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      Are you supposed to wear clothes in your sleeping bag?     
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treehorn
distinguished member (227)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/13/2018 09:59AM
Setting aside your personal preference for what you find more comfortable...I was once told that sleeping bags are designed specifically to be used with limited clothes on. That, for a bag to reach its optimal insulation rating, and actually keep you warm down to the lower reaches of its rating, you should NOT be wearing layers of long john's or anything else.

I was told this method keeps your body heat, which would be radiating off your skin, in the bag, which is crucial for helping it keep you warm. Apparently the theory is that with clothes on, that heat won't fill the bag...or something.

I've tried to google an answer for this and look at recommendations from sleeping bag manufacturers, but haven't really found a good answer.

Now that I've typed this question out, it sounds rather silly and like an obvious piece of 'fake news' that made its way into my orbit at some point.

But, anyone got an answer? Winter and shoulder season campers may have some good input here.
 
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paddler1953
member (30)member
 
06/13/2018 10:07AM
One reason to wear something in your sleeping bag is to keep your body oils & perspiration out of the bag and the insulating material it uses. I was always taught that a clean bag is a "warm" bag. For myself, I'm a warm sleeper so in the summer months I typically sleep w/o a t-shirt; wearing just a pair of boxers. When I do, I take the opportunity each day to turn my bag inside out and air it out during the afternoon. This allows any moisture I emitted into the bag overnight to dry, resulting in a higher loft for my insulation and a warmer night ahead.

As for wearing too much clothing, if you do, it's possible that you will compress the insulation in the bag. If it's compressed too much, resulting in a loss of loft, it will be difficult to stay warm during the night. There's only so much room in a sleeping bag so if you force too much in that space, something's going to give; and it will probably be a compression of the insulation.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

snapper
06/13/2018 10:25AM
A little context from backpacker.com:

"The Euro ratings are based on a sleeper wearing one synthetic baselayer (top and bottom) and a hat, and using a closed-cell foam sleeping pad."

It doesn't make sense to me - I don't put more clothes on to sleep cooler in my sleeping bag in the summer.
WhiteWolf
distinguished member(5104)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/13/2018 11:07AM
many moons ago when I winter camped in a nylon tent - my group got "slightly turned around" on the long port from SAG to Saganagons. Ended up having to camp in a low spot on gravel road near a swamp. Easily -20F and likely colder, for sure the coldest night I have slept outdoors. Being the rookie I was- I had on two pair of long johns - both top and bottom along with hat and wool socks. After the customary warming up of the bag from being I cold, something wasnt working and I was not getting warm. My buddy told me to take off one layer of long johns and long story short- I warmed up and slept great.
Rs130754
senior member (86)senior membersenior member
 
06/13/2018 11:35AM
I was always told that you heat the bag, the bag does not heat you. I have a friend that winter camps and all he wears is a thin silk base layer and says he stays warm. He also sips warm fluids right before bed to boost internal temp and for a metabolism boost which helps. He claims that a human body emits about 300 BTU's per hour, which I suppose the bag captures and holds.
06/13/2018 12:18PM
Backpacking Light article with a temp rating based on loft. I have found this method much more consistent in my choices. Not impressed with temp ratings including EN because of the personal variables involved.
I know how much down above me is needed to keep warm in a t-shirt and shorts. After that adding a base layer to increase cool performance as needed is what I do, it can be overdone and the base should not be restrictive or tight at all. If 1 layer does not work add a hat then gloves. Along with and in the same stuff sack as the S bag, I carry a medium weight set of merino wool long-johns and a balaclava, to add or not as conditions warrant. The key is circulation, do not impede it at all, nor so compress the bag insulation from the inside.

For me 2 1/2 to 3 inches of loft in a baffled cover, works for 3 season use. 4 inches will get me to 0 degrees. Also an insulated pad needs to be used with a R value suitable. I use a R 8 winter, R4 for 3 season.

Yes treehorn, you can over layer in a sleeping bag.

butthead
06/13/2018 12:45PM
It still doesn't make sense to me - if the sleeping bag doesn't capture and hold the heat when you're wearing a base layer, isn't that because the base layer is doing so? If I'm not in a sleeping bag, but wearing clothes I don't take off my baselayer to be warmer when I put on a down jacket . . . ?
06/13/2018 12:59PM
boonie: "It still doesn't make sense to me - if the sleeping bag doesn't capture and hold the heat when you're wearing a base layer, isn't that because the base layer is doing so? If I'm not in a sleeping bag, but wearing clothes I don't take off my baselayer to be warmer when I put on a down jacket . . . ?"

