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Kea
2005-08-26, 00:22
I'm interested in a lightweight option for extending the functional range of my sleeping bag by as much as 10-15 degrees, effectively making my bag usable closer to 30-35F. I've seen the bag liners that Kelty and others make, and I've explored the option of possibly using a microfleece liner of my own make.

Is there a fabric that someone can recommend for a bag liner that would be provide extended range and lightweight? I'd like the lightest possible weight of microfleece or a sturdy polyester knit, and keep the whole thing under a pound. I've even toyed with the idea of suiting-weight wool fabrics, as well as hankerchief linen as possible liners. For the moment, I have a 2 yard section of off the shelf microfleece that I nabbed at JoAnn Fabrics that I can pack along if I think it will be cold enough to warrant an extra layer.

I probably won't do any real cold weather hiking in the coming 6-9 months, but as I get into better physical shape, I can see just getting (or making) a 0F or 20F bag for colder weather. I am very interested in homemade gear options.

Suggestions?

PKH
2005-08-26, 05:36
I've been toying with the idea of making a mircrofleece bag liner myself, so naturally I'm encouraging you to do the leg work! It's a comfortable material that wicks moisture well, and of course it's also quite light.

If you are interested in making your own gear, you might have a look at this web site:

www.thru-hiker.com

This site is a valuable resource for the do it yourself crowd.

Cheers,

PKH

txulrich
2005-08-26, 09:56
In all likelyhood, fleece will be over your weight requirements and pretty bulky as well. I would take a look at a silk liner or something pretty similar. It's probably the best warmth to weight ratio and it packs pretty small as well.

Turk
2005-08-26, 18:10
The silk liners are great.
I just retired mine and picked up a new one for 35$.
It adds 5 deg F. to a bag and weighs in at just over 4 oz.
Came with a stuff sack a little smaller than an average computer mouse,
so bulk is nothing.

To get more bang for your buck, you could get some good 200 micro fleece
shirt and pants and wear those to bed. More multi purpose that way, and
the shirt can serve double duty as a mid layer during the day.

Little tip. Hand wash. and hang to dry. They can get pretty nasty
in the washing machine.

Iceman
2005-08-26, 22:20
Kea, who says you have to get added warmth, by adding to the inside of your bag? Try the outside.

Here is info I previously added to a thread on this site, I have a bunch of NeatSheets, use them often hunting, camping, hiking, great product.;

Aside from our bags, we all carry a bizarro product called the Neat Sheet . The sheets are a breathable microfiberous sheet, with a brushed type finish, sold at Wally'sworld (Walmart). The sheets are marketed as a sheet which to picnic upon. Although not a propietary fabric, they are nonetheless breathable, and relatively waterproof. I have been carrying one rolled under my pack while I hunt. Unroll the sheet and you have a very quiet and dry place to sit, or drape over yourself and you warm right up. We have been carrying them on snow hikes and overnighters, and find they are a fantastic way to minimize heat loss, tossed over yourself and sleeping bag at night, including your arms and head/neck. Not a huge problem with condensation build-up or asphyxiation (brain cell loss), at least me doesn't feel too stupid yet, duh. Yes this ads weight to my pack and no I do not know or care how much. I do remove from the corners of these sheets, the metal disc weights sewn into the corners to reduce blanket chasing. This sheet doesn't look like it would hold water, but believe me, I tested them at home here and they honestly do hold water on their surface without seepage.

This blanket seems to add 10 degrees or more to my normal bag, probably by trapping an extra pocket of air, not by it's insulative (R) factor. Toss one over two sleepers and you get a little bonus share factor. These do come in a couple of sizes and both are under ten bucks. I wrap my kids in them when we sit down during snow trips to cut the wind off of them, so they are ready to play again after a snack. An awesome way to keep warm!
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peter_pan
2005-08-27, 00:31
Check the Weather Shield Top as a tailor made neat sheet like, bivi like cover good for adding 6-10 degrees more coverage, and a very breathable, waterproof, windproof cover, 6.75 oz, $25 at Jacksrbetter...but then I'm biased.

