Heated swags

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 12:34
ThreadID: 100713 Views:5024 Replies:13 FollowUps:7
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Hello all,
My first post as a Member (yeah, I know...about time too).
The missus and myself have been to the Caravan and Camping show in Adelaide that's on at the moment and got talking about camping out in the cooler climates. You see, both her and I HATE the cold...especially at night. Now if you look closely at my pic, you'll see towing a huge heated van is not an option. I did it last year in a tent-a-cot, and slept in a track suit in a good quality sleeping bag with two quilts on top, one underneath, a beanie and footy socks....it was JUST bearable.Well it did get down to 5C..!!!!

The missus asked a pretty interesting question. Can you camp in a swag with an electric blanket and run one of those super dooper, quiet generators eg: Honda/Yamaha varieties? Well, can you? I never thought about doing that, but I can't see why not. Has anyone ever done it?

Cheers .... Fab.
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Reply By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 13:34

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 13:34
Welcome Fab72,
We'll be able to recognise you now (from your avatar) when you pass through our little town.
I am pretty sure there is a 12v electric blanket on the market I think it was available at the Twelve Volt shop.

AnswerID: 505378

Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 13:39

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 13:39
Thanks Graham,
I know the shop ....down at Montague Farm. I'll pop in there on my way home from work.
FollowupID: 782321

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 13:37

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 13:37
Hi Fab

Firstly welcome as a full member, as we know that you have posted many times as a visitor, and as you are a paid up member now, will will see the benefits.

Now for that question that you asked.....I hope you are now not getting soft....lol

We have slept our in the swag for decades (I can now sat that, as it is well over 20 years) in all types of conditions, from rain, Mosquitos, and our coldest morning temperature of down to minus 5.5C, with many times the swag in white with frost. All that we use is a very good double sleeping bag and we sleep like babies. For us, this is by fare the most important thing to make your camping experience enjoyable, as if you are cod in bed, then you will have the worst trip ever.

We got our from the Scout Shop way back then and they are 100% Australian made Puradown brand. We have always used our old and very faithful double swag, but recently upgraded to new double Southern Cross, which we have not used as yet. To make things more comfortable for Fiona when she gets into bed first thing, she has now for the last few trips puts a hot water bottle into the swag and it warms it up just as an electric blanket.

Like I have just stated, if you are getting cold in the swag, invest in a new high quality sleeping bag for very cold conditions.

Cheers and keep warm in the swag

Smile like a Crocodile

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AnswerID: 505380

Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 13:51

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 13:51
Hello Stephen,
I bought the best sleeping bags money could buy at the time. They're not that old (2 years - used maybe 6 times) and believe me.... I still get cold and so does the missus. At work, I'm the guy that doesn't take his jumper off until it gets to 24.
On the flip side, I'm also the guy laying pavers around the house when it's 47 outside. I guess it's what I'm used to. (Or old age, or perhaps not drinking enough port).
Even during our lastest hot spell, the missus and I still slept with a quilt partially on and no air conditioning running.
On most trips we tend to stay in cabins but the cost holds us back from going away more often and to more remote places. Infact, all the places I now want to go to are more than a day trip between cabin parks. Eg: Simpson, Googs, Border Track, Martins Well etc. I've done most of the close by point to point trips.
I once slept in the back of the Captiva (I had as a company car) and ran the engine just to get a couple of hours of uninteruptted WARM sleep once. Obviously not in populated camp spots.
Cheers ....Fab.
FollowupID: 782322

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 14:31

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 14:31
Hi Fab

Yes there is nothing worse than being cold when sleeping. Have you tried that good quality thermal underwear??


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Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 10:49

Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 10:49
I guess it depends on what is classified as good quality. Have tried the stuff from Kathmandu....still not good enough :(
FollowupID: 782360

Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 15:16

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 15:16
This link might be worth a try? LOL
AnswerID: 505386

Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 14:07

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 14:07
Damn it...I knew I forget to pack something. I wish it was that easy.
FollowupID: 782448

Reply By: Bega Photographer - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 15:17

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 15:17
G'day Fab!

