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Ultra-ultralight sleep system for summer heat
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Derek Kind
Ultra-ultralight sleep system for summer heat on 04/29/2011 13:52:32 MDT Print View

Here's something I don't see talked about much - what do you guys take out on the trail when you know the temperature is going to be HOT? Maybe you're backpacking for the weekend and the forecast says the nights won't get colder than 60F, for example. Do you even take a sleeping bag/quilt, or do you just bring along an UL sheet or something?

Interested to hear people's solutions for this type of weather. :)

Daniel Fosse
(magillagorilla) - F

Locale: Southwest Ohio
HOT on 04/29/2011 14:10:10 MDT Print View

I'll watch this thread. I tried to start one on the same topic but I got too loopy with my words. I think you still have to consider where you're going though. The desert it hot and likely won't rain. My region is always 50/50 rain even if it isn't in the forecast. So a tarp is always in order.

I was thinking about stuff like ditching my pad and building a duff bed under my ground sheet, using a bivy with no sleeping bag and a poncho tarp for shelter. Also hot food kinda sucks when it's 99F outside, so maybe no cook system.... I dunno.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Ultra-ultralight sleep system for summer heat on 04/29/2011 14:28:30 MDT Print View

I live in OR now, but grew up in Arkansas and still think about this issue sometimes. I wonder about the Sea-to-Summit series of bag liners, like a combo of a Coolmax liner + a fleece or reactor liner. You could easily get around 16 oz with a modular system and the whole thing would be fairly low bulk.

I'd probably still want at least a 5 x 8 silnylon flat tarp and maybe even still bring an UL bivy.

Dan Cherry
(risingsun) - F

Locale: Northern Arizona
My 2 cents... on 04/29/2011 14:52:58 MDT Print View

I personally do a lot of hiking in the Grand Canyon and experience the sort of temps you describe late in the spring and late in the summer (I avoid mid-summer hikes in the GC). I typically take a 40-50* bag and use it as a quilt. Bag weighs in about a pound. That's just me, but it has been effective and gives me the option of zipping up the bag if temps drop a little more than the forecast.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
sleep system for summer heat on 04/29/2011 15:05:49 MDT Print View

On warm overnight trips, I still end up bringing a sleeping bag or quilt rated to around ~32* F. Sometimes, if it's really warm, I might not ever actually climb inside of it or under it. Other times, it's sorta' draped over part of me. I think it's nice to have the option of climbing inside of it though if the weather takes an unexpected turn.

I've thought about getting a lighter, summertime-rated bag or quilt, but I'm just not sure how often I'd use it. And frankly, with a 30* quilt that only weighs 16 oz, I'm not sure how much lighter I could go without spending a fortune.

One time, I slept in a bivy without a sleeping bag in an effort to avoid bugs on a warm, dry night. It was pretty clammy and stuffy though. I don't think I'd like to do that again.

Derek Kind
Re: sleep system for summer heat on 04/29/2011 15:11:00 MDT Print View

The bugs are terrible in the summer here in Ontario, and there's always a good chance of rain even if it's hot and humid, so I would always want to bring a tent. I guess you could get by with a pretty light bag liner or blanket if you're sheltered from the elements.

Ultra Magnus
(Ultra_Magnus) - F
Desert Dweller on 04/29/2011 15:45:19 MDT Print View

I've wondered this too. I live in the desert, so I've been researching this a bit, and what I've seen is that most wool or fleece blankets aren't any lighter or less bulky than a sul 40 degree quilt, am I right? It's kind of a crappy deal. I've read that some people just take one of those emergency bivy's that weigh like 6oz, but that doesn't sound to comfy to me. They are cheap, and I planned on getting one to have on hand anyway (for unplanned overnighters), so it might be worth trying out for the heck of it.


Derek Kind
Fleece on 04/29/2011 15:58:00 MDT Print View

Well, I have a lightweight fleece blanket that I use in the summer in the house, the sort you can pick up at Wal-Mart for cheap. I'm going to weigh it shortly. It may not be lighter than a down quilt, but it's not a bad way to save $200 if you don't already have a summer bag.

EDIT: Okay, my lightweight fleece weighs 584g, 20.6oz, and it's 60 x 80". If you trim it to 50 x 70", that's only 15oz. Not as good as I was hoping, but a viable option to save money.

It's not the warmest but if the temps are in the 70s, 80s, what more do you need? Of course, YMMV. Hopefully I get a chance to try out some lightweight blanket options this summer.

Edited by berethorn on 04/29/2011 16:11:12 MDT.

Rick Cheehy
(kilgoretrout2317) - F

Locale: Virginia
Same thought on 04/29/2011 18:01:17 MDT Print View

I'm actually planing on trying this soon, with the sea to summit silk liner, my MB therma-wrap parka and my dri-duck pants. I'm in the Appalachians and we don't go lower than the 50's during the summer. I'll let you know if it works out, if I don't report back I've died of hypothermia....

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Summer heat on 04/29/2011 18:13:20 MDT Print View

when I was young, living in the Utah desert. I never carried a sleeping bag or rain gear in the summer.

But, I was an idiot and had situations that I learned from.

I'd guess nowdays, I'd still leave the sleeping bag at home, bring a poncho tarp for the rare times when it would be needed. Sleep in my clothes. Maybe an ultralight bivy if bugs are a problem.
Scorpions can be a major annoyance in parts of Arizona, Texas and New Mexico, so a bivy with big head net can be a plus.

John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Summer Bag on 04/29/2011 19:46:52 MDT Print View

I was testing gear last summer, and decided that the answer depends on the temperature drop, more than the actual temperature.

