or for mid-day naps and lunch breaks, eliminates the need for a separate ground cloth, and serves as a cozy to keep rehydrating food warm (why risk spills and/or odors on your insulated jacket, especially in bear country?).Nov 17, 2013 at 1:25 am #2045395
@dmusasheLocale: Pacific Northwest
+1 on what Luke said about prioritizing head warmth. I'm not sure why, but this aspect of sleeping warmth seems to be glossed over a lot. You can be losing upwards of 45% of your body heat through your head, since it's really the only area of your body that has lots of blood flow near the skin but doesn't vasoconstrict to preserve warmth (this is also why head wounds bleed so much!).
And also +1 on what Bob said about the importance of sleeping pad warmth. I've always found inflatable pads warmer than closed cell foam pads, even when they are specified at similar R values. I'm not sure why this is, but it's just my experience. You might try boosting your warmth (and comfort) with an inflatable. I'd definitely try that first before giving up on your current bag.Nov 17, 2013 at 5:16 am #2045401
For me I've always been a cold sleeper I'd get cold with a BA insulated air core and a 15 degree sleeping bag in 35 degree weather. Then I got an xtherm…. I have never been cold since. This weekend it was in the 20s and I had my RevX quilt and my xtherm and I I stayed toasty.Nov 17, 2013 at 6:04 am #2045406
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
I also found that I was cold at night pretty much all the time in my 20 deg bag, then in my 20 deg quilt. But one mid-20s night, bundled in all my gear, down booties, down hat with my cap 4 hoodie on, montbell alpine light puffy on with the hood up, etc etc, I really felt like I could feel the cold air coming up from underneath me (synmat UL 7).
About two weeks later my dog literally exploded my synmat…so I bought the downmat UL7. I'm 5'7" so I got the short one (60" long) and fits me pretty much perfectly. Wow what a difference! The short one weighs the same as my regular length synmat, so now I just carry the downmat all the time.
It made a HUGE difference in my warmth at night.Nov 17, 2013 at 6:48 am #2045408
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
From years of use I believe that using a downmat adds 10-15 F degrees to a sleeping bag. The only synthetic I've tried that's close is a Big Agnes Q Core, which I tested for BackpackGearTest.org. The Q Core is much easier to use but if it's going to be really cold I'll take my downmat.Nov 17, 2013 at 6:48 am #2045409
I thru hiked southbound this year. I think I am a neutral sleeper.
Starting at Glacier on June 15th I used a golite 1 season quilt (~40*), a GG nightlight pad, and a Montbell Alpinelight when needed and was fine – I don't think it got below freezing once until Southern Colorado. I switched to a western mountaineering apache (15*) in Steamboat Springs on August 24. This bag was too warm for all of Colorado surprisingly – the San Juans were cold but mainly because of all the rain.
For me, New Mexico had a few cold nights but nothing below the mid 20's probably. I think it largely depends on your pace, the San Juans and northern New Mexico could be brutally cold depending on when you get there. At the same time, it is entirely possible to stay ahead of the cold and have fairly mild temps the whole hike. Don't buy into the whole "Every night on the CDT is a cold night!" thing. A large chunk of your nights will be quite warm.Nov 17, 2013 at 7:29 am #2045419
@gregfLocale: Canadian Rockies
Are you cold when you are around camp?
If so add to your down jacket layers and down pants. If you are comfortable around camp at the lowestvpossible temp add down to the sleeping bag. I would just add down to your existing bag rather than get a new one as it will be more economical and compressed down does no suffer from inefficiency at low to moderate levels of compreession.Nov 17, 2013 at 9:44 am #2045469
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
I agree with Will and I've also soboed the CDT.
It was generally mild to warm at night until mid-Colorado. From there, I'd prepare for some dang cold nights.
In 2010, I was definitely happy to have a normal 15 degree sleeping bag and not my quilt.Nov 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm #2045615
I've had a similar experience with the Revelation X quilt and believe it is due to a large amount of down shifting during the night. Several folks here have said they just simply re=shake the quilt 2-3 times during the night to keep the down in place but who wants to do that? I have a Katabatic quilt with the same temperature rating, although I did add overstuff with 3 oz of down, and absolutely love it! It is very lofted, stays lofted during the night, and I never get cold with it, provided I keep my head warm and have a good pad, as others have noted here. They are expensive but along with my Western Mountaineering bag, my favorite piece of equipment. and worth every penny. Good luck!Nov 18, 2013 at 4:15 am #2045742
No one knows better than you how much insulation you need.
You realize already that the CDT is colder and that you were already sleeping too cold on the PCT even with long underwear, silk liner, etc.
As a rule if thumb, I think the most efficient way to keep warm weight- wise is to have enough insulation to keep you warm during the day, then incorporate that insulation into your sleep system when it's cold.
That said, I wouldn't add more items to boost the warmth of the quilt, I'd follow your instinct to get a warm hooded sleeping bag that fits you.
As others have pointed out, a pad with a good R-value is key too. A warm balaclava is some if the best warmth per oz you can wear, day or night. Dedicated warm, dry, clean sleeping socks are great. Possumdown socks are hard to beat. A dry set of long underwear to sleep in is awesome as you know.
Listen to your own experience. If you've had trouble staying warm, you'll notice being cold a whole lot more than the weight of a few more ounces of insulation, and the dollars spent on a quality sleeping bag will be money well spentNov 18, 2013 at 4:56 am #2045745
If you are going to get a new bag/quilt, consider getting a regular rather than wide width. I have a RevX wide and it's huge — that's a lot more air space that your body needs to heat (or that you need to fill with other insulation). Keep the warmth you do generate closer to your body and more concentrated.Nov 18, 2013 at 8:59 am #2045785
Take a look at Klymit's new Inertia O Zone. Supercomfortable and reasonably light.Nov 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm #2045855
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
Get a 10 degree Western Mountaineering bag. No quilt/hood/parka combo is as efficient as a bag with a proper hood and draft collar.
One more vote for NOBO. Choosing to go through Montana during the worst hiking month of the whole year is silly, and the normal June thruhiker sh*t show of getting lost in the snow and road walking around Glacier is embarrassing.Nov 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm #2045899
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
I went south, but my sense is that it can vary a lot year by year. I went SOBO in a fairly high snow year so most of Montana was snowy for me, creek crossings tough in the Bob, etc. But the hammer came down pretty hard just getting out of southern CO too, so for a true thru-hike I think you have to be prepared for some tough snow conditions somewhere along the way.
"Anyway, if you go north, you should find that the CDT is no colder than the PCT. Maybe even warmer. Now, if you go south, that's a whole different story, and you will probably have many, many cold nights in Colorado and NM."
My experience differed from what's suggested above ("if you go south"). The coldest nights for me weren't in CO or NM. Well, a couple of cold ones in each (southern CO and northern NM), but more in Montana for me.
I don't think there's a right way, NOBO vs. SOBO. The comment about tough issues with snow in Glacier certainly was true for me, but I think that in a year with a bit less snow or with a somewhat later start SOBO is still a fine choice. NOBOs can certainly hit just a wall of snow getting into Colorado. Perhaps the most sane choice is to chunk-hike the CDT.
In terms of what the right gear is for you — dunno, really. My 20F WM bag was fine for me throughout, but it sounds like my metabolism isn't the same as yours (OP).
I do agree with whoever said that the CDT isn't "always cold" — certainly not. And while windy, in terms of tent selection I didn't think that "deals well with high wind" was as big a factor as I had read about beforehand. The wind is more an issue to deal with while you're hiking. On occasion.
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