Sleeping Out Tonight?

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ChrisB

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OK, so who in this stalwart group is sleeping outside tonight?

I think we have a candidate in RI and possibly a few in MA.

I am happy to represent NH but, being near the ocean I so far have seen only a measly -12 ambient. It is quite windy thank god! (A guy in Randolph or Bethlehem could easily surpass that temp.)

It's nice to lay in the BIG bag and hear the gust fronts roar through. I've had a snack and am heading back out. See you there?
 

Dr. Dasypodidae

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OK, so who in this stalwart group is sleeping outside tonight?

I think we have a candidate in RI and possibly a few in MA.

I am happy to represent NH but, being near the ocean I so far have seen only a measly -12 ambient. It is quite windy thank god! (A guy in Randolph or Bethlehem could easily surpass that temp.)

It's nice to lay in the BIG bag and hear the gust fronts roar through. I've had a snack and am heading back out. See you there?

I was thinking about trying out my -40 F Dark Star that I have not used since Denali in 2004, but it is only -12 on my deck, so not cold enough. :)
 

Andrew

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-23 right now Chris. Geez it was enough work sleeping in my warm bed and listening to my oil burner cycle and hope it continues to do so. I do have outside chores and had to make an emergency plan with my wife just for that last night. It really is amazing the fine line of safety and you really can feel the difference between -5 and -23. I just came in from my morning 5 minute porch stand in my skivvies and my knit 'smoking jacket'; absolutely amazing how quickly I felt the blood drain from my brain as my body reacted to the cold and very quick alternation between hands in pockets to prevent flash freeze.

Yesterday morning we woke up to an 1" of puffy snow and I had hoped I could largely stay inside all day, but no. Our driveway can't tolerate anything less than near perfection due to its steepness, and with retirement I can find time to shovel light amounts- always pure pleasure. So just before noon with a temperature that started at -5 and dropped to -7 over an hour and 40 minutes for the task, instead of sitting nearly motionless on a tractor to push snow back and forth between the snowbanks, I shoveled.

Not the first time in similar or lower temperatures, and I do recommend it as practice or a reality check for those who choose to live and may have the need to function in such conditions. Since my activity was aerobic and required moisture management and available calories, I could pay very close attention to the balance of exertion and sweat production and try to adjust with each physical motion. I could also closely feel the level of available calories and hydration towards available strength and the needle dipping in me, and the effects on my brain- an onset of a bit of a loopy feeling. And it was not even that bad yet. I was reminded yesterday while out there of an account I had read from some of the rescuers in the Tinkham/Haas case (I think it was this case), where the rescuers described having to move like they were astronauts on the moon. Very slow and deliberative as they attempted to manage the moisture levels they were producing.
 
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Rhody Seth

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Yeah, I slept in the woods next to my house. Went out around 10 PM and came back in to feed the pets at 5 AM. Got down to -7° this morning. It was windy as hell but I was certainly not cold. I pulled out my huge synthetic -40 winter bag* and doubled up the underquilts. Not really a good approximation of what I would bring backpacking but good to get out in challenging conditions and iron out some more hammock issues.

*It's a Marmot bag I picked up from the basement at IME. I have my doubts about the rating but it certainly did the trick last night.
 

ChrisB

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Ok Seth!, RI represents!!

I used an old NF synthetic rated at -20 and covered it with my expedition parka. Three pads on bare ground underneath. I was toasty in the tent and had to open up the bag at one point cause I was overheating.

But forget about sleep. It was so noisy our there with roaring gust fronts coming through, frozen wood cracking and creaking, and the fly snapping continually I couldn’t fall asleep. After 5 hours of tossing n turning I called it a night. Minus 11.

Ahhhh, the good old days of fogged up eyeglasses, misplaced headlamp and balky zippers and cold fingers.
 
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skiguy

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*It's a Marmot bag I picked up from the basement at IME. I have my doubts about the rating but it certainly did the trick last night.

Marmot in general seems to run a bit lean on their loft. They make a true close cut mummy like design which reduces excess air space. IMO Marmot's bags are a more alpine like design rather than expedition design which are typically a bit more boxy. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. Although haven worked in the industry and also participated in multiple expeditions, I have seen Marmot's bags side by side with other products like Western Mountaineering and they are consistently leaner in loft.
 

ChrisB

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... -23 right now Chris. ... Since my activity was aerobic and required moisture management and available calories, I could pay very close attention to the balance of exertion and sweat production...

Moisture control has always been a losing battle for me. No matter how I try to manage it while hiking I end up damp/wet. Which isn't a problem until I stop doing. My present strategy is to carry 3-4 spare inner layers and change em out as needed. They basically weight nothing and the comfort factor is huge.

Last night I had to constantly keep re positioning the bag opening so I did not exhale into the bag. A real PIA. I kept the tent open so there was not much moisture buildup on the inside.

It was nice not to share the bag with damp polypro and inner boots however! And that long sleeved cotton tee was pure luxe!

And you're absolutely correct: Huge difference between -11 and -23 ambient. At the latter you just struggle to do the basics and it's no longer fun.

Smoking jacket???
 
