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#173914 - 01/16/13 03:04 PM How to keep my back warm?
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 627
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
All right, my first thread was an introduction, now down to business.

It seems like it can be 30 degrees F (last night) or 60, and invariably, I'll wake up several times in the night with a cold back. This happened last night in a dome tent with the fly on, on a full size air mattress, inside two warm-weather sleeping bags (one inside the other), with a light fleece blanket on top of me (inside the bags), wearing a set of thermal underwear, polyester blend socks, pajama pants, a thick sweater, and a wool hat. Sleeping on my stomach, back, or side didn't seem to make any difference.

I wasn't discernibly sweaty at all, but I must be doing something wrong. How do I keep my back warm?

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#173915 - 01/16/13 03:23 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: 4evrplan]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Is the air mattress insulated? If not there's your problem.
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#173916 - 01/16/13 03:35 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: lori]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 627
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
laugh Yep, that was the problem. When I make the move to light/ultralight backpacking, what's the best type of pad for staying warm? Are those inexpensive 1/2 inch closed-cell foam pads warm enough for this kind of weather?

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#173920 - 01/16/13 03:53 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: 4evrplan]
Glenn Roberts Offline
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Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1339
Loc: Southwest Ohio
It's been years since I used one of them (you'll hear them called a closed-cell foam pad, or CCF.) A half inch is minimally warm; 3/4 inch is better - and the 1.5 inch is toasty. The go-to brand, for most people, is Thermarest (their Z-Lite or RidgeRest models are the standard.) As you learn more about ultralight packing, you'll also discover that you can use your sleeping pad to form the frame of your pack, which lets you use a lighter pack (and there are some patterns out there that let you sew your own pack, since you don't need a preformed plastic/metal frame to build it on.)

My CCF days are well behind me (but then, so is my youth and much of my hair.) I find I need a more cushiony pad if I want my hips to cooperate in a good night's sleep.

Self-inflating or blow-up insulated pads are more comfortable and more compact to carry. Some of the best "beginner" pads (and I use the term very, very loosely since I used one for about 20 years) are the Thermarest varieties (or the house-brand REI knockoffs, which look like they might be made by Thermarest.) They balance cost, comfort, warmth, weight, and durability about as well as any I've ever seen. If you suddenly inherit a fortune, you can drool over the NeoAir line they make.

My own preference, at least this week, is the Big Agnes Q-Core, which is decadently comfortable and not overly heavy. They're about to release an "SL" (superlight?) version that's half a pound lighter, which puts it in the same weight range as many of the Thermarest self-inflaters. (Lori - aren't you using this pad fairly often, too? Your review on Backpack Gear Test was what prompted me to look at it - that and the look of sheer bliss on the face of one of my buddies who had one.)

Probably the warmest pad out there is the Exped Downmat series, but they're overkill for where and when I camp, and a bit fussy to deal with since you have to pump them (your breath would wet out the down filling.)

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#173923 - 01/16/13 04:13 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 627
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts
As you learn more about ultralight packing, you'll also discover that you can use your sleeping pad to form the frame of your pack, which lets you use a lighter pack (and there are some patterns out there that let you sew your own pack, since you don't need a preformed plastic/metal frame to build it on.)


I've heard of that. In fact that's my tentative plan for getting a decent pack, with a bit of a twist. I found good notes online about building a tarp out of silvered LDPE and using strategically placed "transparent duct tape" to carry the loads. At least one experienced camper has built several of these and used them for years, and I thought if it works for a tarp, why not a pack, except I wouldn't need the heat reflective stuff for a pack. Is there any particular pattern you would recommend as a good starting place?

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#173924 - 01/16/13 04:32 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: 4evrplan]
ETSU Pride Offline
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Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 931
Loc: Knoxville, TN
Something worth mentioning: your sleeping bag is warm due to the loft trapping heat. When you lay on insulation you're compressing it and rendering it useless. That where the need for insulated sleep pad comes in handy.
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#173926 - 01/16/13 04:52 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: 4evrplan]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1339
Loc: Southwest Ohio
You might try Gossamer Gear's website; at one time they offered the pattern for the original "G" model pack (G4?). I've never tried making one (when I do something myself, it ends up looking like I did it myself.)

Check the Make Your Own Gear forum here; I'm sure you'll get some good ideas.

For less than $120, you can buy a frameless pack from Granite Gear (the Virga) that I have used and really like; I just can't keep my load reliably below 20 pounds, which was the limit of comfort for me with that pack. There are also some other folks (Gossamer Gear and Six Moon Designs) that sell online, and seem to get good reviews.

