drying cloths on the trail
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victor larivee
(vlarivee) - MLife

Locale: white mountains
drying clothes on the trail on 01/20/2010 19:10:36 MST Print View

I've heard alot about people drying cloths at night by bringing them inside there sleeping bag. I am concenred that then the items dry the moisture (evaporation)will soak me and my down sleeping bag from the inside. I don't get it, yes maybe your socks will dry but your down sleeping bag will loose all its insulation properties and you will freeze. What does really happen???

Edited by rcaffin on 01/20/2010 22:55:21 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: drying clothes on the trail on 01/20/2010 19:26:39 MST Print View

You can do it but you've got to be "reasonable".

Even when it's raining outside, quick-dry synthetics will dry -- or at least be only "slightly damp" when hung or spread around overnight either inside or outside your tent (say in the vestibule). I've not actually needed to sandwich damp clothes into my bag.

But if you have just 1 or 2 slightly damp pieces -- you can place them (or even wear them) inside your bag so your body heat will "pmup out" the moisture faster. Obviously, there are limits and you don't want to stuff so many wet things that the moisture will cause your bag to 'collapse'.

Edited by rcaffin on 01/20/2010 22:55:33 MST.

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
What about gloves? on 01/20/2010 19:37:39 MST Print View

Anybody got a suggestion on an effective way to dry out waterproof gloves in cold conditions?

I admittedly don't have a ton of real cold weather experience, but on a recent trip, after a very snowy day and night, my gloves were still soaked inside, even though I kept them in the bag with me. Nearly froze my hands out once they got cold...


Any suggestions?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: What about gloves? on 01/20/2010 19:42:22 MST Print View

Try to prevent it next time by using a vapor barrier? If wet, you could put, inside the glove, a hand warmer or small hot water bottle (more difficult). Just a couple thoughts.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: What about gloves? on 01/20/2010 19:44:40 MST Print View

You have to keep them close to your body. Best is to have multiple socks/gloves so you can dry them during the day, in an inside pocket of your jacket, when you're really generating some heat. My experience last winter was that the clothes I was wearing that were slightly damp when I went to sleep were dry in the morning (200wt merino wool), while the liner gloves (powerstretch 50 wt) that I tried to dry in stuff sack kept loose in the bag with me were still wet.

Edit, noting. One thing I didn't take into account last winter was how much sweat can wet out your gloves. What I'm learning this winter is that I can wearing very thin gloves(Powestretch 50 weight) into the teens as long as I'm active(snowshoeing, hiking, digging a snow cave) and my hands are nice and warm. Thinner gloves mean less sweat, and less wet gloves. For low activity periods, I have a pair of mitts or heavier gloves. For something wet like snow cave digging, or travelling in the snow, consider a SUL, wp/b overmitt like the MLD Event rain mitts.

I really like grocery bag vapor barriers for my feet in the winter. Thin pair of merino or poly liner socks, grocery bag, and properly heavy socks for whatever temps you are expecting. The liner's are soaked, but they're thin, so they dry, and both poly and merino retain warmth when wet anyways. More importantly, your heavier socks and boots stay dry inside, so you don't have to put on frozen footwear in the morning.

Edited by jrmacd on 01/20/2010 19:54:27 MST.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: What about gloves? on 01/20/2010 19:46:07 MST Print View

Mentioned elsewhere...

rotate through two or three medium-weight, minimalistic, pair that can be dried "under your shirt".

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Re: What about gloves? on 01/20/2010 20:01:49 MST Print View

Thanks, that makes sense.

I had intended to take a light pair of knit wool gloves for high exertion, and the thicker ones for camp, but I lost one of the wool gloves somewhere the first night near the trail-head.

During the ups and downs, I found myself constantly on and off with the others to try and keep comfy, winter hiking really is a different story. The ended up completely soaked out, and I'm not really a sweater.

I used a TB VBL on my feet, and my boots stayed dry, but even so, waking up in low single digits, were still frozen stiff. Had to put those in my bag for a while, just to get them on my feet.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: What about gloves? on 01/20/2010 21:33:08 MST Print View

"...my boots stayed dry, but even so, waking up in low single digits, were still frozen stiff..."

