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samhain
2008-01-26, 16:06
Howdy gang,

Question for the more experienced (i.e. those who have been colder/wetter more often) than I.

So far my roaming territory has been limited to Louisiana and it doesn't look like it's going to expand any time soon due to work/family/life.... (this is for climate reference not to illicit sympathy)

I have a Hennessy Hammock that I love dearly (not as much as my wife and child, but you get the point) and have camped out with both sleeping bag (wally world model) and my trusty old army surplus wool blanket.

I have froze my tuckus and toes off with both (temps in the 40's F) and am working on a different padding set up regardless of which I use.

I tend to lean toward my wool blankets because if they get wet (stuff happens) they will still have some insulating properties, but they're not as warm as my sleeping bag.

I need a reality check.

The sleeping bag's warmer, one pound lighter, and I can roll around in it and not poke my butt or feet out. But, if it gets wet, I'm screwed.

The wool blankets are one pound heavier (2 together), not as warm, but if they get wet they'll dry faster than that sleeping bag.

Feedback/different perspectives/different experiences would be appreciated.

peace,
samhain.

oops56
2008-01-26, 17:21
Well if the wool blankets was folded like the boy scout book showed you your butt and feet will not stick out.
Fold them in half side together roll under the foot part 1 foot of it there is your homemade sleeping bag.

Mutinousdoug
2008-01-26, 18:13
Synthetic fill sleeping bags with a nylon shell will not retain as much water as wool and insulate as well as wool when wet, IF you aren't sleeping with it between you and the hammock. Down is worse than useless when wet. You need a synthetic under hammock quilt or closed cell pad if you expect to get wet and temperatures go below 55 or so.

samhain
2008-01-26, 18:15
Good point oops,

unfortunately never made it that far in scouts.

Bear
2008-01-26, 18:33
Hello samhain,
Weíre practically neighbors. I donít use a hammock but a synthetic bag is the way to go. Just check around as all synthetic bags are not alike. Check out campmor.com and sierratradingpost.com to look for bargains. You can also get the new gear addition of backpacker magazine to get recommendations for gear. Donít be surprised when you see the price. I was able to pick up a couple of 20 degree bags for me and my son at sierra at half price so shop around. You can also catch some on sale at cabelaís sometimes also. They may be putting some on sale in a month or two as winter comes to a close.
Good luck.

dropkick
2008-01-27, 02:01
My vote is for the sleeping bag also.
Wool blankets are ok, but I save them for long term camps or for in a camper.
Plus even if your using a down bag when was the last time it got wet?

I do use synthetic fill bags now instead of down.
I like down, but the new synthetics have come close in with downs' abilities in warmth, weight, and compressibility. And they don't have downs' problems with getting wet, or leaking feathers, plus they cost much less.

pure_mahem
2008-01-27, 05:10
There was a decent bag over in the guide gear collection at sportsman'g guide It's not super light, but then it's also not super expensive either. Not bad for a -15 degree bag in my opinion. Here's the link, it's square but they have others if you like being wrapped like a mummy. Personally I like the extra room. http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/cb.aspx?a=245534

dgrav
2008-01-28, 10:49
For years I stuck with synthetic sleeping bags or wool blankets and avoided down for fear of it being useless when wet.

Then one day after almost 30 years of camping it dawned on me. I have never gotten my sleeping bag wet! This included being out in hurricanes, botched water crossings, you name it. Whether it was garbage bags or fancy dry sacks I always packed to protect against the wet. Because even though synthetic does give you some insulation while wet does anyone really want to sleep in wet sleeping bag?

At that point I switched to down and could not be happier it is warmer and lighter than my old synthetic stuff and it does not get the "clammy" feel my old synth did when it was humid.

JAK
2008-01-28, 12:17
It's nice to mess about with wool blankets now and then. Might be a bit heavier, but doesn't neccessarily take up more volume, and it has some advantages. If you want to make campfires and roll around and get dirty wool blankets are especially compatable with that sort of lifestyle choice.
1. Easier to dry with a campfire than a sleeping bag.
2. Easier to wear while standing and walking about.
3. More fire resistant than a sleeping bag.
4. Can be used to put a fire out.
5. Can be worn as a kilt.:viking:

Nightwalker
2008-01-28, 13:49
Down is worse than useless when wet.I'd like to address that, if you don't mind.

In Maine, my tent (pre-hammock days) developed a leak. My down bag got absolutely soaked. I hung it on a tree to drip-dry while I was breakfasting and packing for the day's hike. I then wrung the rest of the water that I could get out of it at the time. For the next two nights, I slept in it in all my clothes, including rain gear. My body heat dried it totally out in those two nights of (ugh) sleeping in a shelter.