At one time, TarpTent gave away the pattern for its original tent; I don't know if they still do. (Franco - do you know?)

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#173927 - 01/16/13 05:02 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 627
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts
You might try Gossamer Gear's website; at one time they offered the pattern for the original "G" model pack (G4?). I've never tried making one (when I do something myself, it ends up looking like I did it myself.)


Ha ha. That's okay for me if it looks rough. Being fashionable is great, but right now, just getting stuff together and getting out there is the priority.

Found it. I've now got a backup copy on my hard drive.

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#173939 - 01/16/13 08:27 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: 4evrplan]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
and I thought if it works for a tarp, why not a pack, except I wouldn't need the heat reflective stuff for a pack. Is there any particular pattern you would recommend as a good starting place?


I'm going to say that's not a good choice of material for a pack. I've got a campfire tent I made with that stuff, and while you can keep the load on the tape when pitching the tent or a tarp, the material will not carry a load like that of a pack. It will tear at the edges of the tape seams. Works great for a tarp or tent though, and the campfire tent is incredible. (campfire tent)

I made a pack out of feed sacks that worked really good. I used nylon webbing to strap it to an aluminum frame but you could sew up a harness with the webbing to make it a frameless pack easy enough. (feedsack backpack)

As for staying warm, I use a piece of bubble foil insulation on top of my pad. It will work great with your CCF pad too, and if you know a home contractor you can probably barter a piece from them for a beer or two grin

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#173944 - 01/16/13 09:21 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: billstephenson]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I never try making stuff (except for trouble ) because I found it easier to figure out what I want, then look for a lightly used one. Some people like the process, but I don't have the skills or equipment to do it. If I bought a Ray Jardine kit for example, I'd have to have someone assemble it for me. Not to say that's such a bad idea; I don't think it is, but it kind of defeats the whole saving money, do it yourself idea. I found a really nice pack for $40 brand new. Don't laugh, it spent three weeks in India no worse for the wear and now is in Iceland for a few weeks. Not on my back, but loaned out to friends who are travelling, not hiking. There are bargains out there, if you look.

As far as pads go, I've used the blue foam pads and now have a Ridgerest and Therm-A-Rest blowup pad. I stack them for winter. Air mattresses, as already noted, will suck the heat out of you in short order unless they are also insulated with down or something else.


Edited by TomD (01/18/13 01:13 AM)
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#173945 - 01/16/13 09:39 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts


My own preference, at least this week, is the Big Agnes Q-Core, which is decadently comfortable and not overly heavy. They're about to release an "SL" (superlight?) version that's half a pound lighter, which puts it in the same weight range as many of the Thermarest self-inflaters. (Lori - aren't you using this pad fairly often, too? Your review on Backpack Gear Test was what prompted me to look at it - that and the look of sheer bliss on the face of one of my buddies who had one.)


The Q Core is the most comfortable mattress I have.

I have a NeoAir (original) that runs a close second. The Exped Downmat 9 has vertical tube baffles that are not as comfy for me as either the Q Core or NeoAir, but slight underinflation helps. The Exped would be my choice for temps lower than 5F. The NeoAir has been comfortable for me (in practice) to below freezing a number of times. The Q Core I would trust to the rated 15F, and would be easy to supplement with a foam pad for lower.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#173949 - 01/16/13 10:05 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: TomD]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
I never try making stuff (except for trouble ;)) because I found it easier to figure out what I want, then look for a lightly used one.


I dunno, you can't find a decent used feedsack pack or campfire tent made out of SOL blankets hardly anywhere grin

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#173968 - 01/17/13 10:03 AM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: billstephenson]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
You may have had so many clothes on everything was compressed and not giving much insulation.

Personally, I use the much maligned Alpine 20 sleeping bag. You can usually find one on sale for around $30. I use it without a pad and stay warm down to the mid-20's. It weighs 2 lb 4 oz including the stuff sack. That puts it close to the same weight as a down bag. The tradeoff is it is bulky. I solve that by using an external frame pack.

I'd suggest taking some of those extra clothes and putting them under you instead of on you. The part of your body that needs extra insulation below is from the waist up.

I find I'm warmest sleeping on my side and not moving. This takes some practice as people new to sleeping on the ground get uncomfortable.

If you get cold during the night, get up and take a leak. Then you will be warm for a couple of hours.

I'm also not afraid to pull the bag over my head if it is near the end of the night and I'm getting cold. Yes, some moisture will accumulate, but an hour or so of breathing in the bag isn't going to hurt anything. Just let it air out sometime during the day.

