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Thread: Comparison of indoor vs outdoor temperatures of huts in the winter

  1. #16
    Senior Member J.Dub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    And bring a good pad.
    IIRC, Grey Knob has a bunch o' mattresses up in the loft for occupant use. They're thin -- like 3" or so (i.e., not like a regular household mattress) -- but loads better than even a Ridgerest/Thermarest combo.
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  2. #17
    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferrisjrf View Post
    -459.67 F ???
    Hee hee hee!

    Nice!

  3. #18
    Senior Member KRobi's Avatar
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    Having done Zealand and Carter huts many times the temperature can get very cold. At both locations I have been at -20. The difference IMO is that at Zealand you leave the "relative" warmth (maybe 30-40) and go into the cold bunkrooms that are attached! At Carter you leave that "relative" warmth and have to go outside and up a usually icy hill to get to the bunk house. Psychologically harder for me. Using the facilities at night if you need to is also easier at Zealand, as you can go in you camp shoes/booties as it is outside but you get to walk on the covered porch. Again, at Carter you must put on some kind of "gear" to get to the facilities. If it does get to absolute zero as Ferrisjrf suggests than all motion stops so you really won't need to worry about the cold or anything else for that matter. At the high cabin I believe that you now have to bring in your own wood. When we did this a couple of years ago in February we brought in wood in one of those cheap plastic red sleds to supplement the wood they gave us. This was a bit of an effort but with outside temps that night around 20 we had the cabin up to 60. Our winter bags were way too warm. Bottom line is there are alot of variables. A water bottle with HOT water in it in your bag also does wonders. No matter where you go its great fun. My buddies and I are going to either Carter or Grey Knob during our Feb. school vacation (yearly ritual).
    Enjoy

  4. #19
    Senior Member Waumbek's Avatar
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    Do jumping jacks before you zip into the sleeping bag, eat adequate calories, put a hot (or warm) bottle of water in the bag, zip it up tight and hope you don't have to get out too soon. You can use chemical heat packs too as long as they are insulated from direct contact with your body. Conventional wisdom is that a tent will trap some of your body heat; a large cabin won't.

  5. #20
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    FWIW, I'd rather sleep in an unheated cabin. Otherwise the room gradually cools down as the heat dies and you keep waking up cold to close up your sleeping bag. If the room stays at a relatively constant temp, you can adjust things once and get some sleep.

    Bring earplugs.

    Doug

  6. #21
    Senior Member zman's Avatar
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    Ive spent a number of mid- winter nights at both the Zealand and Carter huts, and agree with most of the above posts- the one thing Id add is before I bought my -20 degree down bag, I rented from EMS or IME (North Conway). At that time, (early 90s) they only rented synthetic bags, which took up a LARGE volume of space in my winter bag- It was a real challenge getting everything in, including the necessary liquid refreshments (very useful in keeping warm!) So if you do rent synthetic, you might want to take your bag along to be sure you have enough volume-

    BTW: On our first trip we brought freeze dried food and shared the hut with a group from Canada who brought gourmet food and a case of wine- Needless to stay on our subsequent trips we brought steak, lasagna and all sorts of other goodies!

  7. #22
    Senior Member smitty77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRobi View Post
    At Carter you leave that "relative" warmth and have to go outside and up a usually icy hill to get to the bunk house.....
    Again, at Carter you must put on some kind of "gear" to get to the facilities.
    Ditto those comments, and can confirm that the bunkhouses get almost as cold as the outside, but with less wind. I stayed there many moons ago the day after Thanksgiving and the overnight temps were in the single digits (3 deg F maybe?). I slept in some of my clothes inside a 20 degree bag and was quite comfortable but I'm a "warm sleeper" for the most part. Comfortable until I needed to use the facilities at midnight. A bigger shock to the system was the cold seat.
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  8. #23
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Slight Thread Drift/Unsolicited Advice Warning

    I don't know how most people got started winter camping, but I'd be willing to bet it wasn't near tree-line at 20 below. For me it was more of a process, with gradual exposure to more challenging conditions accomplished by cherry-picking weather and transitioning into winter by backpacking later into the fall.
    Still, there were nights I was not properly prepared for the cold, snow or freezing rain. The reason I don't care for huts and lean-tos is that I'd rather be self-sufficient; prepared to set-up anywhere in the event I don't reach my goal, which isn't hard to do on short winter days. Simple things like replenishing water can be a challenge in winter.

