Question: winter sleep clothes

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Walaben
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Question: winter sleep clothes

Post by Walaben » Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:21 am

While winter backpacking, what is everyone sleeping in? I have both a 20* top/underquilt, while still being wieght conscious , how much extra clothes are we wearing/ carrying? I'm assuming that I shouldn't sleep in the same clothes that have been worn all day. I have not slept out in the colder weather yet. Thank you.

I'm going to be backpacking europe from April 30 till June 28.

I'm bringing very little clothing with me so I've been picking lightweight, fast drying and durable clothing for my trip... I'm torn over whether I should bring a pair of jeans or not. I've read that I should ditch the jeans because during the summer they are too hot, and take too long to dry. Good points.... but I've never gone on any type of trip without a pair of jeans, and I always find them the easiest to wear when I'm camping over a weekend.

Since I'm not quite sure what to expect on my trip, I was wondering if any experienced travelers can weigh in on the pros & cons of bringing jeans...

Would you leave home without them? Or would you consider them the most versatile pants for 2 months of travel?
Last edited by Walaben on Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.








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Wandering Daisy
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Re: Question: winter sleep clothes

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:31 pm

"Winter" can mean a wide variety of conditions. Where exactly and what time of year are you asking about? Cold dry conditions are very different from cold-wet conditions.

The best way to learn winter backpacking is to camp right next to your car to try out gear. If you live in snow country, then just camp in your back yard! That way, if you have the wrong gear, you can easily bail out to your car and turn on the heat. Then test your "moving" gear with short day trips. Do you plan on skiing? snowshoeing? walking? When you get the camping part and walking part figured out, do a short 1-2 mile backpack. Gradually increase distances.

Do some reading and research on winter weather forecasts, avalanches, hypothermia, frost bite, repair and how your snowshoes/skiis work, etc - basically winter safety.

My first impression is that 20-degree sleeping quilt or bag is not sufficient for the Sierra in the winter. Ounce for ounce, a sleeping bag rated to a lower temperature is going weigh less than adding clothing. Tents have to be designed to shed snow.

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c9h13no3
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Re: Question: winter sleep clothes

Post by c9h13no3 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:10 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:31 pm
When you get the camping part and walking part figured out, do a short 1-2 mile backpack. Gradually increase distances.
The other thing I would say is to go out in spring/fall conditions more often as well. The difference between August, May, and October is pretty drastic. Spring trips teach you to deal with snow on the ground, fall has the cold temps & short days. Then winter has it's own set of challenges that you don't face in either season.

Honestly, most people don't backpack the Sierra in winter. It's really hard. This trip report is a good example of why.
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Re: Question: winter sleep clothes

Post by TurboHike » Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:25 pm

Walaben wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:21 am
While winter backpacking, what is everyone sleeping in? I have both a 20* top/underquilt, while still being wieght conscious , how much extra clothes are we wearing/ carrying? I'm assuming that I shouldn't sleep in the same clothes that have been worn all day. I have not slept out in the colder weather yet. Thank you.
In the past I have gone on backcountry ski trips in the Sierra Nevada in February and March. My campsites varied in elevation from 9000 feet to 11000 feet. I used a synthetic hooded sleeping bag rated to -10 F and I slept in heavyweight thermals. I also used a fleece balaclava and down booties. I would place my ski boot liners in the foot of my sleeping bag since they were usually wet from perspiration and otherwise would freeze at night. Canister isobutane stoves don't work very well below freezing, so I used white gas. I also carried insulated pants and jacket, gloves, hat, etc since it's winter. I think my total pack weight for winter trips is about twice my total pack weight for summer trips. I also tend to carry more food in the winter since calories are important for staying warm.

If the clothes you wear during the day are wet from sweat, you might as well wear them or they'll freeze. At least put them in your bag with you.

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Re: Question: winter sleep clothes

Post by The Other Tom » Sat Dec 14, 2019 6:01 am

TurboHike wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:25 pm
If the clothes you wear during the day are wet from sweat, you might as well wear them or they'll freeze. At least put them in your bag with you.
I wore a damp from sweat shirt to "bed" one freezing cold night. During the night, my upper body was so cold my teeth were chattering, but my lower body was toasty warm. It took me a few minutes to figure out that the evaporative cooling from my shirt was keeping my upper body cold. I'm not going to wear wet/damp clothes to bed again. I've considered using "hot hands" warmers, or a similar product, to keep my shoes/socks from freezing, but I've never tried it.

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Re: Question: winter sleep clothes

Post by TurboHike » Sat Dec 14, 2019 8:05 am

The Other Tom wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 6:01 am
TurboHike wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:25 pm
If the clothes you wear during the day are wet from sweat, you might as well wear them or they'll freeze. At least put them in your bag with you.
I wore a damp from sweat shirt to "bed" one freezing cold night. During the night, my upper body was so cold my teeth were chattering, but my lower body was toasty warm. It took me a few minutes to figure out that the evaporative cooling from my shirt was keeping my upper body cold. I'm not going to wear wet/damp clothes to bed again. I've considered using "hot hands" warmers, or a similar product, to keep my shoes/socks from freezing, but I've never tried it.
That's a fair point, especially if you're using fabrics that retain a lot of moisture. In the winter I only use polyester baselayers and fleece, so if they're wet, they usually dry while doing camp chores or shortly after I get into my bag.

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Re: Question: winter sleep clothes

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:37 am

Drying damp clothes inside your sleeping bag is an age-old practice. The key is to manage the moisture - not too much. It does not work if something is truly wet. I mostly use it to dry damp socks or gloves, placed on my belly or lay them at my side, but not on me. You have to be careful if you are out for a long time. Not all of the moisture that evaporates escapes the sleeping bag and small ice crystals can build up inside the insulation. Over time you end up with reduced loft. In the winter sweat management while moving is very important and reduces the need to dry off inside the sleeping bag.

Summer backpacking is forgiving - make mistakes and you may be miserable but usually survive. Winter back-country travel is brutal- make even a small mistake and you could quickly get into a survival situation and die. To me, that is the biggest difference. You have to be meticulous about everything. It is not something to take lightly. It is a lot more than just adding more gear to accommodate colder temperatures. Only the VERY experienced should even attempt to do UL winter trips. Gear that provides needed backup always beats a few ounces saved.

I did all my winter mountaineering ( 2-3 week trips in seriously cold conditions) in a large group. I wound never consider going solo since everyone does make small mistakes and in a group you have back-up. Also, several bodies huddled together are warmer than one alone. Two bodies in a small tent provides additional heat. Illness and small injuries become big problems in winter and others who can help are critical.

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