I have filled my platy with hot water, and then put it in a boot to thaw and warm it, one at a time.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
drying gloves on 01/20/2010 21:48:46 MST Print View

Speaking as a X-C skier, I know that most of us carry two pairs of light-to-medium weight gloves, plus maybe one pair of heavier mitts. If we are skiing, then eventually we will be falling, and that means that the gloves get snow on them. After a while, if the gloves are wet, we put on the spare gloves that we have been keeping warm and dry in our pants pockets, and the wet ones go back into the pants pockets. Maybe they will stay a little damp, but at least they will be warm. If you store the wet gloves away from your body, then they might freeze, and that is worse than no gloves at all. The heavier mitts generally only get used for snowcamping, digging snow caves, etc.
--B.G.--

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: drying gloves on 01/20/2010 23:00:13 MST Print View

Yeah, we found out that wearing just liner gloves when the snow is wet can be bad news. So I often wear light liner gloves and put light Gore-Tex mitt shells over them if I am going to be either working with snow or at risk of falling over. (Me, fall over while skiing? Never! Ahem! :-) )

Cheers

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: What about gloves? on 01/21/2010 06:22:41 MST Print View

I had intended to take a light pair of knit wool gloves for high exertion, and the thicker ones for camp

The only issue with wool gloves, as much as I love merino, is that wool doesn't dry as fast as something like power stretch.

The system I'm currently trying out is similar to Bob's and Roger's. Two pairs of 50wt Power stretch gloves (MH Butter Liner and OR PL 50 Base; of those two I'd buy the Butter liner again before the OR), with MLD Rain Mitts@1.4 oz or so to wear over the liners when I think/know my hands will be getting wet.

For around camp, I'm bringing a pair of OR PL 400 mitts for warmth and use as pot grabbers for my handle-less ti pot, and for extra insulation under the BPL Featherlite mitts I have for really cold (good down to 0*F if Dr. Jordan is to be trusted)

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: drying clothes on the trail on 01/21/2010 10:22:01 MST Print View

I personally think it's mental to take wet clothing into a dry sleeping bag. It makes no sense to expose your one good, dry bit of insulation to wetness.

Body heat will dry clothes. If I have something that's really wet (ie I just wore it thru a rainstorm without a jacket on) and it becomes cold, I might ditch the baselayer and go for my dry midlayers. Only dry clothing comes into contact w/dry gear. Start off the next day w/the wet shirt (pants, socks, etc) and let my body heat dry it out. If the temps aren't so low that I'm immediately concerned about hypothermia, then I just keep wearing the shirt. Just about everything I wear (wool, synthetic) seems to dry in about 1/2 hour or so, particularly if it isn't 100% humidity (ie currently raining).

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
new gloves on 01/21/2010 10:33:13 MST Print View

Shell gloves/mitts that have an integrated liner have no place on multiday trips (IMO).

As or drying stuff overnight, there is a big difference between damp and soaked. Strive for the former. Build a fire is necessary. Then, if you really need them to dry out, put the gloves/socks/etc under all your layers against your belly. Not comfy, but gets the job done.

You will kill some loft on a down bag. If it's really cold at night, best to start the trip with a bit of extra warmth in your complete system, and take sunny and windy opportunities to dry your bag mid-day.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Drying in the bag on 01/21/2010 10:50:46 MST Print View

Hey Brad,
Regarding:
"I personally think it's mental to take wet clothing into a dry sleeping bag. It makes no sense to expose your one good, dry bit of insulation to wetness."

There are times when this works well, like when it is not so cold that you don't mind losing some warmth for one night.

I find that any wet clothes that I wear to bed are dry the next morning and so is the sleeping bag.
I will usually fluff up and lay the bag in the sun if I can in the morning or on breaks to remove any trace dampness.

I have found that a down bag will recover from this just fine.

I probably wouldn't recommend this if it is below freezing.

Hanging wet clothing in your shelter will usually dry them better than hanging them outside.
Your shelter should have enough ventilation that the extra dampness won't cause excessive condensation.

Edited by brooklynkayak on 01/21/2010 10:51:21 MST.

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Drying in the bag on 01/21/2010 11:26:09 MST Print View

Steven, are you wearing a Sumo Wrestler outfit?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Drying in the bag on 01/21/2010 12:51:07 MST Print View

It's the Michelin Head Man...looks warm from here.

