Does damp make a difference?

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Sub5mango

Tenderfoot
Oct 13, 2019
92
12
52
East Anglia
My two cents:

I use an inflatable Thermarest which I use in conjunction with a cheap Z-style Karrimor foam mat. The Karrimor foam mat can be used to sit on, be used as a kneepad in a canoe and so on and doesn't add any noticeable weight to your pack actually. It is especially great to lay on during breaks on longer hikes. It adds a tremendous amount of comfort for its price and weight. In summer I lay my Thermarest inflatable on top of the foam mat to keep it safer from needles or other sharp ends. In winter I lay the foam mat on top of the Thermarest, as it is good practice to lay on the warmest (highest R-rated) mat you have with you.

Ever since I use a Sea To Summit Xtreme Reactor liner I've slept so much better. Less chill in the mornings, a second layer to pop over your skull... The fabric is pretty stretchy, I don't feel like I'm getting tangled in it. You might want to try a cheaper version to test out wether it works for you or not (the entanglement).

I don't think you need to make any changes in regards of your bivybag.
Thanks Ruud. I'll give the extra mat a try and I can get a fleece liner for £15, maybe try that. You don't think cutting my losses and getting a higher rated bag would be a better option? (My current bag weighs 1.95kg, a liner would be 0.85kg, equalling a total of 2.8, the elite 5 next bag up from mine only weighs 2.4)
 

Sub5mango

Tenderfoot
Oct 13, 2019
92
12
52
East Anglia
My two cents:

I use an inflatable Thermarest which I use in conjunction with a cheap Z-style Karrimor foam mat. The Karrimor foam mat can be used to sit on, be used as a kneepad in a canoe and so on and doesn't add any noticeable weight to your pack actually. It is especially great to lay on during breaks on longer hikes. It adds a tremendous amount of comfort for its price and weight. In summer I lay my Thermarest inflatable on top of the foam mat to keep it safer from needles or other sharp ends. In winter I lay the foam mat on top of the Thermarest, as it is good practice to lay on the warmest (highest R-rated) mat you have with you.

Ever since I use a Sea To Summit Xtreme Reactor liner I've slept so much better. Less chill in the mornings, a second layer to pop over your skull... The fabric is pretty stretchy, I don't feel like I'm getting tangled in it. You might want to try a cheaper version to test out wether it works for you or not (the entanglement).

I don't think you need to make any changes in regards of your bivybag.
Further to my last reply; I just checked out that sea to summit liner. It's light and adds a lot of warmth... hmm if I'm spending £15 on the test line, perhaps I should go straight for the sea to summit!
 

Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,300
518
Canada
Thanks. What is the mat you have?
The warm one? Its a Thermarest Neo Air. It has that neat quick inflation device ... which I haven't yet fully mastered after three years :lol: Got a bit of the crinkly crisp bag sound to it, but not as bad as others and I don't notice it now.
 
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C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
5,764
843
Bedfordshire
Thanks Chris. In this scenerio what do you suggest is the best way to go for increased warmth? Getter a warmer bag?! Bit late for that as I just got this one! Get a sleeping bag liner (thin fleece type or silk)? Use an additional mat underneath like a lightweight old school compressed foam? Get a better mat (any suggestions?) Use a wool blanket somehow? I'm trying to keep the weight down.

Also the bivi bag is a single hoop one which I use without the hoop. Am I better off getting one like an army one that has a face hole?
It is a tough one and no mistake.

First off, temperature ratings. I hadn't looked at the specifics for Snugpak (recently, I have had two of their bags, a No6 and No12 Osprey, which was rated similar to yours), but here is their statement bearing out what I said about tent, but not a buddy.
https://help.snugpak.com/index.php/knowledge-base/temperature-ratings-for-sleeping-bags/
"Snugpak’s performance figures are drawn from over forty years of experience and customer feedback. Our comfort figure assumes you will be sleeping lightly clothed (thermal base layer or PJ’s) within a tent on a good quality sleep mat, at this external temperature the majority of users should feel comfortable and get a good night’s sleep."

I have used a fleece liner when camping in October, and it did boost the comfort of my bag, but it was a very bulky solution. I have a silk liner, and while it adds a little warmth, it isn't the kind of difference you will be looking for.