    I'd recommend renting, borrowing or buying the proper gear, including tents, and setting up near a hut, bail-out point or even a trailhead, in case there's an issue, for your first few outings.
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  9. #24
    Senior Member BobC's Avatar
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    I've stayed at Lonesome Lake hut and Zealand hut in the winter. Lonesome Lake trip was January 2008, it was in the single digits outside, and probably in the high teens in the bunk room. The bunk rooms at Lonesome Lake are in a separate building, unlike Zealand where the bunks and main room are the same building. Not that it makes much difference - I didn't find Zealand to be any warmer.

    In any case, I was surprised at how warm I was in my LL Bean 0-degree bag on the Lonesome Lake trip - first time I had used that bag. I started out with 2 layers on top, and over the course of the night it was too hot, I ended up taking both layers off and just sleeping with no shirt on.

    On the Zealand hut trip just this past December, temps were also in single digits outside, and I slept the night comfortably with just one layer on top, again with the 0-degree bag.

    The trouble with these kind of threads though, is that everyone is different and some people will be fine with a 0-degree bag, some will need a -20. But generally, I'd think that if you got cold in a 0-degree bag, you could just throw on enough extra layers to get warm in a hut. I think a down jacket inside a sleeping bag will be too much, maybe just two or three thinner layers would work.

    Edit: as far as hutmasters being stingy with the wood for a fire, that wasn't my experience on either of these winter trips.
    Last edited by BobC; 01-08-2010 at 10:43 AM.

  10. #25
    Senior Member Little Rickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadtripper View Post
    Another question I don't know the answer to - does sleeping in a down jacket within a down sleeping bag offer some serious benefit. Is the down too compressed at that point? Are there any other issues with this, such as comfort, moisture management, etc.?
    I've slept with a down vest on and I was very comfortable. Even if it was crushed some it still filled in spaces with insulastion I would not have had filled. After I got up I wore it under a wind break and any moisture in it worked out with body temperature. I didn't pack it away moist from sleeping.

    Oh ya I got it cheap from Walmart.
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  11. #26
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadtripper View Post
    Another question I don't know the answer to - does sleeping in a down jacket within a down sleeping bag offer some serious benefit. Is the down too compressed at that point? Are there any other issues with this, such as comfort, moisture management, etc.?
    I've slept in a down bag in a down expedition weight jacket with hood once, because it was a retangular down bag that was horribly inadequate for the temps that night. It worked, I slept, but it's far from a good solution, sort of like stuffing one bag into another. If it was any warmer I would have sweated in the jacket, which would have screwed up everything. The warmest thing I sleep in now is a fleece hoodie and fleece pants, but normally it's just a polyester hood/balaclava and long capilenes. I do like to wear my down booties in the bag, though. Keeps feet warm and is convenient if I need to get up.
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  12. #27
    Senior Member MichaelJ's Avatar
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    Carter's bunkhouses were, I believe, recently renovated in the same style as Lonesome Lake's. This means that they are much better protected from wind. What this also means is that the little rooms in both locations will get soaking wet inside for lack of air circulation. Crack a window if you stay in a bunkroom at Carter or Lakes. It's no fun to have condensation dripping on you from the ceiling in the middle of the night.

    (old-timers will recall when guests were specifically asked to do this because otherwise the forming frost would set off the fire alarms)

    This is not an issue with Zealand due to the bunkrooms being much, much larger, with more air leaks.

    I've slept at Carter and it was -12F outside, -11.9F inside. It's no problem with a good bag, and let's not forget the right clothes to sleep in. You will want long sleeves and long underwear. I recommend a turtleneck if you can stand the feeling. And bring a hat. You don't need much, but you will want something, even just a poly or silk liner. Some good sleeping bags will wrap over your head like a hood, but I still find it more comfortable to have something between the bag and my head.

