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#181709 - 01/05/14 09:56 PM New to backpacking but not the outdoors!!!!
westoke Offline

Registered: 01/05/14
Posts: 3
Hello all,
Looking to do some backpacking/biking/kayaking oh/wv/ky area in this new year. Im new to this forum but from looking around for about 15 mins i've already had some question's answered and am excited to not only learn more but also get out there!!!
Naturally i have some questions

1. Will a foil style emergency blanket (wrapped or covering) add more degrees of warmth to a 32 degree mummy style sleeping bag?

2. Iso/Butane folding stove with 4 season mix - How low will it go? (temp wise) Also think of bringing tin foil for a wind blocker around stove is this necessary?

3. Anyone care to share some humorous/sagely stories?


#181711 - 01/05/14 10:19 PM Re: New to backpacking but not the outdoors!!!! [Re: westoke]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6760
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge

You'll find a lot of info in the articles on the home page of this site, left-hand column.

1. The mylar/foil blanket will trap moisture, soaking your sleeping bag. Your body puts out a lot of moisture (technically called "insensible perspiration") at night, so your sleeping system needs to breathe. Those emergency blankets are strictly for one-time emergency use. I take one when dayhiking but never when going overnight. If your sleeping bag isn't warm enough, wear more warm clothing inside.

2. The isobutane/propane mix will work down to about 20*F, but when it's below freezing you have to prewarm the canister (put it in your armpit under your jacket and do a war dance to keep yourself warm) and keep it warm while it's burning. The alternative method is to keep the canister in your sleeping bag overnight when it's below freezing. Since you already need to do this with your camera and your water filter, the foot of your sleeping bag can get rather clunky! With canister stoves, a windscreen is dangerous because the canister can overheat and explode. All the manufacturers say never to use a windscreen for this reason. I do use a windscreen that goes about 3/4 of the way around the canister (so there's some ventilation) and frequently check the temperature of the canister with my hand to be sure it's not overheating. I am taking a risk, though!

3. If I start telling stories, I'll be typing all night!

Edited by OregonMouse (01/05/14 10:20 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#181726 - 01/06/14 01:38 PM Re: New to backpacking but not the outdoors!!!! [Re: OregonMouse]
westoke Offline

Registered: 01/05/14
Posts: 3
Great info sounds like i will avoid some serious mistakes thanks to this

#181727 - 01/06/14 04:04 PM Re: New to backpacking but not the outdoors!!!! [Re: westoke]
ETSU Pride Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 933
Loc: Knoxville, TN
3. Don't leave your backpack unattended in bear country. Far too many times I've heard stories where bears are stealing folks' backpacks. cool
It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

#181733 - 01/07/14 09:20 AM Re: New to backpacking but not the outdoors!!!! [Re: ETSU Pride]
bluefish Offline

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 680
I've used a space blanket as a floor and it does help separating you from the cold ground. Wearing some warm clothes to bed, such as a down jacket, warm hat, and wool socks or down booties does well to extend the range. Make sure your pad will insulate from the cold ground. Lots of air mattresses will leave you freezing! Check their r-value. You can also get sleeping bag liners that weigh in the neighborhood of a pound, but they seem to not extend the range of a bag as far as they claim. I've used one, and it seems to maybe help extend the range 5 degrees, maybe 10 at the very most. I live in a cold climate, so I test out most sleep systems before I use them on the trail. Early last May, my wife and I hiked into a shelter on the AT in Vt. that's on a very good brook trout pond. I tried to go as light as possible, as I hauled in a float tube, waders, fins and my fly fishing gear. We slept on a platform with bags rated to 30 degrees, which in the past had worked to 20 for me. The temps got below 30 and it snowed several inches, but the worst problem was my Thermarest neo-air trekker pad let the cold wind underneath the platform come right through and I had a bad night. I have an older, insulated self inflating Thermarest, or I could have brought a closed cell foam pad to put beneath the Trekker, but I was opting for light. My wife's new neo-air that has an r-value of 3.9 worked for her. I did have a great hike and caught some nice brookies, so it was well worth it. smile Your pad will have much to do with warmth. I have a MSR Whisperlite liquid fuel to use in the winter when it's below 15 degrees F, but my Micro-Rocket has worked well to that with the warm-up and a piece of heavy foil wrapped around as a windbreak about 2/3rds of the way. As suggested, don't close it completely!!!!!! It helps to construct a rock windbreak, or use a natural feature of the terrain, besides the foil. It's better to make sure the windbreak will work and is sturdy before you light the stove. Many years ago, I dumped my dinner in the snow when it was well below zero, and had nothing to do, except crawl in the bag hungry and cold.
A lousy night could have been prevented had I not been in such a rush to get dinner cooked.

