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What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

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What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

Postby herdbull » Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:55 am

So what's your back country cold weather/winter sleeping apparel? I'm thinking temps in the single digits with appropriate sleeping bag/pad combo and tent. Some guys like silk, some wear nothing, others wear a different lightweight base layer. What do you like and why?
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Re: What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:08 pm

I do a lot of winter alpine climbing in the United States Pacific Northwest. The winters are not particularly cold, however, the climate is very wet. This heavily influences my choice of apparel. I don't bring extra base layers to change into when I sleep, except for socks. I dry the socks and glove liners I used during the day by tucking them against my stomach at night.

-Midweight merino wool long underwear, top and bottom. This stinks less than polyester.

-Dry merino wool liner socks

-Dry synthetic heavy mountaineering socks. I used premium merino wool socks for years, but switched to synthetic socks for the durability and price.

-Winter weight soft shell pants

-Marmot DriClime wind shirt.

-Fleece gloves

-Warm hat

-100 gram, Primaloft insulated, hooded belay parka.

This combination allows me to use a lightweight 15 degree F bag and thin Evazotte pad. If I am climbing something colder, say Rainier in February, I add a pair of PowerStretch fleece tights and a light weight, high lofting fleece sweater.
Last edited by ExcitableBoy on Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

Postby radson » Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:38 pm

Yes I prefer merino for my evening wear. Just less stinky and sticky for extended periods.
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Re: What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

Postby WyomingSummits » Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:50 am

ExcitableBoy wrote:I do a lot of winter alpine climbing in the United States Pacific Northwest. The winters are not particularly cold, however, the climate is very wet. This heavily influences my choice of apparel. I don't bring extra base layers to change into when I sleep, except for socks. I dry the socks and glove liners I used during the day by tucking them against my stomach at night.

-Midweight merino wool long underwear, top and bottom. This stinks less than polyester.

-Dry merino wool liner socks

-Dry synthetic heavy mountaineering socks. I used premium merino wool socks for years, but switched to synthetic socks for the durability and price.

-Winter weight soft shell pants

-Marmot DriClime wind shirt.

-Fleece gloves

-Warm hat

-100 gram, Primaloft insulated, hooded belay parka.

This combination allows me to use a lightweight 15 degree F bag and thin Evazotte pad. If I am climbing something colder, say Rainier in February, I add a pair of PowerStretch fleece tights and a light weight, high lofting fleece sweater.

You SLEEP in all of that? Or is that just your system for cold weather climbing? I'd be a puddle of sweat in anything but my Merino base layers and a light fleece shirt. I do the same with my socks.....extra pair for sleeping while the others dry as my feet tend to run hot. I use a cooler bag.....on zero or below nights I can still get by with a 30 degree bag. I made the mistake one time of taking a 15 degree bag for nights in the 30's....BIG MISTAKE....man was I miserably hot. I usually take a light stretch beanie hat for sleeping in too....I have no hair so it's nice to have a layer on my head, and I can't stand having the bag over my face.
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Re: What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

Postby slideandride » Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:15 am

I just use good cotton bag sheets and stay plenty warm in bag and bivy..
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Re: What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:18 am

WyomingSummits wrote:You SLEEP in all of that? Or is that just your system for cold weather climbing?

Yes, I sleep in all that. Using these layers (which I take for climbing anyways) allows me to use a +15 F bag for Rainier in middle of winter and the Alaska Range in spring, down to -20 F. I generally run quite hot, pathologically hot in fact. Still, this doesn't seem like a lot of layers. For most objectives just two layers on the legs, and three on the torso, two of them being pretty light.
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Re: What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

Postby WyomingSummits » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:26 am

ExcitableBoy wrote:
WyomingSummits wrote:You SLEEP in all of that? Or is that just your system for cold weather climbing?

Yes, I sleep in all that. Using these layers (which I take for climbing anyways) allows me to use a +15 F bag for Rainier in middle of winter and the Alaska Range in spring, down to -20 F. I generally run quite hot, pathologically hot in fact. Still, this doesn't seem like a lot of layers. For most objectives just two layers on the legs, and three on the torso, two of them being pretty light.

