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Didn't see anyone mention anything like UnderArmor. I have these for my fitness wear, and was wondering if they would make a good base layer next to my skin because of the compression factor.


They are great for a base layer during the day. As I mentioned, I don't wear anything on my legs at night, but I do wear a shirt. I would think it would work well for that.


Also, nobody mentioned putting my bag inside another bag. Is this a good idea?


I would put it under my winter bag, not around it. I think you'll get more insulating value by adding the barrier between you and the ground. That's been my experience.

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some absolutley great information...the best is to get out of all your day clothing including your long johns...We just came back from a 24 degree camp with sustained wind of 25MPH and frequent gusts to 55mph.

(Talking some good wind chill here!) the kids did great!


only one that had a problem -an adult, who was in a great big, cabin tent, on a cot trying to sleep in his day clothes (cause "they were warm when he went to bed")...


As part of our shakedown in March for new scouts we spend several nights on gear and preperation with both the scouts and their parents...Some of our shakedowns have had snow and rain on the same weekend! We do not allow them to participate unless they are "gear-ready"...buddy system rules, Senior patrol leader and the troop guides inspect packs for necessary items, and they are "charged" to see that each new scout "changes to dry" before climbing into bed. Seems to work.


(we also hold camping seminars for the new scouts parents) Our adult leaders teach parents while the Scouts teach the new patrols...adults take longer to learn!


Secret...dry bed-clothes and socks, good pad, good sleeping system (bag+ fleece liner), wool watch cap or neck gaiter pulled up over head and ears...and even light gloves...(I tend to stick an arm out during the night...darn hand gets cold)....has worked for me in a 20 degree bag down to a sustained 5 degrees.


good luck on your next try!



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Eagle74 - Great info on air matresses and air as an insulator - I gave it short shrift in my post but the intention was that the large pockets of air in a conventional air mattress was not a good insulator but that the smaller pockets of air in clothing and thermarests worked well as insulation and as heat retainers (and we're talking small here - pencil point or smaller). Thanks for the clarification.


Dan - I realize its probably a bit too late to help for this weekends campout but it would not hurt to allow your bag to air out for a little while in the morning - I've always made a habit of shaking it out a bit when I woke up, hanging it on a line outside if it was sunny and dry for a little bit or, if its raining, unzipping the bag and letting it lie inside up for a bit, then doing my morning camp chores (cooking, cleanup) - then I put the bag back into its stuff sack - if there is moisture (humidity) in the air, putting the bag back into the stuff sack helps prevent the bag from absorbing excess moisture.


Bizzybbb - I know people who swear by the double bag system - stuffing one sleeping bag into another - I'm just very hesitant to suggest it unless the bags are part of a system (in other words, designed to work together or independently of each other). I think it was SR540Beaver who mentioned the Wiggy bag system. I've heard great things about these bags and have always wanted to test one in the field - but, and this is an important but - these bags were designed specifically to work together. Taking two bags not designed to work together may or may not work. I keep thinking about your particular bag - typically with two bag systems, the higher temperature bag goes into the lower temperature bag - your bag won't have the room and you'd have to reverse it - I'm not convinced you would see any benefits. My suggestion instead would be a fleece bag liner as the "second" bag. As for buying a 40 degree bag, if it were me, I'd save my money - you shouldn't overheat in your 15 degree bag if the temperature at night is 70 or below - and you can always open up the bag and use it more like a blanket than a sleeping bag - if you find the bag is too hot and you try using a fleece liner, that liner can also double as a warmer weather bag - and in the summer, when its hot at night, I use a couple of sheets rather than a sleeping bag anyway.



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Interesting thing this 15 degree bag...On our previous campout the temperature only got down to about 50 at night, and I slept in my Patagonia Capilenes. I was a bit on the warm side, but not bad. How is it that a bag can have such a range of temperatures? I'm truly hoping that this one bag can cover most of my needs except for when it gets very hot. (We don't camp when it gets very hot.) In Florida we camp from October to April. Summer is impossible.


So, to recap, here are my tasks (changes) for cold weather:

-Ditch the air mattress.

-Maybe add another sleeping pad under my Thermarest Z-lite

-Add a fleece blanket inside bag, or sleeping bag liner inside bag

-Change to dry clothes, minimum layers, no cotton

-Maybe add blanket between sleeping bag and sleeping pad


This sounds too simple. Did I miss anything? Already had the correct socks. My feet and legs were not the majority of the problem. It was my torso, my core. Storing bag correctly.

Thanks again.