Edited by jshann on 01/21/2010 12:51:37 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: drying clothes on the trail on 01/21/2010 14:42:06 MST Print View

> I personally think it's mental to take wet clothing into a dry sleeping bag. It makes
> no sense to expose your one good, dry bit of insulation to wetness.

I have to agree.
Look, there are two main scenarios to consider:
* Tomorrow will be fine: in which case you can dry your wet clothing out tomorrow while you are walking. So wear dry stuff tonight to bed and leave the wet stuff in a corner.
* Tomorrow will be wet: in which there is little point in trying to dry anything as it will promptly get wet tomorrow. So wear dry stuff tonight to bed and leave the wet stuff in a corner.

Novices may find the idea of putting wet stuff on in the morning just too horrible to contemplate. But one gets used to it as confidence (or experience) grows. The one thing which seems to be the hardest to accept is that when it is wet - you will get wet!

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 01/21/2010 14:42:51 MST.

William Glazer
(UkuleleBill) - F

Locale: Northeast Ohio
re: putting wet clothes on in the AM on 01/21/2010 15:00:22 MST Print View

I do think putting the wet clothes on in the AM is a great solution, and sleeping totally dry. I also had to work hard at developing the ability to spring out of my sleeping bag and being on trail in 15-20 minutes on cold snowy mornings. Jumping right out of the sack has never been one of my strong suits.
For me this quick start means: hop out of the sleeping bag, boil H2O for just one cup of coffee while I quickly pack up gear and tie shoe laces. Pour H2O through filter, wave pot through cold air to cool quickly, pack pot, start hiking, drink coffee and eat pop tart while I walk even if that means walking slow. Within 25-30 minutes of rising I'm totally warm and comfortable again. And none of the rush seemed so bad--just means I'll have more time to lounge mid-afternoon at some vista.

Happy Trails-
Ukulele Bill

Edited by UkuleleBill on 01/21/2010 15:01:45 MST.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: drying clothes on the trail on 01/21/2010 15:01:57 MST Print View

Like Roger said, although in winter conditions (assume sub-freezing at night), I put my wet stuff in a plastic bag and put it either in the sleeping bag with me, or under it. this is to keep it from freezing, plus it's a little less stressful putting on warm wet gear rather than cold.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
wet clothes on 01/21/2010 15:05:24 MST Print View

Putting wet clothes on in the morning won't work if it is a cold winter trip. When it is +10 F and 10 feet of snow on the ground, no way am I going to put on wet clothes.
--B.G.--

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Drying in the bag on 01/21/2010 15:15:39 MST Print View

Getting clothing wet on winter trips is a case of where it is better to avoid the problem than to need to solve it.

I do agree that things *can* get wet in the winter, and understanding how to deal with that is worthwhile. I also firmly believe that should be the exception, not the rule.

It seems to me that the main emphasis should be on how to avoid having wet things to begin with. By and large, the worst problem should be *minor* dampness in the underwear and socks from the day. That amount of dampness is easy to deal with.

-- Bob

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: wet clothes on 01/21/2010 15:57:07 MST Print View

There's no rain 20*F below freezing, so I'm not sure how you'd get clothes soaked in that environment. Most likely way would be someone severely over-dressed for conditions. (Example: even at 10*F the most I'm usually wearing when on the move is a wool 3 and a windbreaker, and I still might have to take care not to overheat... assuming cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, etc.) Other than that it would be falling thru ice into a body of water, in which case I hope you have some good fire-building skills, you were only wearing your "active" layers, and your primary insulation is still dry in the pack.

Boots/foot stuff and hand stuff is the biggest "wet" problem for most in winter. Changes of gloves inside the jacket works for me. I like using VBL in boots to keep the insulation dry; I have put on frozen boots in the morning. (Spring paddle/portage trips.) It's not pleasant, but it's fine. (Edit: frozen boots in winter not as good. But if it's that cold that it matters, I have a boot w/removable liner, and I probably VBL'd it, and there's a decent chance I'll just wear the liners to bed.)

Wet stuff always gets segregated from dry. Yes, putting on cold wet clothes is unpleasant. But if you're putting them on in the morning, you just finished fueling up, topped off w/a hot beverage, and are going to start cranking up your metabolism. No worries. Any mild dampness in baselayers from a days moving should dry out (at the end of same day) just by keeping the stuff on.