The coldest part of the night is usually during the half hour after the sun starts to come up. So get up when it starts to get light and move on.

I sleep warmer if I eat about 600 calories of high fat food just before going to sleep. I also try to make it high protein. This pretty much means some kind of nuts.

Until you can afford a really good sleeping system, being a little cold sometimes comes with the territory.
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#174125 - 01/21/13 08:26 AM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: billstephenson]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 627
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By billstephenson
As for staying warm, I use a piece of bubble foil insulation on top of my pad. It will work great with your CCF pad too, and if you know a home contractor you can probably barter a piece from them for a beer or two :grin


Good idea. I've got one of those car windshield shades made of bubble insulation. I tried sleeping on it Sunday night, and yes, it was marginally warmer, but I think I'm going to need something more for this weather.

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#174151 - 01/21/13 11:15 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: 4evrplan]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
You may be getting a draft from the head opening of the sleeping bag. My bag has a draft collar. If yours does not then wrap some clothing around your neck. Sleeping bags are warm to their stated "comfort" temperature when the hood is fully tightened and only your chin to nose sticks out.

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#174163 - 01/22/13 01:30 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: 4evrplan]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
I've got one of those car windshield shades made of bubble insulation


Those aren't quite as good as bubble foil insulation, but they will work too. The bubbles aren't as big, and that's what traps your heat.

There are different types too. You can get single bubble, or double bubble. Double bubble is two layers of bubbles. There are also types with one White and one Foil layer on each side of the bubbles, and one with both sides made of Foil. I use single bubble with the White and put foil side down.

Double bubble works great, but it's bulky, and heavier, though neither weigh very much.

As per W-D's suggestion that you cinch up the draft collars, that does make a big difference. My bag has a cinch cord just above the shoulders, and another for the hood. I adjust them as needed, but always fumble around trying to get them loose.
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#174200 - 01/23/13 09:41 AM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: billstephenson]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
All this talk of double bubble reminds me of when I used to chew gum as a kid.
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#174207 - 01/23/13 12:38 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: finallyME]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1339
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Ah, yes, but can you inflate a pad and chew gum at the same time? There's the real test! smile

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#174221 - 01/23/13 03:52 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 627
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Is a pump sack cheating?

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#174226 - 01/23/13 06:06 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: 4evrplan]
topshot Offline
member

Registered: 04/28/09
Posts: 241
Loc: Midwest
Originally Posted By 4evrplan
I found good notes online about building a tarp out of silvered LDPE and using strategically placed "transparent duct tape" to carry the loads. At least one experienced camper has built several of these and used them for years, and I thought if it works for a tarp, why not a pack, except I wouldn't need the heat reflective stuff for a pack.
That may have been my videos you found. LDPE or polycryo would not work for a pack. Silnylon or cuben would be the lightest fabrics you could use for that application.

Re: Pumpsack - cheating at what? It's not really needed unless your pad has down fill but may make inflating easier on you.


Edited by topshot (01/23/13 06:10 PM)

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#174231 - 01/23/13 07:54 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: 4evrplan]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1339
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Heck, no - from my experience with them, I can't even use one when I'm NOT chewing gum!

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#174233 - 01/23/13 09:13 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: topshot]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
That's a great tarp, good job!

I like the swimsuit clip idea for the storm door, that's ingenious. I have to ask if you tried it with a campfire. It looks to me like it'd warm up pretty good in there.
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"You want to go where?"



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#174237 - 01/23/13 09:37 PM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: billstephenson]
topshot Offline
member

Registered: 04/28/09
Posts: 241
Loc: Midwest
Bill,
No, I rarely make fires for LNT reasons. My 2nd tarp is made from polycryo that likely wouldn't work as well in that regard.

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#174243 - 01/24/13 09:49 AM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: topshot]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 627
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By topshot
Re: Pumpsack - cheating at what? It's not really needed unless your pad has down fill but may make inflating easier on you.


My question regarding pumpsacks was in reply to this:

Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts
Ah, yes, but can you inflate a pad and chew gum at the same time? There's the real test! smile

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#174247 - 01/24/13 09:58 AM Re: How to keep my back warm? [Re: 4evrplan]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 627
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
@topshot

I think I've seen your tent at some point (very nice looking tent by the way), but I was talking about this:

Homemade tents

and:

An 18 oz 2-Man Shelter


Edited by 4evrplan (01/24/13 09:59 AM)

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