How do you add a few extra degrees to your bags?

Discussion in 'Sleep Systems' started by 2Stroke, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. 2Stroke

    2Stroke Supporter Supporter

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    Hey everyone, so over the summer I purchased a 40° north face Wasatch sleeping bag (anybody have any experience?) And I haven't had the chance to use it yet. The nights around here have been hovering in the mid 40s at night and I want to test the bag out on my next trip.

    What I want to know though is how you can add a few extra degrees if I start to get cold at night?

    I have considered getting an sol bivvy to hopefully add a few degrees but I wasn't sure how it would do. I was looking for something light that I could throw in a pack just incase it gets too cold.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Gerald_G

    Gerald_G Scout Bushclass I

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    for me, a fresh dry set of base layer, not the ones I wore during the day.
    Merino wool, long sleeve top with long bottoms.
    Loose fitting wool socks, also fresh and super dry
    and wool toque / beanie also fresh and dry
     
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  3. DF Bob

    DF Bob Supporter Supporter

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    agree with Gerald regarding fresh, clean (and dry) base layer. I also use a fleece bag liner, custom sized for my bags. It is warmer than the cold nylon shock, adds several degrees of warmth, and makes cleaning much easier. Rather than the sleeping bag needing cleaning, I just remove the liner and clean it.
    And, if you get to somewhere really hot in the summer, the bag liner can be used stand alone.

    Bob
     
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  4. IAOutdoors

    IAOutdoors Supporter Supporter

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    I have tried the fleece bag liner and it works but twists up quite a bit if you roll around while sleeping. I use a Kifaru woobie if its down in the 20’s or a poncho liner if in the 30-40 degree mark just laid over the top of my bag.
     
  5. Glock Holiday

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  6. KFF

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    I have a merino liner, takes little space. About the size of a nalgene.
     
  7. Foulwind

    Foulwind Guide

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    Try a using jacket over the bag. It obviously won't cover the entire bag, but the areas you feel the chill on can be covered
     
  8. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker Traveller Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I wear a stretchy thing (don't know what it's called! ) over my ears. Wool docker hat on top of that.
    I know it's not in the bag, but it makes a big difference.
     
  9. dirt7

    dirt7 Supporter Supporter

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    +1 on the fleece bag liner, I just made one from fleece and plan on using it this weekend. Freeze dried chili also helps :eek:
     
  10. reppans

    reppans Scout

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    I like using a jacket inside my bag as a small torso quilt - it falls away too quickly for me on the outside (restless sleeper).

    I wear long underwear (usually merino) sleeping, lighter or heavier weights depending upon season. Keeps the bag cleaner, and LUW multitasks better than a sleeping bag liner.
     
  11. 41magfan

    41magfan Scout

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    Bivy bags provide some level of protection from the elements, but their value as an insulator is almost non-existent.

    An underlying issue with anything you use as an added "layer" (to any bag) is management of the moisture that's coming from your body, so keep that in mind as you ponder your options. Getting wet usually means getting cold, and it doesn't matter whether that moisture comes from the inside or the outside.

    I use liners made from silk (Cocoon) and polyester (Sea to Summit) but the added expense may be prohibitive in light of the bag your using from the onset. But then, a lot depends on what you're trying to accomplish. If stretching the limits of your bag's ratings is an occasional thing, liners can make perfect sense sometimes. However, if you're trying to turn a 40 degree bag into a 20 degree bag, that juice ain't going to be worth the squeeze ..... you're much better off (regarding weight and $$$) by just getting another bag.

    Of course, all of these considerations are completely skewed if the actual (not claimed) rating on your bag is off by 20 degrees .... which happens more often than not these days.
     
  12. designtom

    designtom Scout

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    Hat that also covers my neck. Balaclava with a fleece beanie on top of that (two hats). Poly sweatshirt with a hood. (three hats)

    Fingerless gloves

    Put your sleeping bag foot end into your coat.

