I've done it

Big 3 under 9 lbs for ground sleeping. Should be good down into the teens.

My wife just got me a Kelty Cosmo 20 degrees,  long down sleeping bag for my birthday. Found it on her own. Won't tell me what she paid for it, obviously, but got it on a good sale with free shipping. 

I'd found a previous-year-display-model thermorest on clearance this last fall. Combined with a Cabelas Bivy Bag I bought out of the bargain cave for $39 a few years back I am sitting at 6lbs 4 oz for my all weather sleep kit in a large drybag that I won't be keeping them in as it's too hard to stuff.  

The backpack I have is a Wallmart Arrowhead 8.0 bag at 2lbs 2 oz. 

I've a polycro tarp I've made for hammock camping I can toss in for extra protection and still be at 9 lbs. 

Total cash outlay is somewhere around $250

I am thinking I am going to give it a try this weekend in the back yard. Supposed to be 5 degrees as a low and a 10+mph wind, so I am thinking I may include my wool blankets and bublewrap space blanket for safety sake. Probably will make a topless snow cave with the polycro tarp across the top earlier in the day, and let any snow we get settle on top to help insulate it some. I may tuck some hot-hands into a pocket as well. Just in case.

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  1. A bit of reading suggests that for really cold weather sticking my new down bag inside of my older synthetic bag is a really good idea. The synthetic will keep the down bag warm enough that moisture will not condense in it. The synthetic bag will take the condensation and freezing. Synthetic is more tolerant of such abuses.

    Ultralight ideas look to consist of a vapor barrier liner to keep the down dry.

    Any other ideas?

  2. in snow … i go with a 4-mil plastic sheet on the snow, then a bubble wrap pad i cut to 3' x 6' that rolls up, then a synmat UL7 inflatible sleeping pad (provides almost r-4), and finally a 0 degree northface superlight down sleeping bag, wrapped with an integrated mountain hardwear bivy bag.

    its about 6 pounds, but must admit i have about $450 into it … it's great down to about 0 degrees, just like the bag rating says, but thats including the bivy which is supposed to give an extra 10 degrees … whatever i do, i always try to get inside a shelter away from the winds, also to hopefully trap a little heat inside, sometimes it feels colder inside a tent than outside …

    sounds good overall +Mike Creuzer, will look for a post tomorrow morning to see if you made it 😉

  3. Wasn't about to sleep outside last night – weather was predicted to go into the negative teens. 

    This weekend is my 6lb shiver in the snow test. Sat night.

    +Jeff Bond  Your bubble wrap pad, is that just bubble wrap or is it that reflextix stuff?

  4. I use a car window reflector bubble type , cheep and light folds up nice good for a lot of othere things like sit pad wind break for my stove and reflector for a fire if you set it with sticks front and back to hold it up . I combine it with my x light neo air mattress. What brand is the bivy bag ? A word on vapor bearers don't ! I tested the SOl emergency blanket in side my summer military sleeping bag with the SOL bivy on the outside the window thing and the neo air let I did this in 10 deg I think the bag is at best 30 deg . Well the sol emergency sleeping bag is a vapor bearer it is like being in side a big condom it works but every bit of sweet is stuck in side of it after a wile you will be completely soaked and when you get out omg you will be frozen . I would half to be very desperate to use it for real . It really does suck to sleep in wile I was warm I was better with just the bivy and bag . At least it will do a couple of good things breathe and stop the wind that is a great thing and I prefer to use it in my tiny tent sometimes when its a bad storm my foot area is extremely small in the tent and the hard hitting rain will have a misting back off the ground on your bag this blocks your bag from getting moisture on it. Of course a trash bag also works lol. I do hope you did give your wife a big hug and thank you. Im on my way to ultra light just need a bag to fit my wide size but its a big expense looked at WM maga light , enlightened equipment quilt, or a Z pack brand. I will say now that I have my stuff down in size and weight what a blessing it is and makes backpacking a lot nicer and more enjoyable for shure. So I would love to see a gear list you like to take .

  5. MIKE I made a video several years ago on u tube of my summer ul sleeping system. I have a newer neo air now days but basically the same setup. Where do you live I am in Kansas City Missouri.

  6. +Mike Creuzer … thats exactly what i use, the reflextix 3 foot wide roll, which i cut to a 6' length … i do one other thing, i put duct tape around all the edges to act as a seal, and also keep the edges from snagging & tearing, works great … reflextix is made to insulate under concrete, is light, and has a 7-layer design that makes it super wear resistant.

    totally agree with +Dan Leasure on liners, they just make you sweat & wet ;(

    the key with really cold weather is to have a shelter that will eventually have warm air inside … a snow cave or something with a LOT of insulation & wind stop; otherwise if you just use a tent, many times it will be colder inside the tent than outside.

