Winter Sleeping and Restrictive Clothing
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Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Winter Sleeping and Restrictive Clothing on 02/16/2010 12:16:13 MST Print View

Hi all,
So while browsing the forums, I came across a post by Roger Caffin regarding being cold at night despite what appeared to be a proper winter setup. He says,

"The problem was the 'thermals' were just a bit too weird, and tight, and they were restricting the circulation in my legs. When I removed them the circulation was restored to its normal level, and my legs warmed up."

During winter, I usually sleep with some power stretch baselayers on, which are definitely snug, but not overly tight in my opinion. I had figured wearing these would only help. Could I be wrong? Could they be restricting circulation?

What have you found to be the best clothes to sleep in during winter, with temps around 10 F and up? I'll do some testing myself, but wanted to hear your input as well.

Hal Potts
(halpotts) - F

Locale: Middle Tennessee
Winter Sleeping and Restrictive Clothing on 02/16/2010 12:21:48 MST Print View

It bothers me to wear tight fitting clothing for sleeping as I normally wear none. When winter hiking I wear loose fitting down pants and jacket like Montbell UL stuff inside a down bag with down booties and a loose fitting down balaclava. Very warm but not restrictive and I find that it makes for good sleeping.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Winter Sleeping and Restrictive Clothing on 02/16/2010 12:28:32 MST Print View

Thanks Hal,
Do you notice a difference in warmth or just comfort of looser clothing? (though its hard to compare down pants to much else regarding warmth)

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Winter Sleeping and Restrictive Clothing on 02/16/2010 13:28:25 MST Print View

> What have you found to be the best clothes to sleep in during winter, with temps around 10 F and up?

I have historically slept with no clothes at all in the winter -- or at most, the day's long underwear -- just used a good sleeping bag.

Counting on clothing as part of your planned sleeping system warmth in the summer is a well-established ultralight way to think. However, I worry that it may be cutting margins too close in the winter.

For example, I recall one night when I was out with a system that was adequate to -20F -- problem is that (much to everyone's surprise) it turned out to be about -40F that night. I was glad to have some margin. It was a cold enough night as it was.

I am just basically not comfortable cutting margins as close in the winter as in the summer. YMMV.

-- MV

Edited by blean on 02/16/2010 13:30:24 MST.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Winter Sleeping and Restrictive Clothing on 02/16/2010 13:36:06 MST Print View

Snow camping last winter I had a similar experience to Roger; I layered up gloves thinking more gloves=warmer hands. The gloves weren't sized to fit over each other and my hands got really, really cold. I took one pair of gloves and hopped around to get the blood flowing again, put back on only one pair of gloves, and my hands were much warmer.

As far as sleep clothes, last year I tried using a dedicated pair of merino base layers for sleeping. Stripping down to take off my 'day' clothes and put on my 'night clothes' caused a lot of lost body heat. This year I'm going with the Mike C! method of putting on a baselayer set that stays on from the start of the trip till the end. In 10 degree weather, using my 15-20 degree quilt combo, my layers for sleeping would be: BPL Merino boxer briefs, 100wt powerstretch tights, BPL UL Hoody, Patagonia R1 Hoody, Marmot Precip full-zip pants. These things worn all day. For sleeping, I'd add my BPL Cocoon parka and pants over this.

The only time I was out this year it was 25, so this is still untested.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Winter Sleeping and Restrictive Clothing on 02/16/2010 13:38:22 MST Print View

Thanks Robert and James.

I should clarify that I'm not looking to *significantly* add warmth to my sleeping system by the clothes I wear, but am more or less questioning the effect my clothing has on my circulation, thus affecting my body temp.

Edited by T.L. on 02/16/2010 13:39:51 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Winter Sleeping and Restrictive Clothing on 02/16/2010 13:59:32 MST Print View

> Stripping down to take off my 'day' clothes and put on my 'night clothes' caused
> a lot of lost body heat.
We have never found that to be a problem. Mind you, we can get changed pretty quick, and the tent is a good shelter. What I have found uncomfortable is taking off both top and bottom together - that can be drafty. So we change one half at a time.