Edited by 4quietwoods on 01/21/2010 16:00:14 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: wet clothes on 01/21/2010 16:44:19 MST Print View

> When it is +10 F and 10 feet of snow on the ground, no way am I going to put on wet clothes.

Have to agree there! But as others have correctly noted, you should not be wet at +10 F anyhow.

Let's repeat that for clarity. When you are travelling in the snow in serious cold, your FIRST objective has to be to stay dry. That means travelling cool, not sweating. The fastest way of dying in the snow is to get wet. About the only items which I get wet in the snow would be my socks, and that really only happens just below freezing anyhow (melted snow late PM).

As Lynn said, a good trick is to bag up the boots and socks and store them under the foot of my quilt so they don't freeze overnight. But that doesn't let their moisture into the down - which would be risky, or even foolish on a long trip.

Cheers

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: wet clothes on 01/21/2010 16:44:56 MST Print View

It is not uncommon (in these parts) for it to be raining heavily one day, or for deep river crossings even in winter, and then wake to snow or a heavy frost the next morning. So dealing with wet clothes in freezing conditions is common and not fun. I always carry a spare (dry) thermal layer and socks for sleeping in, and if necessary I will wear those for a while on cold mornings to get warmed up. Once warm, I will trade them for my wet clothes (still in plastic bag against my body heat) and these usually dry with exertion.

victor larivee
(vlarivee) - MLife

Locale: white mountains
In summary on 01/21/2010 18:41:47 MST Print View

thanks everyone
tips to stay dry when hiking in the winter
don't get wet/ limit sweat (ensure clothing selection matches exersion).
Hand system, two thin hiking glove switch them out when on the move and put the spare pair inside your layers to dry, WP shell and a warm pair of mittens for camp.
Any wet items place in a plastic bag and keep under your sleeping bag at night to keep them warm (won't dry them) in the morning put the damp items on before you head out. When on the move the items should dry.

When in doubt bring an extra pair

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: In summary on 01/21/2010 19:12:03 MST Print View

A comment on boots. I work at a scout camp that gives scouts two pairs of boot liners. One pair is worn during the day, the other (dry) is packed away, and then put in the sleeping bag or otherwise kept dry overnight. The next morning, the scouts put the dry liner in their boots and we hike back to our indoor basecamp and everyone goes home.

In the morning, every scout's liners have a nice thin layer of frost in the morning. Same with their waterproof mitten liners (think like MLD eVent liners but with a heavy, waterproof cordura).

Of course, when you get out longer, there is a problem with this approach. Otherwise, frost builds up and your feet and hands get cold. And that leads to unhappy appendages.

I wear Steger Mukluks (Arctics) when the weather is cold enough for it (needs to be +20F and colder, consistently). I have a single pair of liners, and use ID vapor barrier socks. In the morning, there is not frost in my liners or boots and my feet stay warm.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: In summary on 01/21/2010 19:21:40 MST Print View

Victor,

Don't get too dogmatic about it. Different people have different ideas of what works for them. And different things work in different conditions. For example:

Hands -- if your gloves are getting wet from perspiration, then you need lighter gloves or none at all. Perhaps just your glove or mitten shells. By the way, don't automatically assume you need to wear anything on your hands unless it is bitterly cold. May not really be needed at +10*F if you are really exerting yourself -- perhaps just once you get above treeline, or if you stop for a lunch break. Back when I was climbing the 4,000' peaks in the White Mountains in the winter (your locale), I often did not have anything on my hands, even while snowshoeing and holding an ice axe head. I regarded that heat loss as part of my thermal budget. In fact, I tended to hold a snowball in my free hand so that I could melt it as much as possible before eating it for water. (If you let yourself get thirsty, you really cannot eat enough snow to quench the thirst, but if you eat snow as you go you can keep from getting thirsty.) Of course I "gloved up" as soon as I stopped generating so much heat. Another point about hands -- if your shell parka sleeves are nice and long, the overlap onto your hands may be all the warmth those hands need as long as you are moving, or for short stops.

Drying things in the sleeping bag -- the comments that, if you are out for a long time, you must at all costs keep moisture out of your down are accurate. However, if you are only out for a night or two, there is no reason you cannot put damp (not sopping wet) stuff in your sleeping bag with you to dry. You will lose loft, but not enough to matter (unless your sleeping bag is marginal to begin with).