    The plastic mattresses at the huts are wicked cold, and will conduct that cold right into your sleeping bag, since of course under you the bag is compressed and not insulating as well. I always bring a closed-cell foam pad (z-rest or ridgerest) to put between the bag and mattress as insulation.

    Unless it's an attached bathroom like Zealand or Cardigan, guys, bring a pee bottle and leave your modesty at home. Ladies, uh, sorry.

    Also, remember that the big will be incredibly cold when you get into it. Throwing in a tightly-closed Nalgene with hot water will help out with this, especially in heating up the toe area. However ... this might make you too warm when you first get in the bag, resulting in leaving it a little unzipped, leaving your arms out, etc. Then later, when the bottle has gone cold, you'll wake up freezing and have to close yourself into the bag. I think it's better to skip the hot water bottle and just get in the bag and seal myself in.

    Speaking of sealing and moisture, keep in mind that bag is designed to allow the vapor from your body out, but don't put your head inside the bag. That's too much, and it will end up freezing inside the bag, both making it heavier and also reducing its insulating abilities.

    Finally, don't forget to keep everything that shouldn't freeze, as well as your electronics, in the bag with you. I tend to put my camera, headlamp, and spare batteries into one of my water bottle cozies and shove that down into the bag. That way, it's a soft, padded container and neither hurts the equipment nor my feet.
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  13. #28
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadtripper View Post
    Another question I don't know the answer to - does sleeping in a down jacket within a down sleeping bag offer some serious benefit. Is the down too compressed at that point? Are there any other issues with this, such as comfort, moisture management, etc.?
    Yet another answer:

    Yes it is likely to keep you somewhat warmer by increasing the insulation over your upper body. It also can serve another function--a draft block. Winter sleeping bags have a draft collar (which seals the bag at your shoulder level) to prevent your movement (due to breathing or any other movement) from pumping warm air out and cold air into your bag. Wearing the down jacket or just draping it over your upper chest and shoulders can also block the airflow.

    When I used a down bag inside a polyester bag, the down would loft inward and fill up the voids and block the airflow very effectively.

    Doug

  14. #29
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelJ View Post
    I've slept at Carter and it was -12F outside, -11.9F inside. It's no problem with a good bag, and let's not forget the right clothes to sleep in. You will want long sleeves and long underwear. I recommend a turtleneck if you can stand the feeling. And bring a hat. You don't need much, but you will want something, even just a poly or silk liner. Some good sleeping bags will wrap over your head like a hood, but I still find it more comfortable to have something between the bag and my head.
    The clothing and hat (better yet a balaclava) also help to keep skin and hair oils out of the bag. (The less you have to wash the bag, the better it is for the bag.)

    Finally, don't forget to keep everything that shouldn't freeze, as well as your electronics, in the bag with you. I tend to put my camera, headlamp, and spare batteries into one of my water bottle cozies and shove that down into the bag. That way, it's a soft, padded container and neither hurts the equipment nor my feet.
    If do this, I suggest that you put anything that is moisture or frost sensitive (ie your camera) in a ziploc bag first to prevent condensation.

    The headlamp and batteries should be fine out in the cold. (I keep a headlamp close by or in the bag for light in case I get up, but all my spares stay in my pack.) Batteries only need to be warm (enough) when you use them, cold storage is fine. (In fact batteries generally have a longer shelf life if stored cold.)

    FWIW, unless it is really cold, I just leave my camera out in my pack.

    Doug

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnpa View Post
    We stayed in a cabin in Savoy without winter bags.
    You'll be plenty warm if you bring enough wood.
    Due to the Asian Longhorn Beetle situation,you can't bring wood in anymore-you can buy it from the rangers house across the street. There is a guy just down the road that sells wood-check with the ranger to see if that's still ok.

    Savoy cabins can be toasty once you get the stove dialed in!

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