It's a finer balance with freedom of motion when active vs a volume constrained sleeping bagand sleeping. Extra layers added when sleeping quickly start to compress skin surface blood flow. I have noticed adding another layer on top of my merino woolies will cause chill after a bit when snuggled inside a bag. If the woolies are not warm enough on goes the balaclava after that point I may add a coat over the outside of the bag but no extra inside.
Also physical size and interior sleeping bag volume alter the comfortable temp range. Insulation only works when uncompressed, and it is easy to max out the volume inside a sleeping bag

butthead
06/13/2018 12:59PM
boonie: "It still doesn't make sense to me - if the sleeping bag doesn't capture and hold the heat when you're wearing a base layer, isn't that because the base layer is doing so? If I'm not in a sleeping bag, but wearing clothes I don't take off my baselayer to be warmer when I put on a down jacket . . . ?"

It's a finer balance with freedom of motion when active vs a volume constrained sleeping bagand sleeping. Extra layers added when sleeping quickly start to compress skin surface blood flow. I have noticed adding another layer on top of my merino woolies will cause chill after a bit when snuggled inside a bag. If the woolies are not warm enough on goes the balaclava after that point I may add a coat over the outside of the bag but no extra inside.
Also physical size and interior sleeping bag volume alter the comfortable temp range. Insulation only works when uncompressed, and it is easy to max out the volume inside a sleeping bag

butthead
SevenofNine
distinguished member(2277)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/13/2018 01:15PM
Layering principles still apply even with a sleeping bag. Yes you should wear a base layer. Additional layers if you need can be added as well. Base Layers slow the rate of heat loss from your body.

How do I know this? I've done it many times over the years winter/early spring/fall camping.

For example I was camping in December last year with a light base layer top, mid-weight layer bottom, socks and a balaclava. When I sleep I tend to ignore getting cold for a very long time before I do something about it. After tossing and turning for an hour I realized I was just not warm enough. The light base layer just wasn't enough so I put on a heavy weight fleece jacket. Lo and behold I got quite warm and toasty and slept comfortable.

Yes, compressing the insulation you are wearing/sleeping in will cause your clothing and the bag to lose some of it's ability to keep you warm.

So will restricting your body's blood flow as Butthead mentioned. You do have to make sure you aren't wearing restrictive clothing.

White Wolf, I believe you because weird shit happens all the time when it comes to winter camping. But I believe I have an answer for you and that is you were restricting your blood flow. And/or what I will call the chimney effect came into play in that by removing one layer of clothing you allowed more heat from your body to better heat the rest of your sleeping bag and hence your body.

It's why I bring and wear bibs when I winter camp. I find the heat from my legs helps keep my stomach and chest warmer or vice versa. Take your pick.

Happy camping everyone. Stay warm and dry. :-)



mastertangler
distinguished member(5751)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/13/2018 02:39PM
You definitely want dedicated sleeping clothes. It will keep your bag clean.

I wear a pair of silk underwear. Extremely light and packaable. I wear them for sleeping and only sleeping. If it's cold I add layers, seems obvious enough.

Do not use your sleeping clothes for other duties, like getting up in the morning and cooking in them.
06/13/2018 04:44PM
I should point out after my ramblings, I am a short but stout person, wide is a pleasant description. Using a mummy standard size bag, so I fill it volume wise. I can easily exceed the inner volume of my S bag by adding layers.

Sleep well!

butthead
OldFingers57
distinguished member(5409)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/13/2018 04:48PM
paddler1953: "One reason to wear something in your sleeping bag is to keep your body oils & perspiration out of the bag and the insulating material it uses. I was always taught that a clean bag is a "warm" bag. For myself, I'm a warm sleeper so in the summer months I typically sleep w/o a t-shirt; wearing just a pair of boxers. When I do, I take the opportunity each day to turn my bag inside out and air it out during the afternoon. This allows any moisture I emitted into the bag overnight to dry, resulting in a higher loft for my insulation and a warmer night ahead.


As for wearing too much clothing, if you do, it's possible that you will compress the insulation in the bag. If it's compressed too much, resulting in a loss of loft, it will be difficult to stay warm during the night. There's only so much room in a sleeping bag so if you force too much in that space, something's going to give; and it will probably be a compression of the insulation.


