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willnich
NickWill



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NickWill
PostMon Apr 08, 2019 5:39 pm 
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My wife doesn't go backpacking with me past September because she is such a cold sleeper. When we go together we take a 3 person tent and it is the two of us and two golden retrievers. I am sweating and losing layers and she is miserable from being cold. I love to go backpacking in to October and November and not very much in to December or later. We have reviewed all kinds of threads about what to wear to bed and when to eat and exercise before bed. Gear is really the issue I think and she is due for an upgrade.

She is using:
Trestles 20 elite sleeping bag
Klymit static v2 pad

So each year for Christmas for work I get a 300$ REI gift card and I want to upgrade her gear without going too crazy.

I was thinking the bag is fine and a new pad would really be the bigger upgrade based on the R value of 1.3. (Was only meant as a summer pad)

Options I was thinking about
1. NeoAir xtherm (bump the R value to 5.7 and I think it should do the trick) - weight 15 Oz
2. NeoAir xlite (R value of 3.9) and a Gossamer Gear thin light foam pad - weight 15 oz total
3. Neoair uberlight (R 2.0 ) Gossamer Gear thin light foam pad and a silk bag liner- weight 15 Oz

This is not a plug for the NeoAir line I have just personally had great experiences with them.
As you go down the list you likely lose some heat but have way more versatile to customize how much warmth you need vs weight.
Any advice?
Thanks
Nick

Also, some context. We live in central Oregon and usually backpack at 3000-6000 ft trying to stay below the snow level but temp is usually below freezing at night.
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Brushwork
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Know your complex
PostMon Apr 08, 2019 8:56 pm 
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Your wife may already do this but when i think I'll be cold here's my list: hat, down jacket with hood over a dry poly layer, thick poly leggings. wool socks, gloves and make sure I have a good dinner, and be hydrated.

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InFlight
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coated in DEET
PostMon Apr 08, 2019 9:08 pm 
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The Xtherm Pad at R5.7 would be a great choice.

A 20 degree bag typically has a comfort rating closer to 30+.  If she’s a cold sleeper a warmer bag would be a big improvement as well. A winter bag closer to 0 degrees would be more appropriate, as your pushing a 3 seasons bags limits (October/November)

Feathered Friends next to the Downtown REI has 900+ Fill Down Bags including woman specific models.

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Adohrn
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PostMon Apr 08, 2019 10:25 pm 
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-Xtherm Pad  👍.  She is a cold sleeper just commit to carrying the weight.   
-New bag is going to cost though and likely to blow your budget by a wide margin, side sleeper or back as if side a quilt might be more appropriate.  Start with the pad as a 1.3R value on frozen ground is going to make anyone cold no mater what bag they are using. Agree in your wife’s case going 0 degree would be better choice if you need to upgrade.  Brands like enlightenment equipment/feathered friends are excellent but do cost a pretty penny.   Marmot, Rei and Mountain hardware make reasonable bags that might fit your budget better.

If you have been reading up this might be redundant, but here is some additional advice.

-Balaclava and beanie makes a good combo,  the head and neck are a major source of heat lose.
-Pair of  fleece gloves
-Warm feet are essential.  Thick wool socks only for sleeping are cheap.   A common mistake is to put on wet shoes with dry socks for natures call.   Then freeze.   Take socks off and use bare feet.
-good down jacket and a big enough bag to use it without compressing insulation always good.
-wear dry base layers to bed
-if your rain gear is dry wear it to bed,  creates a semi vapor barrier system.   Wear your down jacket over the rain coat.
-I really like using vapor barriers on my hands and feet during the shoulder seasons.   If you don’t know what that is look it up.   Big Steve or whatever he is calling himself these days (DyiSteve?) is who got me hooked.  It really does work even if it sounds strange.   I personally would take a few plastic Safeway bags along on your next hike.   If your wife gets cold have her put them on and then put her gloves and socks over them.   It will work miracles and is a really cheap/light way to experiment with vapor barriers.
-Put any extra items you have under your pad for additional R value.  An example would be your dirty hiking cloths or even your packs.  Depending on what you use can lead to a bumpy night, but so much better than being cold.
-plan to sleep at lower elevations at night. Warmer
-sleeping under tree cover adds an extra 2-3 degrees of warmth.
-learn to identify wind tunnels and don’t camp there.
-camp well away from water
- don’t camp in bottom of valley a bench that is 15-25 feet up if often noticeably warmer
-In a tent don’t close it up tight even if this temporary makes you feel warmer.   Without good ventilation you will just wet out your bag during the night and become cold.
-take your bag out during lunch and dry it.  If you arrive early enough to camp you can also dry your bag there.  Even the best bags wet out over multiple days of use.
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cdestroyer
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PostTue Apr 09, 2019 6:50 am 
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that comment at the end about a wet bag is probably the most important for cold weather sleeping. keep your bag as dry as possible. I hiked and camped in cold/snow conditions in late october and more than once swore every morning when I woke up cold until I finally figured out how to stay warm. once that was done then looking forward to a warm nights sleep after a cold snowy day of hiking was a dream..
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willnich
NickWill



