How cold is it really

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 11:30
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We are heading out on our trip in June/July to Oodnadatta track, Simpson, Birdsville and wondering how cold does it really get especially overnight would we need big thick jackets or just jumpers will suffice?

I am normally a overpacker of clothes and want to be really good and keep items down to the minimum.
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 11:48

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 11:48
Hi Litbalt

Providing Mother Nature is set to "Normal", it is usually perfect weather.

If it is 0% cloud cover, expect below zero at nights with daytime temperatures anywhere from mid to high twenties and it you are lucky possible low 30's. Overcast nights and they will be mild, low teens

Make sure that you have quality rated sleeping bags, -10 C is great.

Opt for cheap quality bags and the nights will be the coldest and longest nights that you will ever experience.

There has been countless times over the years when we have had well below zero, our swag white with frost, but we are as warm inside out quality Australian made sleeping bags.

This simple investment will make or break your trip.


Cheers



Stephen
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Follow Up By: Member - Matt@Outback - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 12:21

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 12:21
Literally freezing, as Stephen (above) has said. Once a wind whips up, it only gets colder.
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Follow Up By: Litlbalt - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 12:33

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 12:33
Thanks for the info here's hoping for a normal perfect weather trip lol.

Yep we have good quality sleeping bags think they are just rated to 0.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 12:50

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 12:50
Hi Litbalt

I do not want to sound negative, but only rated '0' would not be good enough for any of our outback areas.

At that rating you will still need a good quilt or extra blankets on top of the sleeping bags.

Trust me, I have been with some people once that you could not just tell them anything and were too tight to buy good sleeping bags. They would go to bed fully clothed including parka jackets, two pairs of socks and then wrapped their swags in plastic tarps and would get out of their swags frozen each morning.

They had the worst sleeps of their lives for over 2 weeks.


Be prepared, as once you are cold in bed, the only way to get warm is to stay by the fire all night with no sleep.



Cheers


Stephen
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Follow Up By: Fab72 - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 18:19

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 18:19
Take Stephen's advice. I spent a night in freezing conditions and it's the absolute pits. So much so that I pulled the pin and headed home.

You can always throw a leg out if you get too warm, but once you're cold and have used up all your blankets, clothes, beanies etc...the only thing left is to spend a sleepless night by the fire.

Makes me wonder how the Aboriginals did it without so much as a shirt.

Buy the best sleeping bag available on the planet.

Enjoy.

Fab
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 12:49

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 12:49
I would generally agree with Stephen.
However a bit of wind out there and the chill factor increases uncomfortably.
Knitted jumpers are no protection from the wind. Also have a good thick jacket or at least a wind-proof jacket worn over the jumper.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Vern - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 13:06

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 13:06
Hi Allan

Our last trip to the Simpson was back in 2010 and to explain how cold it gets i use this for a example.

One night in the desert we took a bag of ice from the freeze and placed on the table to supply ice for the Bourbon and whisky,after many a drink we all hit the swags. When we got up in the morning the bag of Ice was sill in tact and never melted a drop. placed it back in the freezer and proceeded to roll up swag and then roll up a frozen car awning.

Hope this helps.

PS
I also found out that my dash gauge only goes as low as -3 deg
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 13:22

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 13:22
It can get very cold. We sleep in a comfy bed in the vehicle, out of the wind and frost - but we have on a good doona as well as a few blankets. Clothing wise we dress in layers so that as the day warms up you can peel off or add layers to stay comfortable. A good windproof jacket is a must at night.

I know what you mean about being an overpacker - main thing is not to take anything that you want to keep clean as the red dust will get onto everything, and be prepared to live in the same few sets clothes. Dress for comfort rather than fashion - most of us out there look a bit of a dag!

Cheers,

Val.
J and V
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Reply By: lindsay - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 13:52

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 13:52
We had a minus 8.6 degrees one night several years ago up the north end of the Simpson. Have had heaps of nights when the tent was frozen stiff and you could shake the ice off it. Buy good sleeping bags. But, if as said if overcast can be quite mild at night.
AnswerID: 479424

Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 14:20

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 14:20
I don't know where you are from, hence what you are used to.
Diurnal range in the centre of Australia is typically 20-22C when cloudless, Hence -3 Overnights will be 17 in the day. If cloudy it is unlikely to be sub zero, but the wind is very important
It is very rare to get sub zero temperatures with a wind.
As stated above, a good sleeping bag, insulation from the ground and two layers of bedtime clothing (T shirt and track suit and maybe polar fleece) and you wiill be comfortably very warm. You could take big thick jackets, but they woulld only replace what I have said above.
The secret is layering rather than big heavy jackets.
I wouldn't think you would need any more day time clothing that what you have in Sydney, Melb/ Adelaide for an outdoor activity/ night football game.

