/ Winter bivi

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Rav2 on 02 Dec 2012
Looking to do some winter mountain walking and hoping to stay overnight on the summits. Any advise on a quality sleeping bag and tent would be appreciated, will need to carry so weight is an issue. Areas mostly Snowdonia, English lakes and possible Scotland. Looking at Rab kit possibly Neutrino Endurance 600 sleeping bag and the Latok Ultra tent. Am aware what the winter is like in the uk but never slept overnight under the stars in winter. Can anyone tell how cold it gets overnight in these areas?
Milesy - on 02 Dec 2012
There is a saying - you dont sleep, you wait. I don't imagine it would be enjoyable. If the stars are out it is likely to be fecking cold up high.
IainRUK - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Rav2: Can be anything..

+5 - 05 DegC is probably the normal winter range.

In a tent there is no windchill. There's not too many summits with nice patchy grass.
Jim Fraser - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Rav2:

Summits can be cold but long deep inland valleys are usually much colder.

Sleeping bag level of insulation choice is partly about you particular metabolism and partly about how much kit you are going to leave on before getting in the bag. Experiment somewhere cold but safe.

Wind is the real problem. You're on a sub-arctic rock pile in the north atlantic. Your chances of waking up at two in the morning with the world about you in chaos and wondering if your will is up to date will be high if you are not very very careful. This is why snow holes are good.
koolkat - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Rav2:
hmmm single skin tent with nowhere to cook not a great choice for them long winter nights ,i have a macpac mineret only used twice a much better choice for your planned activities will be warmer 2 skin and a porch to cook in yours for a bargain 200
pak.pako - on 02 Dec 2012
Hi, I go every second weekend camping to craigorms or highland and stand down on glens and I don't have any problems sleep here. I have Vango tempes 200 and old mammut sleeping bag (extrem temp. -21)+ terma rest thermal pro sleeping mat. Lower temperature what I have in tent is -6 ....
TheDrunkenBakers - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Milesy:
> There is a saying - you dont sleep, you wait.

Agreed.

The times I havce camped in winter have always been in the valleys and more often than not I have not enjoyed it. Even with a decent 4 season bag, thermals and socks/gloves/hat and the like, the cold just gets through.

I love camping and the winter and Im not overly nesh but for me its B&Bs all the way. Canping has to be pleasurable and getting cold and waking up every half an hour just isnt.
RichardP - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Rav2:
I have been out during the winter in a Bivi bag and Rab sleeping bag and as some has said before it's great seeing all the stars at night.

However the next morning neither myself or climbing partner wanted to get out of out pits as it was cold outside. (and we were there to climb some gullies).....

Going with a decent mountaineering tent with a bell will mean that you can make a brew to warm the tent up and make breakfast.

Tents maybe a bit heavier but there are some advantages
RichardP - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:
> The times I havce camped in winter have always been in the valleys and more often than not I have not enjoyed it. Even with a decent 4 season bag, thermals and socks/gloves/hat and the like, the cold just gets through.

> I love camping and the winter and Im not overly nesh but for me its B&Bs all the way. Canping has to be pleasurable and getting cold and waking up every half an hour just isnt.

I don't know what 4 season bag you have, I use a 24 year old Rab Ladac 800, It was Rab's mid range bag and I have camped on snow in the Lakes in January and been fine, and had a good nights sleep.
The only time I've had a cold nights sleep and keeping waking up has been in a Bothy in the Carngorms. (like an idiot I was using a down coat as a pillow, which is one mistake I won't make again
iksander on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Rav2: You can a reasonable double skin one man tent <2kg for a fraction of the cost of the Rab thing and you'll probably be more comfortable in it. Those things are made for rough treatment, high altitude and feet of snow etc. I've learned to treat manufacturer's temp rating with a pinch of salt but looks like that bag would be OK for UK and I've found Rab bags to be realistically rated. Get a good sleeping mat too, and maybe some multimat underlay as a foot print to go under your tent. And don't go if rain is a prospect...
Bruce Hooker - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Rav2:

With a decent sleeping-bag (mine is a Point-Five double down bag) and a bivi-bag you can sleep very comfortably in winter, even at altitude. As said it's important to get out of the wind, either by digging in the snow and heaping snow around to make a wall, a snow hole, or making a windbreak with rocks, sleeping behind a big rock or something similar.