The nights were mid-40s, so it was pretty cool, but not freezing. I didn't die. I wasn't even miserable. The bag wasn't useless. It dried totally out.

The only problem that I had was that I'd always heard that a wet down bag was useless, so I was stressing because I knew that I was going to die from hypothermia in the night. :)

Recap: soaked down bag, 40s and windy in Maine, lived to tell the tale and grin about it.

Have a nice day, y'all, and don't believe a myth until you've experienced it yourself! :beer:

JAK
2008-01-28, 15:24
Excellent post Nightwalker. Related to that I think its good to have a mix of different materials in your clothing/sleeping system; wool, polyester, down; while minizing the number of shell layers. So if you already have mostly wool in your clothing there is even less risk with a down bag, and if your going to carry any down it might be best to put it all in your quilt or sleeping bag.

Mutinousdoug
2008-01-28, 19:49
I'd like to address that, if you don't mind.

In Maine, my tent (pre-hammock days) developed a leak. My down bag got absolutely soaked. I hung it on a tree to drip-dry while I was breakfasting and packing for the day's hike. I then wrung the rest of the water that I could get out of it at the time. For the next two nights, I slept in it in all my clothes, including rain gear. My body heat dried it totally out in those two nights of (ugh) sleeping in a shelter.

The nights were mid-40s, so it was pretty cool, but not freezing. I didn't die. I wasn't even miserable. The bag wasn't useless. It dried totally out.

The only problem that I had was that I'd always heard that a wet down bag was useless, so I was stressing because I knew that I was going to die from hypothermia in the night. :)

Recap: soaked down bag, 40s and windy in Maine, lived to tell the tale and grin about it.

Have a nice day, y'all, and don't believe a myth until you've experienced it yourself! :beer:

So Nightwalker, how did your bag become "absolutely soaked" from a leak in your tent? Were you somehow submerged before you noticed the wet bag?
I must say, speaking from MY EXPERIENCE, that your experience with wet down was more pleasant than mine. My bag only got half "absolutely soaked" from a dunk in a stream I crossed rather carelessly. I dumped my pack off my back to get back on my feet so the sleeping bag in it's stuff sack stayed submerged for a minute or so. Pulling it out of the stuff sack and wringing it out resulted in the wet down clumping into wads the consistency of wet dryer lint maintaining zero loft. Trying to fluff the wet down was an exercise in futility. Spreading the bag over the scrub the next few days succeeded in drying the nylon covering of the bag a little bit. The soaked part of the bag didn't dry much at all until I got it home to a clothes dryer and that part of the down never did regain it's former loft and warmth.
This happened to me in the Los Padres Nat Forest in Calif where the daytime temps were in the 90's so I was in no danger of hypothermia in any case and the portion of the bag that did not get "absolutely soaked" was adequate for my comfort for the rest of that trip ( it was a -20 bag and I doubt the temps outside got much below about 60) I just had to lug around a few lbs of water in the bag until I got it dried out. Given the daytime temps I'm surprised my bag didn't dry out more like you are reporting.
The behavior of your bag sounds much more like that of a synthetic bag than a goose down one. Or maybe my down was somehow defective?

JAK
2008-01-28, 23:35
Depends alot on the temperature. A wet and frozen bag would be wicked miserable. The temperatures just above and below freezing seem to be the worst in that regard. If the temperature really plunges after a soaking rain that can be very nastly if stuff is frozen solid before you can thaw ands dry it out. At least with a wet and frozen wool blanket you can beat the crap out of it on a rock and beat some life back into it that way.

Iceman
2008-01-29, 01:17
Never had a bag completely soaked, but did get a bag wet enough to wake me up shivering, due to wet snow dripping and collecting in a low spot of the tent, over snow....

Seems like blankets are not efficient due to alot of material you carry, that goes unused around the edges that arent tucked in... Seems like a mummy bag would be the most efficient/size/space.....

Never slept in a hammock. Probably won't.

And yes, tents are an inefficient use of material, around the edges....blah blah blah...

JAK
2008-01-29, 07:07
Nice point about tents. If you leave enough other stuff behind you can make room and save enough weight for wool blankets. The don't require quite as much care and protection and can be integrated fairly well with clothing or as clothing. Still not the most efficient but you can make them work when you don't have to carry much else. I like to mess about with wool blankets mostly in summer just for fun, or when hauling kids on a sled on a day trips in winter, and of course they are great to keep in the car in winter.

