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Camping Equipment and all Clothing Tents, sleeping bags, stoves etc. Riding clothing, boots, helmets, what to wear when not riding, etc.
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  #1  
Old 11 Jan 2009
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Spent last night in my conservatory !

Nope I didnt get kicked out of bed !

Decided to use the cold spell to try out my sleeping arrangements

I switched off the heating and it was about 8 deg C when I went to sleep.

Using
Blacks down Quantum 500 (rated 3 seasons)
Silk liner
standard box blow up air bed

Wearing, merino wool long johns, long sleeve north face tech shirt (underlayer), biking socks and a fleece hat for my head

I was comfortably warm on top of the bag but my underneath was feeling chilly. I lay for 10 minutes thinking that things would warm up under me. This wasnt the case and I grabbed a quilt (my standby heat lol) and placed it underneath me.

I did sleep but im sure I woke up a few times feeling slightly cold.

Normally on my trips (in warmer weather) I just sleep in the buff with just the bag and this is fine, apart from a couple of nights in lower Finland in June last year.

So Im looking for ideas so I can stay warm on colder nights, I have thought about getting a smaller bag and using both.

Throw any ideas at me... Im all ears

Cheers
Geordie
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  #2  
Old 11 Jan 2009
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Get a therma-rest sleeping mat or gain 2 stone like I did. You can't beat natures own insulation! The cold floor just sucks the heat out of you so you need a thermal barrier. I don't know what's inside a Therma-rest but the clue is in the name!

Oh, and do something with your ears as you can loose a lot of heat from them.
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  #3  
Old 11 Jan 2009
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Tips
1. We're not interested in you sleeping in the buff. Too much info.
2. Open the conservatory window next time. 8c is like summer.

Joking apart you should have been reasonably OK with a 3 season bag plus liner, though you could try a fleece liner rather than silk.

What did you think was the reason for your heat loss, conduction or radiation? Maybe a camping/climbing shop will offer the best advice.

Tim
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  #4  
Old 11 Jan 2009
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@Flyingdoctor
I was sleeping on a box air bed (used it for years without feeling the cold).
Im not sure about thermarest's they just dont look comfortable

@Tim
I did think about opening the windows lol. Ive got a fleece liner but its bulky ish. Im trying to think how to keep the overall pac size down.
I did think about putting a space blanket on the bed to help with the insulation.
As for camp shops, I would rather take the advice from people on this forum mate rather than ask some shop assistants who would sell you anything just to make a sale.

Cheers
Geordie
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  #5  
Old 11 Jan 2009
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im with you mate, i cant get on with thermarest and the like either, airbed for me too.

but as youve found the airgap underneath lets the cold in, or the heat out whatever. what you need is one of those silver space blankets to go between your bag and the mattress. they reflect the heat back at you.

get them from most camping stores or ebay probably, or get a free one when you do the london marathon
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  #6  
Old 11 Jan 2009
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The space blanket won't insulate (against conduction) it only helps with radiation. See comments at Emergency space blankets must be used correctly

You can read about my experience here, sleeping besides the bike with just a plastic exposure sack.

There's something wrong if you can't hack it at 8c with a sleeping bag. Next time try using the biking gear either on top or underneath you. Or, even better, wearing it.

Tim
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  #7  
Old 11 Jan 2009
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You won't get very far with an attitude of "thermarests don't look very comfortable, so why bother?" The fact that you're sleeplessly cold at 8 degrees without any wind, sheltered even from the night sky (i.e., radiational heat loss) means you're doing something drastically wrong. If you want, you can figure out what this is and take corrective action; if not, well, stick to mid-summer.

There are only a couple of significant kinds of heat loss, and all are under your control when camping out: radiational, convective, conductive. I agree with others that the likely culprit is your airbed, which combines lack of insulation against conductive heatloss with encouragement of convective losses. Get rid of it. Go to a good camping store and try out the various thermarests and their imitators. Notice that some are thin and uncomfortable while others are fat and plush. Think about the tradeoffs in weight and expense. Learn about R-values, which measure conductive heat loss. Make an informed decision.

Following this you can play around with changing liner materials, wearing hats to bed, etc. etc. etc. But if you're sleeping cold in a three-season bag indoors at 8 degrees, you need to adjust something more significant than your liner or hat.

Or: stick to mid-summer.

Hope that helps.