That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.


snapper "


You compress the insulation any way due to your body weight. That is why you need a sleeping pad that is insulated in cold weather.
mutz
distinguished member(1349)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/13/2018 05:04PM
In basic training in the army we were told to sleep in our underwear and that we would be warmer. In the middle of the night they got us all up. Those who had more than underwear on lost there bags for the rest of the night, so yes you are warmer in just your underwear. Not sure if the army has changed there theory from 1971.
sylvesterii
senior member (77)senior membersenior member
 
06/13/2018 10:40PM
I think the idea is confusing two separate principles: stopping heat loss vs. retaining heat long term.

f you are in an emergency situation where you are needing to warm up yourself, your bag quickly and perhaps warm up another person, then getting rid of the layers that would trap heat is a very good idea. The bag will generally be more efficient at capturing heat than the closer base layer, disperse the heat more broadly and more quickly that way, thus warming up the inhabitant(s) faster. In that scenario, your base layer would slow the overall warming effect of the sleeping bag and you wouldn't reap the benefit of the sleeping bag plus base layer until a later point in time, which, in theory could be too late, especially if the base layer is wet or cold at the beginning.

However, if you are talking about being warm after 6+ hours in cold temperatures, then a base layer should be worn and/or added after your sleeping bag is warm (or if you aren't in a survival situation, you can right away). The more layers, trapped air, and insulation you have between you and the cold air will result in longer term warmth retention.

Campcraft
distinguished member (167)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/14/2018 09:35PM
I use a Feathered Friends semi rectangular winter bag. The more layers I wear, the hotter I get. That is fifteen years of unscientific research waking up hot and sweaty in the middle of the night.
scat
distinguished member(694)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/15/2018 09:13AM
If I'm cold, I put more stuff on. And socks. Pretty simple. On a trip two weeks ago it was low forties at night at the start. The first night we set up camp in the rain. My tent leaks also. So the inside of my tent was wet. I used the tent footprint to cover my pad and was relatively ok. The second day we humped all day in the rain and my bag was wet. I tried three different things and finally figured out I could stay dry if I wore a fleece shirt and rain pants. The next day I was able to dry things out and found a pair of socks at the bottom of my bag! I must have taken them off last trip which was to Boulder Junction, Wi a while back. So my feet must have got warm that trip. Not so much the night my bag was wet.
On a solo trip on the Island River one time I set up my tent at the Kawish campground and then went into town to fish with a buddy who is a guide up there. At the end of fishing it started to rain, we were partying a tad and I went back to my camp and sat in my truck and listened to WELY and dozed off while the rain pelted down. I woke up and decided it might be a good idea to get truly horizontal so I ambled over to my tent and crawled inside. Did I mention my tent leaks? Taj3, piece of crap tent. Everything was soaked. I had puddles. I slept in my boots and full rainsuit for two nights and some of the day because the next day it rained all day when I went in. And I set up in the rain again, with all wet stuff. With a tent that leaks. I use a tarp as a rainfly now.
I guess the moral of my story is you do what you gotta do. I'm not that high tech. If I'm cold, I put on stuff till I'm warm. And sometimes sleep in my rain suit and boots. I might try to get a new tent that doesn't leak and doesn't feel like you could solve Rubik's cube faster than it takes to set it up everytime. Cheers.
06/15/2018 12:12PM
I'll have to say I think my experience differs because: (a) there's no way I'm going to compress the insulation my sleeping bag by putting on even a couple of layers (I'm not nearly as stout as some :)) (b) I don't think my layers are tight enough to restrict my circulation. YMMV
billconner
distinguished member(6800)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/15/2018 02:09PM
mastertangler: "You definitely want dedicated sleeping clothes. It will keep your bag clean.


I wear a pair of silk underwear. Extremely light and packaable. I wear them for sleeping and only sleeping. If it's cold I add layers, seems obvious enough.


Do not use your sleeping clothes for other duties, like getting up in the morning and cooking in them. "


On this occasion I agree with MT. My only for sleeping clothes are not silk, but maybe should be. Flannel pajamas and a heavy long sleeve T shirt. Year round. Never cold. I avoid hot nights outside but usually if caught just sleep on top of bag. And day clothes don't stay in tent in serious bear country (which BWCA is not imho), same as Philmont says. And I try to hang day stuff to air dry if possible, so it's bone dry. I'm always amazed how warm I feel changing into day clothes on a -15 morning, because it's all very dry.