Tumblerats
2008-01-29, 09:57
Has anyone used a hunters parka/sleeping bag? I have not, but have read some posts on other forums that say that it is pretty good.

Here is a link to one on ebay...(I'm not associated with the seller)

http://cgi.ebay.com/Sniper-Hunters-PARKA-Tree-Stand-Jacket-Sleeping-Bag_W0QQitemZ300194093420QQihZ020QQcategoryZ36116Q QssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Mutinousdoug
2008-01-29, 13:15
Not much information there on the ebay site. I do notice that the 1.1 lb weight is refered to the fill weight in the text, I thought that was a bit misleading as I bet with all the snaps and zippers it weighs at least 2x that.
Cheap price though, for something to throw in the back of the car.
Turk modeled a nice bag/parka thingy here awhile back. Made him look like the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland but pretty cozy.

dropkick
2008-01-29, 21:08
My brother did manage to soak his down bag completely once, but he did it by wrapping a raft around a boulder. He also lost most of his gear. Most of his friends with him didn't recover any of their gear (so a wool blanket wouldn't have been any better).

The only reason he got the bag back was because the garbage bag it was wrapped kept it buoyant long enough for it to snag on a fallen tree downstream.

He brought it home and tried to rejuvenate it in the dryer with some tennis balls, but the strain on the seams from carrying all that water had been too much and it burst.

I was very glad I didn't have to clean the mess.

Nightwalker
2008-01-29, 21:49
So Nightwalker, how did your bag become "absolutely soaked" from a leak in your tent? Were you somehow submerged before you noticed the wet bag?
1-inch-per-hour soaker. Seam sealing was improperly done--by me. There was no choice after the rain started. Where was I going to go at 3 A.M.?

It was a 750 power down Mountainsmith Wisp. Maybe the high quality of the down helped. I have no idea.

I've been using down bags for a number of years, and that was the only time mine got wet. My current Winter bag is an 850+ 10 degree one that only weighs 2 pounds (Mountain Hardware Versalite Super). I slept in it in a hammock last week, and at 11 degrees I was seriously warm. It'd probably go to zero without a problem. I can't imagine how much a REAL 10 degree poly bag would weigh, but it'd be a lot, and it'd be huge when compressed.

My last poly bag was a (lying) TNF 20 degree one that packed larger than my conservatively rated 10 degree down one does.

I'm not going to tell you or anyone else that you're wrong to carry a poly bag; it's just wrong for me. This Summer, I'm going to get a 1-pond Marmot Atom. I can hardly wait. However, Marmot also makes one called a Pounder that's some sort of poly fill, and I'm sure that it's just fine.

Brand does indeed seem to make a difference. It may be that my two down bags are so much better because they're from better companies than the 3 poly ones that I've had. I have no idea, I just know that I'm "down" for life. :)

Mutinousdoug
2008-01-29, 22:29
Nightwalker,
OK, I can see that you and I have different descriptions of what "absolutely soaked" means. I've spent a few nights under a leaky poncho in at least 1"/hr torrential rainfall and my poncho liner didn't get completely soaked, at least by my definition. My definition of the above quote is more like Dropkick describes of his brother's mishap. Finally drying out my down bag in the electric dryer with a couple of tennis shoes likely did pull a few seams. It didn't "burst" but it never was the bag it was before the soaking.
I still use a down bag as an over-quilt and it's a name brand so I'm much more careful about letting it get "soaked"; if I lived in Oregon or on the Olympic peninsula I might re-assess my sleeping arrangements. Here in Colorado it's pretty dry (or else below freezing) so down is a good bet if you pick your camping spot wisely.

Nightwalker
2008-01-30, 00:51
Nightwalker,
OK, I can see that you and I have different descriptions of what "absolutely soaked" means.

There was 2" of water in the floor of the tent by morning. It was awful. :)

It was also the only bad time that I had while hiking in Maine. I can't wait to go back.

Edit: Okay, maybe not 2". Standing water, though, and everything was soaked. Just plain nasty.

Now I always set up any tent that I plan to use during the year and check it out with a water hose at least once during the early Spring. Safe != Sorry.

Iceman
2008-01-30, 11:17
....... if I lived in Oregon or on the Olympic peninsula I might re-assess my sleeping arrangements.....

You made my day.

Camping (and hunting) in the rainforest can be a bit wet. It is still very common for campers to carry extra tarps, to string over even well made tents out here, sometimes the rain is non-stop drizzle, and this is bad news...


Tumblerat, that sniper parka has cotton in it. No thanks. I have learned my lesson with cotton.....

Mutinousdoug
2008-01-30, 13:33
[QUOTE=Iceman;23004]You made my day.