It was 95-100 degrees and humid here last August, and temps dropped to 70 degrees at night. I slept under a 3/16" thick fleece blanket. I needed to ventilate before midnight, but got chilly enough to wake up around 3am. Luckily, I had an extra blanket (200 wt fleece), which turned out to be the perfect warmth.

I decided that a 45 degree quilt was what I was going to use in the future during the summer. Fleece blankets are a little heavy, and a LOT too big for a small pack size.

James Neal
(Laien) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Summer gear on 04/29/2011 20:05:18 MDT Print View

This is what I'll be carrying in the Ozarks this summer.

7x9 Zpacks tarp w/guylines and stakes-6.7oz.
Oware Hot Weather Bivysack-5.4oz.
Sea to Summit Reactor-9oz.
Thermarest Neoair (small)-9.6oz
Golite Poncho-7oz. (also used as shelter for dogs)

If the weather cools, I can always wrap up in the Poncho and the Reactor and bring the dogs under the tarp.

Andrew Troicki

Locale: Sydney
Heat on 05/01/2011 00:27:39 MDT Print View


I live in Australia where it can get quite hot. In summer I usually use a thermolite reactor and have just purchased a AMK heatsheets bivvy in case the temp drops.

The thermolite is great however it is not wind resistant, hopefully the new bivvy will take care of that & not be to hot.


Edit. forgot to add that i also use a neoair in summer

Edited by Troiks on 05/01/2011 00:28:53 MDT.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Ultra-ultralight sleep system for summer heat on 05/01/2011 00:40:43 MDT Print View

The UK is too unpredictable weather-wise to dispense with sleeping gear, but I just completed a trip to southern Spain, where is was unseasonably damp and cold for part of the time. I'm really glad I took the lightweight quilt made for me by Tim Marshall of this parish. It weighs 17oz and contains 6oz of 900fp down. I had Tim put more down at the foot end and use a light down waistcoat as extra insulation around camp and for sleeping in.

put put
(putput) - F

Locale: Hawaiian Islands
fabric source? on 05/01/2011 05:35:35 MDT Print View

Anyone have a source for lightweight fabric such as thermolite or thinuslate that could be used to make a lightweight blanket out of?

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
"Ultra-ultralight sleep system for summer heat" on 05/01/2011 08:20:40 MDT Print View

In the SE USA where I live the summers are hot, humid, & buggy. My system for this time of year includes a tarp, MLD Serenity shelter, & a 16oz Eddie Bauer 50 degree bag that I paid $22 for. I also use my NeoAir year round. The bag can be used traditionally or unzipped & used quilt style. The tarp can be pitched high for max ventilation, battened down for storms, or dispensed with altogether when there is no chance of rain. My tarp, & Serenity Shelter together weight about 14oz & gives a lot of flexibility.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
lightweight blanket on 05/01/2011 08:34:57 MDT Print View

I've been considering building an ultralight blanket- something along the lines of a poncho liner, but lighter (and probably warmer)

for insulation I think climashield apex would be a good choice (in the 2.5 oz) it's a continuous filament- no need for quilting or the like

if I can get my hands on the elusive Walmart 1.1 ripstop (~$1.50/yard) it would make for a rather inexpensive project

I'm thinking something like 50 x 80"- so roughly 7.5 oz of climashield and 7.0 oz of nylon

evidently climashield packs down pretty well (now down well, but pretty well :))

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Silk bag liner on 05/01/2011 08:53:41 MDT Print View

I have an old silk sleeping bag liner (Thermasilk Silksak) that works great during those warm summer Ohio nights.

Addendum: It weighs 5.62 oz. in its stuff sack, but come to think of it, who needs the stuff sack?


Edited by nerdboy52 on 05/01/2011 10:53:13 MDT.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
some alternatives on 05/01/2011 09:59:17 MDT Print View

These are some things I have been working with and you can use them in different combinations. The nice things about these items is that none of them can loose loft, be punctured and if they get wet, it doesn't matter

I use a Thermarest RidgeRest Solar as a pad so that you can use the regular side when it is warmer and the reflective side when it dips down a bit. Add some fluff or leaves beneath it to boost the rating.

A trash compactor bag is great for protection for the lower half or more from wind and rain and you can also use it to keep the items in your pack dry.

I also use a trash compactor bag rain skirt that can be used as a ground cloth or other options.

I bought a 9' long length of Noseeum that I can just drape over me or tuck under the pad and prop up with stick. Great to use for just the head or full body if it is very warm. You can also wrap it like a skirt if you need to wear short or around your head with a hat.

I also use a tarp with grommets in the corners that is reflective on one side. Very durable and you can convert it into a poncho tarp if you wanted to. Use some sticks to keep it off you in the heat but you can wrap it around and under you for the cold and/or rain. AMK is supposed to have their version of a reflective tarp out sometime soon with grommets in the corners.

You can also put the pant legs back on convertible pants if needed, doubling up on the socks or other items with the old ones on the outside, wearing your rain gear, wearing some socks on your hands. Yeah, your clothes might get a bit of perspiration in them but I have found that just about everything dries off with an hour or two once you are up and moving.

(rps76) - F
Not sure of the weight but... on 05/01/2011 11:27:50 MDT Print View

I have an old US Army poncho liner that I use. Ranger Joe's says it weighs 19oz. Mine might be a little heavier as I have sewn it along 3 sides and added a drawstring to the top (did this when I was in the Army).

Does anyone make a UL Down or synthetic blanket? You figure if MB can make a jacket weighing 8oz with a zipper, they could make a blanket around the same weight?

Or if one could get their hands on some Pertex and Primaloft One and get to sewing?

Edited by rps76 on 05/01/2011 11:30:36 MDT.