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Do you think it is toooo cold to camp now?

Annandale, VA

Last weekend I went to Shennandoah camping at my favorite camping space of loaf mountain. I enjoyed the day and I was excited because we bought a bigger tent. It resulted it was too cold for me. I could not sleep the whole night. We have a blanket and also the sleeping bag. In the middle of the night I graved a warm franel shirt that my husband has and put over my head. It was a little better, but my body was still cold.

I know many people go camping even in winter. Do you know how they do to manage the cold and able to sleep?

I will appreciate some advices as I would like to camp during the fall.

Thanks

Rosa

Peterstown, WV(Zone 6a)

Can you get a sleeping bag with "gortex"? I know they come in different thicknesses...for different temps. We always use a large piece of foam to go under the sleeping bags (about 2" thick).

I hope this helped....It's been a few years since we have gone camping, but we love it best in the fall. (less bugs ~ more privacy) :-))

Joey

Lombard, IL(Zone 5b)

Get a good sleeping bag with a warm rating and if you think you tend to be colder than the average person get a warmer bag. For fall I would probably say a bag rated to 20 deg would be fine for most situations.

Also strip. The more clothes you wear in a sleeping bag the worse. You need to heat up the air space in the bag with your body heat and if you wear too many clothes it never heats up. Wear a winter hat, socks, and maybe underwear :) That is it. Also use a mattress pad, if winter, use 2 to keep you off the ground.

Bill

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

hi rosa!
i am famous for being cold-blooded. i have a 0 degree mummy bag that i absolutly love! keeps my toes warm and it has a hood that i can tighten around my head to keep warm. try to sleep with a comfy fleece hat on since your body looses a lot of heat from your head. thermarest makes some great inflatable sleeping pads for different kind of temperature conditions. they are a little pricey, but well worth the invesment for the comfort and the warmth (rei also makes their own version of these pads). the standard camping pads are not to bad in price. the more expensive ones are their lighter and warmer pads for backpacking.

also, with a smaller tent, your body heat can help to keep it warmer since their is less space. i really notice a difference in how warm i am when we use our small backpacking 2 person tent, even up in the higher elevations of the mountains. our 4 person family tent is much larger and does not stay as warm even with the whole family in it.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

I leave next Wed for a 10 day camp canoe paddle in the upper Canadian Rockies. I hope it snows all day and makes me shovel off the tent site for night sleep. I remember my first big winter camp out. I walked up a mountain in snow shoes to the summit of a ridge and started to build a lean to and then collect enough wood to survive in the wild that night. Everything was well planned except the weather forcast. Well it dropped below -20F and the fire I built melted the snow below it and went out. I spent the whole night in my sleeping bag dancing to the clear full moon and never laid down a minute to rest. I knew what it was like to freeze "water" before it hit the ground. Many lessons were learned that night.

Satsuma, AL(Zone 8b)

This is the best season for camping! Summers here on the gulf coast are WAY too hot to be comfortable; I'm excited that I'll have a chance next month to go camping with my scout troop. We are also planning a January trip to Mt. Cheaha (tallest peak in Alabama).

I'm so warm-natured it's not funny. Mostly I can get by with my 50 degree Kelty LightTop bag, but I also have a North Face 18 degree mummy bag which is for the polar bear stuff (40 and below) :).

Lately it's dipped down to the 50's at night here in Mobile; it's made me want to drag my cot out onto the porch and sleep out there!

Regards,
David

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

you got it David. Cot on the porch is living.

Beaverton, OR

I'll go in Oregon as late as November. I keep several light flannel blankets in my trailer of things. I always spread one or two over my head and shoulders as a cover. I even do that on cool summer nights.

On colder nights, I'll throw another sleeping bag or heavy blanket over my sleeping bag.

At the coast here, sometimes I'll get a yurt, and those have small space heaters.

Annandale, VA

Oh boy thanks for the many reply and advices to my question. I hope I will get more. I thought I was done for camping but I see that I have opportunities to go with all these advices. I do not know though which will be better if get the sleeping bag with gortex as Joey advices or a bag rated to 20 degree as Bill says

I agree with Kazooie that bigger the tent the colder you will feel. I noticed that last weekend. We had a smaller tent and it never was too cold like this time. We made a mistake in buying a bigger tent. It takes a lot more time putting it on but ofcourse is nice being able to be stand up inside the tent.