    Booties over your dry socks

    Never liked the liners, but I've used down TV throws (small blankets 42x54(?)) with good success. I also like full size Snugpak jungle blankets.

    Triple up on the insulation underneath you. A foot and half of leaves under the tent, or three foam pads.

    Power bar at 2:00 am for more fuel to burn

    Pee bottle, so I don't have to warm up again after leaving the bag

    Do sit ups, or leg lifts to generate heat.

    Buy a new sleeping bag from a manufacturer who's known to have honest ratings (that's not a long list)

    Don't skimp on above advice about managing moisture. Even a little bit of sweat evaporating removes an immense amount of heat. That's how we can survive in desert climates.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
  13. hlydon

    hlydon Guide

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    Fresh, dry clothes
    Fleece bag liner
    Mylar sleeping pad
    Gortex bivy
     
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  14. snapper

    snapper Guide

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    You've already received a lot of good suggestions on what to wear for sleeping that might help you so I won't go there. My comment is in regard to whether you want to use a liner or put something (like a quilt) over you. A big consideration is that you don't wear too many clothes or use too big of a liner. Bottom line, the sleeping bag has a finite space that needs to be filled. If you fill it with too much (a liner, your extra clothes, whatever..) you will compress the insulation in the sleeping bag. Once you've done that, you'll have compromised the warmth potential of the bag. For that reason I'd be more inclined to drape something over me instead of trying to cram too much inside the bag. Hope this makes sense...

    That's all for now. Take care and until next time....be well.

    snapper
     
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  15. 66drifter

    66drifter Guide

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    the above^^^ mentioned clean sleep time specific head wear is accompanied by a similarly clean sleep time specific pair of knitted wool socks when cold conditions are anticipated

    when considering the material the old/long standing rule was to only allow garments made of natural fibers(wool, cotton, silk, linnen) next to one's skin and i still practice it most of the time w/ the exception now being POLY-PRO & POLARTECH products used as base layers in moderate temps

    when considering seep time head wear i now include a POLARTECH fleece balaclava in my options

    keeping one's feet warm and head covered will go a long way towards increasing sleeping comfort w/o complicating the body layering bags twisting issue

    contrary to the OP's quest(i read as back packing/UL camping) i often use my COWBOY BEDROLL system to inhance my sleep time comfort

    AND don't ever forget the importance of insulating pads and adding layers on top of the pads where i use wool rugs for additional insulation

    i even use a wall to wall wool rug that i got at a flea mkt in my tepee when the temps drop

    yes i usually camp out of an F-350 and UL camping for me is when i travel in the Jeep Cherokee w/ the tepee poles lashed to the roof racks ;-)
     
  16. kronin323

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    FWIW, I was taught not to wear your hiking socks inside the sleeping bag; if you wear your socks all the time it increases the chances of foot problems. Instead, take your socks off but leave them inside your sleeping bag with you, down at the bottom. Then in the morning when you're ready to put them back on they're already warm and comfortable.
     
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  17. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    Bubble wrap ,
     
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  18. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    #1, go to bed in dry clothes. Spending an hour in front of the fire drying your socks, shirt, and underwear is worthwhile. Also, you have to insulate yourself from the ground. A layer of thin, straight branches with a pad or air mattress on top will help, especially in winter.

    Hat and neck gaiter.

    Minimize drafts. I love a tarp... but an open sided lean-to loses a lot of its sheltering ability if the wind shifts and you get a cross breeze. Block it off.

    Anything thrown over your bag, even a thin nylon shirt, will help keep heat in. If you use a poncho, it's also going to hold water vapor in, so be prepared to dry your bag in the sun the next morning or you'll be in for a very cold next night.

    Dry leaves, small branches, or anything else, with some outer layer (like a shirt) will add insulation. I've used a backpack to stick my feet in with good effect.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
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  19. Lichen

    Lichen Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I wear down booties. They really help.
     
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  20. hlydon

    hlydon Guide

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    I was just looking at some on Amazon. Any recommendations?
     