This assumes you stay dry
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 15:09

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 15:09
PS forgot to add wear a beanie to bed, makes a big difference as the human head is the largest single source of heat loss when inactive (called sensible heat loss)
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Reply By: Members Pa & Ma. - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 15:25

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 15:25
Hi Litlbalt.
We lived on the fringes of the Simpson Desert for some time.
Layering is the answer. We always laughed, that you take your wardrobe with you, sit on top of each layer as it comes off & then put it all back on ,on the way home.
On a clear night it can freeze the water in a bucket, the cattle troughs would freeze over & the water pipes in our house would freeze.
If you go to bed with cloud cover, it may go during the night.
The wind is a very lazy wind when it gets up, it goes straight through you.

Gather enough wood for a good fire for the evening with enough for the morning left. Get some good thick bed socks . Now for the Ladies who need to go to the Loo at night, have a pair of canvas unlaced shoes which will fit over the thicker socks. sort of like moccasins without the wool, quick to slip on! & keep them inside.

We go camping back out in the desert in our tent on our hols now that we don't live there anymore.
Good gloves a scarfe or muff for you face & a Beanie as well as a wind & shower proof Jacket. It also depends on how much you feel the cold of course.

I will never forget. This group of campers came into Oodnadatta pink roadhouse & while waiting to use the loo, one of the ladies said that she was going in to try to buy a Doona! she as sick of cold sleepless night's.
One other said Oh they won't have Doona's in there would they?
Out she came with a bright white new Doona.
The cry was " It'll turn red!
Her reply was, I don't care! I've never been so cold in my life!
Take care, safe travels.Bye for now. Ma.
AnswerID: 479435

Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 15:42

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 15:42
Back again.
On reading the other replies, I agree with the ground temp rising.
Our first trip ,I took a stretcher, the cold air that came up even through the tent floor was freezing, so yes of course a really good sleeping bag as all have said.We have an air mattress now with a blanket underneath.
Enjoy you trip ,the desert will be in full bloom.
Safe travels. Bye again Ma.
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Reply By: Member - Royce- Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 17:25

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 17:25
On our first trip we FROZE at minus 3 degrees on some nights.

Don't use air filled mattresses.... they are just too cold.


Be prepared for range of temps. Enjoy
AnswerID: 479444

Follow Up By: gordon_adel - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 21:24

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 21:24
Was just going to say air mattresses are the worst. Use a foam\air mattress or nothing.

Certainly though layers are the way to go.

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Reply By: Litlbalt - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 17:59

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 17:59
You have me worried about our sleeping bags now I just checked and 2 are -6 but the other 2 are 0 and they are the ones for our girls. We will be sleeping on self inflating mattresses with woollen blankets underneath plus the girls will be in swags all in our tent. They will also be in layers going to bed including those fleece sleep suits you can get for kids.
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Follow Up By: Fab72 - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 18:27

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 18:27
Get new sleeping bags. It's easier to cool off than it is to warm up.
Cheap out now and it might be the last time the family will agree to a camoing trip. Save the old sleeping bags for the kids sleep over parties.

Fab.
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Follow Up By: Member - nick b - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 21:02

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 21:02
Litlbalt : Your question re jacket & jumper .... my 2 bob's worth .... as someone how did live in central aus for over 20 year , I would suggest for the evening the warmest jacket beanie boot's .... But when in bed/ night sleeping goes , what you have said above I guess would be OK you can all way put on more clothes ...

If its + 5 or -5 its still very gold & as Allan has said with a bit of wind ........





Cheers Nick b
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Follow Up By: Litlbalt - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 21:52

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 21:52
FAB getting new sleeping bags isn't an option these are brand spanking new and cost us a fortune as they are a really good brand.
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Follow Up By: Fab72 - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 22:51

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 22:51
Ouch! Are they new enough to exchange and pay the difference?

Alternatively, beanies and decent ground insulation might have to do. Forget air mattresses, go a foam camp mattress and even wrap the sleeping bag in a cheapie blue tarp.

Sorry to sound so negative but I have a very low tolerance to the cold and the one night I spent on the banks of the Cooper (not even proper desert country) had me heading back to Adelaide short of the planned 3 night stay.

