Wind and a sleeping bag.
So I spent last night in high 30 degree temps with my Doublenest, a thermarest pad, and a $13 Academy sleeping bag rated to 30 degrees. I was in winds that were gusting to 30mph. I was lucky enough to be out by myself and was able to do some experimenting. I also was just wearing a t-shirt, some flannel pants, socks, and a knit cap. It did get cold, but I wasn't really freezing, and got some really good sleep from about 4am-8am. Here's what I noticed though about this bag. The weather proofing, or complete lack of really stood out. A large gust of wind would hit, and you could feel the cold air rush in from the seams and zipper. It's not a mummy bag but did have a drawstring on top which I kept cinched up all night with no condensation issues, which I attribute to the total lack of any kind of seal. I spent the week before in the same setup, near same temps, but less wind, and it was much more toasty.
This might be a stupid question but you almost have to be in the right conditions to tell, are the high end bags better sealed against wind? Is the temp rating merely loft and fill, or does it take any kind of wind breakage into account?
I think your best protection in that case is a well deployed tarp that has adequate coverage. If it were much colder with the wind, I would say a hammock sock is the best answer, but not at that temperature (too much condensation).
With a mummy bag from a respectable manufacturer, the draft tubes at zippers, the neck collar and the hood all play a big role in the temp rating. Though most of us here use quilts, or bags/mummy bags used as quilts, the higher end bags are often virtually impervious to wind or drafts. They usually have wind proof shells which make wind a non-issue, at least in my experience. But, with highly compressible insulation, wind could get to the point that - even though it is not getting past the shell material - it is compressing the down. At that point it could still be a significant problem.
For example: most of the UL UQs or TQs we use around here. I don't know if the shells of any of them claim to be wind proof. But I think it is safe to say that with most of them, if a strong wind is hitting them. You are going to be a lot colder than other wise. So get out of the wind, learn to use your tarp very skillfully, or both. Or use some sort of wind resistant sock or weather shield.
I have(more than once) been in a few situations of high wind with my HH Super Shelter. Which has a sil-nylon wind/waterproof under cover. Where I could not block the wind with the tiny tarp if I was going to camp in that spot. I and all of my friends thought I was going to be cold but I was fine. More recently, I have used the top cover which is not waterproof, but is apparently fairly wind and water resistant. I have found it to be a pretty big help against wind also.
So however you do it(sheltered spot, adequate well pitched tarp, some sort of weather sock/shield), you really need to block that wind.
BTW, one of those down/ windproof high end bags probably won't help you that much in a hammock. As you will be laying on the down and compressing it flat, so the bags shell and hammock material will be very flat against your back and a big breeze under your hammock is still going to have a bad effect. You need the wind blocked before it hits the hammock, at least on the bottom.
I had the tarp as best I could. I have slept in the cold in my hammock a number of times. Last night it was more of a test. I am fully aware of the compression factot, and my back wasn't cold at all. The cold was coming from the el cheapo sleeping bag. It's got some good fluff but the fabric is pretty thin. I just don't have experience with a super expensive (>$100 in my book) sleeping bags and am just curious if they are more "windproof" than this bag. You could feel the cold air rushing in the seams and zipper when it would blow pretty good. I am also pretty much done with mummy bags. Been there, done that, and I just don't like them. I also have a nice fleece liner I could have used, but again it was more of an experiment that taught me quite a bit about that bag in particular. I am sure my next purchase will be an expensive rectangular bag, but I want to find one that's got some good windproofing qualities.
Look up the 2QZQ underquilt protector. They have a breathable version and a silnylon (not breathable version). This will aid in blocking wind from stealing heat from your underquilt.
Originally Posted by Fig
This will likely be the best $35.00 gear purchase you could make for a hammock system.
I love my 2QZQ underquilt protector. I have the breathable version and it does a great job of keeping drafts off of the insulation.
Glad to hear the UQP helped hold in some heat. I just received my UQP today and hope to try it this week.
Originally Posted by kgmm00
+1 to Mad777 and BillyBob58. Your tarp is your best defense against wind, but not all tarps are designed to seal up completely.
The shell material of the bag makes a huge difference, and usually costs a bit more to get a better shell (microfiber etc). But the wind/water resistance is well worth the small increase in price IMO. Night and day difference between microfiber and a regular nylon shell.
I'd really like to see the cottage guys offer a choice of material that is windproof/resistant for TQ/UQ's (and maybe they do - I haven't paid much attention). It would be lighter overall rather than having to add the UQP/monster tarp weight to the pack to avoid a very common cause of heat loss.
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my monster tarp and happily carry the weight. But, if I could carry less of a tarp and still enjoy the complete weatherproofness afforded by it, it would be a plus.
I was on the AT this past December with winds gusting one night to about 35 MPH. The temp was about 20 degrees. I have a Clark NX 150. I set my tarp up with a front porch and the back side low to the ground and perpendicular to the wind. I stayed warm all night.
Like Billybob said- better bags will have a draft tube which keeps the cold from getting in at the zipper- its just a flap of insulation that is inside the bag and lays against the zipper, keeping the wind out. Does your bag have one of these?
Also, you mentioned that the wind comes in at the seams. Is your bag quilted? i.e.- are there seams that run directly through the inner shell, filling, and the outer shell? This type of design will give those cold spots at the seams because the insulation is compressed there. My guess is that with such an inexpensive bag it is this design. Find a bag with diagonal baffles or offset quilting and you alleviate this problem too.
More info here: