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Idea's for lowerbody warmth?
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Allen Green
(Allen) - F
Idea's for lowerbody warmth? on 01/20/2007 19:46:01 MST Print View

Hello, I have been a lurker here for some time, but I have a ? I hope you can help with. To set the stage,I have a Ti Goat Vertex 5 tipi, Sleep in a I.D. Renaissance (20*) bag with a POE x-lite thermo pad(72x20x2.5) on top of a blue foam pad. I wear mid weight 65% wool socks and mid wt.synth top and bottoms. I def. sleep cold. Last night it was cold and rainy but the temps were only at the low of 35*. My legs and feet were uncomfortably cold. Nothing was wet, I did use a heater pak but it did not help that much. I was wondering if anybody had some tips (without trading equip.) that would help in this area. Would like to keep as light as poss. the days tend to run up into the 60's and would be doing lot's of mod. to stren. packing. Thanks and I hope I explanied it well enough. --Allen--

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Idea's for lowerbody warmth? on 01/20/2007 20:02:42 MST Print View

Hi Allen-

A couple of ideas here:

1) You said nothing was wet, but were your top, bottom and socks the same ones you hiked in? If they were, they almost certainly contained some residual moisture. If your sleep system is warm enough, you *can* dry your hiking clothing in your bag. But, don't try to dry damp socks on your feet -- the heat of vaporization needed to dry the socks will surely make your feet cold. Wear dry, spare socks instead. And, if you are trying to dry damp socks, remove them and stuff them in your torso layers somewhere.

2) I believe the x-lite thermo has a thin layer of insulation on the top only. If you also use a blue pad for additional warmth, it should go on top of the x-lite pad. Otherwise convection currents in the x-lite (especially at the pad edges) will greatly reduce the benefit of the blue pad.

3) Eat Well -- you need fuel in your body to generate the heat you need at night.

4) If you have the fuel, and get really cold, boil some water, put it in your water bottle/bladder/whatever, and place it between your thighs to warm the blood through your femoral artery. (Make sure to have enough insulation between a really hot bottle and your bare skin though.)

5) If you still need more leg insulation, try putting your pack under your legs in addition to the pad(s).

Hope this helps.

Good Luck,


Edited by MikeMartin on 01/20/2007 21:44:44 MST.

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: Re: Idea's for lowerbody warmth? on 01/21/2007 00:43:15 MST Print View

Another piece of advice I usually give to people in your situation---If your feet are cold put on a hat, and possibly even a neck gaitor. The body shunts blood away from the extremties to the core when getting cold, and since you lose 40% of your body heat through head and neck, putting on those garments can easily raise your core temperature.

Allen Green
(Allen) - F
Re: Re: Re: Idea's for lowerbody warmth? on 01/21/2007 08:40:33 MST Print View

Mike, Thanks I will try another pair of socks. I had heard that the blue pad went on bottom but will try it on top.

C.Pete, That is correct, I had on a stocking cap but no gaitor, but will try this also. Thanks

I guess I can take another pair of hvy wt. socks and bottoms but didn't want the extra wt. to carry or take up space, and I also hate taking off my undies to put on others when it is cold becouse these would be to warm once i got up and about, but I might have too. Thanks--Allen--

Edited by Allen on 01/21/2007 08:42:45 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Re: Idea's for lowerbody warmth? on 01/21/2007 12:03:55 MST Print View

Nothing against Pete, but I think the old saying of putting hats on to make the feet warm is still another cold weather camping myth. Do the things Michael mentioned and see if that helps.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Idea's for lowerbody warmth? on 01/21/2007 13:22:40 MST Print View

The head and neck break the normal rules of body shell thermoregulation because the brain needs a constant supply of blood. The blood vessels on the rest of your body shell dilate in warm weather and constrict in cold weather to control heat loss.

Because the head has a very high surface to volume ratio and the head is heavily vascularized, you can lose a great deal of heat from the head. Therefore, hats are essential to maintain body warmth. The adage - if your toes are cold, put on a hat - is true. A balaclava is particularly effective and versatile.

When the ambient temperature is 4C (39.2F), the uncovered head could be responsible for heat loss representing 50% of resting heat production, increasing to 75% at an ambient temperature of –15C (5F).

Edited by richard295 on 01/21/2007 13:23:20 MST.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Re: Re: Re: Idea's for lowerbody warmth? on 01/21/2007 16:28:30 MST Print View

> That is correct, I had on a stocking cap but no gaitor, but will try this also.

Also try adding a second hat and/or a warmer hat (fleece?). I add a 1.0 oz bomber hat with 0.75" of PolarGuard 3D insulation when the temp is below +40F. Yes, it makes a difference.

You could wear your pants to bed as well, if they aren't wet (I usually do). Don't bother removing your undies (unless they're soaked); just layer more on.

Edited by Otter on 01/21/2007 16:30:54 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Idea's for lowerbody warmth? on 01/21/2007 22:22:43 MST Print View

I hear ya. The most common time I hear people complain about cold feet is while sleeping in their mummy bags with one inch of down over their head. This means, to me, that most cold feet issues while sleeping are due to local effects of lack of insulation from the ambient temperature/ground. Of course they need a hat on their head, but the saying seems silly in the typical context of cold feet while sleeping. Even while snowshoeing my feet are cold due to lack of insulation from local effects and not my head, because I have two hats on typically.

And then there are the issues of hydration, calories, medical conditions, etc that may have an effect.

john flanagan
(jackfl) - F

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Idea's for lowerbody warmth? on 01/22/2007 15:16:52 MST Print View

Along the lines of a hot water bottle between the legs - I use a pair of insulated shorts in really cold weather as a helpful adjunct. Easy to make by either shortening the legs on a pair of fleece pants or using quilted military pants liner (this requires the addition of velcro and elactic to hold them up - the advantage is that they have quite a good warmth:weight ratio. The theory is that the femoral artery / groin is potentially a point of significant heat loss. Probably the hot water bottle is the way to go for starters - no gear to buy or modify. If it works well, take it from there.