May 30, 2009 at 3:02 pm #1236662
Brian BarnesBPL Member
From May to September my local nightly averages are above 50 degrees (F). However my highest temperature rated sleeping bag is 30F and is overkill in such temps! So, I've been putting some thought into lightweight options for summer sleeping… From reviewing prior posts on the boards I've learned about the following options:
Option 1) a traditional mummy bag lightly filled with a bit of high loft down (e.g. Montbell's 40-50F bag)
Option 2) a lightly filled down quilt (e.g. JRB Shenandoah)
Option 3) a synthetic quilt (e.g. BPL UL 60 quilt, or MLD offering)
Option 4) high loft clothing (such as BPL's UL 60 pants and parka) skipping the bag/quilt altogether
In these temps, what above option(s) do you use?
Why do you use, what you use?
Do you use something other than the above?May 30, 2009 at 3:06 pm #1504630
Option 5) Open SB out as a quilt and lay it loosely over you, not tight around neck.
An average of 50 F does not mean that some bits of some nights might not get down below 40 F.
CheersMay 30, 2009 at 3:48 pm #1504636
It does where I live.May 30, 2009 at 4:52 pm #1504644
@uniondhakaLocale: It changes.
I have a cheap-thin-synthetic-summer sleeping bag, a fleece blanket and a space blanket, a woolen hat and long socks. This works well enough for me for most temps down to 5 Celcius, and lower in a tent. For summer I remove things as temp goes up.
In the tropics I used a sarong and a face rag for the bugs.
Don't make things more difficult and expensive than they need to be.. You don't need UL gear for the summer, that's the beauty of summer! It's warm already anyway.
Edit: typos, GRRR!May 30, 2009 at 5:35 pm #1504655
@fperkinsLocale: North East
Hi Brian. You're dilemma sounds like mine about a year or so ago. It's time to start thinking about a [16oz] quilt. I have a Nunatak Arc Specialist and I'm pretty happy with it. I guess I have to be based upon how much I paid ;-) http://www.fperkins.com/backpacking/my-ultralight-backpacking-gear-list.php
Also, how much does your current sleeping bag weigh?May 30, 2009 at 6:46 pm #1504670
Jamie ShorttBPL Member
@jshorttLocale: North Carolina
Brian, I think the Shenandoah would be overkill, instead I would recommend a JRB stealth quilt all the way. I just purchased one and used it last weekend in the situtation you descibe (lows were 55) and it was plenty warm. It weighs around 16 oz. I plan to use it when the temps will be 45+ instead of my Nunatak Ghost. Why?
Though the 2 quilts are nearly identical in weight, but the JRB is not nearly as warm. This is a good thing in summer.
The JRB quilt can be opened all the way flat. It can have a foot box or not. Again a plus in warm weather. In cooler weather this feature only adds unneeded weight. So if it is warm you can just lay it over you like a blanket or lay it under you can lay on top. If it gets chilly <60 you can velcro the footbox section and snuggle up.
The JRB has a head hole so it can be worn as an insulating layer. So in temps expected to be 45 plus I am not carrying any insulating item. I use only a short sleeve BPL merino wool t-shirt and a golite virga jacket.
I will say I am extremely impressed with both the JRB quilt and the Nunatak Ghost, but in different ways. If its gonna be warm I will lean on the Stealth. For the majority of my hiking it will be the Ghost all the way.
JamieMay 31, 2009 at 9:07 am #1504746
Troy AmmonsBPL Member
Guess it depends on if you want a quilt or a bag.
I am a side sleeper and I usually turn the entire bag when I turn over so I prefer a bag when its nippy
I have a montbell SS #7 thats nice. Not too hot in the summer, but it is really thin.
Have a homemade LW fleece bag I use sometimes in combo with a modified thermal bivy #2, and that works but I prefer the SS #7. I got the synthetic SS because where I live and hike/camp its humid. If I was in NM I would get a UL SS down bag. Super light for a full bag.
Both are good to about 50D.
I had an Montbell Down UL #5 40D but it was too hot for me in mid summer and the humidity here is high.