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  21. Lichen

    Lichen Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I bought mine from Cabela's, but I don't think they carry them anymore.
     
  22. 41magfan

    41magfan Scout

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  23. 66drifter

    66drifter Guide

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    kronin, that exactly why i wear a CLEAN pair of KNITTED WOOL for sleeping in cold weather THEY BREATHE while wicking moisture away from my skin

    not the ones i've been wearing during the day
     
  24. Mikem

    Mikem Supporter Supporter

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    Dry clothes
    Micro fleece top and bottom base layer
    Thermal pullover top that zips up covering your neck
    Warm hat
    Sleeping Bag liner adds +10 degrees
    Insulation layer Under the sleeping bag. Down bags loose insulation factor when compressed under your weight
     
  25. blind & lost

    blind & lost Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I have these and they are good in camp, and at home. As mentioned above, neck gaiter, head gear, snickers bar before bed, pee before climbing in bag.
     
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  26. riverjoe

    riverjoe Supporter Supporter

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    I don’t use a sleeping bag anymore but to add warmth without a lot of weight I add up to three Nalgene bottles with close to boiling water into my top quilt . I have built little socks to hold them where I want them . My feet especially get cold easily but you can put one next to your femoral artery and it’ll raise your whole body temp .
    Sometimes on a windy night you’ll go to bed chilly and you just won’t cross that point where your body heat starts raising the temp of a bag . I’m talking winter camping mostly but cold damp
    Is almost worse .
     
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  27. riokid87

    riokid87 Scout

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    many good points already listed.
    Insulation on the ground, yes. Thin fleece or poncho liner inside, yes.
    Clean dry clothes, yes.
    Hat, bacalava, neck gator or the like, yes.
    A small opening to breath exhaling outside the bag, yes when practical.
    Having a bag rated for the temp, heck yes.

    When I was first in the army many years ago I was issued 2 sleep shirts and a wool watch cap with my sleeping bag.
     
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  28. ra2bach

    ra2bach Bushmaster

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    if you're sleeping on the ground, I'd first make sure of adequate insulation below. this has ALWAYS been the source of my waking up cold.

    second, I don't like bag liners but wearing a fleece top or a jacket works just as well inside a sleeping bag as it does outside.

    if you want to layer something over the top, synthetic is better than down. if you have a down jacket or blanket, use it inside a synthetic or down bag.

    after this, wearing dry socks or booties, a hat, eating something and making sure you pee at bedtime are all proven tactics to keep warm...
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
  29. Foilist

    Foilist Guide

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    Goretex bivy

    Hat and sweater

    Truck windshield sun reflector
     
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  30. Haggis

    Haggis Guide

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    Wiggy’s booties, and a 600 fill down jacket help lower the bag ratings.
     
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  31. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    The common ones I've used are

    • Clothes
    • Thin fleece blanket as a linner
    • Eat gorp before bed, nuts or oil will help produce heat from within
    • Smaller shelter pitched lower to the ground
    One that I discovered that I've never seen mentioned anywhere is to lay my down puffy across myself just below the opening for my head in the bag. This forms a baffle like you see on higher end bags with lower temp ratings. It's amazing how much more body heat you can seal in. I've already discovered that I can fold over the top of my quilt to accomplish the same while still being able to wrap the rest around my head. Remember the name of the game is to produce heat, and trap it. That's it, no other way to be warmer when using insulation like a sleeping bag to stay warm.

    The other thing to look at is the ground insulation that you are using. The higher you get the R value the better. Don't be scared to combine pads if need be such as putting a CCF mat on top of an air mattress or stacking two CCF mats or so on.
     
