Do you use Quilts, Sleeping Bags or something else?

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 15:35
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Last year when camping, the temperature got down to around -1 when we were on the Gibb River Road. Not being able to sleep due to being cold was no fun. We took a super dooper warm quilt which still didn't do the job. I was still cold with thermals on, a beanie and socks. I even had a hot water bottle which went cold by about 2am!

My question is what do people take when camping? I'm not sure this time whether to take good quality sleeping bags and zip them together, to stick with the quilt and use it with the sleeping bags or more blankets, or is there something else that people use and can recommend? As we won't be in a tent this time but a Tvan, I am tempted to get an electric blanket and use it with an inverter. Unfortunately I'm not like the average person....I feel the cold more than most. Any suggestions?

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Reply By: racinrob - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 15:52

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 15:52
Sounds like you should invest in a diesel heater, Webasto or an Eberspacher, another option is a warm blooded woman....... just a thought.

rr
AnswerID: 482524

Follow Up By: i'machocoholic - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 16:09

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 16:09
It's funny you mention the diesel heater - I'm trying to talk my other half into getting gas heating for the van. Think I'll skip your second option :-)
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Reply By: Member - bill f (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 15:54

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 15:54
Hi, THe golden rule I have always worked to is to have as much under you as over you. If on the ground a good ground sheet over & under you & equal numbers of blankets or feather doonas. Keep your feet & head extra warm as these are the places where most heat is lost. Bill
AnswerID: 482525

Follow Up By: i'machocoholic - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 16:11

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 16:11
You may be onto something there as we had a ground sheet down under the Oz Tent, then our self inflating mattresses on top. These were rather thin so quite possible cold coming up from underneath. Will need to watch that next time. Thanks Bill.
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Reply By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 15:55

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 15:55
What did you have under you?

ie thermarest or similar as seeing as you were in a tent the cold would have been from the ground if you didn't have a good insulation barrier.

I find that in our camper we are warmer (and more comfortable) due to being on good qualitity matresses and use the same bedding as at home.

Cheers Kev
Russell Coight:
He was presented with a difficult decision: push on into the stretching deserts, or return home to his wife.

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Follow Up By: i'machocoholic - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 16:17

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 16:17
I've lashed out and bought an innerspring mattress for the Tvan so I'm hoping that in itself will be more favourable to keeping out the cold. By using what you have at home gives me a good idea - I think I will still need to take extras as the worst part is that once I get cold (even sitting outside and there's a campfire I still need to spin like a rotisserie to get warm all over!), it's hard for me to get warm again. I hate to think what I'm going to be like when I really get old!!! Thanks Kev.
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Follow Up By: Member - Vern (North Haven SA) - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 18:27

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 18:27
Hello I'ma

When sitting around the camp fire and your feeling the cold on your back I find that a small spade full of hot coals under the chair keeps me very toasty and warm.
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Follow Up By: i'machocoholic - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 08:01

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 08:01
I have seen others do that but I've been a bit wary. Knowing me, I would somehow put my feet on them and end up doing the Mexican Hat Dance!
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Follow Up By: "crack-a-tinnie" - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 09:38

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 09:38
The shovel full of hot coals behind you is great, especially if the breeze is coming from behind you. You don't put them near your feet, put them right behind your chair, the heat rises up and warms your back.
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Reply By: aussiedingo. (River Rina) - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 16:18

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 16:18
G'day imame, for the last 30 years or so I sleep in a quality king size feather down doona folded in half as I don't like being captive in a sleeping bag, usually then I kick it off after a short while, occasionally I top up with an old double army blanket in the extreme - never been too cold, usually tooo hot! hoo roo
"the only thing constant in my life is change"




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Follow Up By: i'machocoholic - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 17:01

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 17:01
I wish being too warm was my problem! Looks like likely that I'll use a combination of things I think, I'd rather been too warm next time...
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Reply By: Member - Outback Gazz - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 16:34

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 16:34
G'day I'ma

When I go camping I normally sleep in a state of inebriation !!


Cheers

Outback (I don't feel the cold) Gazz
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Follow Up By: i'machocoholic - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 17:05

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 17:05
Good one! :-)
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Reply By: Member - Steve M1 - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 16:40

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 16:40
If rum no good for your condition, try scraping the outer bark off a paper tree, gouge out with pocket knife remaing some 1"(inch) and smoke wood without hitting the heart wood ( centre ), an excellent sedetive, you'll still need blankets and snuggle up with partner.

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Follow Up By: i'machocoholic - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 16:57

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 16:57
he he he!!
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Reply By: D&G - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 17:09

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 17:09
We take 2 quilts - 1 summer and 1 winter (down) and use as appropriate. Or use both if really cold.
We have also have a mattress underlay which also also helps. Similar in type to those on yachts, - it allows for air under the mattress, and also prevents any mold in hot humid conditions. Keep warm!!
AnswerID: 482534

Reply By: Bazooka - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 17:34

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 17:34
I had a famous name bag rated to -10 years ago which wouldn't keep me warm even in above zero conditions. Eventually got tired of it and took it back for an exchange. Same bag, same filling, totally different result. If you feel the cold more than your partner then good quality separate bags would be the go. As you say you can zip them together if required, or use them as quilts. If your sleeping mats are closed-cell foam then they should give you adequate insulation. Cheapies may not be closed-cell.

