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Thread: Vapor Barriers

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    Vapor Barriers

    I hear a lot of talk about vapor barriers, especially in the colder climates. I tried using a space blanket once on a mid-20'F night, placed inbetween my double layers on the WBBB, and whilst it kept my UQ free from moisture, it created moisture above it between the blanket and my back - I got cold through the night because of it.

    What did I do wrong?

    Can someone give me a 101 insight into vapor barriers, their use, and why one should consider using one?

    Thank you in advance.

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    dragon360's Avatar
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    Andrew Skurka has a write up on them on his site in the Blog section. Might be worth the look.
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    breyman's Avatar
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    +1 on Andrew's article. It's a great summary:
    http://andrewskurka.com/how-to/vapor...y-application/

    Based on your brief description, it sounds like the vapor barrier did exactly what it was supposed to do. Keep the moisture in and not let it out to the insulative layers that can then have issues if they collect too much moisture without the opportunity to dry out.

    It's tough to give a lot of advice without knowing more about your circumstance (what you were wearing, etc.). Many folks will wear a very light layer between their skin and vapor barrier to keep some of that claminess away. If you were getting cold because of the extra moisture inside, you might need to either get a warmer UQ, place one or two wool layers over you or consider hot water bottle, etc. to help keep you warmer even with the dampness. Oftentimes, folks will wear vapor barrier clothing to help keep that moisture a little closer to the skin, which when layered over can cause fewer warmth issues.
    Brian
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    Senior Member Tendertoe's Avatar
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    Some additional reading from our own HF members may be of some help.

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    breyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tendertoe View Post
    Some additional reading from our own HF members may be of some help.
    That's a great link and something I hadn't seen before. Thanks for sharing. It reminded me of a good point. If you have just the VBL below you, it could be a bit more damp feeling. For a VBL to be most effective from a warmth standpoint, you need to surround yourself in one - without that, the claminess/coolness feeling increases.
    Brian
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    Quote Originally Posted by breyman View Post
    +1 on Andrew's article. It's a great summary:
    http://andrewskurka.com/how-to/vapor...y-application/

    Based on your brief description, it sounds like the vapor barrier did exactly what it was supposed to do. Keep the moisture in and not let it out to the insulative layers that can then have issues if they collect too much moisture without the opportunity to dry out.

    It's tough to give a lot of advice without knowing more about your circumstance (what you were wearing, etc.). Many folks will wear a very light layer between their skin and vapor barrier to keep some of that claminess away. If you were getting cold because of the extra moisture inside, you might need to either get a warmer UQ, place one or two wool layers over you or consider hot water bottle, etc. to help keep you warmer even with the dampness. Oftentimes, folks will wear vapor barrier clothing to help keep that moisture a little closer to the skin, which when layered over can cause fewer warmth issues.
    Excellent article, thank you for linking.

    I can't argue with your assessment; my UQ was certainly unaffected by the moisture trapped by the space blanket, but I remember the following night I removed it completely and slept much more soundly. There was a small build-up of moisture on the inside (top) of the UQ in the morning, though. For short overnighters I'm sure this will be ok, but gradual degradation of the UQ's insulative properties would be a major problem for longer trips.

    Appreciate the heads up, thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by breyman View Post
    That's a great link and something I hadn't seen before. Thanks for sharing. It reminded me of a good point. If you have just the VBL below you, it could be a bit more damp feeling. For a VBL to be most effective from a warmth standpoint, you need to surround yourself in one - without that, the claminess/coolness feeling increases.
    Although not a true article of VBL clothing, I do remember wearing my Houdini windshirt through the night on a cold evening - that seemed to keep me quite warm, and also provided some vapor barrier quality to protect my UQ that night. It worked to some extent, but I see your point of essentially wrapping yourself in the VBL, as opposed to lying on top of it. Good point indeed.

    No more space blanket for me, though.

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    Several General talk topics on VB too, this is the most recent. We have several that are very familiar with VB and you can always PM them. I find the concept intriguing, but have not personally used it for hammock camping purposes.

    BillyBob; OneThing; MacEntyre; and BlackWolf are very informative on the use of VB just to name a few.

    http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...ad.php?t=63834

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    Thanks a lot, DivaB - much obliged!

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    OutandBack's Avatar
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    I experimented a bit with VB and found for me it's better and easier to control my moisture than trap it.
    If I was going on an extended winter trip of 7 or more days below freezing I might consider it again to keep the down dry but then again maybe not. It's very easy to get it wrong.
    O&B
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