Edited by bluefish (01/07/14 09:28 AM)

#181738 - 01/07/14 12:56 PM Re: New to backpacking but not the outdoors!!!! [Re: westoke]
billstephenson Offline

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By westoke
Hello all,
Looking to do some backpacking/biking/kayaking oh/wv/ky area in this new year. Im new to this forum but from looking around for about 15 mins i've already had some question's answered and am excited to not only learn more but also get out there!!!
Naturally i have some questions

1. Will a foil style emergency blanket (wrapped or covering) add more degrees of warmth to a 32 degree mummy style sleeping bag?

Like OM said they will trap moisture and make your bag wet, but my experience with them is that if the temps are below freezing they'll get a very light coat of frost on them, which doesn't wet your bag and will add warmth. So, really, it depends on conditions.

The inexpensive "foil" "Emergency Blanket" sheets sold at WalMart and Kmart will shred if they get the slightest tear, rip, or puncture. They're maybe good for a one time use, you might get more if you're very careful with them

The "SOL" brand emergency blankets that are orange on one side and shiny on the other are much more durable, and a bit more costly. I use them a lot.

The trick to making either of these work is to have some air space between your skin and the material. Fleece works great for that.

There are some "Breathable" types of heat reflective heat materials. SOL makes a bivy that is breathable and very light. I've not used one yet. Personally, I use a Coleman Fleece sleeping bag inside my 20 bag if the temps get that low. They're fairly light and inexpensive, around $20.

Used as a ground cloth the mylar sheet will help keep your body heat from being sucked up by the ground. It's best to have a layer of leaves or pine needles under it though.

Better yet is a piece of single layer bubble foil insulation for a ground cloth (Reflectix is one of the brand names). Put it under your bag or under or over your sleeping pad. This material is very light, inexpensive, and I highly recommend it.


"You want to go where?"

#181740 - 01/07/14 01:16 PM Re: New to backpacking but not the outdoors!!!! [Re: westoke]
skcreidc Offline

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Definitely look at the left side of the page for lots more info.

The best "bed's" I have found for sleeping on are pine needles or leaves as BillStephenson said. Warm and comfortable if chosen wisely. You do need to look over your chosen site carefully to look for and avoid surprises( bugs, copperheads, ect.).

Bears ARE opportunist's, as ETSU Pride said. Back in the 60's, my dad used to lock our 4 backpacks together with a bicycle lock to keep people from stealing our packs in certain parts of the Sierra Nevada. Didn't keep the bear from raiding the pantry though; one got a full day's food before we discovered him/her and chased the bear off. I was 10 at the time and that event left an indelible mark on me as far as proper food storage and bear behavior.

#185821 - 06/19/14 02:24 PM Re: New to backpacking but not the outdoors!!!! [Re: skcreidc]
AdventureMyk Offline

Registered: 06/16/14
Posts: 127
Loc: Knoxville, TN
I carry one of those little 1-time foil packs in any of my camping/hiking adventures and when on the motorcycles. It's not for use while I camp, it's kept there for that time I come across someone borderline hypothermic, the guy with that compound fracture from the accident (to prevent shock/keep bugs and debris out of the wounds), and that sort of thing. To be honest, a plastic garbage bag does the same thing a lot cheaper and probably lighter. The difference is that the bright silver can be used to attract attention.

If you are looking for a bit of extra warmth the Thermarest liners have a pretty darned good reputation at very reasonable prices and are meant to be used regularly. They also keep the inside of your sleeping bag a bit cleaner.

I can't say what the range on the little alcohol stoves are as I use the little screw-in types for the MSR Pocket Rocket. Those have been down to 14 degrees with no problem (probably less). It's not uncommon for us to wake up in the middle of a frigid crisp night, throw the little pot on for hot chocolate while start gazing. The colder the night, the clearer the skies tend to be. smile

I haven't tried any of the liquid fuel burners yet.

Edited by AdventureMyk (06/19/14 02:25 PM)


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