A few other tips which may or may not apply.
-Don't go to bed cold.
-Make sure you've had enough water during the day.
-Try a few different things to improve your matabolism.
AnswerID: 482538

Reply By: Andrew & Jen - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 17:52

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 17:52
Hullo I'ma
I use one or two sheepskins to lie on if it is cold; if one, under the body and head; if two, the other one under legs and feet. This is in addition to a proper self inflating mattress and good quality -10 sleeping bag with a hood.
Cheers
Andrew
AnswerID: 482540

Reply By: i'machocoholic - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 18:06

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 18:06
Thank you all for your feedback.

From what I read I don't think we had enough insulation underneath us in hindsight. The thing I really take away from this is that I need to be more prepared so that I'm actually not trying to go to bed to get warm, but I'm already toasty by the time I get there and the bedding maintains my temperature. Thanks everyone.
AnswerID: 482541

Reply By: Member - Andrew (WA) - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 18:08

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 18:08
What were you sleeping on? If it was a blow up air mattress then there's your problem...if not revert to the 'Rum' answer :-)

Air mattress's are the coldest thing. We did the Gibb sleeping in a camper trailer in a swag on the ground...warm as toast.
AnswerID: 482542

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 18:17

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 18:17
You will probably find that sleeping on a proper mattress in your Tvan to be a totally different experience to sleeping on the ground. There will be less chance to lose heat to the ground so you stand a good chance of keeping warm with a couple of provisos. Make sure that you have some ventilation under your mattress - if it gets damp it will be impossible to warm up. (This topic has been discussed several times on here so do a search for how to avoid condensation). As others have said dont go to bed cold, have enough layers both under and over you and as necessary wear a beanie and socks.

We sleep in our Troopy on a foam mattress, and when its very cold (frost on the vehicle) we use a medium weight doona plus blankets. When its a bit less cold the doona is packed away and we just have blankets - these are both wool ones and cotton waffle type alternating so there is plenty of air trapped between them. The bulkiness of bedding, especially when it has to be stowed out of the way is a pain, but at least if you have the right stuff you can be pretty confident that you can keep warm no matter how cold it gets.Image Could Not Be Found

The photo was taken after probably the coldest night we have ever spent when camping - near Lake Hindmarsh (Vic) in August 2005. Rain had gathered in the spare on the roof that had a tarp over it - and then froze solid.

Cheers,

Val.
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
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AnswerID: 482543

Follow Up By: i'machocoholic - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 08:00

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 08:00
Thank you Val. I'm hoping that you're right about sleeping differently in the Tvan. We have only recently got it and unfortunately not done a reccy to test it out yet. We leave for our trip in around 6 weeks so will get to try it out after my other half has finished doing some additions on the inside.

We understand that there is some under mattress protector which is very good but very expensive. I've heard alternatives such as garden mesh type stuff from the local hardware which I think I read on another older thread.

An amazing photo! Thanks. Linda.
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Reply By: howesy - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 18:43

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 18:43
I go camping often and basically you get what you pay for. I have a good quality minus 10 degree sleeping bag and a camp stretcher (the aluminum type). I take 2 old previous attempts sleeping bags with me (cheap crap) and one I use as a pseudo matress come underlay and the other I unzip and use as a dooner and Even not doing the sleeping bag right up I am as warm as toast in minus 4 was the coldest.
AnswerID: 482546

Reply By: Ross M - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 19:42

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 19:42
G'day i'machocoholic
My wife feels the cold even when it isn't, so we use as good mattress and a wool doona. May need an extra blanket when it gets cold though.

Like you we have a tvan and find it quite insulated and cosy most of the time.

If near power we use a small fanheater to warm the inside before bed. can also do this if you have a generator.

I have some heat pads from inside heated car seats, from wreckers, and while these draw some current they would also be ok if your battery capacity is ok for it.

Just a few options.

Ross M
AnswerID: 482552

Follow Up By: i'machocoholic - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 08:52

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 08:52
Hi Ross, I liked the idea of heat pads. Just wondering which draws more power - the heat pads or electric blanket with an inverter?
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Reply By: Wilko (Parkes NSW) - Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 21:07

Sunday, Apr 08, 2012 at 21:07
Hi Ima,

I use a double feather doona in my extra wide (120cm) swag. It fills the gaps and keeps me nice and toasty,

Ive slept on a stretcher in snow at around minus 10 and stayed warm as.

