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Backpacking Comfort

Post by Phillip Gross on January 18th 2014, 10:16 pm

Came home tonight from out of town to find that my Therm-a-rest Ultralite cot had been delivered! Assembled and disassembled it in the living room to make sure I knew the drill before we hit the woods next weekend. Looking forward to that!

Still debating whether to upgrade our sleeping bags or not. We (my older two sons and I) have Teton bags that are rated for +20°F and weigh in at 3.3lbs. Not bad for $60 each, but I'm not sure if they're going to be up to the job of cold weather camping.... I've read that you need to add about 10° to the rating to find what it will be comfortable at. I know that I was cold sleeping in mid to upper 30's temps last spring, so the low 20's to low 30's forecasted for next weekend make me a little nervous. 

I suppose I'd like to get something in the 0-15° range weighing in the 2lb - 3 1/2lb range for as close to $200 as I can get. I do have to buy in 3s whenever I buy (except for the cot. They're young and can sleep anywhere...) Any recommendations on sleeping bags meeting that criteria?
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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by joecool on January 19th 2014, 12:00 pm

Definitely go for a temp-rated bag lower than the conditions you expect to encounter. I have a "zero" bag that I bought quite some time ago, a little lighter than yours. Got it used from REI, a company with a ridiculously liberal return policy. Many people take unethical advantage of it, "buying" a lot of gear for a one-time outing, and return it for a refund on Monday.

Inexpensive advice: wear two pair of socks and a wool hat; use an insulated air mattress underneath. Without those, I'm always waking up through the night.

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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Mark Jones on January 20th 2014, 4:14 pm

Grin. If you want a Bag that will never let you down. Western Mountaineering Kodiak. Price is 2.5 times what you looking at right now. Yet.. never once have I been sorry I paid the money for this bag. Me and my son have Never been cold in them.
When everyone else is asking if you got cold last night and you can smile back at them and say I did pretty good.... Event those with the 0 degree bags ask did you get cold too? I say well I did have to unzip a bit.. it was almost too warm...gRIN!

There is so much difference in sleeping bags and their ratings. I have a zero degree bag that weighs in about 4 pounds that I freeze in.

http://www.backcountrygear.com/western-mountaineering-kodiak-gws.html

I gave all my other sleeping bags away except for loaners. Once you go Western Mountaineering... you don't even want to sleep in anything else. Spend the money on yourself and buy the cheapo bags for your boys. Then when they get to be 18 buy the good stuff for them. That is what I did. My son hasn't complained of being cold since he got that Kodiak bag.

If your going to do a lot of it. Get the good stuff. You won't be sorry.
I have a bunch of friends that buy the bargins but they are always cold. I laugh.. and say..well you got a bargin and I got mine. GRIN!


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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Mark Jones on January 20th 2014, 4:19 pm

Luxary lite cot
Mine is going to the Big Batcave weekend after next.  Love that thing.  If you get on a slope use your backpack on the down hill side and put one side of your cot on that and it will level it out.  I do the same with out a cot.  So many places we go..not much flat ground around unless it's in a pay for use camping area and we would rather walk out a 1/4 mile and base camp in the woods..  Love that wild camping.

http://www.amazon.com/Therm-A-Rest-6580-Thermarest-LuxuryLite-UltraLite/dp/B008PDPI9W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390331579&sr=8-1&keywords=luxurylite+cot

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Phillip Gross wrote:Came home tonight from out of town to find that my Therm-a-rest Ultralite cot had been delivered! Assembled and disassembled it in the living room to make sure I knew the drill before we hit the woods next weekend. Looking forward to that!

Still debating whether to upgrade our sleeping bags or not. We (my older two sons and I) have Teton bags that are rated for +20°F and weigh in at 3.3lbs. Not bad for $60 each, but I'm not sure if they're going to be up to the job of cold weather camping.... I've read that you need to add about 10° to the rating to find what it will be comfortable at. I know that I was cold sleeping in mid to upper 30's temps last spring, so the low 20's to low 30's forecasted for next weekend make me a little nervous. 

I suppose I'd like to get something in the 0-15° range weighing in the 2lb - 3 1/2lb range for as close to $200 as I can get. I do have to buy in 3s whenever I buy (except for the cot. They're young and can sleep anywhere...) Any recommendations on sleeping bags meeting that criteria?


Last edited by Mark Jones on January 21st 2014, 2:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Phillip Gross on January 20th 2014, 7:04 pm

Well I ended up ordering Mountain Hardwear bags for me and the boys. I got them standard size and myself the long version. I'll let you know how well they do
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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Mark Jones on January 21st 2014, 8:57 am

Mountain hardware makes good stuff as well.

Looking forward to the report and the fun.

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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Mark Jones on January 21st 2014, 12:03 pm

Hey. Don't forget what Joecool said. He is right on track as usual.

Bass pro has lifetime socks (redhead brand) for about 10 bucks a pair. They are a wool synthetic sock. I have about 15 prs of them. Wear them all year around even in 100 degree heat. Just are that good. They wick that moisture away and and the padding and wool just is a right on blend. Tougher than nails too. I have only had one pair of socks that needed to go back for easy replacement. Lifetime.. stuff is a good value.