I did really enjoyed what David wrote. I could not believe someone is enough crazy to go camping under -20 degrees bellow.

I wish you all good camping. I hope to hear more advices and I want to hear from some romantic nights under the stairs and the moon.

Rosa

Lombard, IL(Zone 5b)

You shouldn't need a gortex bag unless you are planning on not using a tent. The outer shell material isn't what keeps you warm, it is the fill material (unless your bag is getting wet). You can find gortex bags but that isn't gonna help you. I think feathered friends makes them. I recommend down bags as they are much lighter and pack smaller. I 2nd Kazooie's thermarest suggestion. They make 3/4 length pads that get to about the knee for me at 5'9" and full length versions. The full length would be better for keeping warm. You might be able to get good deals on bags this time of year. Maybe try Campmor.com or REI outlet. They sometimes have really good deals on good quality stuff.

One more piece of advice. Pee before you go to bed and try and do something to warm your body up like jumping jacks. Your body wastes a lot of calories keeping your pee at body temperature. Calories that can be better used to keep you warm. The jumping jacks, or whatever floats your boat, raise your body temp which helps heat the sleeping bag up faster.

Sofer, sounds like you are a glutton for punishment. Upper Canadian Rockies in Oct, good thing you already got the rookie mistakes out of your system. How is/was your fall color?

Bill

Annandale, VA

Hey Bill
Thanks for the website information of campmor.com. There are so many options in Mummy sleeping bags. I saw this and I believe that is the one that you say you have. I want your opinion.

HOT DEAL!
Campmor Goose Down 0 Mummy Sleeping Bag - Regular Length
No. 40067
Temperature: 0 F
Insulation: 550 High Loft Goose Down
Regular Price: $179.99
Now Only: $139.97

I would buy this is you say this is the one you have. You seems to like this. Let me know.

Rosa
Check to compare

Lombard, IL(Zone 5b)

Rosa, unless your in a rush to get a bag for an upcoming trip, I would look around more and learn what you can about down bags before shelling out the money. If you think you want to get a 0 deg bag (that is a pretty warm bag for most uses), you might want to get a bag with 800 down. The number refers to basically the amount of insulation you get for a certain weight/volume of down. The higher the number the better. For a bag that is 550 or 600 to be rated at 0 deg, it will be pretty bulky compared to a 800 fill count. Also, the one drawback of down is that it doesn't insulate well if wet.

Just so you know, I don't own the bag in question. I think my down ones are Moonstone and Kelty. I am also a very warm sleeper so I never really need my winter bag unless I do something like Sofer is doing. Typically I use my summer down bag only rated to 45 deg since it is so lightweight. My wife uses I think a 20 deg down one since she sleeps colder than me.

$140 is still a lot to spend on a bag so shop around and make sure you get exactly what you want.

Bill

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

good advice bill! you seemed to cover a lot of the basics with the bags. like bill said, look around if you have time. REI outlet and campmor are great places to find items on sale or that may be discontinued becuase of a change in color or another minor update in the new line.

also, something else to consider is are you going to use your bag for car camping or for backpacking too? there are some great bags out there that can be expensive beacause they are made with fill that is not only warm, but light, that you would use for backpacking. but if you are car camping, you could probably get away with a less expensive bag and then bring some blankets to cover up with.

Annandale, VA

Bill:

You recommended campmor.com and reioutlet.com All the sleeping bags are expensive. The less expensive is $99.00 and those are not rated for zero grade temperature. I could. I am not disperate to buy one but I wanted to buy one because we wanted go camping in fall. The temperatures are not really zero around here but If we go to Shennadoah or any mountain it may get very cold and I wanted to be prepared. We have hear Sports Authority. Do you know what I am talking about? If you see by chance a good bargain let me know, and I am talking to you Kazooie. Yes I will use for car camping or tent not for backbacking.

Rosa

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Great info regarding sleeping bags on this thread! Thanks Folks!

Pinita, my wife and I have the sleeping bags that can be used singly or you can zip them together...two bodies will really warm up a sleeping bag; it makes it more like a bed!