What are you sleeping on, Mate? Not an air bed, I hope. The coldest thing out. Sucks the heat out of you.

AnswerID: 505387

Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 10:51

Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 10:51
Normally a swag with a built in foam mattress, inside a tent-a-cot...so I'm off the ground a bit too.
FollowupID: 782361

Reply By: olcoolone - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 15:32

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 15:32
You don't need a heating device in a swag, our dome top swags when closed up get very warm inside.... even in low temps.

We use Coleman Pilbara sleeping bags and an ex army style woollen blanket and we always carry Ice Breaker thermals just in case...... it's called "layering".

The other thing is the mattress..... get rid of the $20 ones that come with the swag and get something better like a Thermarest.

The art of keeping warm is to use the correct gear for the conditions and there is a BIG difference between cheap and expensive gear.... and it's not the price.

Look at anyone seriously involved in cross country tracking.... they travel light but they also use the correct gear.

I have a breathable waterproof jacket that's paper thing and I have no troubles keeping warm with only a tee shirt on underneath it on a 10 deg day.... the down side is it is $400..... it easily outdoes my $70 work jacket that's 100 times more bulky and doesn't breath nor is it water proof.

We do retrieving with Labradors usually in windy cold wet miserable conditions for up to 10hrs a day in the winter months and over the years we have learnt what's good and what's not and we have found by spending the money on the right gear and travelling light we have a far more enjoyable experience then when we had to wear heavy bulky clothing.

AnswerID: 505390

Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 14:10

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 14:10
Thanks. I'll look up the brand you mentioned for thermals.
Do you know what brand the jacket is? I'm sick of looking like the Michelin man around the camp fire.
FollowupID: 782449

Reply By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 17:05

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 17:05
A sleeping bag’s warmth relies on trapping air in the loft of the insulation material; however, this loft is compressed when you lay on it, drastically reducing its insulating properties resulting in significant body heat being lost. A number of researchers have concluded that for a sleeping bag on the ground, the heat loss to the ground can be two thirds to three quarters of the total body heat loss.

Air mattresses and camp stretchers may be more comfortable, but in thermal terms they are little better than lying on the ground as neither provide insulation under the body. The secret is to have a good quality sleeping mat which provides comfort as well as insulation. Sleeping mats are given ‘R’ ratings much the same as home insulation bats. The ‘R’ stands for resistance to heat transfer. My Roman Moon Mat Deluxe has an ‘R’ rating of 4.5 and I have seen other mats with ‘R’ ratings up to 8.

Sleeping mats come in many forms starting with a solid foam mat or “Karrimat” which provides insulation but provides little comfort as it is too thin to iron out the lumps and bumps underneath. A popular sleeping mat for car camping is the self-inflating mat such as made by Thermarest or Roman. A third type is an inflatable mat filled with down such as the Exped DownMat 7; these have a built in pump and must be inflated by the user; these are very compact and suitable for bushwalkers.

There is an extensive range of different sleeping mats, do some research before you choose yours. Kelly’s Basecamp in Dee Why have a good range of sleeping mats that you can check out on the internet. Paddy Palin has a range of the more upmarket sleeping mats, whereas the normal camping stores have sleeping mats suitable for car camping.

No connection with any of the aforementioned. Hope this helps.

If you relax at a faster pace you can get more relaxation in for a given time.
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AnswerID: 505393

Reply By: SDG - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 18:28

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 18:28
Reading some different bike forums, I have come across items from England for bike riders.
Over there they sell heated gloves, socks, jackets, boots and the like. Many of these riders go to their rallies where they camp in all weather, and from what I can understand, it is cold over there much of the time.
Would not surprise me if they had something to do what you want., Wether it be a blanket, swag, tent what ever.
Do a search on google, but look at that part of the world.
AnswerID: 505399

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 18:52

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 18:52
We only need our swags which have a 50mm egg crate style high density foam mattress and our sleeping bags and are warm as toast.

