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VBL clothing v.s. VBL bag
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Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
VBL clothing v.s. VBL bag on 12/09/2010 16:48:02 MST Print View

For all around use perhaps VBL clothing (pants & jacket) has an edge over VBL sleeping bag liners, as a VBL suit wiuld be more versatile.


1. VBL suit can be layered over with down insulating clothes when temps dip very low, but a VBL bag liner would get the insulating clothes wet.

2. VBL clothes can be used during the day to keep insulating layers dry in very cold weather when they are necessary. No concern about keeping effort down to prevent sweating profusely.

3. VBL suit tops and bottoms can be packed separately from each other for ease of storage.

Any thoughts/experiences?

Edited by Danepacker on 12/09/2010 16:48:55 MST.

patrick walsh
(apbt1976) - F
latex bondage gear lol on 12/09/2010 20:53:44 MST Print View

Does this mean i could run around the mountains in my latex club clothing lol. Or better yet may i suggest paint on latex clothing? Im kidding i know nothing about vapor barrier clothing i just find the idea of a giant rubber body suit funny as hell woods or no woods.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Patrick, you naughty boy! on 12/11/2010 00:36:36 MST Print View


"Paint-on latex", hmmm... now there's a thought. Kinky, but interesting for weight savings. :) However you must perspire and the latex would just peel off after the first good sweat.

Actually for longer winter trips in sub freezing temps keeping your sleeping bag from accumulating body moisture is essential.

The doomed Scott South Pole attempt saw the men actually having to lay their frozen sleeping bags flat on the man-hauled sledges. Then at night they had to force themselves into the frozen bags which gave them very little warmth retention. In the end they all died of hypothermia before making it back to their base.

Edited by Danepacker on 12/11/2010 00:37:38 MST.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: VBL clothing v.s. VBL bag on 12/11/2010 10:26:33 MST Print View

i read your post a few days ago but now have some time to reply. I agree with you 100%. A Vapor Barrier suit, IMO, is leaps and bounds better then a Vapor Barrier bag liner. The reasons you mentioned nail it right on. Point 1 and 2 are the reason why I switched from a liner to clothing.

I also think that the clothing works better as it is closer to your skin. When using a vapor barrier to line your sleeping bag, there is much more space between your skin and the VB and I think (no real data to prove this) that this allows more moisture to build up...that's what I have found anyway.

just in case someone is wondering, I use a brawny rainsuit that is seam sealed as VB clothing. One day, I'll make a cuben version.

Edited by Steve_Evans on 12/12/2010 11:17:51 MST.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Cheap rain suit on 12/11/2010 13:14:20 MST Print View


Good idea about using an inexpensive nylon urethane coated rainsuit for VBL clothing. I have the pants, now to get the pullover jacket (no zippered front).

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
VBL clothing vs bag on 12/11/2010 19:06:11 MST Print View

Is much moisture lost from the gaps between upper body and lower body, and the gaps at the wrists, neck and ankles? A diver's dry suit would stop that loss, if you can talk your Sherpa into carrying it for you. A bag, if totally moisture proof, would loose water only out the neck end.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: VBL clothing vs bag on 12/12/2010 11:24:58 MST Print View

Good points Robert. That would definitely be a "pro" for the bag liner. My VB socks have a cinch cord, as does the hood on my jacket. The waist of the pants and jacket aswell as the ankles of the pants have a tight elastic but obviously not air tight. My guess would be that some moisture escapes, but not enough to cause any real damage to your insulation...however, again, I have no proof of this, just a thought really.

Maybe a one piece rain suit is the way to go?

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
VBL "Suit" on 12/18/2010 01:10:57 MST Print View

I just ordered a Cabala's "Packable" rain parks W/sealed seams. I'll have to remove its back netting lining.

When wearing it I'll stuff the parka inside the pants and pull the waist drawcord tight.

I dunno if'n I'll use the parka's hood unless I have to cinch the sleeping bag hood up tight on a bitter night.

I have a Polarwrap mask to wear to help pre-heat inhaled air. I've found this mask is good for reducing fluid loss overnight (I don't wake up thirsty)as it cuts down on airway dehydration. It has a copper mesh in the airway which holds heat from exhaled breaths and thus warms the incoming cold air. Amazingly, it works.

Edited by Danepacker on 12/18/2010 12:18:47 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 12/18/2010 07:58:46 MST Print View

Stephenson Warmlight makes vapor barrier sleeping bags

They have some info about vapor barriers

I think they're useful on extended trips at extreme cold temperatures

I tried VB clothing - first just a garbage bag on top with arm and neck holes, then a long sleeved shirt and pants I made with VB fabric from warmlite. I thought regular clothing kept just as warm for the same weight. But I was just doing trips of less than a week with low temperatures in the 20s F.