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peakbagger

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I woke up quite early and did some thermal scanning of my house at -23 F. LR minisplit and corners.jpg . The bigger the temperature difference between the outside and the inside, the more flaws in the insulation system show up.
 

Andrew

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Other than the glasses fogging Chris, the active time at -5 was downright pleasant- except for the occasional misplaced breath not run through my nose. I thought I would have realized some new tricks with all the mask wearing of recent. That jacket was a gift that had limited practical use beyond standing on the porch, so it was adorned with that name many years ago.
That is some pretty solid cold you got in RI Seth. I spoke with family yesterday in southwest CT and he was a bit rattled by the cold; the first thing he mentioned was listening to his burner all night and hoping it didn't quit. It was really a great opportunity for everyone to get to experience this deep cold in (hopefully) relative safety.
 

Andrew

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I actually expected it to get much colder at my home and was surprised yesterday morning when my friend in Nelson NH (much farther south) reported -21 while we had -23. On Friday around 8 pm same friend reported -8 while I was reading -18. He lives ~ 400' higher in elevation than me at around 1600'. With Mt. Washington reporting these record lows I thought a place like Whitefield Airport would be near the lowest readings. Interesting that this cold event did not have the coldest readings in the hollows as is sometimes typical.

Saw some explanation here:
https://www.wmur.com/article/arctic-cold-higher-summits-new-hampshire-stratosphere/42764528
 

Rhody Seth

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Here's a short video from my night out. A few thoughts:

- I picked a decent spot as far as avoiding big trees went. I heard something big fall once or twice but they were far away. The popping of the trees from the cold weather took some getting use to.
- I need to upgrade the lines for the side tie outs - they come loose too often and get tangled because I use one long line on each side. Going to invest in some shock cord
-Despite some tarp janky-ness, the low pitch worked well and wind didn't affect my temperature
- The double underquilts worked great. My 30F one is packs down tiny so I think I'll definitely be bringing it on future winter trips to complement the 0F UQ. Not trying to discount the beefy Marmot bag which did most of the heavy lifting on this night but I was happy with the underquilt situation.
- For the second time in three trips I had to deal with bad leg cramps when I attempted to leave my hammock to pee. This time it was so bad that I abandoned the effort slide back into the hammock. Not sure of the reason. Dehydration? In the past I've chalked it up to hiking all day and exhausting my body but this night out by my house suggests otherwise.

 

peakbagger

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When you come up with solution to leg cramps, I am all ears. If I overdose on Nuun when hiking I can avoid them but the trade off is having to get up multiple times at night.
 

DougPaul

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I find that keeping my feet and lower legs warm and stretching my calves and toe flexors before retiring help me to prevent night-time leg and toe cramps.

I do two calf stretches: 1) the standard wall pushup (ankle dorsiflexion with a straight knee, stretches the gastrocnemius muscle) and 2) ankle dorsiflexion with a bent knee (crouch down with your weight on the balls of your feet or a wall pushup with a deeply bent knee, stretches the soleus muscle).

I stretch the toe flexors by keeping my toes flat on the floor and lowering my knee to (or close to) the floor. Essentially the same as the back foot during a low telemark turn. Prevents toe cramps...

Technical Glossary (in case you haven't read a kinesiology book recently... :) ):
Gastrocnemius is the outer calf muscle and crosses both the knee and ankle joints. Soleus is the inner calf muscle and crosses only the ankle joint. Both are plantar flexors (pull the forefoot downward away from the knee). Dorsiflexion is rasing the forefoot toward the knee.

Doug
 

DayTrip

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Nothing like the joy of being all toasty and comfy in a sleeping bag, doing some simple and innocent move, and setting off a massive inner thigh or calf cramp. And to get out of the sleeping bag you have to, of course, bend your legs in such a way that magnifies the cramp. Good times......
 

DayTrip

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When you come up with solution to leg cramps, I am all ears. If I overdose on Nuun when hiking I can avoid them but the trade off is having to get up multiple times at night.

I do one Advil, one calcium tablet, one magnesium tablet and a general b-vitamin when I've put in a big day and it really helps. I usually do some quick stretches too if I anticipate problems.
 

ChrisB

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Great video as always, and the last scene is pure joy.

I have started using compression socks for hiking and really find them helpful. They keep calfs warm and the support feels great during and after a workout. I also wear knee sleeves for similar support of my tired old joints. Many long distance runners are beginning to use compression socks too.

Chronic dehydration's common. Was funny to see how many water sources you passed. On a hike like that a Life Straw is very useful. Just dunk it in and sip away. No unpacking the filter, etc. Drink and run.

I assume statins are not in your mix. They can have cramping side effects.
 
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Rhody Seth

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Some good suggestions here. A couple people have also suggested more electrolytes. I've got a whole bag of those dissolvable packets so I'm going to try to be more diligent about adding them to my water for camping trips.
 

Dr. Dasypodidae

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Some good suggestions here. A couple people have also suggested more electrolytes. I've got a whole bag of those dissolvable packets so I'm going to try to be more diligent about adding them to my water for camping trips.

I have found that rehydrating with electrolytes even at home following a long hike helps combat leg cramps, and more effectively than Vit I and some of the other remedies noted above.
 
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