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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Vapor barrier liner report

    Havenít tried a vapor barrier liner in your sleep system yet? Want to sleep warmer in colder temperatures? Want to keep your downís loft high? Donít want to lug an extra pound or two or three of gross condensed sweat in your down items each day, or deal with trying to let your down items air out to dry each morning? Get a vapor barrier liner to use in your sleeping system.

    I splurged and had one constructed from cuben fiber. I think Zpacks made it for me. Canít remember. Slept toasty warm last night hanging on a high mountain ridge at 28 degrees F with constant light/moderate wind. Zpacks hammock tarp with doors closed. About 18 inches of open space from ground to lower edges of tarp. 20 degree down bag pulled peapod style over/around hammock (Grand Trunk Nano7). Smartwool long sleeve shirt and longjohn pants. Vapor barrier liner. Tucked a Montbel extra light down sweater on top of the vapor barrier toward the head opening of the bag, to seal out any draft. Fleece beanie.

    Slept so warm I think I might have been able to have used my 40 degree bag instead of my 20 degree bag. In the morning, I could feel that my smartwool top and bottoms were pretty moist with condensed sweat vapor, and the vapor barrier liner was pretty moist. I turned the VBL inside out while packing up my campsite, and it dried in minutes. This cuben VBL compresses down to about half the diameter of a tennis ball.

    If that amount of moisture had made it into my down bag, I would have been stuck carrying that weight with me after breaking camp and the loft would have decreased somewhat.

    I have considered what sounds like a potentially equivalent system that would be way less expensive than my cuben VBL. I would think that a tight-fitting, super cheapo disposable pair of rain pants like you can buy in the dollar store, made of cheap, thin, light-weight, non-breathable plastic, paired with a cheap 02 rain jacket or driducks rain jacket, would accomplish the same thing as my cuben VBL, and the jacket would serve double duty during the daytime if a rain shower appeared. Iím guessing that the breathable quality of the 02 jackets or driducks jackets really isnít all that effective and the jacket probably traps 90 percent of sweat vapor. Not sure.

    Anyway, if you havenít tried a VBL in colder camping, I highly recommend that you consider it.

  2. #2
    R00K's Avatar
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    Had Joe spec out a hammock sock made from breathable cuben, in the end the price/weight didn't equate to a good choice for my needs. I'm not comfortable with the idea of a true vapor barrier, but I do like the idea of wind protection and water resistance so PapaSmurf is putting together a sock made from M90 for me.

    You should post pics of your set-up, I look forward to checking it out. I'm also a fan of using smartwool/down to add warmth in cold weather sleeping.
    Support: HammockGear - Zpacks - Jacks R Better - DreamHammock - Dutchware - AHE - Black Rock - Grand Trunk

  3. #3
    Senior Member lazy river road's Avatar
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    Very nice write up. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and knowledge. I really like smart wool clothing as well. Would love to see some pics of your quilt.
    Sometimes I like to hike and think, And sometimes I just like to hike.

    Hiking is'ent about waiting for the storm to pass its about learning to hike in the rain.

  4. #4
    Senior Member OneThing's Avatar
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    Takes Work, but it Works

    It does take time to work out how to best use a VBL. However, once you have it down, it's not only lite weight but also a life saver.

    I've use a full VBL bag in my hammock. Takes a little effort to get in, but very doable. The Stephenson's Warmlite shirt, rain pants, plastic bags on feet work even better.

    Of course, I'm always trying out new things to carry less and stay warm. Thanks for the report.

  5. #5
    Senior Member olzeke's Avatar
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    The only time I tried sleeping in my rain gear, I woke up cold and wet. I found the barrier to be too efficient and it trapped my sweat next to me. No thank you.

    Normally, any moisture passes through the down quilt of sleeping bag, and is passed off to the air. We do not notice any accumulation of moisture in the down unless we are out for long trips in cold weather. Seems it takes more than 10 days for it to be noticeable.

  6. #6
    Senior Member OneThing's Avatar
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    olzeke;586593]The only time I tried sleeping in my rain gear, I woke up cold and wet. I found the barrier to be too efficient and it trapped my sweat next to me. No thank you.


    1st time I use a VBL I put it on the outside of my sleeping bag. I figured it would keep the heat in and dew off my bag. Needless to say, it was disastrous & glad it was tested in a shake down hike.

    2nd time was almost as bad. No clothes, and my body quit putting out heat, with wind blowing on me. Woke up freezing.

    I went with thin nylon socks, silk long johns and I found a good combination for many cold nights.

    I also added a JRB protector over my bag. I found for me, I didn't have to worry about getting my gear wet.


    Normally, any moisture passes through the down quilt of sleeping bag, and is passed off to the air. We do not notice any accumulation of moisture in the down unless we are out for long trips in cold weather. Seems it takes more than 10 days for it to be noticeable.

    My concern is on night 2 of a 10 day hike, the fog rolls in. I've woken up in a wet mess. However, most who venture out on a cold 10 day hike have a bail out, back up plan in place. Also, I think most long distant hikers come to accept they're going to be cold & uncomfortable to a certain degree. I think VBL is something every hiker needs to have some knowledge about & use it as a tool for survival & not comfort

  7. #7
    dejoha's Avatar
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    When done right, I think VBLs are great. That's one reason I added it in my hammock book -- it's a lightweight solution for staying warm. I'm glad it worked for you too! Awesome!

  8. #8
    Senior Member lymphocytosis's Avatar
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    Sweet write up. I'm working on trying to make some with reflective ripstop. We'll see how it turns out. It certainly won't be as light as yours!
    Just call me "Blood Disease"

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  9. #9
    ... the odds be 50-50 G.G.'s Avatar
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    lymphocytosis, where are you sourcing your reflective ripstop?

    Thx,
    GG

  10. #10
    Senior Member lymphocytosis's Avatar
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    Scott at DIYGearsupply has some right now. He's an awesome guy to work with and great pricing.
    Just call me "Blood Disease"

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