Camping (and hunting) in the rainforest can be a bit wet. It is still very common for campers to carry extra tarps, to string over even well made tents out here, sometimes the rain is non-stop drizzle, and this is bad news.../[QUOTE]

So Iceman,
What do you sleep on during the rainy season? Not the (shudder) ground? My elk hunting rig is a canvas tent "The Big Top" with wood stove and I sleep on a cot with a 4" foam pad. Not unlike sleeping at home. Even if we setup on wet ground, after a day or so we have to sprinkle snow or water on the ground in front of the stove to keep the dust down.

Nightwalker;
Here's an old pic of a morning after; during monsoon. I'm sleeping in a hammock here, otherwise I'd be laying on an air mattress. More like floating on one.

jimtanker
2008-01-30, 13:51
I've been completely soaked before. Laying on the back of the tank in one of those old green army down sleeping bags and it just started pouring. I was too warm and comfy to move. Slept great and just toweled off and put on dry clothes the next morning.

But of course most people dont have a 70 ton pack that they drive around with. :biggrin:

dropkick
2008-01-31, 01:20
Camping (and hunting) in the rainforest can be a bit wet. It is still very common for campers to carry extra tarps, to string over even well made tents out here, sometimes the rain is non-stop drizzle, and this is bad news...
Even here in Montana, which is a desert compared to parts of Washington, I still hang a tarp over my tent if I'm going to be in one area for very long or if it looks like rain or snow. Been doing it for as long as I can remember.

Not meaning to razz you wet guys, but I was taught as a child not to pitch my tent in a low area. Even in dry weather.
- On the minus side I was also taught to dig a shallow trench around my tent to lead water off - a definite no-no according to todays' leave no trace camping philosophy.

JAK
2008-01-31, 15:42
Related sailing story.
The old timers used to put reefs in their sails before furling them at anchor.

Iceman
2008-02-06, 10:12
Sorry for the delay...

When snow camping, we sleep on the snow, two layers of foam pads beneath us. During prolonged wet weather hunts; spike camps= one pad over tent floor, hopefully tent placed on mound not depression... Prolonged camp wet weather CAR/Truck camp... I have a cot to get off the ground, but not always, if I know we will be moving camp in the middle of a hunt...I will not bring the cot and just ground/pad sleep...

The area we elk hunt is steep, and you cannot find level ground to sleep on. Our tents are usually set on a slope, and I have started cutting a shitload of green bows to put under the tent to try to level it off, and get out of the mud. This "fix" sucks crap. But, what are you going to do.... Need the tent to run my propane light in for warmth and light, and general hanging out in after dark. Hunting the rainforest is no fun.

dropkick
2008-02-07, 02:21
Years ago I can remember my Dad folding over the down hill edge of our ground cover, a canvas tarp, and staking it down.
He did this so we wouldn't roll down the hill at night.
We slept with our feet in the pocket made by the tarp.

I also remember complaining about how uncomfortable I was and how I'd be awake all night. -This was just before I fell asleep and woke up fine in the morning (except for being crumpled into the bottom).

Unless I had no choice I sure wouldn't want to try sleeping like this now though.

-As I've gotten older I've noticed that the increased gravity has made the ground much harder and made it so I can't sleep in the positions and places I used too - with out acting like a cripple in the morning. I've also noticed that things have gotten heavier, and I can't move as quickly... increased gravity is the only logical explanation for this.
It's probably caused by global warming.

Bear
2008-02-07, 04:00
In other words Iceman we can say you are all wet.

Iceman
2008-02-08, 01:40
sometimes. Actually I dress pretty good for the wet stuff. All poly. shed as much rain as possible, dry the rest after dark in front of a propane lantern or heater....drink whiskey.

Bear
2008-02-08, 05:38
Iím with you as far as the whiskey part. I enjoy a good stiff drink at the end of the day. Fortunately I get to dry out in a small camp with most of the creature comforts. My dream hunt though is for me and my son to do an Alaskan float hunt for moose and or caribou. Got to wait a while until I get him and his sister out of college. He graduates this May but is planning on graduate school. I owe, I owe, so off to work I goÖ

Seeker
2008-02-28, 20:41
I have a Hennessy Hammock that I love dearly (not as much as my wife and child, but you get the point) and have camped out with both sleeping bag (wally world model) and my trusty old army surplus wool blanket.

I have froze my tuckus and toes off with both (temps in the 40's F) and am working on a different padding set up regardless of which I use.

I tend to lean toward my wool blankets because if they get wet (stuff happens) they will still have some insulating properties, but they're not as warm as my sleeping bag.

