Re: keeping warm
Curt Edsall (CEdsall@AOL.COM)
Mon, 6 Nov 1995 00:54:12 -0500
OK, lets start from the bottom up.
Most of the heat you are going to lose will be lost downward through
contact with the ground. Insulating layers between you and the ground are
essential. The best insulation I have found is an open cell foam pad
enclosed in an airtight cover (Therma-rest is a well known brand name for
this type of pad). The open cell foam retains your body head and the
airtight cover helps keep your body from making contact with the ground.
On top of the pad, layer clothing, coats, and other items to add to the
insulation between you and the ground. On top of all this, put your sleeping
bag. And, on the subject of sleeping bags....it is not actually the
insulation itself in a bag that keeps you warm. It is the ability of the
insulation to retain warm air pockets. This is known as "loft". The
sleeping bag should be removed from it's stuff sack and shaken/left out
(unrolled/unstuffed) in order for the insulation to regain it's loft (read:
insulating value). Also, look for a good mummy bag (less space to heat)
that will cover your head (see below), that protects you from air
infiltration through the zipper, has an adjustable collar to close the bag
down around your neck/shoulders to reduce heat loss from the open top of the
bag, and is double insulated down around the feet.
Take a set of pajamas or long johns and socks specifically for sleeping.
Don't wear the clothing you have been in all day. You have been sweating
into these clothes, they are damp, and will cause you to chill (even if they
feel dry). Change into the dry sleeping clothes before getting into the
sleeping bag. And, wear a stocking cap to bed. There is an old adage - "If
your feet are cold, put on a hat". Most heat loss (especially in a sleeping
bag) is from your head so it is important to keep your head covered with
either a cap or the bag itself (if you have a mummy type bag that will cover
Shove some clothing or a small blanket/sheet into the bottom of the bag
for your feet. Have a nice hot chocolate just before bedtime. Finally
(whew!) urinate just before going to bed for the night (I don't understand
the physiology behind this, I only know it helps!).
Hope this helps.
P.S. You need not buy the top of the line from REI(etc) to stay warm. Using
extra blankets and so on will work just as well (generally) and is much
cheaper. The really expensive stuff is expensive mainly because of the
attempts to attain excellent insulation with little weight for those who
backpack extensively and are very concerned with weight.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City