The warmlite link talks about an artic expedition where their sleeping bags gradually got more and more wet and got less and less warm. In that case a VB liner would be useful.

Warmlite makes sleeping bags with VB liners. But, they're very heavy. And they advertise that you can sleep naked in them and stay warm. That doesn't seem useful to me. I'de rather wear my day clothes in bed and have a lighter sleeping bag.

But that's just my experience.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: VBL clothing v.s. VBL bag on 12/18/2010 11:09:35 MST Print View

A bag is WAY easier to vent. Just by pumping the opening
a few times you can get rid of excess heat and stop perspiring.

I believe in having enough bag insulation in winter, as
you never know when temps may drop, you may need to
dry out things, you pick up a bit of crud, or become
exhausted from unexpected post holing during the
trip that inhibits you from creating enough heat.

This makes it important to be able to moderate temps.
in the bag.

I also find a vbl bag liner spreads heat to my feet better as the warm air is free to travel to the bottom
of the bag.

On one very cold trip, I did wear a vbl shirt day and
night as well as use a vbl bag liner. I wore my down
coat over the shirt and under the bag liner.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
VBL bag on 12/18/2010 12:26:43 MST Print View


If I feel I'm getting over-heated in my winter sleeping bag I can vent it too. But VBL clothes seem to me to be the answer to having the option to wear extra clothing inside my sleeping bag (over the VBL clothes) WITHOUT getting them damp as I would if I wore them inside a VBL bag.

This winter I'll be camping for 5 days at 10,000 feet in the Spring Mountains just northwest of Las Vegas. At that altitude the cold and wind are on another order of magnitude from even an 8,000 foot camp. That will be the true test of my VBL suit as well as the Caldera Cone Tri-Ti wood stove. (Yes, there's wood at that altitude here in the Spring Range,thankfully.

After that trip I'll post my experiences with the VBL Suit, etc..

Edited by Danepacker on 12/18/2010 12:27:17 MST.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
VBL clothing v.s. VBL bag on 12/18/2010 16:04:12 MST Print View

It's definitely VBL clothing over a base layer for me. I use the silnylon Brawny Gear rain jacket and pants (I bought almost the last that were made).

They double as my rain gear. Rarely does it rain and freeze hard in the same night, so I haven't have to worry about wet rain gear inside my bag. Multipurpose is always good--if it works for you.

If I get too cold in the bag, I can wear my puffy jacket over the VBL layer. This isn't possible with a VBL bag. I certainly wouldn't want to wear down inside a VBL! If it warms up during the night, I have been known to remove the rain jacket and pants. I keep them handy, though, because that usually means it will be raining by morning.

This practice won't work with breathable rain gear, though. My own finding is that I get as wet inside breathable rain gear as non-breathable in warmer weather, so if it's raining and relatively warm, I just get wet. Thanks to modern fast-drying fabrics, my clothes are dry 15 minutes after it stops raining, as long as I am moving. (That was also true the time I fell in the creek!) If it's cold, I have no problem with the non-breathable rain gear.

Everyone seems to have a different reaction to vapor barriers. For some, they become a sauna even down in the teens (F). For me, in my sleeping bag, the VBL suit works fine below 28-30*F and definitely keeps my sleeping bag drier.

In other words, YMMV! You need to find out what works best for you!

Edited by hikinggranny on 12/18/2010 16:06:41 MST.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: VBL clothing v.s. VBL bag on 12/18/2010 16:32:59 MST Print View

"If I get too cold in the bag, I can wear my puffy jacket over the VBL layer. This isn't possible with a VBL bag."

Sure you can. Just drawcord the VBL bag under your
armpits and wear the down coat over the outside.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
VBL clothing v.s. VBL bag on 12/19/2010 14:26:53 MST Print View

"Sure you can. Just drawcord the VBL bag under your
armpits and wear the down coat over the outside."

Sure, but it's a major pain for us old ladies who have to get in and out of the sleeping bag several times a night!

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
vbl bag on 12/19/2010 18:08:07 MST Print View

maybe another option w/ the bag is simply layer the down/syn jacket over top of the vbl??????- very little to no down compression this way either

all my winter trips have been very short in duration- 2-3 days so I haven't seen a real need to use any vbl, but can see that on longer trips would be very prudent to do so