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  1. #1
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    VB versus water resistant versus waterproof versus etc

    Okay simple strategy has come to mind with a little testing already performed but I'm still not sure what I was seeing or what I should be thinking.

    I had been using a sauna suit for the VB over my long johns. I bought it for trying to stay warm while freediving, figuring if the water can't get to me than anything I have on underneath will stay dry and keep me warm. It didn't stay dry even with the addition of duct tape around the elastic bands on the wrists, ankles, neck and waist.

    Yesterday as I went to take it off I noticed a tear in it, not surprising, around one of the armpits. I taped it up during the day and then when I went to put on the pants last night to head outside again I notice a rip in the butt area that I missed earlier. I said the heck with and decided to do things a little lighter weight(at least a little less weight I would have to carry on my back when hiking). I decided to go with long johns top and bottom. Next on the bottom I put my Gore-Tex pants(yes, not a true VB but it has the water repellancy/proofness to it) and then I put on the sweatpants. On top I did more or less the same thing only in a different order. I put on the sweatshirt followed by the Gore-Tex jacket. The pants are shells but the jacket is much more a jacket than a shell, it probably weighs close to one pound alone.

    After dropping my car off at the repair shop this morning I took the hour walk home with nothing more than a the long john top and the jacket on and I stayed reasonably comfortable. I was a bit chilly but on the trail it's exactly the way I would want to be given the forecast and the time of day.

    Last night was a rather weird night to say the least. Yesterday had been mostly sunny all day long. It did cloud over in the evening but cleared back out by daybreak. The temperature at 8:30PM was -1 to -2. By 11:30PM(when I went to bed) it was 6 above. By the time I woke up this morning it was back down to around zero. Like I said, a weird night.

    When I woke up this morning the idea of taping the plastic trash bag around the mouth opening on the sleeping bag worked fantastic. The only moisture I could find anywhere was on the sleeping pad inside the sleeping bag. It was wet from where I ended up breathing inside the sleeping bag instead of out into the open air. It's still a problem I need to find a solution to. I'm trying to avoid carrying a lot of extra clothing...I wouldn't be wearing, or carrying a pillow with me to keep the head high enough that I will always breath out the hole in the bag versus part/most of the breath(at times) staying in the sleeping bag.

    The real strange thing came from what I noticed and didn't notice otherwise. My shoulder were chilled, not flat out cold like they have been previously at the same temperature/maybe a bit colder. Sunday night when it was -8 I didn't have any trouble at all with the shoulders, last night I was noticing them. Otherwise the rest of my body was fine.

    After I got in the house I went to change clothes and I noticed that everything was dry. The long johns, top or bottom, tend to get a little damp from insenisble perspiration overnight, not last night. The sleeping bag was dry as well, even the sweatsuit was dry.

    I think you can see where I'm going with this, kinda like Billy's questions in Drying Out part 2.

    What was the reason for the chilled shoulders and more importantly where did the moisture go.

    Do you want VB or breathable material? Dumb question...I realize you want the VB. How does the difference between VB and breathable all come into play on keeping you warm and dry overnight. I can see what I did last night being really sweet...their is no cold chill about to hit you when you go to take off extra layers of wet underclothes, if their is no wet underclothes to take off on a nice cold morning. Where was I losing the moisture but not realizing I was losing the moisture. How much of a difference would I normally see between where the sweatshirt was placed, under or over the jacket? I'm still a little stumped why I had chilled shoulders this morning but I didn't yesterday morning when it was much colder.

    So far this is the one thing that makes me ask the biggest and the most questions of anything I have seen thus far. Too much confusion. Definitely I'm going to think this concept through some more but I know I'm ignorant in plenty of regards...last night proved it.

    MEANT 2B
    GAME '97

  2. #2
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    It's hard to say, as you have several unusual approaches going on, so it is hard to pinpoint where the problem is. Even though, you are certainly doing well over all, considering these temps.

    Yes, VBs are a little tricky, and they can either help a lot, by keeping all body moisture out of your insulation and by stopping evaporative heat loss. Or freeze you if done wrong, due to trapping condensation inside your insulation.