  7. The Bivy is Cabela's branded. Their DriPlus (sp?) gortex rebrand. Not sure who the actual manufacturer is. It looks like a nice one, although I don't understand the construction. Dual layer, with the top area around the torso an open mesh. Must be a condensation spacer or something?

    My reading says that a vapor barrier would be for longer-term trips where you can't dry the down sleeping bag.  Need night clothes and day clothes to make it work. 

    I am wondering if something like a wicking liner inside the vapor barrier would help – maybe the CoolMax? Possibly even 2, alternate every other night, using the previous night's liner like a quilt over the bivy to push that cold transition zone further out away from your down, and have a full 48 hours to dry.

  8. +Dan Leasure  I am outside of Chicago.

    My last trip, end of September was an overnight 10 mile hike in with a water bottle, a half of a .7mil plastic painters drop cloth, a 2 person SOL Space blanket, and a Delta airlines wool blanket. Bad (wonderful) rainstorms much of the night. Besides getting badly dehydrated on the way back out, it was one of the most comfortable nights out I've done.

    Crazy-light weight, but worst case it's a 10 mile soaking wet walk from home, and still in cell coverage for 911.

  9. Thats kinda taking the ul to a new level lol . but now You Have A Wonderful Sleeping bag ya baby .just Remember to spend some time before bed fluffing it up good . I guess I haven't seen the bivy there I will half to look the next time I'm over there. I have the military sleeping system with the gortex bivy but the bivy is heavy as heavy as my tent . I will say I like using it . Just to heavy for me to add to my ul kit.

  10. Well it kinda has to be to be Joe proof lol. Ok iam going to tell on my self . My 2 dogs a girl husky and my best friend Taser the Samoyed where I use to be able to go to the woods right by my home I can't any more so the only option left to let them play and run is to take them to the downtown off leash park but my Samoyed had been attacked there a lot of times when he was little and now he will find the biggest dog there and start shit. So the only time I can take them is in the middle of the night. Many times I have more or less camped out there with my dogs . I use the military sleeping system with the neo air and the window thing. And a polycarbonate porch door size for a ground cloth. I have used it a lot on a little flat spot on a hill in the open I can see the hole area and my car from there . That bivy is bad ass so it works good for that after a good romping they will just end up being right by me they love it .I have even done it when it was snowing.

  11. One time it was really cool and my girl husky she's a wimp in the cold so I set the green bag out on the tarp for her so I fell asleep and then I hear her digging in the bag to find that she had went around the hole thing findeing all the tennis balls and put them all inside the sleeping bag. And then guarding it if Taser came by she would growl at him . It was so funny of corse I had to wash the bag after lol.

  12. That's not bad at all.  The rule of thumb is: For lightweight backpacking each of your big 3 should be under 3 pounds each.  For ultralight it should be under 2 pounds.  You're already under the 3 pound each mark for a winter set up.  That's pretty good.

  13. The industry is getting better slowly. The tents are getting lighter not quite in the big box type stores yet . Alot of the backpacking stores don't really promote it so much . I think they still try and get everyone into a so called high end backpack and most are in the 3 to 5 lbs range but its a little better. Same with tents they still like the 4+lb tents but if you have to go for a long hike thats a ton at least to me. Now I do like a lot of the other stuff MSR I use the micro rocket stove I like how small it is compared to my old Colman backpacking stove how things have changed. One thing I haven't seen in most places is light weight tarps .

  14. Looking at the Chicago weather for this weekend. We may get up to 10 inches of snow in the next 24 hours. Early Sunday morning looks be about 5 degrees.

    If I can get a snow-shelter made early enough so there is a few inches of snow on top of it, I am thinking of going with just the 9lbs kit to give it a try even though it's going to be 15 degrees colder than the bag is rated.

    Otherwise I am thinking of double-bagging it with my old 20 degree synthetic bag. Luckily it's made for fat Americans, so it's wide enough that the down bag should get good loft inside of it.

    About this time last year, I did a 5 degree night in a hammock in the old sleeping bag and some blankets. It was cold, so it kinda has me cold-shy about this weekend.

    Thoughts? Luckily if I screw up and go too light, it's my back yard so I got a 30 step hike back to my warm bed.

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