And if you're doing car camping (not hiking)...you may want to check out the inflatable mattresses. They're not only comfortable but also raise you up off the cold ground. (Usually you can find a great deal at a big box store, and some even come with battery-powered pumps. We have a "double" size one and it pretty much makes the whole tent a really nice bedroom. Love it! Especially after 40 years of sleeping with a rock in the small of my back all those camping trips!)

By the way (Pinita) can you tell us more about Loaf Mountain? I hope to go on a camping trip soon and maybe that would be a nice stop-over for me.

Shoe.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

Just an idea on the topic I use a -20 bag and have rolled up in it a dry warm pair of socks and long underwear, and a cozy poly pant (soft) and Poly shirt to layer me in the cold. It is always in where it is warm and I undress on top and slide in to wrestle into the clothes to warm me up.
Fall has been wonderful and Valley Viburnum and I went up to Logan Pass today and got sunburnt. Can't find camera.

Annandale, VA

Hi Shoe:

With much pleasure I can give you some information about Loaf mountain. Expect more information tomorrow. I don't have all the written information with me but I can tell what is in my computer brain.

In our opinion, my husband and I Loft Mountain is the best camping site of the Shennandoah area. The camping sites are bigger and some of them offer a lot of privacy. They give you the idea that you are getting into a cave.
If you go look for the Section G. Those are the bigger ones. We liked G-146 because the bathroom are across the street and the site is a little bit hidden. They are other in G section.

It is located in the mile 791/2 of the Shennadoah Park. The price is only $16.00. I believe it will be open until the 3rd. weekl of October.

The reason that we also like it is because you see a lot of deers there. Sometimes they come to your site.

We have a mattress like the one you mentioned. We bought a new one Coleman. It came with the pump but it take so long to inflate and it is battery operated.

I will give more information when I get home. Right now I am at work but I want to give you some hints.


By the way we went to camp in North Carolina at Cherokee. It has been one of the the best camping adventures there. The camping is a private family business. The name I believe is Adventure Trail. If you are interested I check for more information. I recommend. Bathrooms and shower are cleaned and they have enough showers. You never wait.

Take care

Rosa

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Great! Many thanks, Rosa! Maybe I can find Loaf Mtn on a Google search...sounds like a place I'd like to visit! As for Cherokee, beautiful area and it is one of my old stomping grounds when I was growing up in the mtns.

Soferdig, sounds like you had quite a hike! I bet the views were beauteous!

Shoe.

Lombard, IL(Zone 5b)

If car camping, then the bag you saw at campmor might be fine. I just meant if you weren't planning on using it this season you can keep an eye out all fall and winter for a really good deal. You would be amazed at the deals you occasionally run across on stuff (meaning 50-75% off occasionally). http://www.steepandcheap.com is another website that you sign up for daily emails showing one item that is cheap. Most of the time it is stuff you don't need, but occasionally you get a great deal. If you need it for now and like the bag, go for it. Shenandoah is nice around now. I went years ago in the fall and the leaves and waterfalls were very pretty. It was cold and wet though.

Sofer, have you know VV for a long time?

Bill

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

hi rosa and all,
one more thing to consider, is that an air mattress in cold weather actually is colder to sleep on since there is more air space between you and the ground to warm. they are great for warm weather camping, but when the temps get colder, it feels like they sap the warmth right out of your body. the sleeping pads are insulated and help to keep you warm. i have heard some people say they sleep ok on an air mattress if they have a better insulated sleeping bag.

if i see any good deals on some bags, i will let you know. we have sports authorities here, but i have not really bought any camping gear from them. i know that REI can be expensive, but the way i look at it, is that most of the gear that i buy from them is an investment that i will keep and use for years. i bought my northface bag there 5 years ago, and it is still holding up well and i plan to keep it for many more years.

Benton, KS(Zone 6a)

I agree with kazooie that an air mattress will actually zap the warmth in cold weather. I used to belong to a camp club in AZ when I lived there and we went camping about twice a month all year long. It was great cause we learned from each other - and experience - what worked in different types of weather. Using a good padding or a cot to get you off the ground and then get a reasonable bag with the type of insulation you would need for the temp rating and how ever warm or cold you like to sleep along with a cap if you like would be the best way to go. I actually have a mummy bag rated for below 0 weather but I camped in the snow.

