Feb 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm #1313183
Don't really have any other use for the plastic compactor bag pack liner, and somewhere I read it could be used as a vapor barrier liner. Wanted to explore that idea here.
I understand VBLs are most useful in multiple day cold weather conditions to keep insulation lofty… but would this make a difference or be worth it during average 3 season conditions?
Would it boost the effective warmth of my quilt on a cold night?Feb 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm #2072300
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
If you are talking about 'average 3 season conditions', then you don't need a VBL. It might in fact do more harm than good, creating and trapping a lot of perspiration.
CheersFeb 11, 2014 at 1:45 pm #2072328
I learned that trick in the Army (for my feet) and it works well for me. I often recommend it for people who are having issues with cold feet at night as a potential lightweight solution. If you are using a garbage bag liner in your pack, then there's no weight penalty to use it as a dual-use item.
Only way to know if it works and for what temperature ranges it would be appropriate for you is to give it a try. Seems some people struggle with cold feet worse than others so kind of a YMMV thing IMO YOLO AWOL etc etc.
"Would it boost the effective warmth of my quilt on a cold night?"
Your thread title seems to be directed at the feet so if the only issue you are having is cold feet, then yes. Others have mentioned using garbage bags as a full VBL liner; I've never tried that so I can't answer that question.Feb 12, 2014 at 9:16 am #2072613
@rhz10Locale: SF Bay Area
Is there any insulating value at all in spreading a plastic pack liner on top of or below my sleeping pad?
Thanks.Feb 12, 2014 at 9:32 am #2072620
…Feb 12, 2014 at 10:49 am #2072656
For clarification, my suggestion is to put the bag/VBL inside the quilt/sleeping bag and not on the outside. I suspect using a non-breathable bag on the outside of the sleep system may temporarily add some warmth but at the cost of saturating the down and losing loft over time.Feb 14, 2014 at 10:29 am #2073459
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
Theoretically, yes. According to what I could find, a single layer of 3-6 mil polyethylene film has a measured R-valule of .87. Not much, but it could help a little (and slightly reduce the risk of puncturing your sleeping pad, if that might be a concern).
I suspect it is more useful as a make-shif vbl, even though I doubt the convective heat loss could ever be properly managed with a "trash bag" vbl setup.
MattFeb 14, 2014 at 10:39 am #2073465
If you are sweating, you are using too much insulation. VBL creates a high humidity environment not a high perspiration environment when used correctly.
The main concern I would have with using a bag would be not trapping the humidity in the VBL. The high humidity would be free to exit the trash bag into the rest of your sleep system. In this respect, bread bags or equivalent would be far better. And this can be used well above freezing to help keep feet warm. I have found this to be extremely effective.Feb 18, 2014 at 11:32 pm #2074978
@m-lLocale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
I think VBL is good on nights 30* and under.
plastic poncho/ cuben kilt/ garbage bag
lay poncho over body, stick feet in garbage bag.
Just draping a 2oz $1 poncho over my body under sleeping quilt added a huge boost of warmth. Its not going to be as warm compared to sealing plastic around you but you wont risk sweating.
I felt like all the precious heat that was escaping my body on a 10* night was captured in the plastic as it was rising up and out of my quilt. I didnt sleep well that night because I was still cold, but it was much better when I got the plastic out and did a VBL.Feb 19, 2014 at 12:29 am #2074986
@glenn64Locale: Snowhere, MN
Kinda depends on the relative humidity I think. If it's a cold dry night, then your body moisture will be literally sucked through your bag like a wick. Losing heat both by convection and evaporation as latent energy. On a cold damp night however, I don't see a VBL being of much use, since it wouldn't really stop conductive loss at all anyway and if the air is already saturated, all you'll get is condensation.
I'm no scientist, just a wrench monkey, but it seems to me that's how it works. I do of course, reserve the right to be completely wrong.Feb 19, 2014 at 4:38 am #2075011
"Kinda depends on the relative humidity I think. If it's a cold dry night, then your body moisture will be literally sucked through your bag like a wick. Losing heat both by convection and evaporation as latent energy. On a cold damp night however, I don't see a VBL being of much use, since it wouldn't really stop conductive loss at all anyway and if the air is already saturated, all you'll get is condensation."
Where you are wrong is that there will be a micro environment created both inside your bag and also inside the VBL. Since a VBL reduces/eliminates moisture going through your bag there will be no condensation regardless of relative humidity. There have been extensive discussions on here regarding dew point and where condensation occurs. If condensation (dew point) occurs on the inside layer of your bag or VBL you have serious problems. (I can't even think of a scenario where that could happen short of ridiculousness such as using wind sheet material as a sleeping bag and sleeping in a very warm down jacket which basically then turns your jacket into a sleeping bag with arms.)Feb 19, 2014 at 4:59 am #2075015
Off topic a bit but before I bought my Integral Designs Event Wedge Bivy for sleeping on mountains I had a catastrophic fail of a tent I shouldn't have been in at 14200 feet. I was able to cover my head but my feet were being blasted by rain and wind. Pulled out my compactor bag liner and slid it over my feet and slept cozy the rest of the night.
Luckily I was in a synthetic bag and not down or I would have wetted (is that a word?) out.
I've experimented lightly with VBL barriers in cold wet near freezing conditions in mountainous terrain but mostly ended up overheating. Plastic bags over my feet in unexpected snow does help though.
Edited to add: Thinking more about my past situation I did put on my rain jacket and pants so VBL played a bigger part in keeping me warm while sleeping than I remembered. I also remember being wet warm and toasty until I had to crawl out of my wet womb in the morning and then couldn't wait for 1) a coffee and 2) get my wet tail down the mountain.Feb 19, 2014 at 5:36 am #2075020
@glenn64Locale: Snowhere, MN
"…there will be no condensation regardless of relative humidity." OK, I'm pretty sure they're closely connected.
"If condensation (dew point) occurs on the inside layer of your bag or VBL you have serious problems." I'd go along with that, maybe I didn't state it quite right, I didn't mean on the inside.Feb 19, 2014 at 7:45 am #2075047
Almost by definition you can't have condensation with VBL. If there is no moisture escaping from your body then there will be no condensation at least from moisture coming from your body. So if there is no moisture then outside humidity becomes irrelevant.Feb 19, 2014 at 8:28 pm #2075303
@alexherronLocale: Front Range
I love using trash bags. I guess I am a trashy kind of person, but I always bring two still attached to each other from the roll. 1.1oz They form a larger 26 inch wide 7 feet long ground sheet typically. This is with two layers of complete waterproofness. None of that soaking you get with silnylon. Anyway you could also use it as a liner if it floats you boat, but you could also use it as a vapor barrier and I will at this point in the thread only give outrageous support for doing this. For me with two I can make a pseudo poncho for my top half and encase my lower have as described above. BUT also you can use the trashbage as emergency bag cover for your feet of the bag if the rain is coming in a little and you didnt pitch your tiny tarp very well… that never happens right? ahem. All I am trying to say… there are a few things on my gear list where I am just amazed with all the things I can do with them. Cheap plastic trash bags are up there… with poncho tarps… handkerchiefs/buffs… good stuff. Makes you feel all mcgyvery and stuff.May 1, 2014 at 9:59 pm #2098482
@crossfox21Locale: East Oregon
I have heard good results with this
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