We normally sleep in just our thermals, although if it is really cold we might add a Cocoon jacket. But bear in mind that Sue and I sleep snuggled together, with a summer quilt each and then our wide winter quilt over the two of us. Sharing warmth really adds to a sleep system.

Cheers

Hal Potts
(halpotts) - F

Locale: Middle Tennessee
Winter Sleeping and Restrictive Clothing on 02/16/2010 18:45:37 MST Print View

Stripping down to take off my 'day' clothes and put on my 'night clothes' caused a lot of lost body heat.

I'll have to heartily agree with James here. A few weeks ago I was in the Smokies and was fine all day. We got to the shelter and I waited too long to bundle up for the night. By the time I had stripped down and changed into my down clothes for the night I was shaking. It was 16 degrees F - I got into the bag and it took about an hour plus to warm back up. So the advantage to keeping on your layers is you get to keep on your layers!

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Winter Sleeping and Restrictive Clothing on 02/16/2010 19:35:42 MST Print View

Roger,
Were those weird tight thermals that restricted your circulation tight all over, mostly around the waist, near the ankles? I'm wondering if the waist on my powerstretch is a bit too snug, hampering circulation to my lower extremities.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
reply to Travis on 02/16/2010 19:54:32 MST Print View

Travis, the human anatomy is different.

Blood circulation from the heart out toward the extremities is in the major arteries that tend to be close to the bones or deep within the soft tissues. The circulation returning back toward the heart tends to be closer to the skin. It is unlikely that a waist band is going to cut off circulation to your toes.
--B.G.--

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: reply to Travis on 02/16/2010 20:00:40 MST Print View

Thanks for that tidbit, Bob! I think I'm just gonna have to get out there with different clothes and see.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Winter Sleeping and Restrictive Clothing on 02/17/2010 02:37:49 MST Print View

> I waited too long to bundle up for the night. By the time I had stripped down
> and changed into my down clothes for the night I was shaking.
Ah yeah, OK. We get changed into warmer clothing as soon as we get in the tent. In fact, Sue goes in first while I finish staking the tent etc. By the time I get in she is likely to already be changed and under her quilt! We NEVER wait till we are cold. Big mistake there.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Winter Sleeping and Restrictive Clothing on 02/17/2010 02:42:31 MST Print View

> Were those weird tight thermals that restricted your circulation tight all
> over, mostly around the waist, near the ankles?
Despite being the size quoted for me, they were tight the full length of my legs. The arms were a bit tight too, but the waist on the top was loose.

A tight waistband might well upset your digestive system, but it shouldn't affect blood flow.

Cheers

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Winter Sleeping and Restrictive Clothing on 02/17/2010 02:59:39 MST Print View

> I waited too long to bundle up for the night. By the time I had stripped down
> and changed into my down clothes for the night I was shaking.
> It was 16 degrees F - I got into the bag and it took about an hour plus
> to warm back up. So the advantage to keeping on your layers is you get
> to keep on your layers!

The issue is not that changing lost body heat -- it is that the changing should have happened sooner, while you still had plenty of bodily warmth. In winter, one needs to always remember that it is far easier (and more comfortable) to avoid getting cold to begin with than it is to get re-heated after letting one's self get cold.

-- MV

Edited by blean on 02/17/2010 03:01:20 MST.

Hal Potts
(halpotts) - F

Locale: Middle Tennessee
Winter Sleeping and Restrictive Clothing on 02/17/2010 21:39:19 MST Print View

"The issue is not that changing lost body heat -- it is that the changing should have happened sooner, while you still had plenty of bodily warmth. In winter, one needs to always remember that it is far easier (and more comfortable) to avoid getting cold to begin with than it is to get re-heated after letting one's self get cold."

Truer words were never spoken. This was my first real winter trip. Clothes were slightly damp from rain the day before and we had 16 degrees that night and the wind blowing. It was a classic setup for hypothermia - I learned a good lesson about winter camping that night.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Winter Sleeping and Restrictive Clothing on 02/17/2010 21:51:22 MST Print View

Thanks, all.
Definitely some things to think about and experiment with.