Feb 27, 2013 at 8:17 am #1299765
I hope this post catches Bob Gross's attention – the guy is a source of great advice.
I'm heading to Nelson, BC for a 2 night, 3-day ski tour. We have a hut reservation for at least 1 night, but will likely say out the 2nd. I've camped out in the snow a few times, and I have typically used a double-bag approach.
After reading the great article/posts here about how moisture from the body often gets trapped before it exits the bag (as it hits the dew point, and will even freeze in the bag) in sub-zero conditions, I was using a down bag on the inside and synthetic on the outside.
I have: 15-degree down back, but it's about 10 years old and doesn't keep me warm below ~25.
I also have access to a newish 20-degree synthetic, and a 40-degree down.
I'm considering buying a 0-degree synthetic. But would love some advice from this forum on sleep systems for the winter months.
I'd prefer not to spend a ton of money – I know 600 fill down bags for 0-degree can be had fairly reasonably, and synthetics are downright inexpensive. But what are other people's setups for winter camping sleep systems?
For pads, I'll be using an original Neo Air on top of a foam RidgeRest.
We'll likely be sleeping in a tent (NEMO Pentalite). I know it's not an ideal snow shelter – we'll be avoiding sever storms, and have some backup plans if we get caught in one.
SimonFeb 27, 2013 at 8:36 am #1959217
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I can't say much about British Columbia. Most of my area of operation is California. I've been out for a couple of weeks in temperatures down to -10 F, but I think B.C. will go colder than that.
I use a 30-year-old REI bag, 600 FP down rated to -20 F or else a 15-year-old NF down bag rated to -10 F. I quit using air mattresses for winter about 10 years ago. Whatever I use for a foam mattress, it is at least twice as thick as what I use for summer.
Your theory sounds right. I guess if you are on a tight budget, then you will have to go with some combination like you suggest. Keep in mind that synthetic bags like that are enormously bulky, so pretty soon you have to take a bigger and heavier backpack.
Tents can be a problem, also. In those temperatures, things don't stretch the way they normally do, so things break instead. That applies to fabrics, plastic connectors, adhesives, and about anything.
–B.G.–Feb 27, 2013 at 9:00 am #1959224
thanks for your input. What do you do with the moisture that gets trapped in your bag overnight? I can see airing it out on my pack sometimes, but not most days. Doesn't your bag end up moist, and less effective?
Are you not in a tent, in that case? Tents are problematic because of all the trapped moisture if you don't have good ventilation.
SimonFeb 27, 2013 at 9:06 am #1959227
Since you're only sleeping one night in the tent, you can stop worrying about moisture buildup in your sleeping bag.Feb 27, 2013 at 10:04 am #1959253
Agreed – but I'd like a solution that will work for my longer trips as well.
Curious how other people deal with this.
-sFeb 27, 2013 at 1:40 pm #1959368
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"What do you do with the moisture that gets trapped in your bag overnight? I can see airing it out on my pack sometimes, but not most days. Doesn't your bag end up moist, and less effective?"
This may sound odd, but don't trap so much moisture. Don't cinch up your bag too warmly, and that lets some steam out via the head opening.
Yes, the bag still accumulates some humidity. When you get up in the morning, there will be some finite amount of time before you are packing up to move. So, as soon as you vacate the bag, you turn it inside-out and try to hang it up someplace dry. That might be in the tent, on a tree branch, or between two skis in the sunshine. You try to let it steam dry as much as possible before you stuff it.
"Are you not in a tent, in that case? Tents are problematic because of all the trapped moisture if you don't have good ventilation."
You just answered your own question. Ventilate the tent better. You are not supposed to seal up the tent to preserve warmth. Instead, you close it up enough to shed most wind and precipitation, but you maintain some airflow to keep things semi-dry.
Sometimes I am in a tent on the snow, and sometimes I am in a snow shelter down in the snow. Strong wind blowing through is bad. A bit of ventilation is good.
I would not recommend the use of a woodburning stove in a snow shelter, but often we will run a white gas stove in the doorway or vestibule. I've tented as high as 19,500 feet elevation with the white gas stove burning in a vestibule.
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