Elephant foot?

12:51 p.m. on December 15, 2012 (EST)
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Has anyone ever seen or used an elephant foot style sleeping bag with a parka or quilt? I got one today for three dollars at my fav thrift store. Its an old rei down bag, the bag is in great shape but the tags arent so I dont know about its temp rating or down quality. I really like the freedom of movement offered by this set up. Its gonna be about 25 degrees tonite and im gonna give it a shot, ive got a little camp across the street so im gonna pitch my tent and hang my hammock. Ill give both a try and post my opinion tmrw. Im gonna bring several coats but stick to thick wool mitts and hood.

8:02 p.m. on December 16, 2012 (EST)
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My first "pied d'elefant" was actually a small sleeping bag that we got for my spouse. Since she is pretty short, it was a perfect size for an elephant's foot. But, being duck down, it wasn't really that good for damp bivying. More recently, I got a purpose-made Primaloft pied d'elefant from Wild Things. Being synthetic, I have less worry about bivying in a snow cave or damp conditions. I have used it a few times on planned bivies, along with a down parka and down pants, or in warmer weather, with my Integral Designs Dolomiti jacket.

I also had a pair of down pants that had full zips on the inseam. This allowed unzipping the legs, then zipping the zipper halves together to make a sort of elephant's foot that allowed you to keep your boots on, so you could stick you legs into your pack without having to deal with removing the boots, then get them back on in the morning. I gave those to my son.

One important piece of gear to go with the setup is the removable fold-up ensolite pad from my Lowe Alpine Attack summit pack. This provides insulation from the cold ground (or snow or glacier ice), plus makes for a foot sack that is waterproof, along with a eVent parka. In the past I used a cagoule and my Cairn rucksack that has a foldout waterproof sleeve, making everything waterproof. I have also used a very light-weight Integral Designs VBL/emergency silcoat bivy sack. However, the bivy sack somehow got left in Peru a couple years ago. I did manage to find a new one, thanks to some help from Rab, the company that bought ID. It isn't quite the same style or size and doesn't stuff as compactly.

Thing to keep in mind is that bivouacs are intended for survival, not for luxury-style hotel accomodations. If you stay warm enough to get some rest, that's all that is needed.

10:36 a.m. on December 17, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks for bringing back some great memorys guys.Most bivouacs were really not that comfortable but still have very fond memorys linked to them.Still have my old Snow Lion synthetic bivy bag and have used a variety of parkas and bivy sacks with it.The sack has not seen use for many years but is in like new condition because it has been stored properly.With todays light weight bags and new waterproof materials they are a little old fashioned and not as comfortable as a new style bag but like Bill has stated they can keep you comfortable enough in an over night unplanned bivy.

11:12 a.m. on December 17, 2012 (EST)
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I wasnt gonna post my results until I tried it in my hammock and tent. I set up my tent and hammock, took three diff coats to try, ithought I was ready to try a few combos. I started in my hammock with a columbia parka. The next thing I know its morning, I set my alarm on my phone to go off every two hrs. I slept thru three alarms and the fourth one plus the sun woke me up. It was 22 degrees and I had prob the best nights sleep ive ever had in a hammock or tent. In a regular mummy bag I wake up every couple of hrs to adjust, I dont think I even stirred in this sleep system. Im gonna try it in my tent as soon as I get a chance.

11:49 a.m. on December 17, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks for an unconventional look at sleeping outdoors.  There are lots of great ideas that are not popular.

12:35 p.m. on December 17, 2012 (EST)
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This does bring back memories. Trailwise used to make a set of down filled pants as described by Bill. Every now and then they appear on EBay. The only company I know of today that sells the Elephant Foot or half sack is Feathered Friends. I have spent many a night or two waiting out a winter storm just in my clothes. I always pack and travel accordingly, with an eye on the possibility of spending the night. These days I either wear my Rock and Ice Parka or bring my old but trustworthy NF Inferno sleeping. Each of these items weigh under 5 pounds and have kept me warm and secure without a tent.

12:37 p.m. on December 17, 2012 (EST)
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For those interested, there are lots of memories found on this website,


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