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#100786 - 08/05/08 05:06 PM Stomach sleeping...
garin Offline

Registered: 08/05/08
Posts: 3
I'm not entirely sure which forum this belongs in, but hopefully some of the more experienced folks here can help me out. My problem is that it is virtually impossible for me to sleep in any position but on my stomach, arms folded under my head. In my youth, I could sleep anywhere in almost any position, but as I age I find I have far less tolerance.

Given this restriction, I find that I have a very difficult time staying warm in alpine conditions, or in shoulder season. It seems like all sleeping gear is designed solely for flat-on-your-back sleeping. About the only thing I've come up with that helps at all is to wear most of my heavy upper-body clothing layers so I can stick shoulders and above out of the bag. This is less than ideal.

I can't be the first person ever to have this problem, can I?

What have other folks done to improve colder-weather stomach sleeping, where the mummy bag concept just doesn't work?

#100787 - 08/05/08 08:10 PM Re: Stomach sleeping... [Re: garin]
Tango61 Offline

Registered: 12/27/05
Posts: 931
Loc: East Texas Piney Woods
Have you considered a quilt? Or if you mummy bag unzips 3/4 length you can try using it as q quilt. With a proper ground pad (ccf or down inflatible) I would think you could make it through shoulder season without a problem. I have a RayWay homemade quilt with draft stoppers that I use in my hammock (even in winter, although...I do live in Texas, my lowest temp has been 23F) and I don't have a problem with coverage or have to wrestle with it like I do my mummy bags.


#100788 - 08/05/08 08:35 PM Re: Stomach sleeping... [Re: garin]
Glenn Offline

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I can think of a couple of tricks that might work:

First, the mummy bag can roll with you; try rolling it over so the hood is around your head, only "upside down" to a back-sleeper. (I sleep on my side, so I roll the bag with me so the hood opening is "sideways.") This doesn't solve the problem of what to do with your arms, though.

You might try sleeping in a hooded down jacket (Patagonia and Montbell, at least, make them) and a hoodless sleeping bag (I like the WM Mitylite.) The hood will then move with your body, while the bag stays in position. This comes very close to sleeping under a quilt (as Tango61 suggests), but the hooded jacket provides some warmth for your head.

Depending on how cold "cold" is, you might even investigate an "elephant's foot" bag that would cover you from roughly the waist down, coupled with a heavy hooded down jacket. I'm only familiar with the concept, but don't know who (if anyone) still makes them, or where you could have one custom made.

#100789 - 08/06/08 06:35 AM Re: Stomach sleeping... [Re: garin]
wld_rthr_b_ridng Offline

Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 18
Loc: WV
Maybe you need one of these! I actually think this would be awesome. I like to sleep kind of sprawled out all over the place so a mummy bag makes me feel restricted but usually I'm pretty tired out on the trail so I sleep OK anyway.

#100790 - 08/06/08 11:57 AM Re: Stomach sleeping... [Re: garin]
Hector Offline

Registered: 12/20/04
Posts: 325
Loc: LA/ARK/TX corner
I use a Big Agnes Mystic, a rectangular bag. It's easy to roll over inside it and go to sleep on my stomach with plenty of room to stretch out (they also make 25" wide bags, wow, but that was just a touch too much weight to justify). If it's really cold, cinch up the hood, turn your head to the side and wear a good hat -- I use a lightweight synthetic mad bomber type. Almost a perfect seal, and you can bring a fleece into the sack to lay over your arms up by your head to complete it.

#100791 - 08/06/08 01:26 PM Re: Stomach sleeping... [Re: garin]
garin Offline

Registered: 08/05/08
Posts: 3
Thanks for the suggestions!

After thinking about them for a bit, I'm wondering if I might try to cut off the top part of my current mummy bag and go for the down jacket option. I'm pretty handy with a sewing machine, and this would limit my financial outlay as well. Maybe I'll sew in a couple of anchors for suspenders or something so I can put it on like trousers. If I can preserve the upper part of the bag, maybe I can make something out of the hood part too.

#100792 - 08/06/08 06:17 PM Re: Stomach sleeping... [Re: garin]
Glenn Offline

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Danger, Will Robinson!!

How old (and good) is this bag? I'd go slow before irrevocably destroying a near-new WM lite-series bag; I might be a lot more willing to take a chance on a Campmor house-brand bag that was 6 or 8 years old.

Before you grab those scissors, you might want to post in the D-I-Y section of the forums for tips, or maybe even for supply sources or kits and plans to make a half-bag.

But, overall, your idea to modify something you already have makes sense.

#100793 - 08/07/08 04:31 PM Re: Stomach sleeping... [Re: Glenn]
garin Offline

Registered: 08/05/08
Posts: 3
Yep, it's an older bag. In fact, the reason for my asking right now is that it's about time to replace (or refurbish) this bag, so if I botch it entirely it's no big deal. Plus I do have quite a lot of project sewing experience so I'm not too worried about the construction part of it all.

If I do get up the gumption to take this project on I'll post the results in DIY.

One thing I like about the half-bag idea is that it'll lead to a bit more gear reuse by pressing my down jacket into sleeping bag service, with a net reduction in gear of about a half of a sleeping bag. Sounds win-win to me.

#100794 - 08/07/08 06:48 PM Re: Stomach sleeping... [Re: garin]
Glenn Offline

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Sounds like a plan! If the half-bag modification works, you've saved yourself a big chunk of money. If it doesn't, you're not out anything. Let us know how it works.

By the way, I was just reading Karen Berger's "Hiking Light Handbook" and she said that Nunatak makes (or used to make) half-bags, just in case you end up having to buy one.

Good luck.

#100795 - 08/10/08 12:21 AM Re: Stomach sleeping... [Re: wld_rthr_b_ridng]
TomD Offline

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
There is another thread about the Selk bag here somewhere (plus it came up on another site too). These things are nothing more than a cheaper version of a high altitude suit, not really something you want to sleep in for a lot of reasons-not as warm as a good down bag for starters.

I sleep on my stomach too or on my side; at least I start out that way. I suggest wearing a balaclava or watch cap/beanie- a thick one like Turtlefur or similar fleece or wool. Also, I drape my down parka over my bag for some extra warmth.

What are you using for a pad? For winter (snow) most everyone I know uses either two pads-one closed cel like a Ridgerest and one inflatable like a Therma-Rest or something like a down filled air mattress. That makes a big difference.

Edited by TomD (08/10/08 12:24 AM)
Don't get me started, you know how I get.


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