You do lose a lot of heat to the ground. I have an early NeoAir and its insulation value is rather low (R2.5). Check your pad's R-Value.
https://www.thermarest.com/blog/r-value-meaning/
https://sectionhiker.com/sleeping-pad-r-values/

Hydration is a fine balance act, too much and you have to get up in the night, too little and your core temp can actually drop.

Last meal of the evening. Did you get any fat? You metabolise fat more slowly, think of it like a low, slow, burning fuel to help stay warm through the night.

Cutting out air movement over and around you, I know you want the open plan of a tarp, but maybe a little less cross ventilation would help without cutting you off completely. In my hammock, I am always amazed how much temperature difference just having the midge netting zipped up makes. Perhaps peg one long side of the tarp to the ground.

Picking your bed room can help too. Evergreen top cover can help on a clear night, fallen leaves and needles under you is better than wet soil. Not camping in the lowest point around might keep you above the pooling coldest air. Cold air flows like water.

Finally, do you have a summer weight sleeping bag? I have doubled up my main quilt with my hammock underquilt on occasions, when sleeping on the ground. Likewise used the quilt over top of my sleeping bag in the winter in Canada. Still wasn't all that warm, but better.
A blanket in the bag could help. I would advise against wearing more than base layer clothing on your lower body since my experience has been that wearing lower body insulation is counter productive, like the difference between gloves and mittens.

Going to bed warm-ish might not have been enough. I know of some people who do a few press-ups before getting into their bags. Not enough to sweat, but enough to get their internal furnace working so they warm up their insulation system with "excess" heat.

Not much else to suggest. It all comes down to the simple principles of starting with heat and not losing it to conduction or convection.

Good luck, and good on you for getting out at this end of the year!

Chris
 
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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,620
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Mid Wales
As someone else said earlier - this is a little subjective. As we discussed in an earlier thread, I tend to use a bag one season lighter than the season 'requires' because I tend to be warm. I add my Gortex bivy when it gets colder and just go to bed with more clothing if conditions really get bad. There's no rule that says what you have to wear in your sleeping bag :)

I agree about the 'outside' experience (I love waking up on a clear morning with a touch of frost on my face :)) but reducing the air flow over you is a fundamental shelter requirement in the cold and there are a number of tarp pitches that give you the views as well as protecting you from the wind. If you can feel much air flow you will have difficulty staying warm IMHO.
 
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Sub5mango

Tenderfoot
Oct 13, 2019
92
12
52
East Anglia
It is a tough one and no mistake.

First off, temperature ratings. I hadn't looked at the specifics for Snugpak (recently, I have had two of their bags, a No6 and No12 Osprey, which was rated similar to yours), but here is their statement bearing out what I said about tent, but not a buddy.
https://help.snugpak.com/index.php/knowledge-base/temperature-ratings-for-sleeping-bags/
"Snugpak’s performance figures are drawn from over forty years of experience and customer feedback. Our comfort figure assumes you will be sleeping lightly clothed (thermal base layer or PJ’s) within a tent on a good quality sleep mat, at this external temperature the majority of users should feel comfortable and get a good night’s sleep."

I have used a fleece liner when camping in October, and it did boost the comfort of my bag, but it was a very bulky solution. I have a silk liner, and while it adds a little warmth, it isn't the kind of difference you will be looking for.

You do lose a lot of heat to the ground. I have an early NeoAir and its insulation value is rather low (R2.5). Check your pad's R-Value.
https://www.thermarest.com/blog/r-value-meaning/
https://sectionhiker.com/sleeping-pad-r-values/

Hydration is a fine balance act, too much and you have to get up in the night, too little and your core temp can actually drop.

Last meal of the evening. Did you get any fat? You metabolise fat more slowly, think of it like a low, slow, burning fuel to help stay warm through the night.

Cutting out air movement over and around you, I know you want the open plan of a tarp, but maybe a little less cross ventilation would help without cutting you off completely. In my hammock, I am always amazed how much temperature difference just having the midge netting zipped up makes. Perhaps peg one long side of the tarp to the ground.

Picking your bed room can help too. Evergreen top cover can help on a clear night, fallen leaves and needles under you is better than wet soil. Not camping in the lowest point around might keep you above the pooling coldest air. Cold air flows like water.