A double bivi-bag is warmer - two people are warmer than one - and a light single skin tent adds a bit more comfort. What is important is insulating under you, either with a bit of bivi-mat and/or putting all your soft gear including ropes and slings under you. With a bit of care you can sleep out very comfortably. If possible stop a little earlier to have time to prepare your nights sleep well, it's well worth the effort.

In the morning the inside of the bivi-bag will be covered in ice from you respiration so get out quickly before it melts if there's any sun so you stay dry... perhaps not a problem in Scotland! One other thing is your boots, if they were wet don't leave them outside your sleeping bag or they'll be like lumps of rock in the morning and really hard to get on - double boots are ideal as you can keep the inners warm, as a pillow, for example, and leave the outer boots outside as usually they are not a problem even when frozen.

I've slept down to very low temperature in comfort for days on end, I don't know what temperature but the concentrated brine in our tinned sausages was frozen solid on occasions.
Gasmerchant - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Rav2:

The most recent bivi I did was in the Brecon Beacons with a mate. We crashed out in a forest, near the Talybont resevoir. Overnight was -2, but it wasn't too bad. I had a foam mat, and an army sleeping bag (aka the bouncing bomb). Slept in thermals base layer, thick socks and belay jacket and was fairly toasty. We used my mates teepee style single skin shelter and ground sheet.

Last year I kipped in the snowline near the Fans. It wasn't as pleasant a night, but I survived.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Richard Phelan:
> (In reply to TheDrunkenBakers)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> I don't know what 4 season bag you have, I use a 24 year old Rab Ladac 800, It was Rab's mid range bag and I have camped on snow in the Lakes in January and been fine, and had a good nights sleep.
> The only time I've had a cold nights sleep and keeping waking up has been in a Bothy in the Carngorms. (like an idiot I was using a down coat as a pillow, which is one mistake I won't make again

Ive slept comfortably at -2 but the OP was talking about winter summits. What are the temperature ranges on most of the summits above 600m.

RichardP - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:
> (In reply to Richard Phelan)
> [...]
>
> Ive slept comfortably at -2 but the OP was talking about winter summits. What are the temperature ranges on most of the summits above 600m.

The time I was cold in the Bothy it was about -18 at the hutchinsons memorial, in the carngorms.

But your right I missed the bit about bivying at or close to summits

professionalwreckhead - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Rav2:

I slept up on Beinn a'Chrulaiste last night.

Air temp didn't drop below -5, but it was blowing a hoolie from 8pm until about 4am.

I love sleeping on summits in winter, but remember that the nights are long and if it's gusting at 60 they seem to take forever to pass!

Geodesics come into their own on summits, since you've got a fairly robust shelter once the poles are in place. A few rocks or buried pegs/bags and you're good to go.




nw - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Richard Phelan:
> (In reply to TheDrunkenBakers)
> [...]
>
> [...]
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(like an idiot I was using a down coat as a pillow, which is one mistake I won't make again

Eh? Expand please.

Snoweider - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Rav2:

Have you thought about one of the tarp shelters from Mountain Laurel Designs or similar? Maybe a bit specialist, but might suit you if its luxury bivis rather than full camping you want. I have a Duomid, prob not stable enough for summits, but the Trailstar is a much more stable shape, and if its as nice as my duomid, a great shelter for bivis. Space to cook out of the wind, but way lighter than a tent. http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/index.php?cPath=47

Prob not the best to advise on sleeping bags, I sleep cold, and tend to have bigger bag than everyone else. In winter its my trusty (and def not cutting edge) ME Dragon Classic 1000.
Snoweider - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Rav2:

Have you thought about one of the tarp shelters from Mountain Laurel Designs or similar? Maybe a bit specialist, but might suit you if its luxury bivis rather than full camping you want. I have a Duomid, prob not stable enough for summits, but the Trailstar is a much more stable shape, and if its as nice as my duomid, a great shelter for bivis. Space to cook out of the wind, but way lighter than a tent. http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/index.php?cPath=47

Prob not the best to advise on sleeping bags, I sleep cold, and tend to have bigger bag than everyone else. In winter its my trusty (and def not cutting edge) ME Dragon Classic 1000.
RichardP - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to nw:
> (In reply to Richard Phelan)
> [...]
> (like an idiot I was using a down coat as a pillow, which is one mistake I won't make again
>
> Eh? Expand please.