I did take it out under the stars, no bivy and I was warm to 40D. ITs got a good rating but no zipper baffle. That night it got a full dew soak in Georgia, as I was out in the open, but the sun hit it for 10 min and it was dry. The DWR did its job.
I usually carry the thermal bivy as an extender with the SS #7 and it should extend the range a bit if you get caught in some unexpected cold. Think it weighs 7oz.
I not tried that combo though as I have not needed it yet.
I tried a BPL quilt. Wanted to use it as an extender with a 40-50D bag and as a summer bag. It was too tight for me. Nice and light though.May 31, 2009 at 1:22 pm #1504780
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I'd go with a light bag good for 50 deg. and then take exra clothing (long johns, for ex.) that you could use either in the bag or during the day as an extra layer if needed. Works fine for me on cool mornings when I need that extra layer to make breakfast at 5:30 AM.
EricMay 31, 2009 at 10:50 pm #1504859
I bought a BPL UL60 here on Gear Swap a few months ago, and at 12 oz it really works well in warmer temperatures.
I bring a Montbell Extremely Light Down Jacket @ 6.1 oz for those unforseen cold nights. It it is warm at night, the jacket makes a nice pillow, and takes the chill off when setting up and packing up.Jun 1, 2009 at 12:25 am #1504869
@traildogLocale: Great Lakes/Ontario
for summer trips i made a ray-way quilt with the alpine upgrade but only used 1 layer ( instead of 2 ). this is supposed to give a rating of 64'. sleeping in a lite base layer in a bivy, i've taken it down to 50' and slept fine. it's a lot cheaper and you can customize it to fit the way you sleep.
Jun 1, 2009 at 4:26 am #1504875
@fperkinsLocale: North East
Was it hard to sleep with all those inch worms crawling over your bag?Jun 1, 2009 at 11:36 am #1504935
Brian BarnesBPL Member
I very much appreciate the feedback. It sounds like many go the quilt route or use a bag like a quilt. I've been using my Mont-Bell UL SS #3 (30F, long version, 27 ounce) bag like Roger described above, but still have trouble regulating my temperature. Any part of the bag that is covering me up is too hot and any part that is exposed to the night air is too cool. Hence my interest in a lighter insulation.
Since I toss and turn at night, I'm considering making my own generously sized quilt (similar to MLD Spirit 50) using Climashield XP (2.5osy) and momentum 90 from Thru-Hiker. I'm hoping that the quilt will weight ~ 16 ounces, which would save ~11 ounces from my current bag.
As some suggested, I could use the extra layers (e.g. R1 hoodie, etc) to boost the rating a bit on cooler summer nights.Jun 1, 2009 at 6:38 pm #1505083
Brad FisherBPL Member
@wufpackfnLocale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Marmot Atom has worked great for me during the summer and I have no problem taking to 40 degrees. A little lower with a layer.Jun 1, 2009 at 7:45 pm #1505101
Hey Nick, how is the UL 60 in the 50-60 range? Do you wish you had the Pro 90?Jun 2, 2009 at 1:10 am #1505171
When it gets down towards 50, I wear my Montbell Ext Light Down Jacket (6.1 oz). Closer to 60, it becomes my pillow. I do sleep in my hiking clothes.
Prior to the UL60, I was using a Marmot Atom, which weighed almost double. What is strange for me is that I sleep fairly warm down to about 45F. Below that I am a very cold sleeper. At 32F I need to use my WM Ultralight, rated at 20F.Jun 2, 2009 at 4:26 am #1505183
The transition in how warm/cold you sleep – could it be related to heat loss from your head? Do you wear any head covering?
