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  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerZ View Post
    I started doing this after reading this here before. I take down my bear bag and turn the line into a clothes line - bag, mat, night base layer, tent fly and footprint - it looks like wash day.
    I equate to hanging out my down bag in the morning when it's 0F to the discipline needed to remove clothing as you hike to keep your layers from sweating out. It's just one more chore that needs to be done on winter trips longer than 2 or 3 days. A dry bag is a happy bag.


    Sometimes I use my bear line to hang out the bag, other times just a handy tree limb.



    This pic shows what -10F looks like atop a 5,000 foot North Carolina mountain in Jan. 2009. Hang your bags, boys. This time I'm using the bear line.

  2. #42
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    Have you considered there are other approaches Tipi? VBL's, hydrophobic downs, different shells(DWR's, WP, etc), synthetic insulation, etc. For someone like you going out for 21 days straight it might make sense to consider other approaches than going "heavy with the geese" or expecting to always being able to remove moisture from a down bag in winter by air drying over 21 days.

  3. #43

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    In-tent condensation is just a fact of life when winter camping no matter if you use a VBL or have different bag shells. I won't touch the new hydrophobic down bags as it's an untested technology and so far unused by the best bag makers like WM and Feathered Friends. Plus, no one knows the long term use of such chemicals and outgassing with human inhalation etc.

    As far as your quote "expecting to always being able to remove moisture from a down bag" is a sort of misnomer as my examples of morning bag-hanging is to dry off a bag's shell and not used to eliminate in-bag moisture which is minimal at best.

    Here's what happens with the geese on a long winter trip in the Southeast mountains of TN, Georgia, NC and Virginia:
    ** You start the trip on Day 1 with a bone dry fully lofted down bag.
    ** Day 3 brings a sleetstorm with some in-tent condensation and a slightly less lofted bag. Day 4 dawns clear and dry so you hang out the bag before shove off to dry off the bag shell.

    ** Day 6 is in a bone dry 15F wind and all goose items return to high loft.
    ** Day 10 gets hits with a 4 day blizzard with consequent in-tent condensation ice etc. Bag loses some loft due to high air humidity but still keeps you warm at -10F when zipped up properly.

    ** Day 14 still sees heavy wet snow on the tent producing the worst conditions for tent condensation. Bag shell stays moist because it cannot be hung out during the day. Loft is a little less than its peak high.
    ** Day 15 returns to bone dry winds and the bag returns to high loft.

    Point is, these cycles repeat themselves continuously and offer no challenge to winter backpackers using down items. Hanging out the bag every morning if possible is just that little nudge the bag needs for the shell to stay dry.

    "Going heavy with the geese" is another subject entirely. There are four choices in butt cold temps for a winter backpacker---
    ** Use a hot tent like a Kifaru with a woodstove and don't bring so much geese.
    ** Bail into a town and get a motel room when temps hit subzero.
    ** Get a -15F down bag, a 2+lb down parka, down pants and perhaps down booties and use these items for in-camp warmth and as a substitute for the "woodstove".
    ** Depend on a campfire for survival.

    The more geese the warmer a winter backpacker is in camp, and with enough goose down a backpacker can stay out in severe cold snaps without needing to rely on a camp fire for survival. Plus, at -10F the warmest place in camp is not sitting by a campfire (and throwing hot ashes on your tent and down clothing), but sitting up on your sleeping pads partially under your down bag and in your down parka.

  4. #44

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    Oh and btw, another tip: Always shake your sleeping bag a couple dozen times after you pull it out of its stuff sack. This is always an arriving-at-camp ritual. I grab the bag by the bottom of the zipper at the footbox and up by the top of the zipper by the neck opening and shake it around 30 times to fluff up the compressed down clusters. Then I shake out the stuffed down parka and down pants.

  5. #45
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    In-tent condensation is just a fact of life when winter camping no matter...

    Could the type of tent one chooses or for that matter type of winter shelter one uses, how well one is able to vent it, where one sets it up, where one tends to camp(east coast Mid Atlantic states in early wet spring, winter, or late fall, upper mid west, higher elev southeast, Alaska, etc), how much time one actually spends in it, what one actually does in it, what one stores in it, how one sleeps, metabolism..........factor into internal condensation? I'm asking because I don't usually have a massive internal condensation problem inside a tent in winter as you say you're having even in the east. Admittedly, I'm not usually out for 21 days straight on the east coast though either.

