Author Topic: Winter bag+tent+pad  (Read 542 times)

Tux

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Winter bag+tent+pad
« on: 19:18:59, 10/11/20 »
Forgive me if I open a thread on an already hot topic. I have been going through some of the forum's wisdom

- http://www.walkingforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=37877.0
- http://www.walkingforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=7299.0
- http://www.walkingforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=5446.0

but I'd like to confirm what I understood from there, namely that what makes a 4 seasons tent is mainly resistance against wind and snow, not thermal insulation. Thus

Are a 3 seasons tent + good down bag (+15 0 -6 -23) + R-value 4 pad ok for winter multi-days treks? Intended use is not alpine, but in German regions where temperature drops below 0 Celsius at night.

For reference,
Quote
A Sleeping Pad R-Value measures a sleeping pads ability to prevent heat loss (to the ground) when you lie on it at night. Pads with higher R-values do this more effectively than pads with lower R-values. R-value isnt a measure of warmth per se, but of a pads ability to prevent the loss of the warmth that your body generates. For winter backpacking and camping, an R-value of 4-5 is recommended. For three-season backpacking and camping, an R-value of 2, or higher, is recommended.

I came up with a very non exhaustive list of 1-person tents between 0.8 kg and 2 kg, in increasing price order.

3 seasons
NaturHike CloudUp 1
Ferrino SLING 1
Ferrino SINTESI 1
Ferrino LIGHTENT 1
Ferrino NEMESI 1
Marmot Tungsten Ultralight 1
BigAgnes Copper Spur HV UL1
MSR Hubba NX Solo Backpacking Tent
Nordisk Svalbard 1 SI
Nordisk Telemark 1 LW

4 seasons
Ferrino SOLO
Lightwave t10 trail
Lightwave t10 raid
MSR Access 1

Among the 3 seasons I'm quite thrilled with the Bigagnes, and among the 4 seasons with the Lightwave t10 raid.

Thoughts - suggestions on these?

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5748
Re: Winter bag+tent+pad
« Reply #1 on: 20:38:52, 10/11/20 »
You are correct in that the season rating of a tent is more to do with wind and snow, rather than temperature. So for German forests etc I woudl imagine that a good 3 season tent would do the job just fine.


Not going to comment on R values etc as everyone feels the cold differently, but I imagine that it will be colder than here in the UK so don't skimp on bags and mats!
WildAboutWalking - Join me on my walks through the wilder parts of Britain

forgotmyoldpassword

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 639
Re: Winter bag+tent+pad
« Reply #2 on: 11:11:11, 11/11/20 »
For winter multi use, being comfortable is a combination of all three - a good tent means you won't be as cold within it when it's blowing a gale, which lets you get away with a thinner bag. 


That said, the R-value depends on the time of year you're going and a good tent or bag won't make that much difference to the mat requirement.  The R-value depends where you are going to be going and the ground temps, as the ground conducts heat away from you all night and a poor mat makes for no fun whatsoever.  If you camp towards the end of the winter when the ground has become very cold then you'll be thankful for this.  I'd consider this a good place to put some money.  The XTherm is often recommended but it's recommended for good reason, and if you use a larger backpack and are comfortable using CCF pads (not inflatable but foam) then some of the thick expedition pads are bombproof for winter use. 


Winter tents are typically called as such because they shed wind well (the fly sheet needs to come very low to the ground) and tend to have some resistance to collapsing when loaded with snow but you often won't need a full on winter mountaineering tent if you're camping in forests.


You'd probably manage with a 3-season tent but do put some money in to a good mat and bag, they'll last you a while if well maintained, and from experience having a poor night of sleep really is no fun, especially on multi-day trips.

gunwharfman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5523
Re: Winter bag+tent+pad
« Reply #3 on: 11:28:09, 11/11/20 »
I have owned a Marmot Pulsar 1 for a number of years and still like it, except for the orange colour. I've looked and it looks very similar to the Tungsten 1. I often thought of putting a ground level edge to it but never got around to it, I thought of using a length of skirting material secured by sew-on magnets but my plan never took off. I bought the magnets and then Covid-19 happened.

Tux

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: Winter bag+tent+pad
« Reply #4 on: 15:12:05, 11/11/20 »
Thanks! I think I'll go with a 3 seasons plus good bag and mat  O0  and funny enough, most of my equipment is orange xD

pasbury

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Winter bag+tent+pad
« Reply #5 on: 15:50:54, 11/11/20 »
Seems to me it's a lot to do with the proportion of mesh in the inner tent. More mesh = lighter. More mesh = colder.


There are other factors I'm sure.

NeilC

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 739
Re: Winter bag+tent+pad
« Reply #6 on: 17:34:57, 11/11/20 »
You should assume any normal tent has pretty much zero thermal insulation.


For winter sleeping bags, I'd err on the side of caution. Forget the Extreme ratings and be cautious about the Limit ones too - generally the Comfort rating is the one to look at.


With mats, be aware there are at least two different R systems - US and UK/EU: http://www.multimat.uk.com/articles/don-t-be-fooled-over-r-values
They are very different.