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  32. gila_dog

    gila_dog Supporter Supporter

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    I had to do that this past weekend. My poor feet just wouldn't get warm. I had an Italian army wool blanket handy so I laid it on top of my sleeping bag. It didn't help at all. This is a pretty heavy blanket and I think it just compressed the insulation of the bag so it didn't help. But I was cold dammit, and all I had extra was the wool blanket. So I put it inside the sleeping bag. That helped a lot. It stayed in place inside the bag, with me rolling around and getting up to pee. Whatever heat escaped thru the wool blanket was trapped by the sleeping bag, and the bag was not compressed. I don't mind sleeping under wool (if you do I think the Navy kicks you out). It was all warm and snuggly and I slept fine.
    Re the ground insulation... that's a big part of the equation. One thing I've done in a pinch was to put one of those bubble pack windshield shades under me. That helped a lot.
     
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  33. kronin323

    kronin323 Supporter Supporter

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    As a groundcloth under the tent I've long used tarps with a silver reflective side and I put the reflective side facing up under the theory that it will help reflect back heat. Don't know if it really makes any difference but I've had no complaints.
     
  34. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    The old solution to this is some extra buttons and some cord loops.
    You add some buttons sewn onto the sleeping bag and cord loops to the down jacket and secure the jacket to the sleeping bag using the combination. Naturally you can reverse the placing of the loops and buttons; it does work best for more stable sleepers so I usually simply wear the jacket inside my sleeping bag when I feel cold but my sleeping bags are Expedition cut to allow this
     
  35. Malamute

    Malamute Guide

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    Ive used an old army poncho liner over my bag, the cheap fleece blankets work pretty well also. Either will add maybe 10 deg or so.

    Contrary to popular wisdom, I wore my wet Sorrel pac boot liners to sleep in and theyd be dry by morning, my feet stayed warm all night, and I had a thick frost on the outside of my down bag in the morning. I spent 5 or 6 years living about 10 months of the year outside in N Az. Id have cold camps may times, no fire, so just made do with what I had, which was me, to dry my boot liners. Putting them against your body also helped, but didnt seem to work as well as on my feet. Weather ranged from 20s and teens at night to zero and below at times. I slept on the ground a lot, in the back of my truck a fair bit, depending on weather and conditions.

    I had a cheaper down bag that I used for temps down to the 20s or so, and could squeek it by into the teens with a blanket over it, coats also help, you can snap or zip it part way to help hold it in place. The other bag was a Class V expedition Outfitters bag, I have no idea of its rating, but I slept in it in the back of my truck with my dog at 30 below and was fine. Zero out under the stars with the dog, and the bag unzipped about halfway for the dog to lay next to me under the bag was quite comfortable. Didnt seem to bother her that her feet stuck out in the cold when she was under the bag against me.
     
  36. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    We really need a "Sticky" on this subject.
    Wear more clothes
    Double up on the mattress
    Use a windproof shell/bivvy bag
    Add an over bag
     
  37. CharClothed

    CharClothed Guide

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    If it's a down bag, add a down quilt. If it's a synthetic, add a wool blanket.
     
  38. bam7765

    bam7765 Supporter Supporter

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    My woman usually. Woohoo I was the first to say it!!
     
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  39. ra2bach

    ra2bach Bushmaster

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    if it's down, you want synthetic over top. you never want a layer of down over synthetic due to how both handle moisture.

    if it's synthetic use down or wool inside...
     
  40. CharClothed

    CharClothed Guide

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    I think you misunderstand my post. If it's a down sleeping bag you add a down quilt on top of that. If it's a synthetic sleeping bag you add a wool blanket on top or inside like you said. Nothing about a down on synthetic. The reason for it is cause the down will be weighed down with a heavy blanket.
     
  41. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    Woowww!! So much good info here!! My head is about to explode!! :)

    I had a few questions.. I was literally about to create a post about sleeping bag liners.. figured I'd just join this one..

    1. Are Gortex bivys really useless in regards to temperature? Is retaining hear all about loft? I remember, in my 20s living in Montreal, I'd wear a garbage bag over my shirt and under my hoodie, go jogging for 45 minutes in -8c weather. Because I didn't mind sweating, I could barely feel the cold. Surely Gortex offers something similar?