Finally, do you have a summer weight sleeping bag? I have doubled up my main quilt with my hammock underquilt on occasions, when sleeping on the ground. Likewise used the quilt over top of my sleeping bag in the winter in Canada. Still wasn't all that warm, but better.
A blanket in the bag could help. I would advise against wearing more than base layer clothing on your lower body since my experience has been that wearing lower body insulation is counter productive, like the difference between gloves and mittens.

Going to bed warm-ish might not have been enough. I know of some people who do a few press-ups before getting into their bags. Not enough to sweat, but enough to get their internal furnace working so they warm up their insulation system with "excess" heat.

Not much else to suggest. It all comes down to the simple principles of starting with heat and not losing it to conduction or convection.

Good luck, and good on you for getting out at this end of the year!

Chris
Thanks Chris. I checked the mat links and it appears changing my mat is a good place to start as my current one only has a rating of 1.8! So I'm thinking dig much deeper than I wanted and get a neoair xtherm. I also looked at the exped synmat hl winter. Do you have any comments on either of those? Both much more than I wanted to spend but I got a good deal on the bag and I want to crack winter bushcrafting so sleeping comfort is #1 priority or I'll never get out.

Thanks for all the other tips. I had actually purposely chosen I high point and eaten a meal with reasonable meat and fat levels. Judging by the number of times I got up for a lengthy pee, I was definitely hydrated!

I'll do some more research on tarp set ups and your other tips.
 

Sub5mango

Tenderfoot
Oct 13, 2019
92
12
52
East Anglia
As someone else said earlier - this is a little subjective. As we discussed in an earlier thread, I tend to use a bag one season lighter than the season 'requires' because I tend to be warm. I add my Gortex bivy when it gets colder and just go to bed with more clothing if conditions really get bad. There's no rule that says what you have to wear in your sleeping bag :)

I agree about the 'outside' experience (I love waking up on a clear morning with a touch of frost on my face :)) but reducing the air flow over you is a fundamental shelter requirement in the cold and there are a number of tarp pitches that give you the views as well as protecting you from the wind. If you can feel much air flow you will have difficulty staying warm IMHO.
Thanks. I think I've found the problem, what I thought was a reasonable rated mat is only a summer mat. So I'll change that. What are your favourite tarp pitches that give cold shelter and a view?
 

Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,615
585
Berlin
Surprisingly I do not overheat in my Snugpak Special Forces 1 if I use it in breefs and T-Shirt at round about 20* .

But in the clothing of the day I can sleep in it at around 0*C in the SF bivvy bag.


A collegue used my SF2 at 10 *C and wasn't cooked.

I don't know whats going on. But the SF system works very well in all conditions.

Your Sleeping bag is pretty similar.


Just try it out in cold conditions!

Just don't forget to eat well and fat before you go to bed, use a merino suit and close well the hood.
 
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Sub5mango

Tenderfoot
Oct 13, 2019
92
12
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East Anglia
Surprisingly I do not overheat in my Snugpak Special Forces 1 when I use it in breefs and T-Shirt at round about 20* .

But in the clothing of the day I can sleep in it at around 0*C in the SF bivvy bag.


A collegue used my SF2 at 10 *C and wasn't cooked.

I don't know whats going on. But the SF system works very well in all conditions.

Your Sleeping bag is pretty similar.


Just try it out in cold conditions!

Just don't forget to eat well and fat before you go to bed, use a merino suit and close well the hood.
Thanks. I have thermals I can use. I think the problem is my mat. I just found out it only has a summer rating.
 

MikeeMiracle

Full Member
Aug 2, 2019
105
30
43
Northampton
This sounds very familiar and I found myself in the same position the previous weekend, also in wet conditions. Bought a Corinthia Defence 4 sleeping bag rated down to -15C. Slept in it on night 1 which was 11C, felt it was warm but not super warm. Was told it was due to me sleeping in my t-shirt and trousers so the following night when the temp was 4C I slept in just my boxers and was just as warm as the previous night. So it seems this whole, let your body heat do it's work to heat up the air inside does work. I was using a Nemo Switchback closed cell pad for warmth and insulation with just a cheapo £20 air matress from ebay for comfort. The good quality closed cell pad and cheap air matress combo seems to work very well for me so far.
 