But then there are also two standards that are quite close. E.g. my Synmat UL mat is rated: R-Value (ASTM F3340-18): 2.3 and R-Value (EMPA):  2.50


FYI - I find that mat to be warm enough until about 3C and then I a put a bit of extra insultation down. If I was buying again, and had money to spend, I'd take a good look at the Thermarest X-therm mats.





Stube

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 377
Re: Winter bag+tent+pad
« Reply #7 on: 18:52:12, 11/11/20 »
The Nordisk Telemark 1 will not shed snow from its foot end due to the large flat top surface. I've used one for years and find overnight rain polled there to some extent. The tent is very lightweight and the fly is delicate - I'd prefer something tougher for winter use. Warm tent though and it pitches quickly.

Makes sure your tent has a solid as opposed to a mesh inner - it'll be much warmer - perhaps 5 degC or more. You can then save weight on your sleeping bag.

I'd have a look at the Terra Nova / Wild Country offerings.
« Last Edit: 19:00:31, 11/11/20 by Stube »

Birdman

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 430
Re: Winter bag+tent+pad
« Reply #8 on: 11:28:20, 12/11/20 »
3 or 4 season tent refers mainly to its ability to handle snow loading. If you get lots of snow on your tent it will sag because it is heavy. I don't own any true 4 season tents, but I have been in snow and that requires you to knock it off the tent roof every now and then.


Tents differ in how warm they are, depending if they are single skin or dual skin and how much mesh they have. But 3 or 4 season doesn't refer to that. Most tents are dual skin, but my most used tent is single skin (or 1.5 skin - Tarptent Double Rainbow) and that one is very cold, also because it needs lots of mesh and ventilation to reduce condensation. I have never measured the actual temperature difference, but my dual skin tents feel much warmer.



Mattress is very important, because you lose lots of heat through there. This becomes even more important with better quality sleeping bags. This is because cheap sleeping bags are not very compressible, so you still have some insulation underneath. But with the lighter, highly compressible sleeping bags, you have virtually nothing underneath you except the mattress.


I have two mattresses: NeoAir XLite (R=3.2) and NeoAir XTherm (R=5.7). With the first one I have camped on frozen ground at minimum temperatures of about -3C. For myself, that was really the limit for that mattress and I wished for a warmer one at the time, even though I didn't get uncomfortably cold yet. For that reason I got the XTherm afterwards. I really like it, now I never get cold from underneath. However, in most cases it would be overkill. I still use both matresses. Because the Xlite packs smaller and is lighter, I will bring it if it doesn't get colder than -1C (the majority of my hikes). Below that I go with the XTherm (I like to have the extra margin). If I were to buy only one right now, it would be the XTherm, because it also performs great at higher temperatures. In fact, it also does a great job insulation from hot ground that had been exposed to the sun during the day (think deserts etc), which can make uncomfortable sleeping at the beginning of the night.


As for sleeping bags, I would say buy the best you can afford. It is really you get what you pay for (good quality down is expensive). The best down bags (high fill power) are very compressible and light, and they last for ages (make sure you store them uncompressed!). Adding up all trips I've made with my current bag, I estimate that I have slept a total of more than 14 months in it, which also includes stuffing/ highly compressing it all these days, which I presume puts stress on the down. It still has great loft and I expect it to last for many more years. In my case it has outlasted most other gear, so it is worth spending money on.



My travel and walking reports: https://www.hikingbirdman.com/

Birdman

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 430
Re: Winter bag+tent+pad
« Reply #9 on: 11:43:02, 12/11/20 »

Makes sure your tent has a solid as opposed to a mesh inner - it'll be much warmer - perhaps 5 degC or more. You can then save weight on your sleeping bag.


You highlight a very good point here that many people overlook. Part of the savings of lighter tents can be lost by requiring a warmer sleeping bag. The same point can be made with mattresses. For example NeoAir XLite vs XTherm. XTherm is 100 grams heavier, but it may add more warmth than 100 grams extra down in some conditions.


Of course there are many other considerations. A warm tent can be horrible when the sun comes out. I had the sun burning on my tent at 3:00am in Arctic Sweden in summer time... And you cannot just open your tent, because mosquito hell!
My travel and walking reports: https://www.hikingbirdman.com/

Tux

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: Winter bag+tent+pad
« Reply #10 on: 23:29:47, 12/11/20 »

[/size]
Seems to me it's a lot to do with the proportion of mesh in the inner tent. More mesh = lighter. More mesh = colder.




There are other factors I'm sure.
[/size]


Good point here, thanks.


[/size]


With mats, be aware there are at least two different R systems - US and UK/EU: http://www.multimat.uk.com/articles/don-t-be-fooled-over-r-values
They are very different.
[/size]


Very good to know, a factor of 5.7 does make a hell of a difference. I'm aiming at something between 3 and 4 R(SI), probably not self-inflatable to save some weigth.


