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  1. #1

    Down to 9 degree F in a Clark NA, had to try

    Well, I've been curious about the NA in winter, and the extreme cold we've been having was too much to pass up. If I could handle these temps, no worries hooking up the snowshoes and heading out. So, what to do? Simple, head out to the backwoods by the house and give it a go.

    Basic equipment; a Trangia alcohol stove, the Clark NA and a military 3 piece sleep system. No pad, and just stuffing some misc stuff in the pockets. The tarp is the XL, and while not huge, does a reasonable job for me. I pitched one side held low to cut wind from the west. The east side was up to make a canopy to cook under. Gotta have a hot drink before bed.

    Before heading in to bed, I lowered the east side a bit, but not as steep as the other side. I figure this may hold in heat a bit better. This is really cold, am I nuts? I was a bit concerned about condensation, so I did not use the outer bivy portion of the sleep system. I used to two sleeping bags, which nest into each other and just the NA. Surprisingly, I fell right asleep and was feeling pretty good. About 2AM and I woke up, there is a layer of ice on the inside of the weather shield down toward my feet. Above my head, it is clear. Must be hotter there. Overall, It's not too bad in here. My feet are cold, really cold, amazingly cold. Brrrrrr. The rest of me though, is cool, but not bad. Condensation, nope, just the ice. There is a gap between the end of the zipper and the storm shield edge, never noticed it before. Now though, there is a cold leak there coming in. Patched that with a sock. Time to step out for a cup of tea.

    Slipping the sleeping bag into the Bivy to keep it dry, slide out and fire up my trangia and heat up some water (still in teh bag and bivy). I figure the tent area can use a boost of heat, so the tea is for me and the rest goes into a water bottle. Back to bed feeling pretty good all things considered. The water bottle inside of the bag does wonders, I slid it down between my feet to heat them up, feels great. I can feel the heat from it all the way up at my waist. This time, I kept the bivy layer on the sleeping bag and zipped up the storm shield. A little tossing and turning, the wind is picking up really bad. I can hear it, but it's not really getting inside... the storm shield, rainfly and my sock are keeping it fairly bombproof. I have not closed the rainfly around the hammock, I suppose I could.

    5AM and I wake up to a dog barking. All in all, I wouldn't say I'm warm, but I'm not frozen either. A bit on the cool side, but bearable still. A quick pull on my hood to cinch it up and back to sleep for a bit. 7AM, time to get up. That was not a horrible night. I checked the temp logger, and it got down to 9F. That's pretty darn cold, and I made it without heading back to the house, that's pretty respectable. Ok, the hammock now officially replaces the tent for winter camping. Oh yeah, no condensation problem with the bivy bag used, but it did add a few more degrees of warmth and kept my feet from freezing again.

    Your mileage may vary, but for me, it's a great winter shelter.

  2. #2
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Tupelo, MS
    Wow! Great report! What did you place in the pockets?
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  3. #3

  4. #4
    Senior Member russmay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Fresno CA, Gateway to Sierras
    Switch back 1.9
    Lawson HexaLite
    3-Season Incubator
    whoppie slings
    What type of gauge do you use that has a temp logger?
    "The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection."
    Thomas Paine

  5. #5
    What is a bivy?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by JPC View Post
    What is a bivy?
    i'm guessing it has a removeable waterproof/breathable shell, like an OR bivy sac.

  7. #7
    New Member Binford's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Port Orchard, Wash.
    "Binford 3600" DIY
    DIY Silnylon 10x10
    CCF & Mylar pad
    Here's a military-issue Gore-Tex one:
    -- Tim Taylor

  8. #8
    The sleep system is a military issue unit, it has 3 main parts, a moderate weather bag, a cold weather bag and an outer bivy shell. A bivy is basically a weatherproof sleeping bag cover. You can sleep on the ground in it without a tent, and still keep dry. The link sent by Binford looks just like it. All the pieces can be used by themselves, or nested together for even colder weather. It's a bit heavy, but for winter that's an ok compromise.

    The temp logger is a tool we have from work. It's a Fujitsu unit for measuring ambient temperature and logging it over time to see temp fluctuations. I had it hanging on the line to the tree under the rainfly. Wanted to see how cold it got. I was half expecting to ditch the whole thing and run to the house, but that wasn't needed. The military sleep system is pretty good. Someone asked if it is synthetic, I'm not exactly sure but I think it is. It is certainly not down, but I really don't know what is in it. Very comfortable though, not clammy or anything.

    What was in the pockets? My boots, a fleece blanket, my stove and cooking gear, and a few ziplock backs stuffed with leaves I dug out from under a tree. I figured they'd add a bit of insulation. Not sure if they really helped or not, but my back was never cold. Can't say the same for my nose or feet. Anyone have any ideas on how to keep one's nose from freezing? Can't put the bag up and over your head, so your nose and mouth are a bit exposed. I had a fleece over my neck and mouth, pulled up to help over the nose too. Anyone have better ideas? If I could breath warmer air and not have my nose freeze, I might have been actually comfortable instead of just bearable.

    Inside pocket had my cell phone and gloves.

  9. #9
    Peter_pan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    JRB 11x10 Cat Tarp
    JRB UQ of season
    To keep my nose warm I pull my possum down skull cap down to just passed the tip of the nose.... as a bonus this serves a a sleep mask too and I often sleep an hour passed sunrise with this approach.

    Ounces to Grams. ... Largest supplier of camping quilts and under quilts...Home of the Original Nest Under Quilt, and Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock. 800 595 0413

  10. #10
    Senior Member RAW's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    WBBB 1.7Dbl
    Superfly w/doors
    JRB TQ, Te-Wa UQ
    Just pick up a comfortable balaclava.

    That's what I use when my face gets too cold.

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