Also....if cold weather camping...make sure you stick your clothes for the next day at the bottom of your sleeping bag....it'll warm them a little while keeping your feet warm! And in the summer or warm weather camping....putting your shoes/clothes down there gives the extra security that critters aren't going to get in there while you sleep.

Hope you enjoy the sleeping bag hunt/learning process and have a great camp trip!

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

We had fun up on the Going to the Sun road. Found the camera.

Thumbnail by Soferdig
Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

kazooie and mmistyrose, sure am glad you brought up the coldness of the air mattress. Sure makes good sense to me. (I only took mine one time, so far, and it was warm weather!) The "zapping" of your body warmth sure sounds like when I once slept on a water bed that didn't have the waterbed heater...lordy, I froze all night!

Soferdig, what a great pic! One of these days I'll get to go to those places!

Shoe.

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

soferdig, when do they typically close the Going to the Sun road? is it pretty quiet (few people) up there this time of year? that is one of my favorite drives. thanks for sharing!

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

The road closes when the snow just starts, so usually Oct middle. The road is only open one way now cause they are improving over the next 7 years. No more old road bed. Kind of sad. You actually have fear still driving on the road. But no longer after this year. They will be using busses when they start building the new roadbed. Yes we locals never go up after june and then return September. Few people and more critters on the road etc. This is the hike up to Hidden Lake overlook. Quite beautiful.

Thumbnail by Soferdig
Peoria, IL

I've never been much for winter camping. But I don't like to camp when its really hot out either.

I think one key to keeping warm is to get your sleeping bag off the cold ground. If you are not hiking in and hiking out, and have the ability to pack lots of stuff, I prefer to pack an air mattress, and indoor/outdoor rug and an extra thick quilt. The air mattress sets on the rug, the quilt sets on the air mattress and then me in my sleeping bag go on top of the quilt.

A couple of dogs helps too. (Of course its not a good idea to let your dogs run around in poison ivy and then let them sleep with you (in the buff) in your sleeping bag...something I learned the hard way.)

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

Yes I am with you joe the pad is imperative to keep the conductive heat being lost in the cold ground. I once slep in a down bag in the snow (no tent) and was quite comfortable initally as the down was blown out from my lower 1/2 by my motion in the bag I began to freeze in a -30 bag. Next bag I bought was polyfil and no more down.

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

soferdig,
after the construction of the new road, will they continue to use the busses all the time? DH will not like the idea of having to take the bus if we go there next summer. that is such a fun road to drive on. :)

although, i have seen quite a few "dumb drivers" on that road. one time we were there, someone manage to drive their car off the side of the mountain going up towards hidden lake. the car actually squeezed between two large boulders (meant for road barriers) with out even touching them. thankfully, the passengers were ok, they were still alive. they had to use a helicopter to reach them. bet that was one wild ride down the mountain...

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

The best thing for we locals is the bike accessability to the road until they get it open on the other side in the spring. The big drift gives us 2 to 4 weeks of pedaling up the going to the sun road that culminates in a Full Moon down hill just before it opens. Lots of fun.

Thumbnail by Soferdig
Annandale, VA

Hi all:

I am back. Boy I am amaze of all those pictures that our Soferdig is sending. You are a professional photographer! I am envious of you. Where are you know. Do not stop clicking your camera. Send us more pixs to us the city residents. We are thirsthy for contemplating such spectacular views. Thank you to you and to all the advisors that have take the time to give me about surviving in cold weather. It make so much sense what you say Kazooie. I will wait for your info. I found the website is sportsauthority.com. I found them more cheaper than the other websites that Bill recommended. I will go to the store. They have some sleeping bags on the $60.00 and it said that is for zero weather. I hope is true.

I love your hint Joe. Where did you get the quilt? Do they sell in the same sports stores? I may go camping this weekend. I do not have the courage of Soferdig. Love you all thanks for all. I hope to see more pixs from Soferdig and some more hints.

Rosa

Lombard, IL(Zone 5b)

Rosa, you are probably in a better location as far as Sports Authority is concerned. Around here, in the Chicagoland area, their selection of camping stuff is extremely sparse. I am guessing this is because there is nowhere to camp around here. If they have a decent selection near you then I am sure they are very competitive compared to REI or campmor or other outdoor stores. As far as I am concerned, Chicago is about the worst location in the US in regards to proximity to good hiking and/or backpacking. Good luck with the bag search and have a good trip if you go.