Another trick some people have used to dry damp things is to fasten the damp item inside their underwear while they are moving (and generating heat) and let the body warmth do the drying. I cannot say I have done that myself -- have not needed to -- but some other folks have.

Since I gather you are inexperienced, check out available instruction -- perhaps

* a local college outing club (quality varies, some very good)

* The AMC (used to offer one, don't know whether they still do)

* The Adirondack Mountain Club's Winter Mountaineering School. I don't know how it is today, but in years gone by the ADK course was *excellent*. Well worth getting yourself over to Heart Lake for.

-- Bob

Edited by blean on 01/21/2010 19:30:47 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
another trick on 01/21/2010 20:28:57 MST Print View

When I camp out in the winter, I take my huge winter-weight sleeping bag, and it has a large nylon stuff sack. Normally, the sleeping bag is stored inside the stuff sack, and any snow flying around is kept to the outside of the stuff sack. But when I camp for the night and after chores, I am ready to crawl into the sleeping bag which has been out of the stuff sack for an hour or more. I turn the stuff sack inside-out, and I store my ski boots in it, typically inside the sleeping bag in the foot area. The waterproof nature of the stuff sack keeps the boot moisture inside, and the warm nature of my sleeping bag keeps the boots unfrozen. In the morning, I remove the boots and put them on. I turn the stuff sack rightside-out and store the sleeping bag. The bag trick keeps the boot moisture from getting to the sleeping bag insulation.
--B.G.--

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: In summary on 01/22/2010 09:14:17 MST Print View

Bob made a good point about not always needing to wear gloves. People seem to think that if it's cold out they need to have on hat, gloves, facemask, down jacket, etc. There were many days working as a liftie when I didn't wear hat or gloves, although the temps were well below freezing. If you're producing heat, you don't need to keep yourself all swaddled up...

William Glazer
(UkuleleBill) - F

Locale: Northeast Ohio
stay dry--stay safe on 01/22/2010 12:20:30 MST Print View

Having read some more of the comments on "drying clothes on the trail" I started thinking about my own experiences with that problem in cold weather. For me, I feel by far the coldest when it is 34F and raining. The only exception was a winter trip in the Adirondacks in the 1990's when the high for the week trip was 4F--most of the time it was sub zero F--I was colder on this trip. But for most of my winter trips at 10F-15F as the low temperature I seem to do okay. I think it is because wetness, in the form of rain and thick fog, can leach heat from the body. I've been my nearest to Hypothermia at and just above the freezing point. Therefore, for me, "drying clothes on the trail" is most critical when I have my biggest problem, which is 30F-39F typically. Of course, I don't mean to imply that 20F and wet is okay--it isn't. Just some thoughts. Stay dry--Stay safe.

Happy Trails
Ukulele Bill

Edited by UkuleleBill on 01/22/2010 12:23:51 MST.

martin cooperman
(martyc) - M

Locale: Industrial Midwest
A note for Bill Glazer on 01/22/2010 13:06:50 MST Print View

Off-topic but Bill I noticed that you are from NE Ohio and likely a mile or so from my house. You don't have anything set up to email privately, so I thought I'd post this here.
You can email me at: m(dot)cooperman(at)csuohio(dot)edu.
Thanks,
Marty Cooperman

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Re: stay dry--stay safe on 01/22/2010 15:20:38 MST Print View

Maybe I'm abnormal but in temps where clothes are likely to be wet from rain, I don't have any issues keeping my bag lofted over several days of bad weather, drying them in the bag. For my shoes, I arrange them in my pack liner and put them between my legs. I have experimented with leaving the opening of the pack liner bag outside of my bag (full zip, using bottom venting technique) which still seems to work. I guess if you're paranoid about it you can try that, or bring along some chemical warmers to up the heat. But, Like I said, I have never noted loss of down. The loft on the bag I carry at those temps isn't so much that my body heat can't expel the moisture.

Remember that a lot collapsing of sleeping bag loft results from the shell being damp and then stuffing the bag. Wipe 'er down well.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Re: drying clothes on the trail on 01/22/2010 15:27:36 MST Print View

"Even when it's raining outside, quick-dry synthetics will dry -- or at least be only "slightly damp" when hung or spread around overnight either inside or outside your tent (say in the vestibule)."