[/size]
3 or 4 season tent refers mainly to its ability to handle snow loading. If you get lots of snow on your tent it will sag because it is heavy. I don't own any true 4 season tents, but I have been in snow and that requires you to knock it off the tent roof every now and then.
[...]
[/size]


Thanks Birdman for putting this great answer together! I'll definitely pay attention to a good mat (by the way I think the  NeoAir XLite has R=4.2). Both you suggested are not self-inflating, which reassures me - I was thinking they might be too fragile against puncture, or that inflating them blowing creates condensation inside, defeating the insulation purpose (https://support.enlightenedequipment.com/hc/en-us/articles/218688487-How-to-choose-a-sleeping-pad).


I'm quite happy with the bag I got (FERRINO LIGHTECH 1000 DUVET RDS DOWN), and will definitely make sure to store it correctly. Also heard that a liner helps for the washing.

Birdman

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 430
Re: Winter bag+tent+pad
« Reply #11 on: 09:17:43, 13/11/20 »

(by the way I think the  NeoAir XLite has R=4.2).


That's correct, the new ones have a higher R-value. I was referring to the older type (2015 version) that I have, because that is the actual R-value that my experience is based on. 


Quote
Both you suggested are not self-inflating, which reassures me - I was thinking they might be too fragile against puncture,


They are non self-inflating, but they are prone to puncture! So that is something you have to keep in mind. If you want puncture resistance, the best is of course a closed cell foam pad. But they are bulky and often not very comfortable. Self-inflating pads are prone to puncture, but unlike the NeoAirs they are still not completely useless when punctured, because they still have some foam inside that insulate you to some extend from the ground. The NeoAir is completely useless when punctured. That's the Achilles heel of these pads.

That said, I have hiked thousands of miles with them, including on the 800 miles Arizona Trail (you can find reports in my signature) which is full of cacti and other prickly things. I have never had a catastrophic leak that rendered the mattress useless, but I have had tiny leaks that made the mattress sag a bit overnight and required me to top it up a bit (one or two puffs, two or three times during the night). Leaks are easy to repair, but very hard to find when you are out on the trail. You would probably be able to find a catastrophic leak on the trail and then it is easily patched. But as said, this hasn't happened to me so far.


Please note that the NeoAirs have a lifetime warranty. Normal punctures are not covered, but leaks that occur on the welds are. My XLite developed small leaks after heavy use. Two of them were on welds. Therm-a-Rest has replaced it under warranty. The new one has since then developed a few tiny leaks that I have fixed. My XTherm on the other hand has never leaked on the entire 2650 miles PCT (5 months hiking) that I used it. Back home I inflated it to test and after a week it was just as firm as when I first inflated it. I'm not sure if this is just down to luck, but I have to say that it does feel slightly more sturdy than the XLite.


I find the NeoAirs incredibly comfortable, especially when camping on rough terrain (which I do a lot), due to their thickness.


Quote
or that inflating them blowing creates condensation inside, defeating the insulation purpose (https://support.enlightenedequipment.com/hc/en-us/articles/218688487-How-to-choose-a-sleeping-pad).
[/font]


Condensation inside a mattress defeating insulation properties is a bit of a myth as far as I am aware. I have seen some calculations on this that suggest the effect on R-value is negligible. However, I do dislike the idea of condensation piling up inside. I once weighted my XLite before and after a multi-week hike and it was 9 grams heavier afterwards. This disappeared again after several times inflating and deflating with dry air.


The XTherm came with a pump-sack that I now use for inflating both the XLite and the XTherm, eliminating condensation (and eliminating having to use my lungs after a long tiring day) . It weighs 54 grams, but it doubles as extra waterproof(ish) protection for my sleeping bag.



Camping among cacti in Arizona with my NeoAir XLite!



Camping on rough, uneven ground, like this dry riverbed in Arizona. The NeoAirs do a great job enabling good sleep at these kind of spots, which is sometimes the only place where you can pitch a tent due to rough steep ground and/or vegetation almost everywhere.



Often the nicest camp locations are on very rough ground, like here on a summit in the West MacDonnell Range in Australia. It's great to have a mattress that enables this!
My travel and walking reports: https://www.hikingbirdman.com/

Tux

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: Winter bag+tent+pad
« Reply #12 on: 14:52:05, 22/11/20 »
Amazing locations! Thanks again for the insights, the pump-sack trick is very neat. I'm planning a weekend route in the area of Baden-Baden (Germany) for one of the next weekends, I'll make a review afterwards  O0

gunwharfman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5523
Re: Winter bag+tent+pad
« Reply #13 on: 16:22:12, 22/11/20 »
I too have a NeoAir and have always found it to be excellent. I like it that I can roll it up to the size of a beer can and I use the pump sack as well, low tech but so easy to do, my mattress is normally ready for me in 4-5 squeezes. I think it's worth every penny. When I realised that car sleeping can get very cold I solved the problem, without inflating it, by slipping the NeoAir under me, that did the trick, I became warm again. I use a sleeping quilt so I cover my mattress in the warmer months with a Thermarest fitted sheet, my torso skin is then on fabric not on plastic.