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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Mark Jones on January 21st 2014, 12:18 pm

One thing I won't go with out.  My backpacking thermos with the flip top cover.  Always have a hot drink when I want one even 7 hours after making it.  Does just as good with ice.  

Empty it doesnt' weigh much more than a water bottle.  So I fill it with water and use it for my first water bottle.  Works like a champ.  

Walmart and Walgreens have them. Bass pro as well.  Thermos - mustangs...IF I remember right.

http://www.thermosonline.com/products/2465.htm

I don't bring a cup. Just the thermos.  
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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Mark Jones on January 24th 2014, 9:35 am

A good question. Should I sleep in my base layer that I have worn all day. In below freezing temps?

I have done both. Best nights sleep is when I bring a sleeping base layer set. Wools synthetic socks, mid weight pants, black ice top and a fleece stocking cap hood that goes down to my shoulders I always stay warm with this. It's dry and only used to sleep in. It's also my backup incase I went into the river. I store this in my backpack in a ziplock Freezer type baggie.

Last backpack brought my sleeping clothes but never changed into them. I never got hot and sweaty nor did I get damp in them. I was wearing all non cotton products and just camped under a tarp on a thermo rest pad and my sleeping bag.

I put my shelter up where the wind was blocked. Used 2 trekking poles and guy lines to make a

< that looked like the less than sign. Sleep in the V part. Had my backpack out by the open side to keep me from rolling out of my shelter and it made a bit of a wind block if it came from that direction.

Simple things make the difference. Looking forward to the report on your adventure.

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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Phillip Gross on March 28th 2015, 10:35 pm

Time to resurrect an old topic! Just got back from our second outpost camp out of the year. We backpacked into Jones Gap State Park to a base camp which we light hiked out of both Friday and Saturday. We had a blast and brought the boys back to the church worn out!

I've been having some pain in my shoulder areas when I sleep on them too long for awhile now. I usually take a few ibuprofens before bed and do alright. Some nights it doesn't seem that bad and I don't take any anti-inflammatory and do fine. Last night I thought was one of those nights that I didn't need anything (wrong), and sacked in for the night. I'm using the Ultralight backpacking cot that Mark suggested, and a Thermorest self inflating pad when I sleep, but it's still too firm for my shoulders (and I only stay on my back so long because I'm apparently a side sleeper). Any suggestions for some sort of ultra soft, ultralight, and ultra compact sleeping pad??? Oh, and I need a pillow too. Oh, and any good backpacking pillows that feel like goose down? (What can I say? I'm particular...)

I definitely need something better because we plan to get in even more camps this year than we did last year! Thanks for any suggestions.
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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Mark Jones on March 28th 2015, 10:44 pm

Look in to one of the new nemo air pads. It's 2" thick when puffed up. Half the weight of the thermorest.

I recommend a good sleeping pill. GRIN. I have the same problems. Sleeping pill seems to fix my restless turning on campouts.

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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Phillip Gross on March 29th 2015, 12:09 pm

I just don't want to be unable to wake up quickly, grab my gun, and defend boys if we had an emergency in the night... 

I'll look into that pad. So would it take the place of my cot and pad, or just the pad???
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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Mark Jones on March 30th 2015, 7:14 am

I wasn't talking a elephant tranqulizer..GRIN! They make a sleep aid or a night time nitequil that helps you to rest. Yet if you need to get up you can in a minutes notice.

The pad is just a newer sleeping pad. They have more air in them and are lighter. I use the cot when I am not going 25 miles. Big ole GRIN! If the ground is soft and leafy I sometimes bring the cot but don't set it up. If it's raining.. I always bring the cot and use it.

I dont' take a lot of pills. Yet I have found a night time cold and sinus pill that may cause drowseness works real well in giving me a better nights sleep.

I rarely expect to get much sleep on campouts. I just rest comftrably. Any stiring around and I generally know it.

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Phillip Gross wrote:I just don't want to be unable to wake up quickly, grab my gun, and defend boys if we had an emergency in the night... 

I'll look into that pad. So would it take the place of my cot and pad, or just the pad???
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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by RRCmdrBennett on March 30th 2015, 9:18 am

I find that to be true too that noises in a new environment set my alarms off. Not scared just used quiet and not worry about the occassional sleepwalking 8 yr old. If you are concerned over sleeping making you go postal you can always take a shot of Jack for umm medicinal purposes only j/k.

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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Mark Jones on March 30th 2015, 10:55 am

Yes. I know people that stay home over such fears.

Last night one of the Dads said. I did that in the military. I told him..were not even using the comfort gear the military gets. This is a survival type situation. Only the clothes on your back and a mylar blanket... it's only for one night.

I told the boys. Your not going to get much sleep.. If you watch the survival programs they get a nap during the day when it's warmer and spend the evening keeping the fire going and trying not to freeze to death. It's good for them.

