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#180012 - 10/02/13 12:56 PM keeping warm in sleeping bag
Heloise1964 Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/02/13
Posts: 2
I cannot seem to keep my belly area warm in my sleeping bag even if my bag is supposed to go to -20 c. I use clothing to stuff in my bag and a hot water bottle.Ihave lost a lot of weight. Could it be a medical issue? thx

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#180033 - 10/02/13 09:05 PM Re: keeping warm in sleeping bag [Re: Heloise1964]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1338
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Are you sleeping on your back, side, or stomach?
At what temperatures does this occur?
What sleeping bag are you using?
What sleeping pad are you using?

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#180037 - 10/03/13 02:31 AM Re: keeping warm in sleeping bag [Re: Heloise1964]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Glenn has asked all the right questions. Having a good pad is essential to keeping warm in cold weather. On snow, I use two-one closed cell foam and one Therm-a-Rest stacked.

Stuffing clothes in your bag may be counterproductive. See that parka I am wearing? If I have it with me, I may toss it over my bag, but not try to stuff it in the bag. Works pretty well. FYI, that parka is a TNF down parka and weighs about as much as a 20F bag.

Two suggestions - wear a base layer such as Capilene (Patagonia) or Merino wool. I have Capilene and have owned the same set for years. It is pricey but very warm and durable. Some people carry a separate set just for sleeping. I just have the one, plus I now have an expedition weight top as a third piece. A fleece or wool beanie, light gloves and socks might help. I've tried all three, but they tend to bother me, so I usually wind up taking them off.

Eat something before turning in. I suggest an energy bar of some sort - Clif Bar, Luna, etc. whatever you like. If you wake up cold, eat half a bar. You'd be surprised how well that works, at least it does for me and I'm very thin.


Edited by TomD (10/03/13 02:37 AM)
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#180041 - 10/03/13 06:54 AM Re: keeping warm in sleeping bag [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Heloise1964 Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/02/13
Posts: 2
I am sleeping on my back and on my side. the worst is on my back. the temperatures I am cold in are near 50-60 f. I am using a north face snow leopard sleepingbag that is supposed to be for very cold weather. I am sleeping on three mattresses outside on my porch: an air mattress, a foam mattress and a natural latex mattress

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#180059 - 10/03/13 01:54 PM Re: keeping warm in sleeping bag [Re: Heloise1964]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By Heloise1964
I am sleeping on my back and on my side. the worst is on my back. the temperatures I am cold in are near 50-60 f. I am using a north face snow leopard sleepingbag that is supposed to be for very cold weather. I am sleeping on three mattresses outside on my porch: an air mattress, a foam mattress and a natural latex mattress


Are you sleeping on all 3 at the same time? What is the stack order? What type of foam mattress? What type of air mattress? What type of natural latex mattress?

How tight is the bag around you? Do you have it all zipped up and cinched up around your neck and head?
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#180063 - 10/03/13 04:54 PM Re: keeping warm in sleeping bag [Re: Heloise1964]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I am confused. If your night time temperatures are 50-60 degrees F, why are you posting in a winter hiking forum? These are warm nights, even for the summer! I think the answers you are getting assume you are camping in near freezing to below zero F.

If you are cold between 50-60 degrees F, and are using any kind of sleeping bag at all, and even just a minimal sleeping pad, I suspect your cold has nothing to do with the sleeping bag. Only way I could see that would happen is if you had the top wide open, not cinched up at the neck.

50-60 degrees in near 100% humidity can feel quite cold. This is like camping on the coast north of San Francisco. I think it was John Muir who said he had never been as cold as in summer in San Francisco (fog season- steady 50-60 degree weather). If the humidity is causing your skin to get moist, that may be the problem. In these conditions nothing works better than good quality wool base layer (I like Smartwool).

Sleeping bags only insulate. If you jump into a cold seeping bag and you are cold and your body cannot warm the bag, you just stay cold. Be sure YOU are warm when you climb inside. I like to do a little walking around before I go into the bag. Then once warm, all bags lose some heat so your body has to keep generating heat at night. If you cannot generate any heat while sleeping, it could be a medical/metabolic issue.

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#180064 - 10/03/13 06:33 PM Re: keeping warm in sleeping bag [Re: Heloise1964]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1338
Loc: Southwest Ohio
How old is the sleeping bag? Is it designed so the down can be shifted from "top" to "bottom" within the baffles? (I'm not familiar with the "new" North Face product line. They used to be a hard-core outdoor gear company, back in the 80s. Now, not so much; I haven't heard many really good things about their newer products, and don't see them very much in the backcountry. In the 80s, everybody had their stuff.)

But I digress. If the down is shiftable, it could be that it is all in the bottom of the bag, which means that when you're on your back, all the down is underneath you, squashed, and you're getting no insulation on your belly area.

Also, if you choose to answer, do you have much body fat? I had a Boy Scout who had very little body fat (he couldn't float long enough to pass his swimming test.) He used to sleep cold on fairly warm nights, too; he usually had to wear clothing inside the bag.

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#180065 - 10/03/13 09:15 PM Re: keeping warm in sleeping bag [Re: wandering_daisy]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
If that were truly a winter bag you should be sweltering in it at that temperature.

If the foam pad is on top of the other pads, the bag has good loft/no scant or empty baffles, and you are still cold at 50-60F, wearing dry clothes, hydrating and eating dinner before bed, I would go to a doctor and ask about metabolic issues.
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#180076 - 10/04/13 08:01 PM Re: keeping warm in sleeping bag [Re: lori]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
"I think it was John Muir who said he had never been as cold as in summer in San Francisco (fog season- steady 50-60 degree weather)."

Not John Muir. It is often attributed to Mark Twain, but apparently he never said it either.
There are lots of sites that talk about Twain's quotes - this one is probably as reliable as any-
http://www.snopes.com/quotes/twain.asp

As for the sleeping bag problem. Anyone in a Snow Leopard in 50-60F weather should be far too warm to get a good night's sleep. It is rated 0F. My old Cat's Meow, originally rated to 20F is too warm for those temperatures and it's long past its prime. There must be another cause. If you are sleeping on the air mattress, it could be sucking the warmth out of you, but I suspect some medical issue. I get cold very easily (hence the huge parka in my photo) and sleep fine around 10-15F in a bag rated 23F, plus either an overbag and bivy sack or my parka on top, while wearing my Capilene midweight base layer I mentioned above.
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#180084 - 10/05/13 03:09 PM Re: keeping warm in sleeping bag [Re: Heloise1964]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By TomD
Eat something before turning in. I suggest an energy bar of some sort - Clif Bar, Luna, etc. whatever you like. If you wake up cold, eat half a bar. You'd be surprised how well that works, at least it does for me and I'm very thin.


Heloise, I'm going to repeat what Tom said. Try that and please let us know if it made a difference.
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