    Cold shoulders again? Hmmm. Not sure. Could the inside ( EDIT: inside PADS) that is your inside top pads be either: A: holding your insulation away from your body, causing a cold gap and/or B: compressing your bags loft from the inside? I just don't know.

    Do you have any significant insulation between you and the pad, the pad which is likely acting as a VB? If so, you are probably getting at least some condensation in that insulation that is between you and the upper( on top of and to the side of you) pads. Negating the insulation value of that insulation layer.

    The general VB rule is: only the thinnest possible first layer against the skin, to help decrease the weird feeling of wet nylon against your skin. Then, a VB, either VB clothing top and bottom or separate VB liner bag. Then, all of your insulation of whatever type, down, PG or even pads. The VB you are wearing should keep all moisture from your body out of this insulation, keeping it dry and fully lofting, and also stop your bodies evaporative cooling. Plus, if desired, you can then surround all of your outer insulation with a water/wind proof outer layer, since you don't have to worry anymore about condensation in your insulation.

    But if you put any insulation between you and a non-breathable VB, that insulation is probably going to get soaked and cold.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 01-27-2009 at 19:04.
    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
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    It's hard to say, as you have several unusual approaches going on, so it is hard to pinpoint where the problem is. Even though, you are certainly doing well over all, considering these temps.
    Thanks a lot...meant seriously. When your trying your darnest to stick with a zero budget you will try just about thing...no matter how crazy it seems at the time.

    Yes, VBs are a little tricky, and they can either help a lot, by keeping all body moisture out of your insulation and by stopping evaporative heat loss. Or freeze you if done wrong, due to trapping condensation inside your insulation.
    Hence why I'm a little worried by where the moisture went last night. It doesn't seem right that everything was dry to the touch this morning. It bothers me since like I've read it can accumulate over time and come back to haunt ya. Admittedly, most any trip I would go on would only be 2-3 days/nights but I still like seeing everything go as expected and not having something start acting weird all of a sudden, like moisture disappearing into thin air.

    Cold shoulders again? Hmmm. Not sure. Could the inside over your top pads be either: holding your insulation away from your body, causing a cold gap and/or compressing your bags loft from the inside? I just don't know.
    In the past, prior to trying the padding concept, the top inside of the sleeping bag would be cold. Now with the padding there the padding is much warmer than the sleeping bag would have been. The sleeping bag is still typically about the same temperature as it was before. The only difference last night is the fact the mouth area was dry for the first time. Thankfully.

    Do you have any significant insulation between you and the pad, the pad which is likely acting as a VB? If so, you are probably getting at least some condensation in that insulation that is between you and the upper( on top of and to the side of you) pads. Negating the insulation value of that insulation layer.
    Other than clothing...nothing at all. It goes straight into a dead air space. The tighter I can get the padding wrapped around me the smaller the air space. Prior to last night the only clothing outside the VB was the gym/sweatsuit. Last night on the top their was nothing outside the Gore-Tex jacket.

    What is Gore-Tex, VB or breathable. I wouldn't say both. VB in my definition means it locks in the moisture, aka not breathable. The jacket and pants don't have elastic cuffs on them like the sauna suit does to help make sure the moisture stays locked inside the suit and can't escape into the insulation.

    I'm thinking my biggest problem with the cold shoulders and the condensation on the sleeping pad come from the same exact cause. I just can't get the mouth of the sleeping bag to seal around my mouth the way it should, with or without the sleeping pad in place. Doing some experimenting in the house on the cotton hammock yesterday I noticed if I lifted my head than I could get the mouth more in line with where it should be and I wouldn't be wanting to breath as much on the sleeping pad and I would get a tighter seal to keep the outside air out instead of letting any of it slip into the sleeping bag, right around the shoulders(what I'm now thinking happened last night).

    To form the 'seal' I need to lift the entire head, almost like I would be extending my neck forward without changing any other part of the body position.

    Is there a way without a pillow to give yourself a lifted head while in a hammock. I'm trying to avoid adding extra gear since the pack is pretty much getting loaded and I haven't added in food yet. I haven't packed any clothes other than stuff I would be wearing at night. I figure a stinky hiker is no concern when the chances of seeing anyone are pretty slim this time of the year, LOL!!!