Ha! That is funny. When I hang my cap 1 stuff to dry it is just as wet in the morning as it is when I hang it up. One of the benefits of living in southern California is that the humidity is low and things dry. Here you just have to live with damp clothing. I just make sure I have something dry to wear when I get to camp and sleep in, in the day, I am fine in damp clothing if I keep moving.

That just goes to show how things can be so different depending on where you hike. For example: I know many of you guys (and gals) wouldn't dare go on a trip without sunscreen, sun hat, sun glasses, etc. I have never even thought about sunscreen or anything like that even though I sunburn easily. When backpacking you are rarely exposed to any type of sunlight here.

Edited by Mocs123 on 01/22/2010 15:32:18 MST.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: stay dry--stay safe on 01/22/2010 15:53:32 MST Print View

"Remember that a lot collapsing of sleeping bag loft results from the shell being damp and then stuffing the bag. Wipe 'er down well."

Actually, most loss of loft occurs from insensible/sensible sweat and moisture inside the bag, &/or dewpoint differential... assuming "normal" humidity. In very humid conditions, everything absorbs some moisture regardless, in which case you take the time to air things out when the sun comes out... But relatively very little loss of loft occurs from condensation on the shell of the bag.

William Glazer
(UkuleleBill) - F

Locale: Northeast Ohio
Re: A note for Bill Glazer on 01/22/2010 16:16:42 MST Print View

Marty--
Just sent you a PM with my email address. Feel free to contact me.

Happy Trails--
Ukulele Bill

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: stay dry--stay safe on 01/22/2010 16:21:31 MST Print View

> Remember that a lot collapsing of sleeping bag loft results from the shell being damp and then stuffing the bag. Wipe 'er down well.

Not really the case in winter. In cold weather the dew point will be within the down. Any water vapor -- and you give off quite a bit with insensible perspiration -- will condense when it gets to the dew point. That's also why it is bad to breathe into your sleeping bag -- more water vapor to condense in the down.

Drying clothes in your bag is the same deal -- you are trying to turn the water in your damp clothes into water vapor -- any of that which gets to the dew point (within the down) will also condense there.

-- Bob

Edited by blean on 01/22/2010 16:43:51 MST.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: stay dry--stay safe on 01/22/2010 16:43:04 MST Print View

> For me, I feel by far the coldest when it is 34F and
> raining. The only exception was a winter trip in the
> Adirondacks in the 1990's when the high for the week trip
> was 4F--most of the time it was sub zero F--I was colder
> on this trip. But for most of my winter trips at 10F-15F
> as the low temperature I seem to do okay.

You bring up an interesting point -- it may actually be easier to stay comfortable when it is colder out.

1) Common winter temperatures in the Adirondacks and White Mountains are days of +10F to -10F and nights of -20F. Those are actually quite comfortable if you are active -- the snow is dry and it is pretty easy to dress so that you stay warm without overheating and sweating. You have a nice, safe, comfortable, exhilarating winter trip.

2) Days when it is sub-freezing, but not by a lot, can actually harder to dress for. The snow is wetter and you probably want some clothing between you and the wind, but if you are climbing a mountain (especially if you are the one breaking trail) just about any amount is too much and you will sweat. Ventilating a lot and minimizing the amount of clothing that gets sweat-soaked is about all you can do.

3) Thirties and raining -- just not a comfortable range. There is also an associated big problem if this happens in the winter, at least in the Northeast -- a common weather pattern is for that to be followed by the bottom dropping out of the thermometer. That leaves you with wet stuff and in sub-zero temperatures. In those conditions -- a winter rain -- the safest thing may well be to strip down to as little as you can wear and avoid hypothermia, pack the rest (including all of your insulation) as waterproof as you can, and get out of the mountains.

-- Bob

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Re: Re: Re: stay dry--stay safe on 01/22/2010 17:05:41 MST Print View

I don't think you fellas are understanding me. If the moisture in your bag gets pushed out- dew point, loft, etc non-withstanding- then it's out. As, I mentioned I have a lot of experience doing this and I experience no appreciable loss in loft over several days of foul weather. I feel most of the comments posted here are maybe a little overly analytical. The science is sound but I don't see it translating to my real-world experience.

