- Jul 12, 2019 at 5:15 pm #3601642
Let me tell you why it sucks to be a cold sleeper. The other week it got down to 42F on my last overnighter. I was in my 10F Enlightened Equipment Enigma on a Exped Summat R-3.3 mat. For 95% of you that would be enough and for many to much. I also wore a MEC T-3 thermo top and Nanatuk PCT Jacket with 2.5 oz/yd Apex. I had Patagonia Capilene Air thermo bottoms, wool socks and a hat. I was cold all night. This has been my life for 45 years of camping….it really sucks.
I’m so jealous of those that can sleep in their undies with a quilt wide open. I see Rab is coming out with a new 32F bag at 14 oz. I dream of having just that. My base weight would be so much less, but as it is I have to carry extra for sleeping.
Again…..it sucks to be a cold sleeper.Jul 12, 2019 at 6:25 pm #3601646Ken ThompsonBPL Member
@hereLocale: Right there
Is your physiology OK? Low iron or something?Jul 12, 2019 at 6:32 pm #3601647Bri WBPL Member
I feel you. If you search the threads, I started one that was entitled “Why am I so cold?” And there were tons of great tips from the community. I usually sleep with a 10° bag even in summer unless I’m fastpacking.
I’m also a really big fan of vapor barrier liners, if you haven’t tried it yet. And I’m pretty much giving up on quilts. Good luck!Jul 12, 2019 at 7:13 pm #3601650
@ken…. I pulled up my yearly physical blood results. They check calcium, potassium, and sodium. All good…. I’ll ask for Iron to be added.
@Bri… I have a vapor barrier insert. I just haven’t used it in 25 years. I’ll bring it on my next trip. I’m hitting the Chilkoot Trail this week, maybe bring it along.Jul 12, 2019 at 7:43 pm #3601651Bri WBPL Member
Should probably check your TSH (thyroid), too. Hypothyroidism can make you cold intolerant.Jul 12, 2019 at 9:14 pm #3601658David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
A 10F bag and a R-3.3 pad seem a bit (not a lot) mismatched. In situations in which I’d want (or even tolerate) a 10F bag, I’d want a warmer pad.
Half our campsites – the higher elevation ones – on the Chilkoot were tent platforms planked with 2x6s, so at least it wasn’t cold, sub-arctic ground. The first and last nights were on the ground, I think.
Speaking of those tent platforms – they made tent set-up a bit different. Harder in that you couldn’t put a tent peg wherever you wanted, but easier because you could thread guy lines through the 2x6s. A few sheetrock screws made for a very easy and solid pitch. Bring something to screw them in with, speciality screws with bigger heads, or bring a few nails and use a rock. Some extra cordage (I like 100 to 130-pound test dacron fishing line) helped reach easy tie-down points around the perimeter of the tent platforms.
It was the only backpacking trip I’ve done with 6 border crossings (drive from Kenai into Canada, on to Skagway, hike into Canada, took the WP&YRR train back to Skagway, drive into Canada and re-enter the US one last time).Jul 13, 2019 at 2:25 am #3601695Craig BBPL Member
Yeah, me too, and it does suck. I didn’t realize it until a few years ago when I discovered this whole UL movement though, and I went from my 3.3 pound 15°F Big Agnes bag to a 2 pound 30F bag and lighter weight pad (R~3 I think). My feet were the problem; they would stay cold enough to keep me awake all night. I did some experimenting with different setups in my back yard on cold nights where I measured temps into the high 20°F’s. Ultimately I found it was the pad. The 30F bag on the Exped Synmat 9 (R=6) was fine on a 29°F night, but the 15F bag on the Nemo Tensor Insulated on a 30°F night was NOT. A vapor barrier would definitely help, but you will most likely end up pretty wet inside it.
I’m pretty skinny (5’10”, 135 Lbs) without much body fat, and love the heat. I’ve concluded some people can just tolerate cold better, and I’m not one of them. I’ve never tried a quilt, and don’t understand how people can be comfortable in them. Every little movement (of which I make a lot) could let in cold air! Whatever works for you though.Jul 13, 2019 at 4:21 am #3601705Doug CoeBPL Member
@sierradougLocale: Bay Area, CA, USA
Same here. Last mid-September I slept in Yosemite at the Tuolumne Meadows backpacker campsite the night before a four-day hike. I was never so cold. I don’t know what the temp was (how do you guys know the low temps?), but maybe in the hight ’20s.