    2. Wouldn't fresh clothes essentially act as a liner? Unless you are someone who likes to sleep mostly naked, a set of PJs would work the same, no? I mean, more is probably always warmer.. but you can't pack everything. Would a liner be a better choice of you're trying to go lightweight? I'm sure I can find a liner that is lighter than my wool onesie, definitely less bulky?

    3. Is it more effective to have a liner, something inside the bag, in opposed to something on the outside? For example, for $15CAD, I found myself a near new Costco down throw, I'm sure many of you know which one I'm talking about. Brought it home and have it the Royal Nikwax treatment. Put it into my closet and haven't used it since. My question is, would down be more effective over top of my sittings bag compared to a liner? Or perhaps the down thrown on the inside?

    4. A liner seems like a good MYOG project. Anyone make their own? Any plans out there? What's the most effective and lightweight material? Is it almost the most compact?

    Thanks!
     
  42. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter

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    I can't answer any of your questions, but I use a (I think) swedish flannel bag liner in my down bag. Makes a world of difference for me. I sleep in shorts and cannot wear socks at all while I sleep, so the flannel feels nice on my legs and doesn't have the cold feeling that nylon does.
     
  43. budman5

    budman5 Supporter Supporter

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    Don’t fart around with stop gap methods buy an extra bag below the temperature you anticipate encountering
    Think Western Mountaineering
    I think the Terra is the most useful of all WM bags for general use.
     
  44. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    UL synthetic over down works best as was pointed out above. Down over down works but not as well and with modern synthetics being so light and poofy I'd use a second UL synthetic layer rather than the heavy woollen because the wool will need a windproof layer to be effective used over the top and that makes it even heavier. Heavy as overbags simply isn't efficient.
     
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  45. CharClothed

    CharClothed Guide

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    Guess it's time for me to find a synthetic quilt.
     
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  46. drobs

    drobs Guide

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    Another vote for a knit hat. I pull it down over my eyes, ears, and neck.
    I use the knit hat for camping year round. Even summer nights get cold depending on where you are camping.
     
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  47. SilverFox

    SilverFox Scout

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    I use an Italian Wool Blanket inside the bag. Its about the thickness of fleece and is not very heavy compared to most wool blankets. Also I throw a disposable hand warmer in the bottom near my feet. I have slept comfortable down to around 20 degs. My sleeping bag for winter is an older Coleman, extra large flannel lined canvas bag rated for 30 deg.
     
  48. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    We are talking modern Ultra Light Apex quilts here, not the old fashioned generic polyester and canvas cowboy type. 3.6 to 5 ounce Apex fill seems to be the sweet spot for these overquilts with shells of fabric weighing less than 1 ounce per square yard
     
  49. Ithica

    Ithica Tracker

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    If car camping I'll add a Kelty Shindig Blanket on top of my sleeping bag. Also, a Carhartt Fleece 2 in 1 Headwear if needed. I don't wear socks and don't usually have cold feet. I'll try my new Wiggy's booties when it gets cold enough. In rare cases, I have worn a fleece pullover top. If it is a really cold night I'll place my shirt and pants at the bottom of the bag to keep them warm for the morning.
     
  50. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    I've mentioned my custom overquilt in other posts.
    I had Nunatak make me an UL Apex quilt using 100GSM insulation and the WP and WR Robic fabric
    If you go to the Nunatak page on the Gamut synthetic quilts you can get a general estimate of the temperature boost you can expect.
    https://nunatakusa.com/quilts-and-j...ghtest_most_breathable/gamut_overall_width-52

    I'm very glad I went to the largest quilt that Nunatak could make as it is big enough to work with my new -40 sleeping bag; if in doubt here I'd say go bigger by 2 sizes; especially if like me you have size 13 feet.My custom overquilt incorporates a pad sleeve; so mine was an extra $100- but I feel that the money is worth it, it gives a protected space to store my ski boots etc
     

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