At the bat cave. I put ear plugs in my ears and tell anyone that doesn't want to hear tromp, tromp, tromp all night long do the same.

One thing that does make a difference. Stay prayed up and put your trust in God first and then do what you know to do that is right..but to throw it all out due to fears... Bible has a word for it....luke warm and I prefer not to be spit out on the ground by my Lord and King Jesus.

It's not sleep I am after on the outings and events. It's rtk boys and girls for Christ. My comfort of pleasing myself would be better served staying home. Yet I die to that and do the best I can and go and do the great commission. Some folks will never leave their man made comfort zone. I have learned you can't tell them that..they will get mad at you. Grin!

If you have a headache and you take a medication to help with it.
If you have a stomach ache and you drink some pepto to help with it.
If you a hundred other things.......
Whats the difference if you take a sleep aid if your restless on a campout? No difference. This years past 14 or so events.. I don't think I have taken a thing for a sleep aid. I just catch up on sleep when I get back home.

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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by RRCmdrBennett on March 30th 2015, 12:06 pm

Not afraid of anything just different environment than used to. Some of us get cranky on couple hours of sleep. Im sure if I did it for a week it be fine. I did good on camporama but I had a deep cycle battery with a cpap that covers up random noises. Been without cpap for a year since it died last year.

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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Mark Jones on March 30th 2015, 3:18 pm

I know what your doing. Your dentist fiend has you hooked up to a bottle of nitrice and your feeling no pain on those cpap trips. Ha!

I have a good friend that takes a night time Nyquil when he goes out and camps. I told him. You trying to get me strung out on these? Grin!

Everyones walk is a bit different. I remember when I used to think some of the stuff I bring was sissy camping...grin! Now I won't leave it at home... Calll me Commander SISS except on the survival campout as I am roughing it just like the boys will be. grrrrrrr. Smile. grrrrrr. Smile.

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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by RRCmdrBennett on March 31st 2015, 6:03 am

I used to be very severe when I was in HS. It was a Godsend. Now I'm 110 lbs lighter. Still snore some not using it and I'm not a morning person but I do alright. I wanna drop another 50-60 lbs get under 200 lbs.

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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Mark Jones on March 31st 2015, 10:08 am


Great job on that weight reduction. It gives better health all around. My belly says feed me...and my body says no!

We have 19 on the slate for backpacking and floating this Friday and Saturday. 13 adults and 6 minors. It could go up or down by wed.

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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by RRCmdrBennett on March 31st 2015, 11:17 am

Im same way. Always plenty growing up but then encourage you eat up while say its good to lose weight. Mixed signals lol. I needto renew my local splash zone membership I go more often when I can go closer. I have Planet Fitness but its a 20 min drive.


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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by strods on April 1st 2015, 1:27 pm

I will start by saying I am on the younger side of commanders, but the best camp sleep I've had has been my hammock. In the last few years I've been trying to dial in weight vs comfort and LOVE my hammock, tarp, wool blanket, & small pillow. I keep about 3 office alligator clips to hold 1 side of my blanket to the hammock, wrap it under then over me to cacoon myself, and pulled a 20 degree night with it.
I've become such a believer that I am building a collapsible stand so I can have a good sleep at the park camps like Pow Wow & Rama'16.
I have half a mind to build it with canvas & wood to bring it to FCF

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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Claymore on April 1st 2015, 1:40 pm

On our Detachment, we would often take hammocks when we were working in areas that were swampy or had problems with mosquitoes, leaches, & ticks.

The lightweight ones were just small nets tied between 2 trees.  Now to REALLY sleep in comfort, I had a covered hammock with a built-in insect net,

similar to this:

http://www.armysurplusworld.com/product.asp?ProductID=43715

We referred to them as "Hiltons".

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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by strods on April 1st 2015, 5:08 pm

https://www.eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com/product/DOUBLENEST.html
I went with the doublenest from eagle nest for additional weight clearance. Been good nights sleeping ever since. The hammock is a little more costly than bagin basement but I made up for it with a $5 tarp. I'll spend my money on me, not the rain

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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Mark Jones on April 5th 2015, 9:54 am

This weekend I just used my tent, pad and sleeping bag. temps got down to 31 degrees. We were down by the river and the ground was leaf covered and pretty soft. It made for a good night sleep. I didn't even set up the Luxuary lite.

Bio light stove was fun. I used it to recharge another guys head lamp that was dead, recharged the go pro that was dead and my 870 lum nite???? tacktical flash light. When you turn that on..it's almost like day light. Hunting for fire wood is easy.

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Re: Backpacking Comfort

Post by Phillip Gross on April 6th 2015, 12:06 am

strods wrote:https://www.eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com/product/DOUBLENEST.html
I went with the doublenest from eagle nest for additional weight clearance. Been good nights sleeping ever since. The hammock is a little more costly than bagin basement but I made up for it with a $5 tarp.  I'll spend my money on me, not the rain
I'm a little apprehensive about trying a hammock because I'm a side sleeper. I can nap on my back, but I inevitably end up on my side throughout the night.
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