Sub5mango

Tenderfoot
Oct 13, 2019
92
12
52
East Anglia
This sounds very familiar and I found myself in the same position the previous weekend, also in wet conditions. Bought a Corinthia Defence 4 sleeping bag rated down to -15C. Slept in it on night 1 which was 11C, felt it was warm but not super warm. Was told it was due to me sleeping in my t-shirt and trousers so the following night when the temp was 4C I slept in just my boxers and was just as warm as the previous night. So it seems this whole, let your body heat do it's work to heat up the air inside does work. I was using a Nemo Switchback closed cell pad for warmth and insulation with just a cheapo £20 air matress from ebay for comfort. The good quality closed cell pad and cheap air matress combo seems to work very well for me so far.
Thanks. I've been weighing the mat alternatives up. I can get a thermarest ridgeback for £20, or an z lite sol for £36, or a nemo switchback for £45. They could all solve the problem by combining them with my current thermarest venture giving me a total r rating of around 4.5 but a total weight of 1kg and a large pack volume. Or I could spend £136 and get a thermarest neoair xtherm with a rating of 5.7 and half the weight and packs way smaller!

That's a big price gap though :) and I set out to do this cheap. Still I do want a good sleep... if I got the xtherm, something would have to be sacrificed and I'm not sure what!

Any thoughts from anyone would be gra
 

Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,615
585
Berlin
Are you able to find an ORIGINAL USED german army folding mat?

It weights 425g and packs down pretty compact.

I use it solo till 5*C.
If it's impossible to put some twigs under it, I can put a second one on it or an air mat, which than is well protected.
It works VERY WELL as a sitting pad too.

That isn't the fat mat answer you are looking for probably, but it works very well for me.

But don't get me wrong: Alone it is just a summer option if you can't put insulating natural material under it.

For a rate 1 mat you can pay up to 25 €, that's OK and common in Germany in small surplus shops.

https://www.asmc.de/BW-Isomatte-faltbar-gebraucht
 
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MikeeMiracle

Full Member
Aug 2, 2019
105
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Northampton
My gripe with the expensive air mats is that they do get holes and filling them up with air and submerging them in a bath when all they want to do is float to find a hole is a pain, and it's hard to find all the holes. I got annoyed when my cheapo air mat had holes so I cant imagine how I would feel if I had spent over £100 only for it to get a hole after a few uses. This is why I spent the money for the quality closed cell pad but this alone I felt didnt give enough comfort on a hard ground, hence the cheapo air mat. The closed cell pad works well as a seat and also somewhere to put your gear on when loading/unloading that's not the wet ground.

Had I more disposabale income I would be tempted to try a quality air matress but I just can't afford to replce it if it would get a hole right now, you have to think if you can.

Also something to consider as others have mentioned is Army gear which I am leaning towards these days. Things lke the thermarest IMO are designed for wild campers hiking miles and so need the lightweight. If your just moving to a camp spot and staying stationary, I don't think you can beat the army stuff for price/performance. You know it's all been thoroughly field tested so it can do the job and they are relatively cheap in comparison.
 
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Sub5mango

Tenderfoot
Oct 13, 2019
92
12
52
East Anglia
Are you able to find an ORIGINAL USED german army folding mat?

It weights 425g and packs down pretty compact.

I use it solo till 5*C.
If it's impossible to put some twigs under it, I can put a second one on it or an air mat, which than is well protected.
It works VERY WELL as a sitting pad too.

That isn't the fat mat answer you are looking for probably, but it works very well for me.

But don't get me wrong: Alone it is just a summer option if you can't put insulating natural material under it.

For a rate 1 mat you can pay up to 25 €, that's OK and common in Germany in small surplus shops.

https://www.asmc.de/BW-Isomatte-faltbar-gebraucht
Thanks. That looks very thin at 0.5cm. What airmat do you use it with please, and down to what temps?
It seems the same as this one which I can get in the U.K.
https://www.surplusandoutdoors.com/...s/german-military-style-fold-flat-234471.html
 
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Sub5mango

Tenderfoot
Oct 13, 2019
92
12
52
East Anglia
My gripe with the expensive air mats is that they do get holes and filling them up with air and submerging them in a bath when all they want to do is float to find a hole is a pain, and it's hard to find all the holes. I got annoyed when my cheapo air mat had holes so I cant imagine how I would feel if I had spent over £100 only for it to get a hole after a few uses. This is why I spent the money for the quality closed cell pad but this alone I felt didnt give enough comfort on a hard ground, hence the cheapo air mat. The closed cell pad works well as a seat and also somewhere to put your gear on when loading/unloading that's not the wet ground.