My WM Ultralite 20F bag on an original NeoAir was not even close to enough. I was so glad my hiking buddy had brought lots of extra gear. I had to add a Ridgerest under me and drape his extra sleeping bag over me and carried them the whole trip.
I too envy the warm sleepers! (I’m 6 ft and 150 lb.)Jul 13, 2019 at 4:22 am #3601706Cameron MBPL Member
@cameronm-aka-backstrokeLocale: Los Angeles
Well I share the same problem, but a (maybe) R-3.3 isn’t helping matters, particularly with a quilt. You may be surprised how much things improve when you use a higher R-value pad. I use an X-Therm.Jul 13, 2019 at 11:00 am #3601717Geoff CaplanBPL Member
@geoffcaplanLocale: Dartmoor, Devon
+1 for a warmer pad.
I don’t sleep anything like as cold as you folks, but I’ve been experimenting and the pad makes more difference than you’d think.
Something else to try – eating something fatty before you go to sleep. Helps boost the metabolism, and might just help a little.
Finally, be wary of boosting your iron. I doubt it will help unless you have a significant deficiency, and research is increasingly implicating excess iron as a prime factor in heart disease and dementia. When interpreting your test, be aware that males past their 20s need far less iron than young males or fertile women. There is a growing research consensus that the current recommendations are far too high for older males, but many frontline practitioners aren’t up to date on this yet.Jul 13, 2019 at 1:05 pm #3601720David PBPL Member
I feel you John and can sympathize. It seems like a 10* quilt plus insulated apparel should be more than adequate at 42*… I usually don’t bust out my supplemental pad insulation till well below 30*. But maybe an Xtherm could help you out at R5.6 I think. Personally, sleeping in a 40* quilt with insulation pieces gets me down to 30* easily… i think because I grew up in a very cold place (like not getting above 0 for weeks at a time) the temperature in our house at night got into low 50s sometimes. I became acclimated to sleeping cold and actually prefer being Slightly cold compared to slightly warm… this time of year I don’t bring a quilt at all, just Torrid hoody and pants (14 oz) and I’m good down to 50*
I won’t attempt a forum based diagnosis but maybe you do have a slow metabolic rate and/or poor circulation and George’s advice of eating some extra fatty stuff(nuts, chocolate, coconut, etc) before bed could help you to produce more therms at night? Good ole endothermy…
I have a couple suggestions but take them with a grain of salt, everyone is different, and I’ve been called worse than that :) experimenting in my backyard as many nights as possible to dial in a good nights sleep has helped me feel confident going out in sub zero temps. Have you ever tried doing abdominal crunches inside your quilt? It would suck to have to wake up and do that but if you’re already awake from being too cold bust out a few dozen crunches? Also doing some brisk form of exercise(running in place, sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks) Just Before getting in the quilt? It’s not like you just climbed a few mountains, right?
you have an Enigma (me too!) which doesn’t zip up, so even with insulated apparel air can still get inside the quilt. At 12oz You could try an Apex 50* full zip Convert as overbag wrapped over the 10* enigma . This traps the air inside and also provides another air layer sandwich between bags that can trap body heat and possibly keep you warmer. I use a double quilt system in deep winter (a 20* Enigma with a 40* Convert) with insulation pieces down to -20*.
Maybe an Mld Balaclava full head hood? Mine is indispensable in winter… at 2 ozs… I won’t need mine for a few months if you’d like to borrow it…
Also maybe just the capilene air bottoms are a little skimpy for you to sleep in? They are warm but porous. Maybe add slightly warmer bottoms and/or wind pants? I wear my EE wind pants over my lightweight to thermal weight capilene bottoms to help retain some of the heat that my quads and groin produce as I sleep. It traps the warm air in the raised grid pattern of the fabric. I also utilize Torrid Apex insulated pants at 6 ozs they provide a surprising amount of warmth.