    And, I get you have some reliability on weather cycles because you camp in a restrained geographical area knowing quite well where you are but not all of us camp or hike in such a way. Some of us negotiate a wider range of weather variables.

    I did mention different shells(DWR's, WP, etc). Just because WM and FF chooses to protect their down lofts in winter bag designs by offering some of the highest quality water resistant, wind resistant, DWRed, WP, etc fabrics, temp rate slightly conservative, etc that does not mean they are necessarily vehemently against hydrophobically treated down either. It's mainly they take a different design approach. One that works for them in a larger scheme of design.

  6. #46

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    I hope WM and Feathered Friends NEVER go the down-tek technology route or I'll have to find another supplier of my down items such as Valandre. Here's WM's take on the new waterproof down subject---

    http://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/83532/

    As far as in-tent condensation, I was out in December 2015 during a 75 hour rainstorm in cold temps and luckily brought my double wall four season tent which repelled inner fly condensation which dripped down onto my yellow inner tent---


    This is all the water which would've fallen onto my gear thru the night had I been using a single wall tent. Not wanted and not good. Of course, as you say, condensation variables are all over the map but if a person is out long enough in all 4 seasons in all conditions he will see terribly wet condensation once in a while.

  7. #47
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Andrew Skurka found that on extended trips in subzero weather, by day four or five, his sleeping bag wasn't keeping him as warm as on day one or two. He would have to bail into town to dry his sleeping bag. He found the solution was using VBL's when it was cold. He could stay out longer and only go into town when he needed supplies.

  8. #48

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    We don't have that problem in the Southeast as the VBL solution is claustrophobic and clammy in my experience though I hear it's needed with a down bag in temps at -20F or below for days at a time. Think arctic travel. "Cold" in the NC and TN mountains is 10F and often 0F and rarely -10F at 5,000 feet, somewhat lower on 6,500 peaks like Mt LeConte. In fact, my second winter picture above was taken at -10F when Mt LeConte had -21F that same morning.

    Thankfully I do not need the VBL solution as my down bag gets fully lofted now and again no matter how long the trip becomes---because we get low humidity sunny days at 30F for days at a time. In fact, 95% of all my winter nights are spent in the tent with my Puma bag unzipped and used as a quilt blanket. I sleep much better this way but will zip up and get mummified if the temps go south to -10F or -15F.

    And btw, my pic mentioned above was taken on Day 8 of a winter trip and the bag is clearly dry and fully lofted as apparent in the pic. This is because the outside air though while very cold was very dry.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    Andrew Skurka found that on extended trips in subzero weather, by day four or five, his sleeping bag wasn't keeping him as warm as on day one or two. He would have to bail into town to dry his sleeping bag. He found the solution was using VBL's when it was cold. He could stay out longer and only go into town when he needed supplies.
    That's exactly what I referred to above. I've been experimenting with VBLs more often as result of being influenced by Andrew. Even when not having dedicated VBL's with me I've found sleeping in layered dry rain pants and a jacket or wind pants and wind jacket, etc reduces my down loft loss as well. It's not perfect but it can definitely help maintaining loft. Andrew did an article or two on VBL's I think anyone should consider that stays out as long as someone like Tipi often does. I think Buck Nelson commented on one of those thread's Q&A's offering what he does which is quite similar to my approach. BTW, Andrew is sometimes wearing his VBL's other than just for when he's sleeping.

    Valandre doesn't get much love on this site. I guess it's because it's French made? They are stratospheric in price? I had a Shocking Blue. A work of art. Came real close to buying a Mirage 1/4 zip but the dimensions were off for me and my style. I've seen the Bloody Mary and Lafayette in use and I'd say the same for that. The European climbers/hikers I've known like their Lafayettes. Traded the SB for a FF Snowbunting EX which works for me down to -15 F inside a CF MLD SoloMid XL in winter w/ just so so under insulation on snow and not wearing a huge puffy amount of sleep clothing.

    I'm jus sayin there are different ways of approaching winter warmth.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Oh and btw, another tip: Always shake your sleeping bag a couple dozen times after you pull it out of its stuff sack. This is always an arriving-at-camp ritual. I grab the bag by the bottom of the zipper at the footbox and up by the top of the zipper by the neck opening and shake it around 30 times to fluff up the compressed down clusters. Then I shake out the stuffed down parka and down pants.
    This!



    Bruce Traillium

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