Pan

j.johnson
2005-08-27, 07:42
I have found the U.S. military poncho liner to be a great addition to my sleeping bag. I usually sleep in my HH with a 10 deg. bag open with the poncho liner as a blnket in temp. about 35-40 deg. It's made of thinsolate material and is very lite.

jimtanker
2005-08-27, 23:01
You beat me to the punch J.Johnson. The US Army poncho liner is the best thing since sliced bread. Super light and WARM! I have 4 of them. You can find them at just about anywhere if you do a search on the web. Even amazon.com sells them. About $25 new and the used ones are great and broken in too.(after a couple of washes that is.)

peter_pan
2005-08-27, 23:47
I have poncho liners and several pieces of modified poncho liner underquilts and quilts...while we all think of the PL as light weight an issue model is 21.5 oz and some of the aftermarkets are plus an oz or so...

Pan

sammyl
2005-08-28, 19:06
You might try a vapor barrier liner, especially for cold temps, when moisture can condense inside the outer layers of the sleeping bag. That, plus extra insulation of any kind should help.

JAK
2005-08-28, 21:41
I am not sure if you are a hammock guy. If not, for 30-35F nights it is usually worth going to a full length sleeping pad. This can be wrapped around you feet and shoved into a bag for some added warmth and to keep you centred. You can wear a wool sweater inside the bag, but this is only a good idea if you are likely to wear it during the day. I don't bring a wool sweater unless I can wear it all the time and play with the other layers. For me this is fall, winter, and spring, but not summer. If you are hiking in a desert this is not a likely option. The silk liner sounds very good especially in desert conditions when you are not likely to have much day clothes to wear at night. The poncho liner sounds very good also. Though you already have a good sleeping bag for summer it might be nice to find out when one is better than the other and when they work well together. Fleece is probably to heavy for a bag liner. Synthetic insulation that does not require containment might work between the silk liner and the bag but there is probably not enough room. If it is not to damp you could drape it over the bag and under a light breathable fabric and the bag should still be able to breathe you sweat out. Wearing light rain pants and jacket over silk weight or 100wt fleece layers will keep you very warm and the bag dry though this is not everyones cup of tea. If I was to do a project I would start with a simple synthetic poncho liner before doing a down quilt.

Mutinousdoug
2005-08-28, 23:13
I'm going to jump in here on the off-topic of poncho liners; I stole one from the US Army when I got out, back in 1970 after living under one for 10 months and still have my 2nd one (The USA one was stolen from me=karma) this (new) one is about 25 years old at least. It's still "like new" except for my mods. It's like new 'cause I hardly use it. I have used it as a bag liner and it was effective but hard to keep wrapped around me in a bag without a struggle. So I modified it with a zipper kit that had a full length zipper around 2 sides and a zipper for a cut-out head hole; All plastic zippers but I think it added a 1/2 pound to the already heavy 20-22 oz of the GI config. Now it stays in place around me and has the added advantage of being a shroud that can actually be used when wearing a GI poncho (which I've never tried). So now I have a liner that weighs more than my homemade hammock underquilt and has, at most, 1/4th the insulation. Granted; I can't really "get into" the quilt but the quilt works better as a sleeping bag "extender" for me.
One thing that can be said for the liners is: they dry out quickly when soaked.

Kea
2005-08-29, 00:49
I actually like the idea of quilts over bags, but all this stuff with hammocks confuses the hell out of me. :P

I tried to camp out last night in the back yard and quickly found that I was way overdressed for the weather, despite being on top of my sleeping bag. I guess I am one of those 'hot' people, but when it finally gets cold enough to really need the bag, I am sure that it won't be warm enough.

bird dog
2005-08-29, 01:43
I have a cheap Campmor microfleece liner that promises to add 10 degrees to the bag. Im a hot sleeper so I dont know if it really adds ten degrees or not, but it packs small and weighs next to nothing. I tried it once in Southwest Virginia last year (one of the coldest nights of the year there), and it kept me toasty. The temps hovered in the single digits that night and the wind was howling. My fart sack is rated at thirty degrees. The liner is great for summer trips and I often carry it alone with no bag, and stay quite comfortable. I just purchased my first HH (Ultralight A-Sym Deluxe) and havent gotten to use it yet (Im ashamed to say that I have had it for better than two weeks now, and havent even had the opportunity to test it - its still in the bag) so no reports on how the liner will work with the hammock. I think that the liner only cost about ten bucks, and I feel like I probably have already gotten my monies worth out of it.

peter_pan
2005-08-29, 09:38
Muntinousdoug,

Thanks for jumping in on the ponco liner thing...it really is not light for the thinness and adding features adds weight... clearly there are better alternatives... but poncho liners are inexpensive and often available.