Plus who wants all that dirt and grime from day travel in their sleeping bag. Yick.
bwcasolo
distinguished member(1641)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/16/2018 06:04AM

i wear long john's when it is cold.
06/20/2018 04:37PM
Rs130754: "I was always told that you heat the bag, the bag does not heat you. "



At least one of us is warm... Haha. I bring the base layer along in case I'm cold. Option 2 would be to heat a bottle of water and toss in my bag if you can trust the seal on the bottle. Preferably a nalgene.
GickFirk22
member (26)member
 
06/24/2018 11:20AM
I'll add my $.02 because I haven't seen this brought up yet. I have long underwear that I sleep in during the winter and shoulder seasons. Usually silkweight plus some good socks and a hat, I'll upgrade to fleece or wool layers if its exceptionally cold out. I put it on right before bed and take it off immediately after waking up. Socks included. Also, In these moments I ALWAYS sleep in my bag with a liner, either coolmax or silk (they pack smaller than a pair of socks). My thoughts on that are primarily for cleanliness inside my bag and to squeeze out a few extra degrees of warmth. In the summer I'll sleep in underwear and a lightweight wicking shirt (sometimes I'll add poly socks too. But I still sleep in a silk liner. If I get warm I'll just lay in my liner on top of my bag (I like to feel covered when I sleep, regardless of temp). I think I've added years to the life of my sleeping bags by adding a liner to my kit.
GickFirk22
member (26)member
 
06/24/2018 11:20AM
I'll add my $.02 because I haven't seen this brought up yet. I have long underwear that I sleep in during the winter and shoulder seasons. Usually silkweight plus some good socks and a hat, I'll upgrade to fleece or wool layers if its exceptionally cold out. I put it on right before bed and take it off immediately after waking up. Socks included. Also, In these moments I ALWAYS sleep in my bag with a liner, either coolmax or silk (they pack smaller than a pair of socks). My thoughts on that are primarily for cleanliness inside my bag and to squeeze out a few extra degrees of warmth. In the summer I'll sleep in underwear and a lightweight wicking shirt (sometimes I'll add poly socks too. But I still sleep in a silk liner. If I get warm I'll just lay in my liner on top of my bag (I like to feel covered when I sleep, regardless of temp). I think I've added years to the life of my sleeping bags by adding a liner to my kit.
riverrunner
distinguished member(1727)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/25/2018 06:04AM
Yes no maybe I take on and off as the weather require.
06/25/2018 11:17AM

I try to not wear anything other than my "sleeping clothes" which vary with the season. Occasionally in the winter I will layer up for sleeping, but will keep the discussion here in mind and try to adopt the "less is more" mindset for the winter especially when there's a backout plan-B nearby.
BuckFlicks
distinguished member(575)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/25/2018 04:42PM
I find that the best way to avoid getting cold in the sleeping bag is to wear good thick socks. This is also the easiest way to drop the temp when I overheat - remove 1 or both socks. Otherwise, I generally only wear a tshirt and boxers. If it's especially cold, I'll wear thermal pants and a hat.

That's just my personal system. I don't necessarily believe that this is the best way for everyone.

Gadfly
distinguished member (271)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/27/2018 12:11PM
In my experience I haven't found that layers hurt the performance of the bag. In fact in colder temps I have found the opposite. Last winter we had nights hit -37 and with a couple layers of clothes I slept through the nights like a baby. I also agree that you should have specific clothes for sleeping as keeping your bag clean/dry is important to its performance.
FLATLINER
member (26)member
 
06/27/2018 12:35PM
Airplane internet glitch, my apologies, can the mods please delete the multiples?
FLATLINER
member (26)member
 
06/27/2018 12:35PM
I cant speak to the science involved but know from a large volume of personal experience that a single base layer that is fresh and dry
(I carry two and alternate days in shoulder and winter seasons) is warmer for me than any other option.
FLATLINER
member (26)member
 
06/27/2018 12:35PM
I cant speak to the science involved but know from a large volume of personal experience that a single base layer that is fresh and dry
(I carry two and alternate days in shoulder and winter seasons) is warmer for me than any other option.
FLATLINER
member (26)member
 
06/27/2018 12:35PM
I cant speak to the science involved but know from a large volume of personal experience that a single base layer that is fresh and dry
(I carry two and alternate days in shoulder and winter seasons) is warmer for me than any other option.
FLATLINER
member (26)member
 
06/27/2018 12:35PM
I cant speak to the science involved but know from a large volume of personal experience that a single base layer that is fresh and dry
(I carry two and alternate days in shoulder and winter seasons) is warmer for me than any other option.
FLATLINER
member (26)member
 
06/27/2018 12:35PM
I cant speak to the science involved but know from a large volume of personal experience that a single base layer that is fresh and dry
(I carry two and alternate days in shoulder and winter seasons) is warmer for me than any other option.
06/28/2018 09:39PM
I camp below freezing temps sometimes.

Always warm clean socks when it's chilly.

a knit hat if it's very cold.

a fleece sleeping bag liner if it's near freezing. makes a big difference.



and sleeping pad makes a big difference too in cold weather. an insulated pad or the ground will keep you much warmer than a non-insulated, air filled pad that increases the ability of heat to leave from all directions.
 
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