Mark

PS: reflective liners are effective only against radiational losses, an entirely different phenomenon. They need to reflect into an airspace to be effective, and for this reason tend not to help much when you're lying on top of them. This being the case, some people like them regardless (and don't mind the crinkling noises, the fact that they rip easily, or drench you in sweat, or get scrunched up uselessly in the corner by morning, or.....) Whatever the case, this will not cure your problem, which (by your description) is clearly related to your fat, useless airbed.
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  #8  
Old 11 Jan 2009
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Heat loss was likely from the compressed sleeping bag underneath you. Once compressed there is far less insulation there, try to get a air mat with some insulation. One popular brand in the UK is Exped or Big Agnus.

If you plan on cold weather camping there the way to go. If its only time to time you plan on doing this a wool blanket between you and the air mat will do. In the bag or on the air mat will do. One little hint never sleep in any thing you where in the day you sweat in them and that will chill you all night.
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  #9  
Old 11 Jan 2009
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Hi, do walking climbing and biking. Just spent 3 nights out in a tent with temps down to -8.
An air matress cools with the surrounding air/ground temp and is always going to be colder than you where the sleeping bag is compressed at the bottom.

Personally I use a thermorest but you can get slightly bigger and cheaper ones that work. What you need is insulation betweem the ground and sleeping bag or you. Newspaper works well but is noisy

On one really cold night, half deflated the thermorest and put it into the sleeping bag, problem was I had to sleep on my back and snored like a pig all night, I was OK but my mates were not.

Cant cope with staying awake cold so I will stick to my thermorest even if it is not big enough at times.
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Last edited by jquinton; 11 Jan 2009 at 18:40. Reason: error
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  #10  
Old 11 Jan 2009
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I can vouch for the therm-a-rest or copy. They do the trick nicely.
You can get three quarter length versions (and different thickness) to save on space but they go pretty small when all the air is squeezed out.
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  #11  
Old 11 Jan 2009
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I'd go along with the points everyone else has made - and especially Tim's one about too much info on your sleeping arrangements!

There is one thing though that hasn't been mentioned which is that you need to get used to it.
If your previous night's sleep was in a bed with a mega tog duvet pre warmed by wife /gf / civil partner you're bound to feel cold in the sleeping bag even with all of the add-ons. Stick with it, it'll get easier as your metabolic rate goes up (and if it doesn't you'll get used to surviving on 3hrs sleep a night!)
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  #12  
Old 11 Jan 2009
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Hello from Canada. I believe I come from a cold enough climate to qualify. Lots of folks here winter camp and are comfortable. I can guarantee that your problem is that air mattress. I don't like the very thin backpacker self inflating matts either, I have a 2.5 " self inflating matt that is filled with foam. That is what will protect you from the cold. Look around mine was inexpensive but is heavy and bulky. I use it on the bike or car camping. It is certainly not a back packers matt. Hope this helps.
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  #13  
Old 11 Jan 2009
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Hi Geordie e
I plan on doing a similar test but will put my tent up in the garden.
I have a snugpac softie 9 which I think is 3 season and have just bought a snugpac fleece liner for £30 its not to bulky, I also use a short thermarest. I asked about army sleeping bags (artic)on another forum and was advised the bag I have with liner should be fine.
I remeber at one of the HU meetings being advised not to use an air bed as you will get cold.
Exped were recomended but I allready have a thermarest so will stick with that
I want to go to the Dragon rally in Wales in Feb so need to sort some good kit.
Will let you know how I get on
I think the main problem for me will be if I get cold on the bike its going to be hard to get warm again before going to bed
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  #14  
Old 11 Jan 2009
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Heatloss

Hi, if your problem is heat loss, that's one thing. If it's also a matter of cash loss then try Down sleeping bags and down jackets, Alpkit outdoor gear for alpine activities including climbing, camping, mountaineering and trekking Linzi. Cold never killed anyone anyway did it?
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  #15  
Old 11 Jan 2009
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Thanks for all the advice and comments

for telling you about my normal sleeping habits

Iv'e spent 23 years in the Army, so Im used to sleeping rough, cold and dirty ! spent way too many nights in the bottom of a muddy trench

We used to have a saying "any fool can be uncomfortable" hence my night in the conservatory.
Yes I am normally an early summer type of camper but have only been cold once when I was in Finland.

Im going to have a scout around and try thermarest (but I cant work out why my airbed which ive used for the last 5 years was so cold).

Could it be that the Blacks sleeping bag isnt really a 3 season bag ? Its a down one and Im always careful and store the bag in its storage net.
The top and sides of the bag wasnt cold, just the bottom of the bag.

Well I will try a few more things later this week and see how I get on

Cheers
Geordie
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