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Just got back from a cold weather camp out. It was 9 when I got up one morning, 6 the next. It was cold! But I was nice and toasty in my sleeping bag (-15) on top of two REI themorest-like pads. I write to testify that less is indeed more I slept in nothing but a t-shirt and undies (both synthetic) and slept great. Now getting out of the sleeping bag in the morning was another story! However, some of my Scouts did the I slept in all the layers I brought thing and woke up cold, cold, cold! And per an earlier post, for the first time in my Scouting career, I too did the bottle rather than getting out of the tent to find a tree delux! It was interesting, despite opening the lower and upper vents in my tent (Tranga 2), the area above my head was covered with ice crystals the snowed down on my when I sat up to get up!

Now I just need to convince my Scouts that less really is more for our February camping trip!


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Oi! I have never seen such odd winter camping advice.


An alternate scientific view, from a guy who has about a full 365 days campin' below freezin...


Less is NOT more. If ya think less is more, try going to bed tonite wearing long underwear and fleece, and see if you're cooler.


Not wearing leg insulation will not help da rest of your body stay warm. It's less efficient for the legs to heat the air and then heat the body, compared with the legs/body not losing the heat in the first place. Blood is a much better heat transport mechanism than air. If you want your feet to stay warm, or to be warm at night, ADD a layer to your legs to reduce your largest area of heat loss.


Der's nothin' wrong with wearing a hat inside a sleeping bag, but you should make sure you are not too warm (and sweating). Der's nothin' at all wrong with wearing socks, fleece slippers, or down booties inside a sleepin' bag, as long as they're not too tight. You NEED to drink/be well hydrated at night, because blood flow to your extremeties is necessary to keep them warm.


Summary: If you're cold at night, you're an idiot if you don't add a layer, provided you're not using anything with cotton content. As the original poster generated...she was cold until she ADDED a winter jacket.


My advice to da original poster:


1) Lose the air mattress, add a thermarest.

2) Eat high fat-content food before bed. Fat has higher energy content than other food types, and takes longer to digest. It will provide energy in the middle of the night when everything else is spent.

3) Add a neck gaiter or wear a balaclava. There's a lot of heat loss through the neck as well as head, and the neck area tends to trigger a bunch of neurological "I feel chilled" responses.

4) Fill up "extra space" inside your sleeping bag with extra clothes. You want to heat as little space as possible.

5) Add a lower layer. One pair of fleece pants will do ya.


As always, leave cotton at home. As always, if you're perspiring at any point, lose a layer. As others have mentioned, go to sleep in fresh dry stuff if you can, but there's really no problem with lightly damp synthetics.


For the younger guys:

1. Watch their energy level. The young guys tend to go hard then crash. Usually when they're cold, they're tired and HAVEN'T BEEN EATING AND DRINKING ENOUGH. Forget the 3-meals thing. Teach them to "graze" on gorp/energy bars every half hour to an hour... not just candy bars, but stuff with about a 30% fat content for longer-term energy. Lots of hot drinks (cocoa & soups), and drink mix to encourage them to drink.


2. NO COTTON. Invest in a midweight or exp. weight polypro base layer.


3. Waterproof breathable shells have gotten cheap. Use 'em.

Small sleeping bags, or fill up all the excess space.


4. Teach them how to "layer up" after running around, and "layer down" before running around.





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A lot of real good posts. Where most people get cold is not from the top, but from their back. The down or foam or whatever you have in your bag gets compressed as you lay down. For real cold weather put your down bag inside a foam bag. The thermal air layer around you body is what will keep you warm.


Can the air mattress, and put a couple layers of 1 inch foam down.




During our winter camps we always have the boys wear oversized pants (not cotton) and put the foam inside. We do this with oversized boots and they are always amazed at how warm they stay.


If you feel more comfortable with clothes, make sure they are dry and change your socks. DO NOT WEAR COTTON as it soaks up the sweat and you have to use body heat to dry it out. Instead go with nylon and wool which will pull sweat away from your skin and dry quicker.


Very little water after dinner will prevent the midnight run. Again it requires energy to warm your bladder.


I don't care to have a mummy bag over my head as I don't like the condensation so I were a hat.


The body needs energy to stay warm so the Snicker bar if you wake up cold is a good idea. (The boys always try to use this argument during the summer)


Great thread!

(This message has been edited by Herms)

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I don't believe the conventional wisdom about "don't wear cotton" applies to sleeping in a sleeping bag. No one sweats that much and if you do you're not cold in the first place.


I also don't believe that a full bladder consumes any energy at all. Urine doesn't dribble out of the kidneys cold. It's the same temperature as blood. One could make a better argument that by urinating you lose heat energy.

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I'm with Beavah in finding a fair amount of the advice in this thread to be strange.


I've had lots of winter camping experience ---not that much in below zero temperatures, but plenty above that, and plenty in wet conditions.


I take care to keep myself dry during the day, and would not bother undressing or changing clothing to sleep unless I were noticably wet. Even then, on multiday cross winter trips, it might be desireable to wear damp clothing as a way of drying it out overnight.


And I would hesitate to add more clothing if I were cold. I usually wear a wool hat, and wear one inside my tent hood.