With a good quality dome swag and sleeping bag your body heat is all that is required to keep you cosy warm.
I only use my sleeping bag (opened up) as a doona as I hate feeling too enclosed.

It is usually that warm inside that I leave a vent open for some air circulation, otherwise condensation becomes another problem to deal with.


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AnswerID: 505402

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 20:03

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 20:03
Hi Fab,

Are you warm at the time you go to bed, or do you go to bed cold then try to get warm?

The solution to your problem will, I suspect depend on the answer to that question.

Can't speak for blokes, but being a girl I do know that as you get older the difference between being too hot and too cold can be paper thin, and can also be very difficult to address. I find that my skin will become very cold while sitting around the campfire and a direct source of heat like a hot water bottle is needed to warm up. We have a very comfy warm bed in our Troopy but even that wont help when my skin temperature goes down too far before going to bed.


J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
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AnswerID: 505408

Reply By: Member - john y - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 22:48

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 22:48
To answer the last part of your post you can run a generator to run a conventional electric blanket but you would have to have very understanding neighbours if you were camped close to other campers. regardsjohn y
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AnswerID: 505414

Reply By: B1B2 - Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 12:16

Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 12:16
G'day Fab,
I used a 240v single electric blanket through a cheap 150w inverter for the CSR and many other trips with the tent or caravan. I would turn it on for a few hours before bed, then turn it off overnight. Nothing better than getting into a warm sleeping bag. It also kept the bedding dry as a bone where condensation is a big problem with swags and sleeping bags. I have dual batteries in the truck and had no problems running this every night over a few weeks. I do carry a 60 watt solar panel on the car for trips, but that is mainly to power the fridge.
I also use this in my caravan, no generator required.
On setting 1 it uses 1.2 amps dc
setting 2 ------- 2.5 amps dc
setting 3 -------- 4.8 amps dc
I just went out and checked the amperage readings off my caravan prostar solar charger.
On setting 2 for 4 hours you are only using 10AH so if your batteries in good condition you will have no problem.
The instruction on my fully imported chinese electric blanket gave NO indication of AC power consumption.

AnswerID: 505435

Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 13:43

Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 13:43
Bought some gear from the US a while ago, for a Nepal camping trip.
-20c up near (Mt) Kanchenjunga and we were so warm, and that was in an open floor 4 man pyramid type shelter.

Take a look at some of these items . . .
Notably the warmest pants http://www.ebay.com/itm/DRAWERS-COLD-WEATHER-US-Army-Surplus-Thermal-long-john-trouser-NEW-/220998126956?pt=US_CSA_MC_Pants&var=&hash=item79173ad906 and tops http://www.ebay.com/itm/THERMAL-UNDERSHIRT-Cold-Weather-Long-Johns-Top-US-Military-Surplus-NEW-/220906088993?pt=US_CSA_MC_Shirts&var=&hash=item79161a03f3

Note the prices !

We also bought polartec fleeces http://www.ebay.com/itm/POLARTEC-300-FLEECE-JACKET-US-Military-Surplus-NEW-S-M-L-XL-/320951041314?pt=US_CSA_MC_Outerwear&var=&hash=item76c2b50e56 and the swags to use on the ground http://www.ebay.com/itm/BIVY-COVER-NEW-Gore-tex-US-Military-Surplus-Woodland-Camo-Sleeping-Bag-Cover-/320909516113?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ab7b29d51

Again prices are super good for this sort of gear.

One of the best online stores I have found for this sort of gear.
AnswerID: 505442

Reply By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 14:05

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 14:05
Thank you all. I have quite a bit of reading to do. My PC at home has died so Im trying to reply and read the responses on my phone...sorry for any abrupt replies.
AnswerID: 505516

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