As for my comment about a bag with a damp shell, let me clarify. If the shell of your sleeping bag is wet when you stuff it in your stuff sack or pack that moisture will get pushed into the bag and soak the compressed lost. It's also sitting in your backpack all day. That's a lot of time for the moisture to do it's work, in very close quarters. If your sleeping bag shell is damp when stuff it, your bag will lose loft. That's all I meant.

Victor- I think the spirit of your original question may have gotten obscured. Go out and give this method a try on a short trip. I think you'll find that in most conditions during which you need to dry out a few items, the loft in your bag (and the sky) won't fall and you'll make out just fine. Don't try it in a snow cave for a week straight, but I don't think that's your intention anyway.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Re: Re: stay dry--stay safe on 01/22/2010 17:17:16 MST Print View

> I don't think you fellas are understanding me.

It seems to me that it is a matter of temperature. Since it is January, many of the replies have assumed a winter (i.e. sub-freezing) trip. Note the original poster gives his locale as the White Mountains (NH, I presume). My replies have been in the context of the White Mountains in January -- which can be seriously cold.

What temperatures are your posting based on?

> If the moisture in your bag gets pushed out- dew point,
> loft, etc non-withstanding- then it's out.

True, but when temperatures are well sub-freezing, that is not going to happen. The moisture will condense within the down and stay there. It will not get "pushed out". With a good winter bag you may not notice this a lot over a day or two, but over a week I sure notice it. Does your "foul weather" phrase imply rain, and temperatures above freezing?

> a bag with a damp shell

Again, what temperature are you thinking of? In sub-freezing winter weather, the sleeping bag shell will not be damp -- any dampness will be frozen. The closest you will come will be sometimes seeing some frost on the surface. Naturally, you brush any of that off before stuffing the bag.

-- Bob

Edited by blean on 01/22/2010 17:23:34 MST.

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: stay dry--stay safe on 01/22/2010 17:40:01 MST Print View

"Naturally, you brush any of that off before stuffing the bag."
I think assuming this comes naturally to a lot of people is a broad assumption. I've observed it to be a common mistake. The frost melts inside your backpack from some body heat and viola- wet bag with an inch and a half less loft.

Whites in Jan? I though it was discussed already there isn't likely to be much issue with lots of wet clothing under these conditions. I am trying to apply common happenstance to the original question asked- "Should I dry stuff out in my bag?"

On most backpacking trips where you're likely to have a lot of wet clothing and gear, we're not talking below freezing all day and temps low enough to place the dew point inside of a sleeping bag. Bringing a few pairs of wet socks and liner gloves into a sleeping bag at night, even on a snow trip, is not a big deal.

Now, if you slipped during a creek crossing and got soaked through, maybe we're talking about a different scenario but it seems to me Victor was asking about the usual "I walked all day in the rain through 40 degree weather and can I dry my windshirt in my bag?" Maybe Victor can clarify for us.

victor larivee
(vlarivee) - MLife

Locale: white mountains
WOW on 01/22/2010 19:24:27 MST Print View

Actually it was just a general question. Yah I have been doing some day hikes recently and my gloves and some times my shirt has gotten wet from sweat. I am preparing for an overnighter in Feb. so I thought I would just get some ideas for that trip and for trips all year round. Last year was a wet one in the whites and more time than not I was hiking in the 60s and rain. So I am happy with all the suggestions.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: stay dry--stay safe on 01/24/2010 11:58:50 MST Print View

Whether you choose to dry your damp clothes out inside your sleeping bag or not, the most important thing you can do to protect the loft of your bag is to roll all the warm, moist air out ASAP in the morning.

Aside from that, to dry or not to dry will also depend on your own thermal budget. If your bag is marginal for the conditions you are in (whatever those conditions are), then you risk hypothermia by bringing dampness into your sleep system. If your bag has a large margin for error in those same conditions, it is generally safe (though still not sensible IMHO for the reasons Roger mentioned) to bring some damp clothes in with you. So the answer to "I walked all day in the rain through 40 degree weather and can I dry my windshirt in my bag?" may be "possibly", unless your bag is only warm down to 50, or you're running short on calories, or the night temps are plumetting and it will be a hard frost/snow by morning. Or, as is often the case where I hike, is that the first thing Victor has to do in the morning is to cross a deep river (or maybe it will still be raining in the morning), in which case it would be an utter waste of energy to attempt to dry his hiking clothes.