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  1. #1

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    Going to Ground with an Underquilt

    So, in trying to plan for all eventualities, I'm trying to put together a game plan for what to do if I have to go to ground unexpectedly. I use a full length underquilt, a SnugFit, so I don't carry any type of pad. What I do have is a Tyvek ground sheet.

    My current game plan is to use the tarp with trekking pole for weather protection, the Tyvek ground sheet as, well, a ground sheet, and my Warbonnet Blackbird as a mosquito net, also tied to the trekking poles. What's missing in the equation is any sort of ground insultation. The UQ and TQ can be used for warmth above me, but I would have nothing for under me.

    I thought about piling leaves, pine needles, etc. under the ground sheet for some form of insulation. I could sleep on top of any non-down clothing I'm carrying.

    Any thoughts?

    ~Dan

  2. #2
    Herder of Cats OutandBack's Avatar
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    You mention using the hammock on the ground for mosquito's. Are you going to ground do to wind rain or snow?
    You might not need anything under you if bugs are out.
    Last edited by OutandBack; 01-10-2011 at 21:42.

  3. #3
    Tumbleweed's Avatar
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    I've used poles to hold tarp (w & w/o doors) with my WBBB on a long thermorest. Worked fine, but hanging is better. I was way above treeline at the Boulderfield on the way to Long's Peak in Colorado. Second trip up Long's. Wind picked up mid-night and the spinnul was a bit noisy. Enter earplugs. Problem solved. Had the UQ & TQ, plus a pretty decent (25degree) sleeping bag. Was prepared for anything. Also in tundra brush above St. Mary's glacier off highway 70. Don't even think of down UQ protecting under you if going to ground. Always have a back-up plan if solo-ing

  4. #4
    Senior Member Dave41079's Avatar
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    If you think you need to go to ground, why not carry a 3/4 CCF pad with you? You can use it as a sit pad around camp, they weigh hardly anything, can be strapped outside your pack, and you can get one at Wal-Mart for $10. To supplement the 3/4 length, you can use your pack under your legs.
    Visualize whirled peas.

  5. #5
    pizza's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'd probably look to use leaves or pine needles to make as good a bed as you could. I brought my tent out one time this past September and out of curiosity tried my JRB Hudson River and 3 season Yeti combined as top quilts. Only difference was that I actually used two CCF pads for ground insulation and the results were miserable. I absolutely froze! Low temp was around 35F. Worst night sleep I have had ever! Top quilts don't work as good as sleeping bags on the ground from my experience but it's better than nothing.

  6. #6
    in it for the naps oldgringo's Avatar
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    <ahem> If there are leaves and/or pine straw, would there not also be....?
    Dave

    http://www.uark.edu/misc/xtimber/rna/pattonsbluff.html

    It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.
    John Steinbeck

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by OutandBack View Post
    You mention using the hammock on the ground for mosquito's. Are you going to ground do to wind rain or snow?
    You might not need anything under you if bugs are out.
    Good point - warm enough for bugs, warm enough not to worry too much about ground insulation. Putting that aside, I like having one more barrier between me and everything else when I'm on the ground.

    The situation I'm describing would be going to ground expectedly for any reason - crazy high winds, unsuitable trees like in a forest ravashed by plague or tree killing bugs, etc. I suppose you could keep hiking if there are not trees that are suitable, but, at some point, I would think you would just have to throw in the towel and go to ground if nothing comes up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave41079 View Post
    If you think you need to go to ground, why not carry a 3/4 CCF pad with you?
    If I thought I might need to go to ground, I would definitely consider carrying one. The situation I'm describing here is when I had to go to ground unexpectedly.

    Quote Originally Posted by oldgringo View Post
    <ahem> If there are leaves and/or pine straw, would there not also be....?
    Yes, very true, but, as per my comment above, I was thinking there might be times you just can't find a safe site due to tons of dead branches caused by bugs, plague, or the like.

    Thanks for the comments, all!

    ~Dan

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tumbleweed View Post
    I've used poles to hold tarp (w & w/o doors) with my WBBB on a long thermorest. ... Always have a back-up plan if solo-ing
    Yeah, for that reason alone, I think I would take a pad for the 'just in case' factor if i was going on a really long trek.

    Quote Originally Posted by pizza View Post
    ... Only difference was that I actually used two CCF pads for ground insulation and the results were miserable. I absolutely froze! Low temp was around 35F. Worst night sleep I have had ever! Top quilts don't work as good as sleeping bags on the ground from my experience but it's better than nothing.
    Sorry to hear about your bad experience. Seems like a lot of the UL ground sleepers use that setup, so it's surprising to hear how poorly it worked out for you. I think some of their quilts have a bottom, but with zero insulation. Seem like that would work best for sealing you in while keeping the down where it works best.

    ~Dan

  9. #9
    Senior Member sturgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldgringo View Post
    <ahem> If there are leaves and/or pine straw, would there not also be....?
    I think i just peed my pants.

  10. #10
    Scottybdiving's Avatar
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    If you think there is a remote possibility that you may have to go to ground, take a pad. My choice is the Thermarest Neo Air, maximum padding for minimum weight penalty as well as some thermal protection. It does come at a price.

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