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NickWill
PostTue Apr 09, 2019 9:03 am 
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Thanks for all of the advise! I have reviewed a lot of the techinuqes with her and I will jsut have to make sure she follows through. I think I will use this years bonus on the xtherm and I am sure this will be a big upgrade. Since I get free gift cards at REI I would hope to find a decent cold weather bag at REI. Anyone have experience with Marmot Women's Ouray? A 0 degree bag and xterm should buy us a few extra months.
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Schenk
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PostTue Apr 09, 2019 9:30 am 
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Chow down on a Snickers bar right before bed. That helps too.

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Windstorm
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PostTue Apr 09, 2019 10:43 am 
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In addition to much of the good advice already listed, I also like to boil water and put it in a Nalgene (with a neoprene insulating sleeve, although I hear a sock works well too) and put the hot water bottle in my sleeping bag when I go to bed.

If you want to go the vapor barriers on the hands route, but plastic bags on your hands sounds too weird, try nitrile gloves. (Everybody has a box of those around for first aid, right?)
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DigitalJanitor
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PostTue Apr 09, 2019 1:33 pm 
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Cold sleeper here....

If your wife's bag is the men's version, it looks like it's got an EN comfort rating of 32F. So we can probably safely assume she's gonna be cold and miserable below that, which would about line up with the September cutoff. Although in fairness we all know it can hit freezing any night in the mountains.

FWIW I have a 2012 Marmot Helium bag that had a EN comfort rating of 27F, and when I've done 'back porch testing' that's about the temperature I can start to feel the cold seeping in from all directions. I sleep in a set of smartwool over an Exped Downmat UL. Overkill? Whatever... one of the best parts of backpacking IMO is the amazing sleep I catch up on out there.

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JonnyQuest
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PostTue Apr 09, 2019 2:32 pm 
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Yep, it’s important to understand those ratings.  Most reputable brands rate using a standardized test methodology (EN up through 2018, ISO starting 2019) for generating the rating, with testing done at independent laboratories.  Worth noting is that this EN / ISO test assumes the subject is sleeping in a base layer and a warm hat.  It also uses a pad with a current (see below) R-value of something like 4.8, so a fairly warm pad for normal 3-season backpacking.  Anyway, using this EN / ISO methodology for rating bag warmth, each bag gets a range of ratings – Comfort, Limit, and Extreme.  A spectrum.  Above the Comfort rating is the comfort zone (most should be comfortable), between Comfort and Limit is the transition zone (some – mainly those that sleep warm – should be OK), and below Limit is the risk zone.  Extreme (not often marketed) is the “you’ll probably live through the night” rating.   Even though the test methodology doesn’t specifically speak to gender, most brands use the Comfort rating when speaking to women’s bag ratings, and the Limit rating when speaking to men’s bag ratings.  This is based on the “assumption” that men sleep warmer than women.  Not ideal, but probably somewhat directional.  This is why a women’s bag of a given temp (and length) is heavier than the counterpart for men – it has more insulation to hit the Comfort rating vs. the Limit rating.             