CheersJun 2, 2009 at 8:00 am #1505218
Thanks Nick. I have a Marmot Atom, and it's generally way to hot for me, from about May thru September.Jun 2, 2009 at 6:17 pm #1505377
Monty MontanaBPL Member
@tarasbulbaLocale: Rocky Mountains
Brian, on warm summer outings I use the MB Thermal Sheet (14 oz), which is rated to 50F, but since I'm a warm sleeper I can take it lower. However, should I get cold I slip into my MB Down Inner Jacket. I have used the BPL UL 60 quilt and it worked fine, but I prefer the Thermal Sheet for hot, dry weather because it packs down smaller; together with the jacket they'll pack down smaller than a loaf of bread. In addition, it combines well with my MB UL SS #5 during the winter down into the twenties. Happy trails!Jun 2, 2009 at 10:02 pm #1505439
>> The transition in how warm/cold you sleep – could it be related to heat loss from your head? Do you wear any head covering?
Yes I do. In warm weather I usually wear a OR PS50 Watch Cap, cooler a Smart Wool Merino Cap, and cold one of several types of balaclavas. But, next winter I am going to get some sort of down, probably a Nunatek Down Balaclava. I am probably not efficient here, opting for head gear based more on weight than effectiveness.
I also need to do a better job on my feet, which get cold. I usually just sleep in hiking socks. I recently bought a Nunatek Arc Specialist, and Tom talked me into some overfill in the footbox, after discussing my needs and wants. Using this train of thought, I think a pair of down socks or similar in sub freezing temps will help also. To be honest, I probably am not optimizing my winter sleep system. A little more attention to the head and feet are in order.Jun 2, 2009 at 11:37 pm #1505445
Well, in my experience, cold feet mean one of these things:
* a cold head
* not enough dinner
* Tight leggings (eg Skins etc, seriously bad idea in bed)
* a wet SB :-)
Apart from the last one, they all relate to not enough warm-enough blood going down your legs and through your feet. An infinitely padded footbox won't keep your feet warm if there is not enough warm blood flowing down to them.
A good 300 weight fleece hat with ear flaps works well for my wife. A BPL hood has also worked well for us but you have to get used to it.
Me, I have a large hood flap on my quilt which goes right over my head. Yes, I may be invisible under it. No worries, plenty of air.
I have worn fluffy socks to bed – socks which have never seen the inside of a shoe. Very nice, but optional imho. If the rest of me is warm my feet are warm. However, this is one case where ymmv really applies.
CheersJun 3, 2009 at 1:16 am #1505466
I really appreciate your input here. Yes I am probably not:
– wearing warm enough head wear
– definitely not eating enough
When I think of the calories I should probably consume, I am deficient. I am skinny and don't get hungry like most people. I am the same weight I was 40 years ago. I never get sick, just one of those lucky people who do not gain weight, plus am incredibly active. So I usually just eat enought to feel full, which is proably not enough.
Tight skins not an issue, because I wear calipene 3 in subfreezing and they are not tight.
Never a wet bag. In snow I use a water proof bivy and a VBL. I am good about not wearing too much clothing with the VBL. I do regulate this so I don't sweat. I do have this part down pat.
You mentioned you have a hood on your quilt and you cannot see your head. I assume your are not exhaling into the bag… how is this done? I learned the hard way years ago, that you cannot breath into the bag.
The other thing I bought this year is a BPL Merino Hoody, I love this thing and am planning on wearing in cold with the mask over the face.
Lastly, I don't particularly care for cold weather. But I hike year round. Because I live at the bottom of a nearly 11,000' peak, I have done a good amount of snow camping. I enjoy it, but am not going to do it a lot. In my younger years, I always did at least one solo snow shoe trip each year. Usually between Christmas and New Years. But in those days, my gear was heavy, heavy and heavy. You could probably have survived in the south pole with what I brought :)
If you have any other tips, shoot them my way. I can use the cold weather help. I would much rather hike in 100F than 32F weather!
One more question – what about hydration? I can get by with a lot less water than most people. How does this impact physiology in cold weather. Should I pay more attention to how much water I drink?Jun 3, 2009 at 2:56 am #1505470
"Well, in my experience, cold feet mean one of these things:
* a cold head
* not enough dinner
* Tight leggings (eg Skins etc, seriously bad idea in bed)
* a wet SB :-)"
You forgot the most important one… going to bed with cold feet. If you have poor circulation (like I do) it is possible to be toasty in the upper body and yet have cold feet which take seemingly hours to warm up.
