Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Cold 12 year old


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Charles Maguire
(hikelite) - F

Locale: Virginia
Cold 12 year old on 11/17/2008 18:52:19 MST Print View

I'd be interested in your thoughts as to why my 12 year shivered (hypothermic)while sleeping and was very cold the whole night. And yes he will be retrained on hypothermia, its affects and how to avoid this in future.

First the facts:

Sleeping Pad - Luna Mt Washington egg crate design closed cell
Bag - Montbell UL SS Down #2, 25 degree bag
sleeping clothes - tshirt, sweat pants
tent - Warmlite2
snack before bed - hot chocolate(I think)/rice crispy cake

Temp:
47* at 10pm, humidity 66%, dew pt 36%
45* at 1am, humidity 62%, dew pt 33%
40* at 6am, humidity 62%, dew pt 29.7%

Day temp ranged from 50* to 65* in early afternoon, but was drizzling with high 60's humidity. Son was probably damp when going to bed.

Based on temps, even with high humidity, I am surprised he was so cold. Some adults who went said it felt very very cold.

My thoughts on reason are either:
- too much extra room in bag
- insufficient ground cloth
- going to bed with damp skin (probably dried off while changing so I doubt this)

Am I missing something? What do you think my best way to rectify this would be? I can understand being cold to a certain extend but it seems there was a big breakdown somewhere.

Thanks

Chuck

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Cold 12 year old on 11/17/2008 19:05:40 MST Print View

What did he eat the rest of the day? Inadequate food (especially fat) can easily happen with children who have very high metabolism and high surface:volume ratios.

Even I wouldn't have felt warm in those temps/humidity with only a t-shirt and tracks on...I'll be the humidity was a lot higher inside the Warmlite too. Was there any wind to drive condensation and humidity from the tent?

And yes, a full size adult bag could well be too big if he is a normal sized 12 year old.

Exhaustion also pre-disposes to hypothermia, as does dehydration. So all-in-all there could be many reasons (or several acting together) that cause the problem.

>Some adults who went said it felt very very cold

Nuff said!

Roman Ryder
(RomanLA) - F

Locale: Southwest Louisiana
Dead Space? on 11/17/2008 19:07:38 MST Print View

I just got the synthetic version of the same bag and used it in the 30's with no base layer and I was warm. My only guess is that it could be because of all of the dead space. There's a drawstring at the bottom that can be used to shorten the bag for smaller users. Also, make sure he can get it's snug around his head and neck. Oh yeah, my girls camped out in $5 Wal-Mart bags last weekend in the 40's and they never got cold. They were sleeping in long johns, wool socks, and fleece beanies.

Edited by RomanLA on 11/17/2008 19:08:49 MST.

Charles Maguire
(hikelite) - F

Locale: Virginia
Re: Re: Cold 12 year old on 11/17/2008 19:48:43 MST Print View

Allison, he never eats enough and I bet he was very tired. He did have hot chocolate but I do think he didn't eat enough and in those temps I do think dehydration (caffine) was present. I do know humidity was very high in tent because the inside had a lot of condensation and when the wind blew hard it shook some on his bag.

Thanks

Chuck

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Re: Cold 12 year old on 11/17/2008 19:55:47 MST Print View

He may have gone to bed cold in the first place... a bad idea when you're tired, slightly damp, and haven't eaten enough. Make sure he gets warm before he gets in his bag.

Charles Maguire
(hikelite) - F

Locale: Virginia
Re: Dead Space? on 11/17/2008 20:58:54 MST Print View

Roman, my 5 yr girl slept in an inexpensive childrens North Face bag and sleep through the whole night and never heard the 4 trains they say went by throughout the night. My wife waschiily on her feet but her feet are cold all the time:)

My son refused the fresh wool socks my wife offered him, but next time he needs to wear his hat, wool socks, and long johns.

He is too tall to cinch his bag but I do believe there is a lot of dead space since he since he is thin. I bought the bag in the first place because the inside dimensions are smaller than other bags since they are made to stretch bigger.

Thanks

Edited by hikelite on 11/17/2008 21:04:00 MST.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Cold 12 year old on 11/17/2008 23:03:30 MST Print View

From what you have said... I would guess that it's more about the tired and hungry than damp or the bag being too roomy. Normally my daughter is good down to around 30F with a warm hat, mid-weight base, and montbell ss #3. But there had been a couple of trips when she was too wiped out to get warm. We sent her to bed with a hot water bottle. Did a world of good.

Some of the "coldest" experiences I have experienced were in moderate conditions. For example, a number of years ago I went on a group trip planned by some friends. During the day I pushed myself a bit hard to keep up with the college students. We were a bit light on the food. I tried to let others get food first, which meant I got less food than I normally eat, and the the food was carb heavy (e.g. it burned up quickly). Normally I can stand around in my base, thermawrap vest, and wind jacket down to around 30F and sleep comfortable under my quilt wearing just a base and a hat when the temp is 25-30F. On that trip I sufficiently chilled in the 50F evening air to go to bed early. Under the quilt I warmed up enough to go to sleep. But I woke up early the next morning and couldn't get back to sleep because I was once again chilled, even though it was only 40F and I was wearing my base + my vest under my quilt.

--Mark

Edited by verber on 11/17/2008 23:32:43 MST.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Cold 12 year old on 11/17/2008 23:22:24 MST Print View

> When my daughter was been in a similar situation we sent her to bed with a hot water bottle

Definitely one of the best ways of getting warm when you are cold, tired and low on calories. An external source of heat means your body doesn't need to burn up more energy trying to get warm. Very effective in my experience!