As a heads-up, current R-value testing is not standardized, and different brands test in different ways, with different results.  It’s directional, but very hard to compare pad warmth between two different brands using the R-value numbers.  ASTM has just created a new (voluntary) R-value test methodology.  And most pad brands will be transitioning to this starting 2020.  This should allow for better pad warmth comparison between brands.  Unfortunately, those of us that have familiarized ourselves with how current R-value numbers (at least from one brand) relate to sleeping experience will have to relearn the numbers.
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Walkin' Fool
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PostTue Apr 09, 2019 2:58 pm 
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I'm also a cold sleeper and have found that the biggest obstacle to sleeping is cold feet. My feet are often like bricks of ice (I also have Reynaud's), making me feel colder overall than temps might warrant. My solution: Just-for-sleeping fairly thick wool socks (along with base layers, buff around neck, beanie, etc.) and sticking a toe-warmer pad on the top of each foot (by the toes), over the socks, when I get in the sleeping nag. Holy cow, my feet have never been toastier, which makes my whole body warmer!!

I've tried the heated water in a Nalgene and like the toe warmers better:  they stay warmer way longer than a heated water bottle; they don't clunk around your feet in the sleeping bag if you're a tosser/turner; no worry of water leakage; and you don't have to take the time/fuel to boil water. Downside of course is the waste with a non-reusable product and the cost, but they're pretty cheap.  Of course, never fall asleep with them directly against your skin.

Might be worth a shot!
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NWtrax
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PostTue Apr 09, 2019 3:35 pm 
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My 32 degree bag was a little chilly for me in the shoulder seasons. I bought a sleeping bag liner for it and feel like I get a good 10-15 degree bump from it. It packs down small and is light. Might be worth exploring before getting a new bag. Paired with an upgraded sleeping pad should be enough.
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Eric Hansen
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PostTue Apr 09, 2019 5:37 pm 
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A lot of good advice here, and I just have a few other things worth mentioning.

Layer pile knit hats and balaclavas. Keep the extra head layers handy to pop them on as soon as you stop, shadows lengthen, wind comes up etc. Consider obtaining a down balaclava. The layering is particularly effective during the day, while taking quick breaks or when you first arrive in camp for the night.

Wear your sleeping bag if hanging out in camp. This goes a long ways towards maintaining warmth. If your bag has a two way zipper, open the foot end, and put it on upside down. A thin hiking pants belt (1 oz.) or two (or other contraption or cord) are essential to keep the bag off the ground. Loop the belt thru the opening and the front of the bag so it doesn't drag on the ground. Alternatively, a belt/para cord could cinch the middle of the bag snugly on your waist, keeping the bag off the ground.

Best to rehearse this at home.

There are specialty sleeping bags that are designed for this, come with arm holes, but that is another story. http://featheredfriends.com/winter-wren-down-sleeping-bag.html

Edit: Super important is the point made above about drying sleeping bags, especially down. Your body moisture is steadily rising into your sleeping bag as you sleep. I had a scary experience once that may illustrate how this works.

I dropped into the Grand Canyon on the Grandview Trail just as a storm ended, hiking in knee deep powder snow. I was using a quality (Marmot) zero degree down bag. Somehow, with the pressure of weather and other factors I spaced out on finding time to sun dry it. Temperatures were about 20 for nighttime lows. Third night out I went to bed and a half hour later (temperature around freezing) I was cold.

Figuring out what had happened, I suspected that the down on the bottom of the bag would be in better shape. So I flipped the bag over, and now needing a hood I put on a down sweater (with a hood). And slept well. Bottom line - two nights (and days) of poor sleeping bag hygiene caused a good bag to become dysfunctional.
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JVesquire
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PostFri Apr 12, 2019 4:25 pm 
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Put a z-rest or other closed cell pad on top of a comfortable inflatable one, like an ExPed or whatever. You don't go overboard on weight or $$, you stay a lot warmer, and it is comfortable. That's how we winter camp without buying all new fancy stuff we won't use year-round.
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willnich
NickWill



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NickWill
PostFri Apr 12, 2019 7:21 pm 
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I already pulled the trigger on a xtherm and a gossamer pad (I hate my pad sliding around and thought an extra layer wouldn't hurt to try out for only a few ounces). Figured we would try xterm and thin pad with a Nalgene bottle in a neoprene sleeve. Bundle her up from head to toe. Have a nice snack before bed. Then next year I can use the gift card from work to get her a 0 degree bag. If that doesn't do it then I am at a loss. I will have to keep you guys updated. Worst case scenario I just inherited an xterm for winter camping. Thanks everyone for the info. If anyone has a suggestion for the best womens bag from REI let me know.
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