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  1. #1
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    How to stay warm at night in Georgia in March

    I have just finished the JMT using my Hennessy with a nest Underquilt and WM 20 degree bag. Two nights the temperatures fell to somewhere around 20 degrees and I was too cold to sleep well.
    I slept with a synthetic tee shirt followed by a fleece / synthetic ski undergarment followed by a Mont Bell down jacket followed on one night by a Precip jacket in a 20 degree Alpinlite bag, also wore a good insulating hat and wool socks. I awoke in the early hours and could not warm up enough to sleep, I was not cold enough to be in any hypothermia danger but not warm enough to fall back to sleep. The cold was coming from underneath. I did not have a stainless hot water bottle, I had given that to my sister who was suffering much worse than I.
    I plan to start the AT in March and I wonder if I am going to need to get colder weather gear to have comfortable nights.
    Do you think it will be advisable to get a winter nest and a 5 degree bag to sleep well, that's a lot of expense but I will spend it if I need it to enjoy my adventure of a lifetime. Is the winter nest likely to make the difference that I need?
    Typically, if it's cold, I am warm soon after tucking in, I sleep for a few hours then awake cold. If the temperature is not too cold then just laying awake for a while warms me up enough to fall asleep again and repeat the cycle. The two days around 20 degrees I did not warm enough.
    I do eat prior to turning in to activate my metabolism but I am afraid that at my age my metabolism slows rather dramatically when I fall asleep.
    Any advice? Do I just need to grin and bear it when the temperature fall into the 20's

  2. #2
    Senior Member JerryW's Avatar
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    I'd go for the heavier underquilt and use your 20 degree bag on top. I typically need a little more underneath insulation than on-top insulation.

    After the temps warm up, you could swap to your lighter underquilt and save some weight.

    It sounds like you are doing everything else right.


    Jerry
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  3. #3

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    The JMT must have been beautiful!

    Was there wind when you were cold? If so, consider a weathershield or a sock, which can add up to 10* of warmth with less expense than a new UQ (unless, of course, you're really just trying to rationalize getting a new UQ!).

    Also, a stainless water bottle is not required for use as a hot water bottle. Nalgene hard bottles work fine - but be sure it's a Nalgene and not an off-brand. I've never had a Nalgene leak but other brands have leaked. When other brands leaked, putting a layer of plastic wrap (Saran Wrap, etc) over the mouth and threads usually stopped the leak.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    The JMT was magnificent!!
    Yes both times it was windy and I could feel a temperature drop underneath me when a particularly strong gust hit.
    I do have a supershelter, which I don't like much, but I was advised against placing it under the underquilt (condensation issues I think).

  5. #5
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    OK, so you are expecting the same temps on your next trip? 20*F, or is it likely to be even colder?

    Well, you already know what you have is not adequate at 20. So what to do now? There are so many options if you are willing to spend money.

    For little or no money, 1st is the hot water bottle, but you already know that. But next time, that alone can probably solve most of your problems.

    ( two is even better- twice as good? ) I like to put them inside a freezer bag in case the Nalgene leaks, a little back up.

    Next is a pad in an SPE, home made if needed. Unless your feet were cold, a torso pad is probably all you need. It won't take much of a pad to get you down to much lower temps. Just use it when it is extra cold. Do you have one with you anyway as a sit pad?

    Then, there is the $3, 2 oz space blanket or EMS Heat Sheet. I can vouch for the fact that this can add probably 20*F to a HHSS or a PeaPod. Plus, it will keep any body moisture out my insulation. I can't think of any reason this would not also work on top of a Nest, but I have never tried it.

    Also, is your Nest adjusted optimally? Most likely you have already had a hiking partner check that 1: it just barely touches your back but 2: not tight enough against your back that the loft is compressed at all.

    Then to all the many options when you are ready to spend some more money. Almost to many to mention. But 1st thing that comes to mind is a MMP IX Sock over you and your Nest. But I guess you need a zip mod to use that with an HH?

    Or, sell your Nest and start from scratch with one of the designs that snug up against your back, no chance of compression. A JRB MW3 ( or MW3 short plus leg pad) or MW4 or Yeti (3 or 4 season) or Te-Wa or Stormcrow. Any of those will solve your problem just fine.

    A PeaPod is guaranteed warmth, IMO. But again, a zip mod needed for HH.

    Hope you stay warm next time! It should be no problem.
    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

  6. #6
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardD View Post
    The JMT was magnificent!!
    Yes both times it was windy and I could feel a temperature drop underneath me when a particularly strong gust hit.
    I do have a supershelter, which I don't like much, but I was advised against placing it under the underquilt (condensation issues I think).
    You can put the Nest outside the SS! A few folks here (me included) have taken that SS down to low-mid teens by adding a few items into the UC. One has taken it to -27 with various forms of boost(down Parkas or lightweight down bags and such). It supplies a good wind block, built into the system.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 09-14-2010 at 17:07.
    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
    Senior Member nacra533's Avatar
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    Billy Bobs advice of adding a pad on top is probably the cheapest option.