Whatever works......my bag would be a full hydration bladder by morning if I slept in a insulated parka in a 15 degree bag. :)
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Re: What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:03 pm

WyomingSummits wrote:Whatever works......my bag would be a full hydration bladder by morning if I slept in a insulated parka in a 15 degree bag. :)

That is a good point. Clothing and sleeping systems are pretty individualized for each person and each climate. As I mentioned in my post, I climb a lot in the PNW in winter and Alaska in spring. The system I described works very well for those climates and is probably overkill for the friendlier climates of Wyoming and Colorado.
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Re: What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

Postby herdbull » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:26 am

WyomingSummits wrote:
ExcitableBoy wrote:I do a lot of winter alpine climbing in the United States Pacific Northwest. The winters are not particularly cold, however, the climate is very wet. This heavily influences my choice of apparel. I don't bring extra base layers to change into when I sleep, except for socks. I dry the socks and glove liners I used during the day by tucking them against my stomach at night.

-Midweight merino wool long underwear, top and bottom. This stinks less than polyester.

-Dry merino wool liner socks

-Dry synthetic heavy mountaineering socks. I used premium merino wool socks for years, but switched to synthetic socks for the durability and price.

-Winter weight soft shell pants

-Marmot DriClime wind shirt.

-Fleece gloves

-Warm hat

-100 gram, Primaloft insulated, hooded belay parka.

This combination allows me to use a lightweight 15 degree F bag and thin Evazotte pad. If I am climbing something colder, say Rainier in February, I add a pair of PowerStretch fleece tights and a light weight, high lofting fleece sweater.

You SLEEP in all of that? Or is that just your system for cold weather climbing? I'd be a puddle of sweat in anything but my Merino base layers and a light fleece shirt. I do the same with my socks.....extra pair for sleeping while the others dry as my feet tend to run hot. I use a cooler bag.....on zero or below nights I can still get by with a 30 degree bag. I made the mistake one time of taking a 15 degree bag for nights in the 30's....BIG MISTAKE....man was I miserably hot. I usually take a light stretch beanie hat for sleeping in too....I have no hair so it's nice to have a layer on my head, and I can't stand having the bag over my face.


(chuckle) that's what I was thinking. I may be able to survive something close to a holocaust in that. But then again I don't have that much experience with single digit or below zero temps. The couple test nights I did into the 5 degree range in my MH Phantom 0 were comfy and I sleep with nothing on and let the bag do the work. But for SA I figured I may want something just in case.

I broke down and found some lightweight merino wool base layers on sale. They weren't cheap butI think it will be good insurance and they pack down to nothing. Thanks for the advice.
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Re: What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:49 pm

herdbull wrote:(chuckle) that's what I was thinking. I may be able to survive something close to a holocaust in that. But then again I don't have that much experience with single digit or below zero temps. The couple test nights I did into the 5 degree range in my MH Phantom 0 were comfy and I sleep with nothing on and let the bag do the work.

If you didn't wear all your clothes to bed, you brought too many or too warm a sleeping bag. By taking a heavy bag and letting "the bag do the work", you are carrying more weight and bulk than you need to. Wearing your clothes to bed, including your belay jacket, allows you to bring a much lighter bag. For me that means a 2lb 4oz 15 degree bag in winter in the Cascades and the Alaska Range in spring. Carrying extra weight and bulk is not a big deal for camping, but for doing actual alpine routes it can be a deal breaker.
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Re: What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

Postby herdbull » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:03 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:
herdbull wrote:(chuckle) that's what I was thinking. I may be able to survive something close to a holocaust in that. But then again I don't have that much experience with single digit or below zero temps. The couple test nights I did into the 5 degree range in my MH Phantom 0 were comfy and I sleep with nothing on and let the bag do the work.

If you didn't wear all your clothes to bed, you brought too many or too warm a sleeping bag. By taking a heavy bag and letting "the bag do the work", you are carrying more weight and bulk than you need to. Wearing your clothes to bed, including your belay jacket, allows you to bring a much lighter bag. For me that means a 2lb 4oz 15 degree bag in winter in the Cascades and the Alaska Range in spring. Carrying extra weight and bulk is not a big deal for camping, but for doing actual alpine routes it can be a deal breaker.


uuhhhmmmm.....errrr..... my bag weighs in a few oz more than yours and I bet the compressed sized difference is not even noticeable in a pack. I have 4 bags, technically 5 bags if you count the lightweight "car camping" bag as do many others. I take the appropriate bag for the worst conditions I will encounter on that trip, therefore saving weight and space. If you're gonna load up on clothes and jump into a bag why even take a bag at all?