Had I more disposabale income I would be tempted to try a quality air matress but I just can't afford to replce it if it would get a hole right now, you have to think if you can.

Also something to consider as others have mentioned is Army gear which I am leaning towards these days. Things lke the thermarest IMO are designed for wild campers hiking miles and so need the lightweight. If your just moving to a camp spot and staying stationary, I don't think you can beat the army stuff for price/performance. You know it's all been thoroughly field tested so it can do the job and they are relatively cheap in comparison.
Good point on the durability. I did wonder about that as I arrive at places in the dark and don't have time to do a good ground check.
 

Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,615
585
Berlin
The Klymit Inertia O Zone recon sand is a very convincing new concept.

It isn't noisy like the ultralight Therm a rest mats. It packs down very compact. It is very light, just 460 g.

You can pump it very fast, because it has a relatively small volume.

You don't get any stress with the pillow, because it's attached to the mat.

The surface forms on both sides mountains and valleys, what it nice in hot conditions.

But the sleeping bag can loft into the valleys, so under you it isn't flat like with every other mat.

They write the temperature would be rated more or less like the sleeping bag you use on it.

Because I bought it this summer I can't tell you if that is the trouth. I did not yet use it in really cold conditions.

https://www.recon-company.com/klymit-isomatte-inertia-o-zone-recon-sand/4625

If I use it, I use it on the original german army folding mat, 425 g to protect it. That's very comfortable.

For camping in German summer conditions, especially in the woods, I leave the air mat at home, but on French stony grounds I used it a lot in this combination during this summer.
 
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Woody girl

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 31, 2018
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Once you got your mat sorted you might want to try out different ways to pitch your tarp.
I've tried several ways but I'm a great lover of the plow point configuration simple end quick. Doesn't rely on trees and definitely cosier on cold winter nights. 20190906_195114.jpg this is a picture of my last camp. My friend has a small tent behind my tarp. It looks an odd shape as I'm inside sorting something out so my body is distorting it a bit! Taken at dusk on my phone so not a brilliant pic.
I had plenty of shelter for myself and able to sit in my chair out of the wind and cook. My pal struggled in his small tent having to cook and sit inside if he wanted to get out of the wind!.
When going for water or comfort breaks I'd often come back and find him sat in my chair looking at the view and moaning about the constrictions of his tent :)
Here was my view20190908_122834.jpg
 

Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,615
585
Berlin
The original german army mat is sold exclusivly more or less used. Never brand new.

On the photo in your link is the original mat. You can see in the photo the square stamp in the mats surface.

The asian copy doesn't have it and it is heavier.

The copy works well too, but it is heavier and not so well done. It is a bit thicker and doesnt fit so good in the mat compartment of the german army rucksacks.

I own both and prefere the original mat.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,620
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Mid Wales
Thanks. I think I've found the problem, what I thought was a reasonable rated mat is only a summer mat. So I'll change that. What are your favourite tarp pitches that give cold shelter and a view?
OK, you sound convinced, but I am only using an old (original) 2cm Thermarest and that's been sub-zero many times. OK, I usually use it on top of a cheap and very lightweight picnic blanket (the type you get in motorway services). If it was just the ground barrier that was the problem I think you would feel cold underneath initially - if you felt cold all over I would suggest it's more than that. I sound like a broken record I know but it is not necessary to spend lots of money to enjoy this activity unless you intend to go to extremes (camping on high peaks etc.). I have slept on the top of UK mountains in whiteout conditions using an old Karrimat in the past; you can pick up a Highlander 5 season equivalent for about £12 - use it on its own or as well as for an experiment before spending loads of dosh!

As for tarp pitching you need a few pitches that you can put up single handed in the dark and in a breeze. Google 'tarpology' and find some pitches you like the look of. On fair evenings, with a light breeze, I enjoy using a simple 'lean-to' style with a ridge line or just two sticks holding it up - that gives you maximum view, shields from a directional breeze and protects from quite heavy rain. There's nothing better than lying in your bag watching the flames die down from your campfire :). From there, when the weather gets worse, I go for a more closed in structure with the sides down - I rarely, if ever, go for a fully closed pitch.