Author Topic: Upgrading summer wild camping insulation for autumn  (Read 890 times)

Chump

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Hello!


I'm looking for advice regarding upgrading my summer wild camping set up for the colder autumn (and also spring) temperatures, ideally without adding too much weight.


I sleep cold, so in summer I generally sleep (in the Scottish mountains) in a ~800g 850FP down bag, 200g/m2 merino baselayer, warm socks and often a microfleece and fleece hat. The base layer and socks are carried to ensure I don't have to sleep in wet/damp hiking clothes. This takes me down to around +5-6 deg. C. Ideally, I'm looking for a solution that would see me down to the temp of a hard frost of, say, -5 deg, C in the morning.   


The simplest, and most weight-efficient, solution is to simply buy a warmer sleeping bag. However, aside from cost, that means I would be confined to the sleeping bag, and therefore tent, to keep warm.


So I guess I'm looking for advice regarding carrying extra clothes to keep me warm in camp and inside my summer bag. A down jacket and trousers would be the way to go for max warmth to weight but, aside from cost, would still only be useful inside the tent if it was raining or I was wearing them along with damp day clothes. Synthetic insulation would be more versatile, but not as warm for the weight, not as compressible and probably could therefore only be justified if they were also worn during the day - in which case they could easily get wet/damp.


Any thoughts or advice? What do you do?


Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Owen

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Re: Upgrading summer wild camping insulation for autumn
« Reply #1 on: 21:09:12, 20/09/19 »
Wow your summer set up is roughly my winter set up. The simplest way is to get a fleece sleeping bag liner or use a light weight down bag as an inner.


Unless it's going to be below minus ten c or there about all the time (which it won't be in Scotland) I wouldn't bother with down jackets. I use a Rab xenon vest and jacket both synthetic fill.  Gives me one or the other or both together. Never needed down trousers, not even when high altitude climbing in South America. I have different weights of long John's which I'll wear under normal walk trousers. The thicker ones being Rab power stretch tights.

zuludog

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Re: Upgrading summer wild camping insulation for autumn
« Reply #2 on: 22:56:14, 20/09/19 »
Nowt wrong with long johns

Wear them inside your s/bag; under walking trousers; under overtrousers on mild wet days
Get synthetic and they'll dry quickly
Shop around for the weight/thickness you want

You can pull a fleece or insulated jacket over the bottom of your s/bag to help keep your feet warm

I wouldn't get any down filled clothing; good quality synthetic instead - some of the latest modern stuff is very good

Get an extra, simple crew neck microfleece top. Wear it as well as,  or instead of the base layer

Rohan Winter Bags are good but expensive
Rohan Winter Jeans are currently half price at 49 - 50 but I don't know much about them

Rohan have various offers & sales sections, just browse their website
« Last Edit: 23:05:18, 20/09/19 by zuludog »

gunwharfman

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Re: Upgrading summer wild camping insulation for autumn
« Reply #3 on: 11:56:24, 21/09/19 »
I use a sleeping quilt, long johns and use my bamboo baselayer as a warm top. I also carry a 5.99 camping blanket from Decathlon. If it gets chilly I just pull it over the top of my quilt and use three small bulldog clips at the head end to keep it in place, one in the middle and one either side of the middle. It works well. If it was really cold I would put my warm jacket on as well. I've only had to do this once, last year, November the 10th in the Lakes, it was freezing! I keep meaning to upgrade my blanket to a thin rectangle of down-filled material but as yet I haven't got around to it and I haven't yet found one that's suitable.

archaeoroutes

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Re: Upgrading summer wild camping insulation for autumn
« Reply #4 on: 12:46:37, 21/09/19 »
You don't mention your mat. That can make a real difference to your temperature so might be an area to investigate.
Another thing is to add a 'blanket'. The more you wear in your sleeping bag, the more air you squeeze out of the clothes and bag, reducing their insulating qualities (unless its a very large bag). It is often more effective to drape that jacket over your sleeping bag then wear it in the bag.
Then you might consider a hot water bottle, heat pads, or equivalent.
And finally, look at what and when you are eating before going to bed. A good hot meal with plenty of carbs and fat a little while before bed can help keep you warm. Even a Horlicks* before going to bed can make a difference.

* Substitute hot drink of choice - I personally don't get on with hot drinks.
Walking routes visiting ancient sites in Britain's uplands: http://www.archaeoroutes.co.uk

gunwharfman

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Re: Upgrading summer wild camping insulation for autumn
« Reply #5 on: 17:37:26, 21/09/19 »
I didn't mention my mat, I should have done because to use a quilt successfully the mat needs to compliment it. My quilt just covers me, just like my quilt at home, it does not go around me like a sleeping bag. I use a Thermarest NeoAir with it, which works very well, so far have never been cold sleeping on it. In the warmer months, I use a Thermarest fitted sheet, not keen to just lie on plastic. In the colder months, I'd be using my bamboo top and my long johns, sometimes with fluffy socks on my feet.

richardh1905

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Re: Upgrading summer wild camping insulation for autumn
« Reply #6 on: 17:57:57, 21/09/19 »
Get a dog.  ;)

richardh1905

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Re: Upgrading summer wild camping insulation for autumn
« Reply #7 on: 17:59:35, 21/09/19 »
..alternatively, wear more clothes.