I've tried all sorts of options, but have realised that once my feet get cold they really need to be warmed by an external source of heat (eg. warm air or hands). Once my feet are warm, they don't get cold again during the night. The problem is, I used to often go to bed with cold feet after sitting around in camp, and then expect them to warm up once I got in my bag. Not gonna happen.
Anyway, the moral of the story is to make sure your feet are warm before you get in your bag. Take your sweaty socks off as soon as you get into camp, or they will start chilling your feet. Put some nice wooly socks on then, not just before bed. If all else fails, spend 5 minutes warming your feet with your hands before you get in your sleeping bag.
Just thought I'd pass along my experiences, because I am prone to (and hate!) cold feet…
ps. chemical warmers of course work well if you don't mind carrying themJun 3, 2009 at 3:17 am #1505472
Rog TallblokeBPL Member
@tallblokeLocale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Spending 5 minutes going up and down onto tiptoes with some insulation under your feet can help restore circulation and warmth too.Jun 3, 2009 at 8:07 am #1505510
@jcarter1Locale: Pacific Northwest
I remember having cold feet for over two hours in my sleeping bag one freezing night. Couldn't get them to warm up. Finally I put on my insulating jacket. Ten minutes later I had toasty feet. My body must have been just chilled enough (even though the rest of me felt warm) to keep the capillaries constricted in my extremities. By creating a situation where I was a little too warm, I finally convnced my body to get more blood into my feet. We're all built a little different, but try making the rest of your body too warm for a little bit to see if that gets circulation going.Jun 3, 2009 at 12:44 pm #1505572
Food – yeah, can be a problem. Sometimes if we are *very* tired in the evening it can be difficult eating. The stomach is just too tensed up. The same problem affects climbers in the Himalayas – they are too stressed to bother eating in the evening, so they go to bed without much food, and can't sleep because they are too cold, etc etc. And by not eating they don't drink enough, which causes more problems… Vicious circle.
So we start by having some '2-minute noodle soup'. This gives us warmth, liquid, electrolytes and stimulates the appetite. Seriously. Well, it works for us anyhow.
Hydration – I know. We seem to drink a fraction of the amount of water other people drink. It may be a matter of experience or training. Not sure. In the snow or very cold weather the air is fairly dry so you can lose more water by breathing. We don't worry about it, but we do keep a water bottle in the tent at night, and if we wake up thirsty we do drink – just a sip at a time. A sort of slow rehydration maybe. If we are short on water, at a high dry camp for instance, we still drink. Better to have the water inside me than inside a bottle.
Hood on quilt. Well, ever pulled the bedclothes over your head in bed at home? You breathe out sideways. The same applies when I have my head on my little pillow and the SB hood over my head. I leave an air gap in front of my face, and that seems to be quite enough. Having warm ears and a warm head sure is worth the effort of maintaining the air gap. If my head is getting cold through lack of cover, it takes less than 1 minute after I flick the hood over my head for me to really notice the improvement in warmth over all.
Feet. I usually arrange any spare clothing (not a lot of that!) folded up at the foot of my 3/4 length air mat to help keep my feet off the ground. Without some padding there I find that whatever bit of me is resting on the ground does get cold. The down under my foot gets squashed of course. That's why I am never very impressed by the idea of extra 'foot flaps' in a SB: it's not the down on the top of the bag which is failing to insulate.
Sit Mats. Shameful things, they add to the load. Funny thing though: we (and many others) think they are worth it. I am talking about a bit of CCF maybe 15" x 10" x 1/2". Great for sitting on when the ground and everything else is soaking wet. Also great on snow. Also good for sitting on when cooking dinner, and for tucking under my feet when I go to sleep.
We first met these in the UK, many years ago. Meal breaks were uncomfortable as we always got cold wet backsides. Wet logs, wet rocks … So part-way through the trip I bought two commercial CCF sit-mats. Maybe the big surprise was that the gear shop in the little town had them in stock. Anyhow, at the next meal stop when we sat on these, we simultaneously turned to each other after maybe 30 seconds and each said "I've got a warm bum!". We have carried them ever since.
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