    GA temps vary wildly in March and last year seemed to be one of the coldest we had in recent memory. I think if you plan for 20s you should be good.

    One thing the Southeast folks should agree with me on is the "real feel" temps are usually different than the thermometer.

    For example, to me 40 degrees with the humidity feels colder than 20 degree dry air out west. Often, when we have a cold stretch with lows in high teens/20s, the air is dry and it's just cold. The most miserable to me is 33 degrees and rainy/misty/foggy. I can't get warm outside in these conditions.

    Remember, the lower part of the AT, including N. GA mountains is a temperate rainforest, so plan for precipitation.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the info.
    I have the zipper mod on my HH and I really like it. I believe I have the suspension set right for the nest, it is easy to check with the zipper mod.
    I caried a NEO with me in case I had to go to ground, I tried it very lightly inflated inside my hammock, it suprised me that it detracted from the comfort of the hammock, I don't think it added much to the warmth.
    Billy Bob - I like the idea of the space blanket, when I experimented with my supershelter it made quite a difference to the warmth of the system. With the Nest are you suggesting to put the space blanket between the hammock and nest or inside the hammock.

  9. #9
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardD View Post
    Thanks for the info.
    I have the zipper mod on my HH and I really like it. I believe I have the suspension set right for the nest, it is easy to check with the zipper mod.
    I caried a NEO with me in case I had to go to ground, I tried it very lightly inflated inside my hammock, it suprised me that it detracted from the comfort of the hammock, I don't think it added much to the warmth.
    Billy Bob - I like the idea of the space blanket, when I experimented with my supershelter it made quite a difference to the warmth of the system. With the Nest are you suggesting to put the space blanket between the hammock and nest or inside the hammock.
    Between the hammock and the Nest. I think inside the hammock it would tend to get wadded up as you moved, unless you came up with some way of securing it.

    I am assuming that the Nest is adjusted so that it is (just barely) touching your back. Then, that will also put the SB right up against your hammock and back. The key to using the space blanket (SB) is to keep it warm with your body heat. Then, any condensation should be zero or minimal. Just like when I use it in the HHSS on top of the HH pad, but under the hammock.

    Now, with the SS or one of the "snug fit" type of UQs (like the JRB mw4 or WB Yeti), the SB is held firmly against the hammock and your back. ( in fact, the Yeti comes with a snap on SB/VB option) It is kept warm, I get no condensation ( but people vary!), my back is much warmer, and there is no ( or minimal) chance of condensation in my UQ insulation. Because my body moisture can not get past the SB vapor barrier. You want a waterproof SB, which most are. But if there is much distance (how much? don't know) between the hammock and SB, and the SB gets cold, you will get lots of condensation most likely. Needless to say, you don't want that.

    Now remember, while I have used a SB successfully with a number of systems, I have not used it with a Nest. So I am just theorizing. What I wonder is if the Nest would keep the SB firmly enough against your back. I don't know but I THINK it would. But, I have used a SB in the PeaPod, which- like the Nest- is a NON-snug fit type design. And it worked grandly, keeping all bone dry and allowing me to use the 20*F rated PeaPod to at least 10F with no problems. But the PeaPod may be different than the Nest. Because, it is sealed along the sides (full length) where the pod drapes over the hammock edges, plus it is all or mostly closed up on the top. Which prevents most cold air from rushing down beneath your back and cooling the SB, even if you have a small gap down below.
    ( regardless, I highly SUSPECT an SB will help a Nest for at least 10*F, and maybe 15-20. Plus, it should keep your insulation dryer. )

    If your SB is wide enough, or if you have two SBs, you can also rig the SB to cover the outside of the UQ. Which will be a marvelous help at keeping wind from sucking out the body warmth your UQ has accumulated. Functioning much like the undercover of the HHSS. But just make SURE you also have an SB under your hammock preventing any body moisture from condensing in your UQ.

    I am really surprised to hear your Neo did not add much warmth. Maybe it was deflated too much? I have slept TOASTY at ~20F on top of a Thermarest short Ultralight plus a full length TR Ridgerest, both inside a Speer SPE. I have never been warmer with anything. I have a friend who uses a pad down inside a 55*F PeaPod (under the hammock) to sleep plenty warm down into the 20s. I have never used that combo, but I've seen him do it more than once.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 09-14-2010 at 22:46.
    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

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