    MEANT 2B
    GAME '97

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by meant2b View Post
    ...
    Do you want VB or breathable material? Dumb question...I realize you want the VB. How does the difference between VB and breathable all come into play on keeping you warm and dry overnight. ...
    I think that is a real good question. I don't know the answer to that but suspect that it depends on what the conditions are; where at times you might prefer a 100% VB and other times you might prefer something that was 95%(?) VB (waterproof/breathable). Both should improve your bodies efficiency at keeping you warmer by stopping (or significantly reducing) the production of insensible perspiration. A 100% VB will keep moisture from entering your insulation. Waterproof/breathable will allow you to dry out clothing but it means you are pushing moisture through your insulation... hopefully all the way through.
    Youngblood AT2000

  5. #5

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    Ymmv

    Quote Originally Posted by meant2b View Post
    ...I decided to go with long johns top and bottom. Next on the bottom I put my Gore-Tex pants(yes, not a true VB but it has the water repellancy/proofness to it) and then I put on the sweatpants. On top I did more or less the same thing only in a different order. I put on the sweatshirt followed by the Gore-Tex jacket. The pants are shells but the jacket is much more a jacket than a shell, it probably weighs close to one pound alone.
    ...
    After I got in the house I went to change clothes and I noticed that everything was dry. The long johns, top or bottom, tend to get a little damp from insenisble perspiration overnight, not last night. The sleeping bag was dry as well, even the sweatsuit was dry.
    ...
    Do you want VB or breathable material? Dumb question...I realize you want the VB. How does the difference between VB and breathable all come into play on keeping you warm and dry overnight.
    I have been doing some similar experiments, including the recent -27* night on the hike with Shug.
    I suspect that between the sweatshirt and goretex jacket insulation you had enough bulk there to absorb your insensible perspiration. It may not feel wet, but I suspect if you weighed it before & after you'd see a weight increase.
    I haven't detected any moisture either in my outer layers or sleeping bag when I wear my Precip jacket and pants as a VB layer, and Precip is very similar to Goretex. I also did not feel wetness in my base layers in the morning.

    My guess is for both of us the WPB layer is retarding the formation and diffusion of insensible perspiration enough to prevent noticeable moisture buildup in our insulation, but not so completely that all moisture is retained in our baselayers. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

    Like you, I am trying to save weight, bulk and $$$ by multi-purposing my WPB shell layer. Seems like both of our experiences indicate that this strategy is workable, but a little confusing because the experience is not exactly the same as impermeable VB clothing.

    I wouldn't hyperventilate too much over it. Relax and enjoy. OTOH, the sweatshirt + jacket on your torso seems like too much bulk beneath your membrane. Not a problem if you're hiking out the next day, but when spending several nights or a week in the backcountry you'd probably accumulate more moisture than you want in those layers. If you have a shell jacket, wear that right over your baselayer.

    --Kurt

  6. #6
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meant2b View Post



    What is Gore-Tex, VB or breathable. I wouldn't say both. VB in my definition means it locks in the moisture, aka not breathable. The jacket and pants don't have elastic cuffs on them like the sauna suit does to help make sure the moisture stays locked inside the suit and can't escape into the insulation..................
    Goretex is supposed to be breathable. Some people who should know what they are talking about more than I do say it will function as a VB. I don't see how, though it might slow vapor transport down a bit- but it will still get through. I can sit around all day in Goretex with out my clothing becoming damp from condensed perspiration. Dozens of times I have worked up a sweat in fleece covered by GTX, only to dry out once I stopped sweating. True, it is not breathable enough under many circumstances, and it is dependent on many things like humidity levels, temperature difs inside the jacket vs out, a functioning DWR, etc etc. It is far from perfect.

    But an actual VB? When I put a VB on, in a few minutes I feel damp, even when not moving. If I take the VB off, I will get a blast of cold from evaporation of that trapped moisture. None of that happens to me if I wear GTX or some of the clones.


    I'm thinking my biggest problem with the cold shoulders and the condensation on the sleeping pad come from the same exact cause. I just can't get the mouth of the sleeping bag to seal around my mouth the way it should,...........