I even considered sleeping in the back of the Captiva with the engine and heater running it got that bad. I figured at 1 litre per hour consumption at idle, a decent 6 hour sleep would cost me about $10 which would have been money well spent.

At the end of the day, although cumbersome, enough blankets, a cheap fleecy tracksuit, bed socks and a beanie and getting off the ground will probably see you right.


Fab.
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Follow Up By: patsproule - Monday, Mar 05, 2012 at 11:40

Monday, Mar 05, 2012 at 11:40
Sorry but your new bags just wont cut it. You need -10 bags minimum. Can vouch for this from experience!
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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 18:40

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 18:40
The problem with sleeping bags is many manufacturers use different rating scales. I understand thet at least within the EU they tried to standardise things.

If you are car camping, don't worry about more expensive feather down sleeping bags (I use them when I am backpacking). Many of the camping stores specialise in these as they cater to backpackers and they will try to steer you towards them.
Don't be afraid to buy cheaper non Down ones, provided they are well rated and don't worry about the bulk or weight. Weight and bulk is less of a problem in a car, just get a good temperature rating and remember kids will feel the cold more than adults. As fiddly as they are, a cheap $20 canvas folding mattress is infinitely better than the ground or a poor $100 air mattress.
AnswerID: 479458

Reply By: bob smith 1 - Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 22:15

Sunday, Mar 04, 2012 at 22:15
Dont know what number our bags are but they are all rated spring/autumn. A good allround bag for all conditions. Generally flanellete pj's is all that's needed but for those colder nights a layer of thermal is all that'needed.
BS
AnswerID: 479488

Reply By: Member - Bucky - Monday, Mar 05, 2012 at 05:19

Monday, Mar 05, 2012 at 05:19
Litibalt
Does -5 and even colder grab you ?
Had ice on my swag a few times !

Luckily for me, I had a -10 rated sleeping bag, and a cheep one, from St Vinnie's, as a throw over my legs as well.
Also 20mm thick waterproof high density, foam mat, under the swag, to stop the cold creeping up thru the base of the swag, which also acted as a ground sheet.

Snug as a bug mate !
Cheers Bucky
AnswerID: 479495

Reply By: trains - Monday, Mar 05, 2012 at 09:45

Monday, Mar 05, 2012 at 09:45
A few years ago, wifey and I spent near a month on the road exploring the red center.

Days ranged from high 20s to 8 deg, and nights from balmy low 20s to -4.

Reason, we started in lovely weather, then got hit by a rain band for a few days, but it was not cold, then it cleared up and got Cold in both day and night.
Quick cook of tea, hover by the fire and early to bed.

We met one couple at the Ayres rock caravan park who started out their trip from Darwin, and only had summer weight bedding.

We offered them what we could with oil skins, thick jackets etc, they ran their car to warm it up before bed, and still suffered terribly, I hope they took our advice to get some decent sleeping bags as a minimum before they continued on.

Wifey has an early Roman sleeping bag, its excellent, I got us some newer ones a few years ago, and of course, there Roman bags again. They are well made, durable and warm with good quality zips.

I also made my own swag, and we had some left over wool laying about, so I made up a lovely warm quilt thats purpose built for my swag.

I was the only one in a group of 4 who had a good warm nights sleep whilst up at Lovacks Hut (spelling?) in the high country, their tents were frozen solid, as too any water about the place, and even after 10 in the morning, we were driving over frozen puddles (some quite large) with ice as thick as my thumb even tho they had been in full sun all morning.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and enjoy what comes your way.

Trains

AnswerID: 479511

Reply By: Kylie A - Wednesday, Mar 07, 2012 at 14:44

Wednesday, Mar 07, 2012 at 14:44
We were there last June/July and it was freezing overnight. We have -10c sleeping bags and blankets plus a heater for powered sites.
Take the warmest and best quality items you have.
The days are cool in the morning, nice at lunch but cool off again in the arvo.
AnswerID: 479754

Reply By: get outmore - Wednesday, Mar 07, 2012 at 17:15

Wednesday, Mar 07, 2012 at 17:15
these days I find it easiest to jump in the swag fully clothed and that includes thick jacket.

makes it alot easier to get up in the morning

Back when i was a bit tougher and for work so I nned to be a bit more hygenic sharing a ute

I would take the previous days thermos out into the bush first thing in the morning and after the dailys have a totally naked sponge bath

and that wa in WAs coldest spot SE of norseman mid winter

coldest part of the day is just after the sun rises, you can feel the temp plummet despite already being cold as the sun comes up above the horizon
AnswerID: 479772

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