Bill

San Tan Valley, AZ(Zone 9b)

Pinita....I've read a lot of good advice here and I don't think you can really go wrong with any of it...but I'd like to offer my 2 cents worth as an option to consider also....I use a bag that has 5lbs of holofill and I think it is rated to 25 degrees. But I also have a very nice wool blanket that I use too. During warm weather camping I use the ground pad and then roll out the bag and sleep on top of it with just the wool blanket for cover. During colder weather ( like a fall hunting trip) I'll get in the bag with the blanket on top or the blanket folded in half and put under the bag but on top of the pad. Wool, wet or dry, will keep you warm and comfortable. By the way, my bag has flannel lining...not slippery and warms faster. Dan

Annandale, VA

Bill and Dan:

Guess what? Yesterday after I left work I went to Sports Authority because we were planning to go to Northern's Neck. The area is named Montross at West Moreland State Park. This place is near the Chesapeake Bay on the Potomac River. I bought a sleeping bag rated for zero temperature. I have not opened yet because I was going to open there so I do not know all the specifications. One thing I know is a mummy and has a hood like Bill adviced. From $69.00 it was down $59.00 and then 30% off. I ended paying about $42.00 with the taxes. I thought it was a good deal comparing with the prices that I have seen in the internet starting from $90.00. I hope it has a flanel lining but I don't thing so. I did not see the flannel in the picture.

We cancelled the trip because the weather forecast calls for rain this afternoon and thunder showers in the morning tomorrow. I told my husband that now I can go to the north pole. Ha! Ha!, but I could not take the rain.

Anyway if I don't use the bag it give me time to open the box and look all the specifications and still can return it for other better. On this time of the year they have the 30% off and maybe later it will be higher the percentage off. The problem is that they would not have a good selection.

I will keep you updated about the specifications just in case someone is interested in buying one. Do not pay more than $60.00 in this time of the year.

I am frustrated that we candelled the trip. It is no nice to camp on rain because there is little bit to do.

Have a nice weekend.
Rosa

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

I'd say you got a GREAT deal! Good price on that one!

You'll definitely be warm now, eh!?

Shoe.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

The above picture was from Glacier when Viburnum Valley and I went up to see when they were here. But I just got back from my paddle on N. Saskatchwan from Rocky MT House to Edmonton. Cold Wet, and beautiful.

Thumbnail by Soferdig
Annandale, VA

Soferdig:

I am glad to hear from you. I was kind of worry about you. Wao! Thanks for the picture. It is beautiful. I was in Glacier Park two years ago. It is beautiful there. I do not know if this picture is from the park. Take care

Rosa

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

No the above picture is from the cold waste lands of the N. Saskatchwan on the eastern slopes of The Canadian Rockies. Early morning fog and hopes for sun to continue for the day. It did and this is what my buddy gene and I had to suffer through all day. LOL

Thumbnail by Soferdig
Peoria, IL

"where do you get the quilt"?

The one's I like to use for camping have been made by someone in my family. The camping quilts that I use have a heavy flannel back, a thick layer of batting and a denim (or cordoroy) patchwork tied top. The denim quilts tend to be very sturdy. Usually the camping quilt is an old beat up one that has been refurbished a few times and been resewn together with thicker batting specifically for winter. The top looks something like this:

http://kansas.mccsale.org/old2003/quilts/images/0141.jpg

I imagine you could buy an old quilt at a rummage sale, an auction or a flea market. You might have to thicken it up a bit to be a good camping quilt though.

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

hi rosa, glad you were able to get a decent price on a new bag. hope it works out for you. REI is having their "annual garage sale" this up coming weekend here, and we are thinking of going to see if we can find a decent price on some backpacking gear and bags for the kids. it is kind of a hit or miss thing. fall is a good time to get camping gear on sale from many of the outdoor stores.

soferdig, start a new thread and tell us more about your trip.

Benton, KS(Zone 6a)

Hey Kazooie....do you go to the REI on Priest and Southern? Dang I miss that place! I used to live in the trailer park just south of there....across from what is now a mall. I used to be a regular visitor to that REI.

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