    MEANT 2B
    GAME '97
    Now that is another thing. If you have a VB ( GTX?) between you and the pad, there should be no condensation on the pad. Unless you are somehow breathing into the bag, which may be the case. You say you can't get the bag to seal like it should around your face ( a result of your budget limitations unfortunately). Does that mean that you are then somehow breathing INTO the sleeping bag? Thus your breath is causing "condensation on the sleeping pad "?
    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

  7. #7
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    Without thinking of what we can do to reduce condensation, the 'weather factors' that influence whether we have condensation issues are the relative humidity, temperature, and air movement.

    A high relative humidity always makes condensation issues more difficult and a low relative humidity always makes them less difficult. This is simply because the air can absorb more moisture when it has a low relative humidity and will more easily absorb it.

    Temperature-- warm air can hold more moisture than cold air so lower temperatures make condensation issues more difficult to deal with since cooler air can't absorb as much moisture.

    Moving air helps carry away moisture when the air has a low relative humidity. However, when the air has a high relative humidity it can bring moisture to you. Fortunately, we usually deal with the first situation... but not always.

    I think those are the basic ground rules. They don't sound to difficult to sort out or work with... until you take into account that they all can change and often do and that they are often interactive. You aren't always dealing with static conditions, as soon as you think you have it figured out it might change on you. Take for instance how the temperature usually rises during the day and decreases during the night. Then you get the relative humidity of warm air versus its dew point when the temperature drops... how much did the temperature drop... and did the wind blow in more humid air because it came from a direction of a body of water, or less humid air from an arid area, or is the ground saturated with water and releasing that, etc? Weather is complex. The 'weather factors' that determine whether we experience condensation issues are complex. Most of us are use to weather forecasts that to be useful, treat the weather conditions as if they are broader, or more widespread, than they often are. At times when I am out on trail I experience wide variations in weather conditions versus time and location. That makes it difficult to try different things and give them a pass or fail label based on whether you have condensation issues on a small sample of uses. We can try and understand the physics involved in what we are doing and do the best we can with what we have. But with widely varying conditions we need to understand what our limitations are and what plays in to whether we experience condensation issues or not.
    Youngblood AT2000

  8. #8
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    BB,

    It's definitely a result of breathing inside in the sleeping bag. With my old Blue Kazoo I could zip it up and my mouth and nose would stick right out of the bag beautifully. It was a 20 degree down bag though. With the new bag, zero degree synthetic, it seems like I can get the face as high in the bag without raising/pushing forward my neck. As a result of this the face sits much lower in the bag and allows my breath to go into the bag unless I really watch it(kinda hard when your sleeping). If I turn my head sideways that almost guarantees that I'll be breathing into the bag versus out into the open air. It's why I keep trying to come up with some kind of crafty way to force the neck/head forwards without having to carry extra equipment on me.

    KWPAPKE,

    Until the other night I was always wearing the sweatsuit outside the VB layer. I would notice the long johns being damp in the morning. One of the guys over on Ed's yahoo message board wrote up a real nice talk on insensible perspiration after I started asking questions over there about a month ago, he put it in the Files section as well. It helped me to start thinking the whole process through much more detailed. Granted it took me two or three times reading through his report to grasp all of what he was saying.

    I still can't imagine packing up at 0 yet alone -27. In a tent it gets slightly better but with a hammock it just seems like torture. I have to say I have been surprised at how much you don't really notice the cold as long as their is no wind. Even with a little wind in an area that is a bit protected you still don't notice it very much but it seems like it would be a challenge to pack up when it get down to or below zero. I'm going to find out one way or another soon enough.

    MEANT 2B
    GAME '97

  9. #9
    MacEntyre's Avatar
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    The fundamental problem with a hammock is exhausting moisture laden air without losing heat. If we could do that, we would be in fat city!

    Maybe I can come up with a small, light weight, packable, ridgeline mounted, low power, solar charged, battery operated, differential humidity controlled, Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) that exchanges inside air for outside air through a high efficiency heat exchanger.

    EDIT: I have it! ...and it requires no power. <rushes off to the laboratory>
    Last edited by MacEntyre; 01-28-2009 at 10:19.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member GREEN THERAPY's Avatar
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    I have been using my down filled vest as a pillow..... serves two purposes.... and works well..... helps to keep my neck and head a bit extra warmer as well
    What I lack in knowledge I MORE than make up for with opinions.
    Green Therapy

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