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EXTENDING SLEEPING BAG TEMP RANGE

Have two down sleeping bags"

1. 3 SEASON-> 30 F. Western Mountaineering Megalite 850 fill (factory overstuffed to 20 F.)

2. WINTER-> -20 F. LL Bean 750 fill down bag, size Long

The 3 season bag has enough girth (hence "Mega" in the name) to accommodate my light down jacket and down pants. This has, in my experience, extended the range to 10 F. in my Moment DW solo tent. I'm sure I could easily go to zero with this combo and my light fleece balaclava.

*In cold weather I have always put my zipped up WPB parkas over the foot of my sleeping bag both for a bit of extra warmth and mainly to keep the foot of my sleeping bag protected from melting the frost on my tent's bathtub floor "walls".

My winter -20 F.Large down bag is also large enough inside to accommodate these down clothes. Hopefully I'll never need to resort to this but it's nice to know that it's available. Without the light down jacket I could place my -30 F. heavy down parka over my bag, tying the arms under my bag with some paracord to keep it over my torso. That would also likely be enough to make the bag at least another 10 F. warmer while also wearing the down pants.

Having the down garments do double duty is part of the way I lighten my load. For winter the down pants are mainly "camp pants" but also, on truly bitter sub-zero days, they can be worn inside my GTX hunting pants.

Eric B.

Good pad, dry warm clothes, add a fleece blanket. 

I have camped in the snow plenty of times with a 20 degree bag. 

ppine

A fleece blanket would not only be warmer but feel nicer too. I just wanted to mention items that had double duty.

But now that you mention fleece blanket I do have a thick, small one I could use for winter car camping.

The nice thing about draping a blanket over the sleeping bag is that body moisture would tend to condense in it instead of inside the bag. Then in the morning remove it, let it freeze and shake out the frozen condensation.

I put the blanket inside the bag.  If the weather tends toward zero or below I add some Pendleton wool blankets.  My dog pulls a small sled with some extra winter gear. 

The best snow trips I have ever had were with a Whelen lean to tucked into dense trees with a fire in front.  Old school winter luxury. 

Great thread, 300winmag. 

Although not directly the sleeping bag, I typically combine an inflatable sleeping pad with a ccf (closed-cell foam) pad which is a great extender.

I also will use my rain shell or my backpack as a sleeve to add a little bit of exterior protection to the bottom of the bag. I have also made a Tyvek bivy that helps when it gets stubbornly nasty. I often still prefer pitching a tarp in less inclement winter weather. 

Sean,

In winter I also always put my zipped up GTX or eVent parka over the foot of my sleeping bag. At first I only thought of keeping the foot of my sleeping bag from touching the frost on the tent and melting into the bag. but found it did help with warmth as well. 

As for a tarp, well I "tarped" for several years when I was too poor to buy a tent and it was "OK" but I now prefer the snugness of my Moment DW. I've slept through some nasty winds and snowstorms in that tent. I may try my Notch Li this winter as well.

Have you ever tried a Whelen lean to?  What's old is new again. 

Built one ad slept in it on a 10 F. night with a hunting buddy. With our log reflector fire it was warm all night.

Eric B.

Excellent.  A nylon one saves a lot of work.  No need to carry an axe.  Much lighter than a tent. 

ppine, 

We just made a lashed framework of dead wood, put our big clear plastic sheet over the frame and down there front to the ground. We tied a dead log to the bottom of the front plastic to hold it in place - it was our "door/window".

The sides were closed off with spruce boughs. Very nicely snug with the radiant heat of the fire coming right through the clear plastic "door". Discovering the "plastic door" and how it let in heat but kept out the weather was serendipity in the truest sense of that word.

The other thing that makes winter camping much better even with a moderate sl bag, is a very warm hat.  I like the Mad Bomber hats with rabbit fur.  I also made one out of sheepskin with the fleece on it after a 10 day below zero elk hunting trip in Colorado. 

Yeah, a warm "hat" for me means a light fleece balaclava. I carry it every season except summer and sleep in it most cold nights.

It also makes a very good head cover on the trail in windy, cold weather. Under a WPB hardshell parka hood it is bombproof.

Eric B.

October 27, 2021
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