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Thread: Winter Overnight Sleep Systems

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    Member HikingBryan's Avatar
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    Winter Overnight Sleep Systems

    Hey Guys,

    I'm wondering what are your preferred sleeping systems for winter overnights? Specifically, what do you use (3 season, 4 season, mountaineering, bivy) for a casual couple nights below tree line, and what do you use for nights at altitude in full winter?

    Let me add, I have the Whites and DAKS in mind when I ask.

    Thanks,

    Bryan
    Last edited by HikingBryan; 12-10-2008 at 11:50 AM.
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    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HikingBryan View Post
    ... and what do you use for nights at altitude in full winter?
    Without knowing your background, I'll say this: tenting above treeline in winter requires a different set of skills and equipment (like mountaineering tents) than below treeline. Unless you are compelled to make that committment, it'd be easier and cheaper to tent below treeline. I have a Sierra Designs Alpha tent that is "convertible" from a 3 season tent to a winter tent that works great in winter, and might survive a calm night above treeline, but I doubt it could handle the wind and snow-loading that a real mountaineering tent is designed to.

    On Rainier we were in Eureka ! tents. I think there were also some Mountain Hardwear's and Northface's in the area.

    Last edited by Chip; 12-10-2008 at 12:43 PM.
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    Member HikingBryan's Avatar
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    Damn, I should learn to use that search function more thoroughly...

    I should have also mentioned I was inquiring about tent/shelter systems.

    Sorry....
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    Senior Member adktyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HikingBryan View Post
    Damn, I should learn to use that search function more thoroughly...

    I should have also mentioned I was inquiring about tent/shelter systems.

    Sorry....
    Haha, no worries. I've been there done that. And I should learn to read peoples threads more carefully, though "sleeping system" did seem a little ambiguous to me.

    My only experience with 4 season tents is sleeping in a friends Mountain Hardware Trango 4 tent. We didn't really put it through any rigorous testing, so I don't have much to report about it; except that I wish it was a little better ventilated.
    Usually below the tree line I'll just use a 3-season tent because I'm too poor to buy a nicer one (plus it's lighter than a 4-season).
    Last edited by adktyler; 12-10-2008 at 03:31 PM.

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    Senior Member cbcbd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    Without knowing your background, I'll say this: tenting above treeline in winter requires a different set of skills and equipment (like mountaineering tents) than below treeline. Unless you are compelled to make that committment, it'd be easier and cheaper to tent below treeline. I have a Sierra Designs Alpha tent that is "convertible" from a 3 season tent to a winter tent that works great in winter, and might survive a calm night above treeline, but I doubt it could handle the wind and snow-loading that a real mountaineering tent is designed to.
    I agree. Although the NE has areas above treeline, it is not often that you will be sleeping up there, if at all, unless you really chose to.

    For below treeline I have used my 3 season summer tent in some very cold winter nights. Sure, it might be a little colder than a 4-season, but it will probably be lighter than a sturdy 4-season. And a lot cheaper too, if you already don't have a 4-season.

    Bivys- There are single walled lightweight tents that are as heavy or marginally heavier than a good bivy. With two people I would bother even less with bivys. The weight of two good bivys is more than the weight of my 2-person BD Hilight. Now I would only consider taking my bivy if we were planning on sleeping out and the sleeping spot would not have enough room for a tent.
    Last edited by cbcbd; 12-10-2008 at 12:54 PM.
    Doug

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    Senior Member hikingmaineac's Avatar
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    Over at the SummitPost board there's a thread about 4-season tents and a lot of discussion about the Black Diamond pyramid tents - specifically the Betamid.

    http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=41733

    They also discuss the Eureka and North Face tents amongst others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikingBryan View Post
    I should have also mentioned I was inquiring about tent/shelter systems.

    (
    I use a MH Trango Assault, a 4 season mountaineering tent with about 30 sq. ft. floor space. I bought it to use as a solo tent for New England winters and it's worked out well.

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    Senior Member Hampshire's Avatar
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    Whites above or below treeline, single-night.

    Western Mountaineering (WM) with dryloft 0 degree bag.

    Whites above or below treeline, muliti-nights.

    WM with dryloft 0 degree bag, vapor barrier bag (WM Hotsac).

    Denali (at altitude) 15 nights.

    WM with dryloft 0 degree bag, vapor barrier bag (WM Hotsac), bivy sac (can't be too carefull protecting down and I thought I might need it for addtional warmth at 17,000 ft).

    I've never spent a cold night in the mountains once I bought the WM bag.

    I've tested a number of tents for Backpaper (Hillebergs to Eureka) and have never noticed a difference regarding warmth. I'm with ADK88 in rergards to using a 3-season tent "below treeline". Nearly lost a MacPac 4-season tent on a traverse one year.

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    I have slept in a TNF Mountain 25 and own an old EMS Pompero, which is somewhat the same size as a MH Trango Assault. I have used mine for solo camping as well.

    For some good info on cold weather camping and sleeping (real cold weather) check out www.wintertrekking.com. This is a Canadian site someone on another board mentioned recently. The Canadian guys are out in up to -40C, so they have deep winter camping pretty well figured out. May not too practical in some aspects for back East because of the differences in terrain, but worth a look.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TomD View Post
    Really nice site, thank you.

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    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HikingBryan View Post
    Hey Guys,

    I'm wondering what are your preferred sleeping systems for winter overnights?

    Bryan
    okay. other than a good quality tent, the rest of my winter system involves
    1) a choice of a few different bags - ratings (mine) ranging from +30 to -20
    2) 2 pads - I use an old ensolite pad under a 3 1/2" thick, evozote wrapped inflatable. Most people use a combo of 2 pads they own.
    3) An inexpensive breathable nylon bag cover.
    4) a combination of clothes including base layer, socks, fleece pants and jacket, hat, balaclava, gloves, down booties, etc. Add and subtract as needed.
    5) as important as anything else is your prep before hand; eating, staying dry, bringing high calorie snacks in with you and
    6) taking care of business: if you wake up cold or needing to pee - take care of the issue, it's not going to get better on it's own and will only affect your night's rest.

    I carry, have never used, but have lent out, a VBL bag liner.

    The highest I've overnighted is about 11,500' and the coldest has been about -20, so others with different experience should add their techniques, or critique mine.
    Last edited by Chip; 12-15-2008 at 09:23 PM.
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    * ALL STANDARD DISCLAIMERS APPLY: IIRC. YRMV. IMHO. FWIW. HYOH. NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, ARE MADE
    THAT INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS POST IS ACCURATE, RELIABLE OR APPROPRIATE FOR ANY PARTICULAR SITUATION.

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