As to the fleece blankets/bags....saying they weight almost nothing distacts...facts are, most are 200 wght fleece, these weight 16-17 oz for a 48x60 throw, which is too small to be of practical value....the bags are normally 60x72 opened flat, these weigh 31-32 oz, plus the weight of any zipper....They are inexpensive...often 8.99-10.99 for throws and 18.99-24.99 for the bags....they are one season, summer only or "add 10 degree" answers...They are best thought of as giving a little help/protection for a little money but at the expense of a lot of bulk and a lot of weight.

Pan

PKH
2005-08-29, 11:34
In all fairness, I believe Kea was considering making a microfleece bag liner. This is considerably less bulky and heavy than 200 fleece. I think this could make a practical liner or perhaps a blanket with foot box.

Cheers,

PKH

peter_pan
2005-08-29, 12:17
Good point on the micro-fleece....problem is one of definition...Jo Anne Fabric often has nomenclature that is less than fully descriptive, basically it is frequently the end bolt label only...micro fleece may be simple 100 wght...and a 2 yard piece will still be the width of the bolt...used to form an interior bag it will still end up as basically a 60x 72 with some allowance for foot taper if that is desired...from 100 wgt stuff this will come out somewhere between 17-25 depending on the material, seam allowances, taper and length of any zipper used... A better estimate can be made by weighing the material on hand, calculating the wght of any material to be removed and adding any wght for zippers or draw cord added...

Fleece is a very popular, outdoor friendly material, with good insulation and rapid drying properties....There are many state of the art insulations and light wght nylons that half the weight of fleece and are thicker and warmer...couple example are the Montbell UL thermowrap Jacket at 9 oz L, much warmer than traditional 200 wght fleeces at 20-22 oz for L, twice as warm and still lighter than 100 wght at 11-13 for L depending on manufacturer. Go lite, BMW and others have similiar offerings. While these examples are clothing, there are bag liners and bags suitable to also be used as bag liners that wght less than 1 lb, couple of WM come to mind.

My only point here is that quick, easy, seemingly light answers deserve a full review... These are tradition low cost answers...they can be good answers...in a period a few years back they were also light...most are not really that light by todays standards... Statements of, "Weighs nothing" or "Weighs almost nothing" can unintentionally mislead the less experienced ( Probably like some of our numerous unregestered guests quietly going to school on our posts).

Pan

Mutinousdoug
2005-08-29, 12:24
It's unclear to me the difference between the two fleece weights. I see Campmor has a "Kelty fleece bag liner" w/hip length zipper at 1 lb-9oz, and on the same page, a Microfleece liner (with hood) with 34" zipper at 21 oz (=1 lb-5 oz). Either one for $29.99 USD. Either should suffice for Kea or PKH. I wonder if you could make one that cheaply at home?

Kea
2005-08-29, 17:35
The ultimate cost would depend a lot on the cost of the fabric and any zippers involved. I've been looking at relatively lightweight polyester knit fabrics similar to jersey as potential summer-weight bag liners, just to reduce wear and tear on the bag itself. As I tend to sleep very hot, having something that I could have either in the bag or on top of the bag appeals to me.

I really need to find a good site that can educate me about the grades of microfleece available. Suggestions?

PKH
2005-08-29, 17:56
You could visit www.backpacking.net

This is another light weight backpacking site - a very fine one as well. A frequent poster is Penny, who seems to know everything about sewing and fabrics as applied to the backpacking world. From what I have observed, she is always willing to provide excellent advice.

Cheers,

PKH

dropkick
2005-08-30, 05:59
I survived for many years with a 30 degree bag, a bed sheet, and a pair of long johns, and I slept in below zero weather quite a bit. (hunting, ice fishing, skiing, etc.)
(disclaimer - I sleep warm)

I have now traded up to a 0 degree bag (old bag wearing out plus I wanted a lighter weight bag), a bed sheet, and sweats (warmer and you don't look as funny when you hurry to get behind a bush in the morning).