All seriousness aside maybe you are part hummingbird… they have trouble maintaining their body heat in times of inactivity as well. Do you like going from beautiful place to beautiful place sipping the delicious nectars? :)Jul 13, 2019 at 2:24 pm #3601725
@All…… Thanks for all your input. I do own an x-therm. Sounds like I should try that for my summer hikes too. I like the idea of sleeping in my yard and experimenting.Jul 13, 2019 at 6:56 pm #3601736Greg MihalikBPL Member
What does it take to sleep warm at home?
Thermal clothing and a massive down comforter on top?
Or quite a bit less?Jul 13, 2019 at 8:48 pm #3601743Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
+1 to the recommendation of suspecting the pad
+ 1 to the question of what does it take to sleep warm at home.
Do you have a sense of where and when the cold starts, underneath you, from the top of the bag, an hour before dawn? A bag that is too warm can make you perspire more and then when the dew point is reached, condensation in the bag causes the bag to lose its capacity to insulate. This insulation failure is more of an issue in multi day trips but if you are perspiring a lot, you are losing heat through evaporative heat loss which would make you cold. Search on the topic “A bag that is too warm can bag you too cold” and you will find much better explanations than mine.
A pad that is too thin can start to pull heat from your body through conduction in the wee hours of the morning aß the earth cools
If you have a enough fuel to boil a liter of water before bedtime, make a hot water bottle with a Smartwater or Playtpus container. You might need to stick the bottle inside a sock to avoid burning exposed skin.Jul 13, 2019 at 9:13 pm #3601744Dennis PBPL Member
@dpenceLocale: Northern Idaho
70 years old this year, so sleeping warm is more important than when I was younger. Pad has been a game changer for me. Now using STS women’s etherlight XT insulated, 4.2 R value and Gossamer Gear thinlight underneath (prevents sliding and probably adds another two tenths or so in R value to the total.) Really noticed the difference over my old mat, which had R value 3.3. Next: head insulation, love Black Rock Gear down beanie, less than an ounce. Finally, eat something just before turning in. Combination of the three has worked for me. Also, if cold early in morning, do sit-ups, provides a quick fix.Jul 13, 2019 at 11:13 pm #3601759Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
I bring two sleeping quilts. Layers are always good, even when it comes to sleeping bags.Jul 13, 2019 at 11:24 pm #3601762MJ HBPL Member
Idle question. Does being a cold sleeper mean that you can sleep better in hot weather? If it’s a warm night, say 80 if humid and still, I don’t get very much sleep until the sun has been down for several hours.Jul 15, 2019 at 6:23 pm #3602029Mandy MBPL Member
I feel your pain. I gave up on quilts and bought a WM Versalite and haven’t looked back.Jul 16, 2019 at 7:14 am #3602120d kBPL Member
Two things have helped me: switching to an x-therm, and adding a down balaclava to my kit for sleeping in.Jul 28, 2019 at 4:28 am #3603796Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Beware of adding extra iron. OK for women, very bad for men.
->Try using a light fleece balaclava at night and you will be noticeably warmer. Carry it all 4 seasons.
->Place your pants and shirt under your mattress, at least in the torso area – more insulation.
->Zip up yer BWP parka and put it over the foot of yer sleeping bag. It works.
->Air your sleeping bag when possible to get rid of any residual moisture from the previous night and retain its insulating R value.
->Use a double wall solo tent. About 10 to 15 F. warmer than outside air.
Dennis, I got ya by 6 years.
I use closed cell foam 1/8″ thick floor underlayment cut to fit my mattress. Cheap and effective for shoulder season extra mattress warmth.Jul 29, 2019 at 2:23 am #3603896Jenny ABPL Member
@jenniferaLocale: Front Range
I am not a cold sleeper at home, but when camping I like the assurance that I will be warm enough! I have lately been using a 30-degree quilt paired with an XTherm. Wool long johns and socks and a light hat complete the setup, which has been more than adequate in temps down to the mid-30’s. I have a lighter pad, but the R-value is lower and I haven’t tried it yet. The pad underneath you can make a big difference. I also anchor three of the four attachment points on the quilt; that made a huge difference.
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