Cheers Wilko
AnswerID: 482558

Reply By: Member - John & Sally W (NSW) - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 08:44

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 08:44
Hi,
I know this sounds a little crazy but when we go away in the dead of winter we don't use sheets, we use polar fleece blankets instead. Bought a couple of queen sized ones from one of those homewears stores on special. They feel warm as soon as you get into bed. Then on top we use a winter rated doona. With this combo we are toasty all night. John also wears a beanie as he is hirsutely challenged.
Sally
AnswerID: 482571

Follow Up By: i'machocoholic - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 08:55

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 08:55
Not such a silly idea! I hadn't considered that. Easier to wash than the sleeping bags if we sleep on them, so thank you.
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Follow Up By: lori - Tuesday, Apr 10, 2012 at 21:49

Tuesday, Apr 10, 2012 at 21:49
I was going to suggest this, we use them when camping in winter and no complaints of cold from myself or my girls - polar fleece is great for snug warm when added to a good sleeping bag (im my case i use it as sheets, but for the girls i have made them into bags to slip into their sleeping bags)
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Reply By: i'machocoholic - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 08:58

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 08:58
Thanks again to everyone, all of your suggestions have been greatly appreciated. Linda.
AnswerID: 482573

Reply By: happychap - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 14:25

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 14:25
If you are a person who is especially sensitive to cold, it may pay to visit a good doctor, and have them run tests on your thyroid. Excess sensitivity to cold is a symptom of hypothyroidism (under-performing thyroid), and many doctors do not make the association between the two.

I can speak from experience. I used to feel the cold at the drop of a hat, until the good doctor I sought out, ran the tests and confirmed the problem. (It was also a contributing factor to a heart attack.) Since then, and appropriate (natural) medication, feeling excessively cold is almost a distant memory.
AnswerID: 482593

Reply By: Member - Minty (SA) - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 14:37

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 14:37
"We" generally use those fleecing blankets...very warm and come in various thicknesses. I also use a sleeping bag when in a swag. We use a tarp under the tents or swags. However, under the self-inflating mattress we use a sheet of aluminium foil insulation...it is a bit like bubble wrap. Folds up easily and is light.
AnswerID: 482594

Reply By: Member - DereelGirl - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 14:54

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 14:54
Hi i'ma,
I realize you have had a ton of responses to your cold question but I couldn't resist and have another option for you. When I go camping in my CT I have a canvas bed bag that zips all the bedding up tight and protects it from any dirt when we pack up. I leave this in place and just fold back the top when we get into bed. If it gets cold during the night I can always pull up the cover of canvas and I find it a great form of insulation. It's like having you normal bed inside a canvas swag. Also last yr for the first week (travelling from vic thru Alice in June) I put flannelette sheets on till we got to warmer nights. Check out www.completecampsite.com.au for their "Bed
Protection Bag" $350

Cheers

Robyn
Dereelgirl

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AnswerID: 482596

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 18:57

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 18:57
We also own the Tvan, but have the foam mattress. All we ever use on those sub zero desert nights are the normal sheet and a decent doona.

We carry extra blankets but in 2 years haven't used them. They say the innerspring mattresses are not as warm as foam, but can't imagine the difference would be much.

The Tvan is a lot warmer than a tent and a bit warmer than a good swag, so you won't have a problem.

cheers
Phil
AnswerID: 482617

Reply By: Member - Bucky - Tuesday, Apr 10, 2012 at 08:22

Tuesday, Apr 10, 2012 at 08:22
When Camping with swag
I have a ground sheet, which I got from Clarke Rubber. It is an Aerobic's Matt, (AFAIK). It's waterproof, and approx 20mm thich, hi density foam., light blue in colour, and not those thin rolls, you get from camping shops.

Inside my swag, or tent, I have I have another hi density foam mattress, and I always have 2* -10 rated "jumbo"sleeping bags, that are fully zippered.
On hot nights, they are just throw overs, or I sleep on top of them.

Been in -5c, in the Simpson, and trust me, I am as warm as.

Mates have all gone over to the camp stretchers, but I still sleep on the ground. That is a preference thing. But they all recon I am mad, but my Areobice mattress does the job just nice, even in the tent.

Cheers
Bucky

AnswerID: 482658

Follow Up By: Member - Bucky - Tuesday, Apr 10, 2012 at 08:23

Tuesday, Apr 10, 2012 at 08:23
And yes, a good pair of woolen SOX really helps
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Reply By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Apr 10, 2012 at 12:24

Tuesday, Apr 10, 2012 at 12:24
The 12v electric 'blankets' draw a lot of current but may be an option eg. for those with cold feet who just need to warm them up when first in bed.

The Tvan mattress should have some padding but may be improved with a wool underlay.

For those lying on the ground, closed-cell foam mats and thermarests have been superceded in cold conditions by Exped Downmats and Synmats - they're a cross between an airbed and a doona.

Sleeping bags these days come with temp ratings but there are too many variables for them to be reliable (eg. breezes, your own metabolic rate, how well you've eaten, whether you're tired, condensation on the bag outside etc).

My prob is cold feet and this time out I'll just be taking an old fashioned hot water bottle! The missus has never warmed (ahem) to my putting them against her back.
AnswerID: 482675

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