I made myself a fleece liner, but I hardly ever used it, as it is too hot and takes up too much room.
-Though have been thinking about using it in place of the bag in the heat of summer.

P.S. I'm curious - I don't know how they judge how much a liner adds to cold weather capabilities of a bag or even how they judge the bag, does anyone else?

Kea
2005-08-31, 23:52
I made myself a fleece liner, but I hardly ever used it, as it is too hot and takes up too much room.
-Though have been thinking about using it in place of the bag in the heat of summer.

I've resisted crafting the piece of fleece that I have into something because part of me thinks that something like an emergency bivyor one of those bivy-like things that peter_pan suggested over a light wrap of fleece in the summer would be all I needed. I too sleep warm, especially when my metabolism is acting up and cannot imagine actually being able to sleep in sweats, in a 45 degree bag on a 60 degree night. Aieee! :)


P.S. I'm curious - I don't know how they judge how much a liner adds to cold weather capabilities of a bag or even how they judge the bag, does anyone else?

I think it is a kind of best guess thing based on the thermal properties of the fabric in the layer. You can get 5 degrees with a regular cotton bedsheet without trying, just because of the air it traps close to the skin. When you use some spiffy technical fabric with wicking and vapor releasing properties, and something that actually insulates like polypro or polarfleece, it's not hard to get 10 or as much as 15 degrees. The only problem is that the weights climb pretty rapidly, so it makes sense to buy the lightwieght, low temp bag.

dropkick
2005-09-01, 01:44
I too sleep warm, especially when my metabolism is acting up and cannot imagine actually being able to sleep in sweats, in a 45 degree bag on a 60 degree night. Aieee! :)


60 degree night - I'm in my underpants, lying on top of the bag, with my sheet as cover, and my sweats rolled up as a pillow.

Just Jeff
2005-09-01, 01:48
I'm curious - I don't know how they judge how much a liner adds to cold weather capabilities of a bag or even how they judge the bag, does anyone else?

Basically, they just pick a number and stick it on there. There isn't an official standard adopted by every company yet, so I guess it's buyer beware.

There is a dummy that has sensors on his body...supposedly, he'll give an objective answer on how much heat retention capability the bag has. There are variables that the dummy test doesn't consider, though, so manufacturers are hesitant to submit their products to an "objective" test that isn't necessarily "accurate" for what it's supposed to be testing. That's the closest thing to a standard, though. IIRC, I read somewhere that more European companies submit to the test, too.

I think companies tend to always be accurate or always over-estimate their bags, though...reputations are important, so ask around for other people's experiences with their products and you'll probably get similar.

Kea
2005-09-01, 02:58
60 degree night - I'm in my underpants, lying on top of the bag, with my sheet as cover, and my sweats rolled up as a pillow.

Oh hell, if I thought I could, I'd get completely naked. Of course, THAT would be the night I find myself thundering out of my tent all Celt-like with firearm in one hand and something sharp in the other.

Now THAT would weird out my hiking partner. ;)

JAK
2005-09-01, 13:31
Oh hell, if I thought I could, I'd get completely naked. Of course, THAT would be the night I find myself thundering out of my tent all Celt-like with firearm in one hand and something sharp in the other.

Now THAT would weird out my hiking partner. ;)I tried to spring a surprise like that on my wife once. Of course she had seen it all before, nothing new,
but the rest of the ladies at her bridal shower thought I was quite hilarious.

PKH
2005-09-01, 14:39
Oh hell, if I thought I could, I'd get completely naked. Of course, THAT would be the night I find myself thundering out of my tent all Celt-like with firearm in one hand and something sharp in the other.

Now THAT would weird out my hiking partner. ;)

Hmmm. It appears that we've progressed some distance from our nice civilized discussion of microfleece. Still interesting though. :)

Cheers,

PKH

Seeker
2005-09-01, 15:14
once again, i'm amazed at the difference in people... 60* night, i'm on a blue foam pad in the hammock and under a down bag... not freezing, but cool enough... i can sleep without covers in the house if it's 70+... can't lay 'nekkid' til it's about 80-85... (why i like the south).

and now, back to our regular program:

getting back on thread here... WM has a good reputation for it's bag ratings being accurate, even conservative, and i've heard good things about marmot too. my TNF bag was probably a bit overrated, but then i'm a very cold sleeper...