Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Sleeping in the tent again last night, my face was cold. With my fleece sleeping bag liner and extra clothes, last night (32*F) I was no longer cozy but not freezing. I had a hat, since my bag doesn't have a hood; my head was warm enough but my face was cold and that made me miserable. Well, no hiker leaves home without a bandana, so MacGyver strikes again with a redneck ski mask. Hey, it worked.

I didn't have my camera in the tent, which is why the background looks so well-furnished -- I took the pic in the camper. (It's a Lance Armstrong Livestrong bandana; the flash washed out the print.)

So last night, night #4 in the tent, each one progressively colder -- it starts raining again (Tyvek rainfly worked great) in the middle of the night, then changes to snow. And I'm still challenging my 40* sleeping bag to keep up with the chill, even though I was cold in it at 50* and have done more things each night to make it work, hoping not to have to buy another sleeping bag.

I think I'm gonna need a bigger boat. That is, a warmer sleeping bag. On the AT in early spring and again in fall, you can expect twenties and teens (or not, but you have to be prepared.) This backyard-camping gig was an experiment to see how I could deal with rain, and how low I could go in my current bag. The bag didn't meet the Garrett County Spring Snow Challenge, so the experiment is finished. I fixed leaks, drips, and solved a variety of problems, but I am not adequately supplied for sleeping at 30 degrees with 98% humidity. Today I took down the tent and tonight I'm sleeping with my husband in the camper.

I'm not giving up on hiking in cold weather in early spring and late fall. I'm just gonna need a 3-season sleeping bag. The one I've been trying to jury-rig for cold weather is a summer bag Steve got for a bike trip a few years ago. I try to make do with what I have, and a lot of my workable gear is homemade and/or put together out of spare parts. But I'm gonna have to get a warmer bag. At least my face will never be cold.


Downhillnut said...

Live and learn! You are very smart to be experimenting now. Since you've tested the bag and determined it won't do, you can scout around for a hooded, warmer one.

One of the things Little Runner and I thank God for every night in our bed time prayer is "warm beds".

Sleep well and warmly tonight, Ellie!

Jade Lady said...

Didn't realize it's so cold in them parts at this time of the year! Wow.. haven't seen snow in so long - a pretty photo!