I'm not being flippant - I take a pair of fibre pile trousers and extra thick socks to supplement my Buffalo sleeping bag, and am not averse to wearing a fleece if it is really cold, in addition to baselayers.

richardh1905

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Re: Upgrading summer wild camping insulation for autumn
« Reply #8 on: 18:03:06, 21/09/19 »
It is often more effective to drape that jacket over your sleeping bag then wear it in the bag.
..I do that, but I invariably kick them off in the night.


And I really think that you would have to be wearing an auful lot of clothes for them to be sufficiently compressed within your sleeping bag to affect their insulation value.

archaeoroutes

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Re: Upgrading summer wild camping insulation for autumn
« Reply #9 on: 21:11:32, 21/09/19 »
And I really think that you would have to be wearing an auful lot of clothes for them to be sufficiently compressed within your sleeping bag to affect their insulation value.
I've encountered it quite a few times within groups. Usually some form of puffer jacket.
Walking routes visiting ancient sites in Britain's uplands: http://www.archaeoroutes.co.uk

Chump

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Re: Upgrading summer wild camping insulation for autumn
« Reply #10 on: 18:13:28, 22/09/19 »
Thanks for all of the replies!


Lots of info and suggestions to think about there.


I hate that I sleep cold - it means that I'm always carrying more insulation than I would like. Whenever I read blogs or gear reviews that mention sleeping bags (summer or winter) it's frustrating to note that others are carrying less in summer than me and not much more in winter than I'd take in summer. I've recently switched from a double- to a single-skin shelter, which is definitely draughtier.


My mat is an XS Thermarest Prolite, with my pack under my feet and lower legs and sit mat under my knees. I ought to look into getting a mat with a higher R-value.


I plan to invest in a warmer Primaloft jacket for Spring/Autumn use anyway, so I will try that with my current bag. I'll test it out before heading too far from home to check whether it affect the lofting of my bag. My bag is rather narrow, but so am (30" waist) I so I'm not sure how it will work out. Definitely worth a try though.


I've also been planning to invest in some lightweight Primaloft trousers for wildlife watching, so I could add these to the setup as well. I think these would be warmer for the weight than thicker long johns, but perhaps not so versatile.


I do try to have a hot drink, usually hot chocolate, before going to sleep, mostly for rehydration, but I usually get up for at least one pee in the night, which undoes most of the warming effect!


I have thought about adding a quilt to my set up, but got round to acquiring one yet. Might be more versatile than a new sleeping bag, and hopefully cheaper.


One thing that no-one has mentioned yet is whether they carry separate clothes specifically for sleeping in case they arrive at camp wet, or at least damp, to the skin (this happened to me five camps in a row in the first week of September). How damp can clothing be before it adversely affects the insulation provided by the sleeping bag? Is a clean, dry base layer under damp-ish day clothes enough? Or should one plan for all layers becoming wet? What are your thought on separate sleeping clothes?


Again, all advice and experience shared will be gratefully received  :) .
[size=78%]  [/size]




Chump

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Re: Upgrading summer wild camping insulation for autumn
« Reply #11 on: 18:15:37, 22/09/19 »
Richardh1905 - My GF has expressed enthusiasm for camping. I'd hate for her to have to sleep in the vestibule if the dog got cold  ;D 

richardh1905

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Re: Upgrading summer wild camping insulation for autumn
« Reply #12 on: 18:31:58, 22/09/19 »
Richardh1905 - My GF has expressed enthusiasm for camping. I'd hate for her to have to sleep in the vestibule if the dog got cold  ;D


 :D ;D


Always room for a dog in a tent - especially if it is cold!


On the subject of insulation values when damp - synthetic is the winner here. I'm a big fan of fibre pile for this reason - I even have a fibre pile 'wooly bear' suit (from before the terM 'onesie' was invented) that I used for caving when I was into such things.


I would consider getting a more insulating mat - your prolite is 3 season rated. Perhaps, as a trial, put a cheapo closed cell foam mat underneath it and see whether it makes a difference, before you spend big money on a more insulating mat.
« Last Edit: 08:33:06, 23/09/19 by richardh1905 »

zuludog

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Re: Upgrading summer wild camping insulation for autumn
« Reply #13 on: 01:00:04, 23/09/19 »
Yes, you could use a cheapish closed cell foam mat under your Prolite mat. Trim it to fit your tent or however you want

Here's a suggestion - make an outer sleeping bag from fleece fabric. Besides providing additional insulation, it will allow your sleeping bag to develop its full warmth, and protect it from any damp or spills
It doesn't need to be anything fancy, just a simple bag and basic stitching is good enough, at least at first - proof of concept as they say in the aviation industry
Have a look at www.pennineoutdoor.co.uk; they are pleasant to deal with and will give advice over the phone. Or just Surf t'Net

I have a summer and a winter s/bag. Usaually I carry a spare base layer or microfleece top to sleep in, and sometimes long johns

Why are you getting your clothes damp or wet so often? Perhaps you should have a serious look at your waterproofs as well

zuludog

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Re: Upgrading summer wild camping insulation for autumn
« Reply #14 on: 01:05:05, 23/09/19 »
Have a look at www.buffalosystems.co.uk and www.alpkit.com
They might have something useful for you

But instead of fiddling about with extra clothing and so on, why not just get a 4 season synthetic s/bag?
This would resist any problems with damp clothing, and should be warm enough on its own, but you would still be able to wear extra clothes in it if you wished

« Last Edit: 01:30:02, 23/09/19 by zuludog »