I recall one six day cross country skip trip into the Pasayton Wilderness --- my down bag was getting rained on by condensation dripping or falling on the bag, and it was getting pretty damp by the end of the trip. How are you guys going to carry all the perfectly dry clothing you are going to change into on a trip like that?


I never sleep cold, although when I came back into Scouting a couple of years ago at age 54 I was AMAZED at how much harder the ground had gotten in the past twenty years! I sleep on a rather thick mattress pad whenever possible to avoid having a restless and uncomfortable night.




Seattle Pioneer



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I'll raise my hand for the two bag system again. We did our annual trip to Trappers Rendezvous near Newton, Kansas. This year marked the 29th anniversary of the event put on by the White Buffalo District of Quivera Council. They usually have 4,000 scouts in attendance. After last year, I swore I'd never go again. The high was 13 with snow and the low was 3 degrees. Since this year was supposed to be warmer, I went. The high on Saturday was near 50 degrees with mostly cloudy skies and the lows were in the mid-20's. Friday night was chillier than Saturday night as it had more humidity. I slept in my synthetic skivies, an under armor shirt and synthetic socks in my 15 degree bag on my thermarest. I was warm until around 3 AM. I spent the rest of the night chilled. The next night, I slid my 15 degree bag inside of a 20 degree bag I brought along and wore a military ECWCS (synthetic fleece long johns) top and slept warm all night long. I've done the one bag one night and two bags one night enough times to be convinced that it makes a difference. What is the difference between a 30 degree bag and a 0 degree bag? The amount of insulation. By combining two bags, you are simply applying more insulation against the cold outside air. What you don't want to do is try to stuff the same size bags together or a bigger bag inside a smaller bag and compress the insulation. I'd suggest buying a larger bag to use on the outside.


Concerning a full bladder. If you don't believe you will sleep colder with a full bladder, be my guest and tank up on liquids before bed during a cold weather campout one night and not the next and test your own results. I've done it both ways and can assure you that a full bladder will make you sleep colder. Consider that blood is moving thru small vessels, veins and arteries. Your bladder is basically a water balloon that your body has to try to keep warm and water does not retain heat well.

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"I take care to keep myself dry during the day, and would not bother undressing or changing clothing to sleep unless I were noticably wet. Even then, on multiday cross winter trips, it might be desireable to wear damp clothing as a way of drying it out overnight."


Please do NOT teach any scouts to wear damp (with perspiration or rain) clothing to bed on a Winter camping trip. Hypothermia is a very real problem in cold weather & has been known to kill.



"my down bag was getting rained on by condensation dripping or falling on the bag, and it was getting pretty damp by the end of the trip."


In order to prevent condensation on the inside of a tent (or at least make sure it is NOT raining INSIDE) you need to allow for ample ventilation. That means you should open your door & window a bit if you do not have vents on the top of your tent under your fly.



"How are you guys going to carry all the perfectly dry clothing you are going to change into on a trip like that?"


One easy way is to pack clean clothes in zip lock bags.


If you are on a backpacking or ski trip, especially if you know it will be wet, you need to make sure you have a waterproof cover for your pack (& yourself).



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Please do NOT teach any scouts to wear damp (with perspiration or rain) clothing to bed on a Winter camping trip. Hypothermia is a very real problem in cold weather & has been known to kill.


Riiiight. Yah, dat damp polypro dat has about 4 teaspoons of water trapped in its fibers is going to be a real killer. Not.


Fact is, drying things out with body heat is a common, ordinary, and professional thing to do in da winter, especially on longer trips. It never killed anybody, but may have saved a few toes here and there. Just don't try it with the cotton sweatshirt, or too many items at once.


Doubled sleeping bags work great, if you can afford the weight. To the gent who woke up cold at 3am, I suggest adding more fat to your diet before bed. Mix a couple o' dollops of margarine in with your cocoa, or indulge in some of that good ol' Wisconsin cheddar from those cold-weather cows.




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The two bag system is really not that much more expensive when considering the alternatives. As for weight, mine is around 4 pounds. The down bag (Moonstone) comes in at 3 lbs, and the syn bag (Haglof) at 1 lb. These two bags provides for a three bag system letting me mix and match for the seasons. If I'm really looking at some very serious cold weather, I will carry another down bag as insurance.


Also, I've moved from the nylon tents back to a canvas snow walker tent that can be heated using a small sheepherder stove. All can be pulled on 2 board tobagan, or hauled in the canoe..

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While we're on the subject, I'd like to pose the questions to all those experienced folk about what is best to eat at night to keep you warm. It was my understanding that meat or cheese were best, and while sugar and carbs might give a quick warm up, they do not have the long lasting warmth of meat and cheese.

Assuming the above, string cheese? Slim Jim's? Jerky?



By the way, I'm not taking fat Scoutmasters here, but skinny Tenderfeet!

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