The bag is supposed to do the work not the clothes. That's how they are rated. And in this day and age as things become smaller, lighter, better, there's no reason to not be prepared. The extra weight of your clothes is probably half again as much as my bag. But to each his own.

I was looking for something other my polypropolene base layer for that special condition that might arise. Aconcagua can be a real bitch when she wants too hence potentially and I say potentially needing to sleep in an ultra light base layer.

Geeshhhzzz... sometimes I'm sorry for asking questions :?
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Re: What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:42 pm

herdbull wrote: If you're gonna load up on clothes and jump into a bag why even take a bag at all?

So, you climb naked? I don't 'load up on clothes' or bring any extra clothes other than an extra pair of socks. I simply wear all the clothes I carry anyway which allows me to bring a lighter bag. Go climb Rainier in winter or any Alaska Range peak. You would be hard pressed to carry fewer or lighter clothes than what I wear.

herdbull wrote:The bag is supposed to do the work not the clothes.

Who told you this? Ask any experienced alpinist. We all sleep in our clothes. Doing so allows us to use a lighter sleeping bag.
herdbull wrote:The extra weight of your clothes is probably half again as much as my bag. But to each his own.

I carry no 'extra weight' in clothes. These are clothes I plan on wearing regardless of if I spend the night or not. Unless you plan on climbing naked, you will have clothes.

herdbull wrote:
Geeshhhzzz... sometimes I'm sorry for asking questions :?

Don't be sorry. There are no stupid questions. This how you learn.

For reference, here is the clothing system Colin Haley's uses:

long john bottoms
pile lined soft shell pants..no zips
wool first layer on top
R1 layer
hard shell
belay jacket...a synthetic
Puff pants with zippers
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Re: What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sat Sep 21, 2013 4:23 am

herdbull wrote:
The bag is supposed to do the work not the clothes.

Image
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Re: What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

Postby DudeThatMustHurt » Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:23 pm

Just purchased my -20 bag, used it late last year at -20 temps. Slept well in my merino base layer and down booties because my feet get cold after long nights.
My bag weighs in a tad over 3lbs and I use a bibler bivy, I'm happy so far with how small the system packs down. I did just purchase the exped synmat with built in pump and a huge R rating for a few South American climbs in 2014 so I'm waiting to gauge how the complete system works in those temps.
I'm debating on the size of tent I want to bring with me ( be it solo or buy a 2 person), still some soul searching yet for that
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Re: What's your cold weather sleeping apparel?

Postby mrchad9 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:50 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:
herdbull wrote:(chuckle) that's what I was thinking. I may be able to survive something close to a holocaust in that. But then again I don't have that much experience with single digit or below zero temps. The couple test nights I did into the 5 degree range in my MH Phantom 0 were comfy and I sleep with nothing on and let the bag do the work.

If you didn't wear all your clothes to bed, you brought too many or too warm a sleeping bag. By taking a heavy bag and letting "the bag do the work", you are carrying more weight and bulk than you need to. Wearing your clothes to bed, including your belay jacket, allows you to bring a much lighter bag. For me that means a 2lb 4oz 15 degree bag in winter in the Cascades and the Alaska Range in spring. Carrying extra weight and bulk is not a big deal for camping, but for doing actual alpine routes it can be a deal breaker.

Excellent post!

Even in the summer, I bring the lightest bag possible and sleep in whatever the appropriate amount of clothes to keep warm. For nearly ever trip in CA I take my 32 degree bag (relatively new and lighter than the 40 deg bag that used to be my standard). I can use it almost year round by sleeping in all my clothes. Sometimes in winter I need to take my 20 deg bag.

Not much point to carrying all those layers along if you are going to pile them up in the tent next to you at night. Spoon your partner if you need something like that next to you!
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