Charles Maguire
(hikelite) - F

Locale: Virginia
Re: Re: Re: Cold 12 year old on 11/18/2008 05:39:31 MST Print View

This was during a BSA campout and I do know the boys went to bed on a smaller "snack" then they are usually given, they are always exhausted at night and very few drink enough water.

In talking to others after trip the cold was a problem. For my son I will make sure he wears his hat, socks and thermals even in the 40's esp. when really humid. Hot water bottle when appropriate.

On a more global issue, I think this will be a good opportunity to retrain boys AND their parents on hypothermia and how to avoid. As leaders I can make sure we:
keep boys hydrated
have late night snack of carbs with fat, not a problem:)
maybe nuts or oats along with simply carbs/sugar
Jumping jacks to get body producing some heat before bed
Exhaustation is something we will need to live with

Nobody mentioned ground pad so I assume heat loss through conduction probably wasn't a factor and pad was sufficient.

Chuck

Edited by hikelite on 11/18/2008 10:18:58 MST.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Cold on 11/18/2008 07:45:13 MST Print View

I was on a BSA canoe trip last spring, and thought I was going to freeze to death the first night. Very high humidity, temp in the upper 30s / low 40s. Guess it can happen to anyone. Mine was on the first night of the trip, and I'm sure exhaustion / dehydration played a big part. Good reminder though, I'll pass it on to our troop tonight.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Cold 12 year old on 11/18/2008 11:49:48 MST Print View

>avoid. As leaders I can make sure we:
keep boys hydrated
have late night snack of carbs with fat, not a problem:)
maybe nuts or oats along with simply carbs/sugar
Jumping jacks to get body producing some heat before bed
Exhaustation is something we will need to live with

Those are all good insights. Something else I found really helpful is to take some food to bed with me. Nuts, Pringles, corn chips or whatever so that if I wake cold and hungry in the night I can have a quick snack to boost my heat output. Hot water bottles are great when going to bed, but usually let you down in the coldest hours of the morning. So another useful thing to have on hand is one of those instant heat packs. They weigh as little as a couple of ounces and can give you a big boost when you really need it.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Cold on 11/18/2008 12:14:23 MST Print View

good thing for you possums only eat trees.
you dont have bears, ringtails, raccoons, cougars, or skunks. Just in case someone reading this doesnt know better, NEVER take food into your tent if you camp in North/South America. Hang some raw bacon over your buddy's tent instead. Have video camera waiting!

i have found that i can feel cold in temps as high as 70° if dehydrated.

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 11/18/2008 12:18:04 MST.

Charles Maguire
(hikelite) - F

Locale: Virginia
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cold 12 year old on 11/18/2008 12:21:13 MST Print View

I would be concerned about black bears where we sometimes go but before bed adding calories will be a must as hydration through day. Good idea on Hot pockets being better than hot water bottle.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Thoughts on 11/18/2008 14:12:26 MST Print View

As mentioned being dehydrated causes real issues with being cold at night. So does hunger. Pringles are what I often eat before bed - they have fat but also potassium so I don't cramp up at night.
Another issue is wind. Some nights I just cannot get warm if I have wind blowing over my sleeping bag all night.
Liner gloves and hat work wonders as well.
Also, a jacket laid over your torso, under the sleeping bag will block heat loss. For me, that trick warms me up in about 15 minutes.

Another thought...your son didn't get sick a day or two later did he? Sometimes the being cold can a signal your body is fighting some croop.....

Charles Maguire
(hikelite) - F

Locale: Virginia
cold 12 y.o. on 11/18/2008 19:28:19 MST Print View

No, he did not have a cold before or after. This weekend if comprable or lower temps I'll see if he wants to sleep in yard with same gear but implement suggestions and see what happens.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Cold on 11/19/2008 12:40:14 MST Print View

Michael, good point about food in the tent, though I would have thought something like Pringles in a sealed container would be OK (but I really don't know). I suppose better safe than sorry. Even so, I would be tempted to get up in the night and go to my food stash for extra food if I was cold and hungry and couldn't keep the food safely in my tent. Then again, I *have* to get up in the night anyway when nature calls. The down side being that you lose some of the heat from your sleeping bag when you get up, but some quick vigorous exercise will make a world of difference when you get back in your bag (such as running from a bear???).

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Bacon on 11/19/2008 13:30:21 MST Print View

"Hang some raw bacon over your buddy's tent instead. Have video camera waiting!"

That would be hilarious, if I didn't already feel so guilty for sneaking a six pack of beer into his backpack.

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Cold 12 year old on 11/19/2008 21:53:51 MST Print View

Re: "NEVER take food into your tent if you camp in North/South America. Hang some raw bacon over your buddy's tent instead. Have video camera waiting!"
Is any brand of energy bar ODOR-PROOF ENOUGH to keep in one's tent?

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
cold kids and food on 11/19/2008 22:39:13 MST Print View

i dunno, man. from what i understand about black bears they can smell anything. if those things are even half as persistant as a Ringtail Cat, I dont want to deal with it.
but, there have been 2 instances with bears entering camp while i slept thru the night. they didnt bother me at all.
my food is usually hanged out of reach. i have had trouble with skunks and mice. Bigfoot was once after my Jack Links jerky, but thats an unrelated story.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Dead Space? on 11/20/2008 01:21:39 MST Print View

>He is too tall to cinch his bag

Well if he turned down the socks and had his feet jammed tight in the bottom of the bag it wouldn't help. He's going to outgrow it anyway, so time to bite the bullet and get a longer bag I guess.