I need a reality check.

The sleeping bag's warmer, one pound lighter, and I can roll around in it and not poke my butt or feet out. But, if it gets wet, I'm screwed.

The wool blankets are one pound heavier (2 together), not as warm, but if they get wet they'll dry faster than that sleeping bag.

Feedback/different perspectives/different experiences would be appreciated.

peace,
samhain.

you definitely need either a pad or an underquilt when you sleep in a hammock, even down here. i use a JRB underquilt, even in the summers, and even down here. not sure a blanket is thick enough bottom-insulation, especially in a breeze.

check out hammock-forums and tothewoods.com. lots of good info there as well, and many posters here also post there.

Knute Kritt
2008-03-04, 16:25
I like my home made bag...been all over the world couldnt find one that kept me safe everywhere so teamed up with the man that developed Northern Outfitters originally and built a bivvy sack of 1.9 oz silicone X2 >20 il tear strength rip stop nylon and used YKK super molded 2 way #8 zipper absolutely not breathable so vented with a snorkel through bivvy and bag...use 2 military closed cell mats or any other mat and enclosed ina 1.1 oz Parachute ripstop acts a sdeicing cloth and put in side the bivvy and bag on top...bag is made of 2 sheets of 1.5 inch R12 and R17 Carpenter open celled poyurthern no CM foam with a liner of polyproylen or tricot nylon 40 denier full breathable and the outside liner is Versatech ripstop no coating absolutely breathable high MVTR and low air permeability (wind block)(can also use avalite or some other 2 ply taslan supplex launders uncoated...DWR or WPB stops the mositure from transfering out to the bivvy layer...unless absolutely sup arctic or pouting rain, I don't use WPB bivvy just use a Versatech DWR shell...I do not use an industrial machine all on a cheap Sear sewing machine and use a 40 tec double poly spun thread...I also made a bivanorak like hillebergs bivanorak from a Versatech DWR ripstop lite and sometimes get into this with my bag....can take the insulation out of the pod and put in different foam weights for warmer weather....get wet...no problem....alll of the moisture transfers out and you shake any ice off the inside of te bivvy and it is like powder in the extreme cold and you are on your way....also made a bivanorak that turns into a sizable tent with a footprint and doub;e shell with lots vent....I dont have a thyroid gland so metabolism is critical issue for me and I cant control my own thermostt well so staying absolutely warma nd dry is life or death for me and this systerm keeps me well comfortable and safe...with this who needs a tent...

Seeker
2008-03-04, 22:56
got a picture of it?

Frolicking Dino
2008-03-04, 23:51
I like my home made bag...been all over the world couldnt find one that kept me safe everywhere so teamed up with the man that developed Northern Outfitters originally and built a bivvy sack of 1.9 oz silicone X2 >20 il tear strength rip stop nylon and used YKK super molded 2 way #8 zipper absolutely not breathable so vented with a snorkel through bivvy and bag...use 2 military closed cell mats or any other mat and enclosed ina 1.1 oz Parachute ripstop acts a sdeicing cloth and put in side the bivvy and bag on top...bag is made of 2 sheets of 1.5 inch R12 and R17 Carpenter open celled poyurthern no CM foam with a liner of polyproylen or tricot nylon 40 denier full breathable and the outside liner is Versatech ripstop no coating absolutely breathable high MVTR and low air permeability (wind block)(can also use avalite or some other 2 ply taslan supplex launders uncoated...DWR or WPB stops the mositure from transfering out to the bivvy layer...unless absolutely sup arctic or pouting rain, I don't use WPB bivvy just use a Versatech DWR shell...I do not use an industrial machine all on a cheap Sear sewing machine and use a 40 tec double poly spun thread...I also made a bivanorak like hillebergs bivanorak from a Versatech DWR ripstop lite and sometimes get into this with my bag....can take the insulation out of the pod and put in different foam weights for warmer weather....get wet...no problem....alll of the moisture transfers out and you shake any ice off the inside of te bivvy and it is like powder in the extreme cold and you are on your way....also made a bivanorak that turns into a sizable tent with a footprint and doub;e shell with lots vent....I dont have a thyroid gland so metabolism is critical issue for me and I cant control my own thermostt well so staying absolutely warma nd dry is life or death for me and this systerm keeps me well comfortable and safe...with this who needs a tent...Very interesting concepts - I too would like to see some pics.

I once knew a guy that had a custom set-up made from strips of blue pad with synthetic 'tubes' in between on top and a solid blue pad in a sleeve on the bottom. Guy swore it breathed well and that he could go into the low teens in that set-up