It's nice to have a pillow to rest my head on.
If I'd used the rope that was in my rucksack as a pillow and worn my down coat, I wouldn't have been cold

ben b - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Rav2: Lots of good advice up above.

I'd face the inevitability that you would be best off with a selection of options that can be varied to suit the conditions. Bivvy bags are delightful in reasonable weather but can be a struggle for more than one night at a time if wet. If continually well below zero they are much better assuming your nose is frostbite proof. If it is going to rain, take a tent (or don't go!) would be my best advice. Geodesics are not critically reliant on pegs although still need to be well secured in a hoolie.

Synthetic bags are bulkier but tend to be less unpleasant than wet down - though neither are any fun.

As many mention above, what's underneath is as important as your bag. The exped down or synmats are very good indeed on frozen ground, back in the day when I bivvied a lot I used a big expedition karrimat (the old purple / yellow one) under the bivvy and then a thermarest inside it. There was always some condensation inside the bag but it was not enough to make life miserable.

The other suggestion is not to miss out on Buffalo gear - or similar high loft pile / windproof combos like the Montane Extrem range. These can be easily lived in in winter conditions. I haven't tried the sleeping bag system though.

HTH

b

Alex Slipchuk on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Rav2: I've previously slept in -10/15 during the reall COLD spell a couple of years past. Eat well, tent it, and try to have a quick shift from inside bag to hot drink and up and away. A bit of carefull planning the night before helps.
In reply to ben b:
> I haven't tried the sleeping bag system though.

I did for many years. Camped plenty of nights up around the CIC and elsewhere in the winter Highlands using the Buffalo bags- probably temperatures down to -5 to -10 and it was always ok, but the double bag is pretty heavy and bulky. I'd stick with down bags these days.

To the OP: I'm testing an ME sleeping bag for UKC currently. Slept my first night in it last night - in the garden! It was -17.6 when I went out to bed. I was sleeping on snow, but a had a small groundsheet down, then a Z-rest, then a full length inch thick thermarest type mat. I slept solidly for 7 hours. My nose was cold this morning but nothing else. I was wearing just a base layer, a thin hat and down socks inside. Point is, with warm enough equipment and shelter (or the knowledge that it will be still) you can sleep comfortably in very cold conditions. The question is balancing the weight of your sleeping bag against the likelihood of cold.

The EN rating system for sleeping bags is helping a lot I think in realistic comparisons between manufacturers, and I've found it works well as a guide to warmth for me. If you have shelter, I think a bag rated to -10 with the EN system will be warm enough for almost all UK winter nights except the odd few in cold snaps in the central Highland glens. But a lot of sleeping comfortably just comes down to practice, and having a system worked out.
wee jamie on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to TobyA: -17.6 in just a base layer? That's impressive. What's the bag called and what's the spec?

I'm using a PHD Hispar 500 this winter - so far so good, and it's only a kilo. I do sleep fully clothed though.

In the cold winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 I camped a lot, including the bitterly cold Januaries where temps were down to -20. I used a single skin RAB tent, thermarest (prolite 3 short), ME Dragon 750 bag, plus slept in my Patagonia down parka. Very cosy and comfortable nights, and hugely satisfying to not let the cold prevent me from enjoying multi-day trips into the mountains.
In reply to wee jamie: It's a new model called the Snowline SL (SL for superlight). They're not out until the spring, but from the proto I'm testing it looks like they're gonna be good! 800 grms of down, 1.3 kgs altogether. https://twitter.com/i/#!/TobyinHelsinki/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com%2FoLuouhqr :-)

I've found if I wear too much in a bag it can limit the lofting, but something like a fluffy fleece can really make a big difference.
nw - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Richard Phelan:
> (In reply to nw)
> [...]
>
> It's nice to have a pillow to rest my head on.
> If I'd used the rope that was in my rucksack as a pillow and worn my down coat, I wouldn't have been cold

OK, in my befuddled state I thought you were alluding to some mysterious heat leaching properties of down jackets when used as pillows.
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Henry Iddon - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Rav2:

Hilleberg Soulo is a great one person all season tent with a small foot print so easier to find somewhere to pitch. If you can be where you intend to camp well before it goes dark it makes life easier to find a pitch.

I have added 5mm reflective tape to my tent poles to make them easier to spot in the dark - less chance of standing on them or poking someones eye out.

I also have a foil blanket gaffer taped to a survival bag to go under the ground sheet and keep the warmth in.

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