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Re: [pct-l] Cold weather camping
hey glen, to add to the many responses, here's a few more things about cold
Sleeping bags come in different styles, the 'warmest' being the mummy bag. It
has the snuggest fit around you, contains your head, and more importantly, has
less wasted air space which can take a looonnnggg time to warm up on a chilly
night. The fill can also be goose or duck down or a synthetic, which will be a
tad warmer when wet. There are different types of construction within mummy
bags, too. Overlapping baffles help keep down in place over your core, without
it shifting all around the bag where it'll leave cold spots. Usually, however,
the fill can slide towards the sides, and it's a good idea to fluff up the bag
and shake the down (if it's down, if synthetic, ignore this) towards the
center, before you get in it, so the most loft is above you.
One thick ensolite pad or 2 thin pads works for ground insulation. It's also
nice to have a fresh pair of comfy wool socks to put on your feet, too. On the
other end, a warm wool/fleece hat is great. It's best to have one that can be
pulled down a bit over your face, and that won't slip off in the night. A
balaclava's even warmer and it's less bulky in a pack. Here's a trick, too. If
you need to get up at a certain time, you may not hear your watch alarm on
your wrist in the bag, so some people put it in the top of their cap.
A hot drink is great before bed, as is a hot water bottle, which you can throw
in your bag (in a leak proof bottle, of cousre-nalgene's work great) ahead of
time to warm up the bag for you.
A snack gets your blood sugar up which will aid the blood getting to all your
exremities, as well. And last but not least, if your site and/or weather
allows, a little exercise before bed will get the blood pumping, too. If stuck
in the bag, try push-ups.
Just as with hiking, layers are important here, too. As long as they aren't
wet, doubling or tripling up on thin clothing layers can make up for a loft-
deficient bag, too.
If more than likely it will be a cold morning, it's convenient to have the
stove set up and near your 'bed' so you can fire it up from the comforts of
your cocoon and have a hot drink to start off your next day outdoors.
Good luck and stay warm
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