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Popsicle Toes
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Bogs and Bergs
(Islandized) - F

Locale: Newfoundland
re: Popsicle Toes on 01/24/2013 08:37:22 MST Print View

You're getting the usual good advice here, I'll chime in because I'm you (same size, same food thing). Being small means smaller reserves, obviously. ProBars are a godsend, almost 400 calories in a few square inches. Even if I only manage half, that's 200 calories of nuts, seeds and chocolate (Cocoa Pistachio!) in just a couple tasty bites. No fuel, no fire. I keep one warm in an inside pocket.

I make sure not to lie down already chilled. A short trot or a few jumping jacks, not enough to get sweaty, last thing before turning in. I do layer a CCF (SOLite, reflective side) with the inflatable, but have found that even a mylar emergency blanket on the floor of the tent under the pad helps significantly.

Did somebody already mention sleeping in gloves, as well as hat and good socks? And making sure not to breathe into your bag? My personal downfall, hard to fight that burrow instinct. Buff or balaclava helps.

Otherwise, what they said. Avoid the temptation of wearing too much. If your bag has a lot of dead space, fill it with clothes, or get a smaller one (check 'youth' sizes, bonus: cheaper!). Maybe reconsider the chemical warmers, they're not that heavy if the alternative is suffering. Good on you for not letting the cold keep you indoors!

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Popsicle Toes on 01/24/2013 09:59:00 MST Print View

"Maybe I'm just not cold-adapted? Maybe I ought to sleep in the backyard for a few nights before heading into the mountains?"

It definitely takes me 2-3 days to adapt to hot or cold environments. Few people were born and bred as Californian as I was (5G SFer), but now I live in serious snow country. Everyone in snow country notices that the first freezing day in the Fall feels MUCH colder than the last freezing day in April. (the odd 35F in March and people are wearing shorts and feeling warm enough). Likewise 0F feels really cold in November but no big deal in February. Our bodies certainly adapt and change to our environment and while that takes a while, for me, a few days really helps.

I'm pretty sure I can accelerate the process with my dress and environment before a trip. If I dress a little light, skip the jacket for around-town errands, etc; then I seem to adapt to lower temps more quickly.

cold on 03/03/2013 00:14:03 MST Print View

The human body adapts physiologically to altitude, and heat, etc.

There is no physiological adaptation to cold by humans.

Anything you experience, is only mental.

Except to pack on fat.

Edited by livingontheroad on 03/03/2013 13:16:38 MST.

just Justin Whitson
Re: cold on 03/03/2013 22:22:18 MST Print View

I think i remember reading somewhere that native Siberians had some kind of subtle but definite physiological, average/common genetic, adaptation to their extreme cold environment/climate.

Re: mental--it's not something i would underestimate. Mental can definitely influence physical--it's been shown in a number of ways, a number of times, and by a number of different people. For starters, look up Wim Hoff or Tibetan Monks and Tummo meditation.

"Mental" (and i'm sure physiological conditioning as well) is what allows Wim, and people like him, to survive temperatures and extremes that would kill most people fairly quickly.

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
Re: Re: Popsicle Toes on 03/12/2013 01:03:15 MDT Print View

Add me to the list of Dougs in this thread that use the "hot hands" for my feet.

I've always had poor circulation and suffer the same thing of going to bed fine and waking up freezing a couple hours later, mainly my toes and feet. I recently started putting one or two of the hot hands in the foot area of my sleeping bag and it made a world of difference in my camping comfort for the night.

I'm curious about the comment that humans can't acclimate to the cold. I can tell you for certain that I felt MUCH better my second winter living in Canada than I did my first, even though it was a colder winter. After one month of sub-zero temps we would wear our shirt sleeves and leave the parkas at home when it got up to the mid 30's F. If it is all psychological, the mind must be a pretty powerful thing. ;-)

Edited by Jedi5150 on 03/12/2013 01:04:13 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Popsicle Toes on 03/12/2013 03:01:30 MDT Print View

On a trip last December, I ended up in a really bad situati0on where my feet were very dangerously cold. I took some plastic grocery bags and put them over my feet and under my wool socks to act as a vapor barrier. These added a surprising amount of warm. I am a believer in adding vapor barriers for warmth.

Edited by justin_baker on 08/24/2013 21:56:40 MDT.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Popsicle Toes on 03/12/2013 08:50:01 MDT Print View

I would guess too much insulation.

I would sweat and freeze with that much bag and pad.

stefan hoffman
(puckem) - F

Locale: between trees
RE: Popsicle Toes on 03/26/2013 12:27:44 MDT Print View

I have always had similar problems. The warmest sweater is the one you wear on the inside :). Eat plenty, for sure, spicy is a good idea IMO. I recently learned a cheap trick on Maui.....Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water!
I drink it straight, warm or cold, no matter. Hawaiian chili peppers are the best to use, the effects of peppers differ quite a bit. This is as much a mental cure as it is a physiological one. Might be a good one to keep close by in the middle of the night.
Also, in all of my winter camping, the most valuable thing i have come to realize is how delicate ones circulation is while horizontal and sleeping. Even my waistband seems to cut circulation to my legs sometimes. So now i just sleep nekkid with a soft sleeping bag liner to keep me feeling snuggly when i sweat a little. Very loose, fluffy socks for popsicle toes, if anything.

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/10/2013 17:30:14 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/10/2013 09:25:41 MDT.

just Justin Whitson
Liners etc on 04/10/2013 21:14:32 MDT Print View

Liners are ok depending, but i wouldn't want to carry around a liner that weighs almost a pound. Hollow fibers are a great idea, provided the fiber diameter is not on the larger side. There was a study done which compared different fibers as woven into fabrics, and somewhat surprisingly it was found that the smaller diameter solid fibers and their fabrics were actually a bit warmer than the larger diameter semi hollow fibers and their fabrics (this is for synthetics) because they ultimately trapped more air. Furthermore, the triangular shaped fibers trapped more air and thus were warmer than the more round ones.

Silk for example, is quite fine, animal protein, and somewhat triangular shaped so it's quite warm for it's weight, as far as fabrics go and very strong for a natural fabric. A silk liner is also, much, much lighter than the previously mentioned one by Daniel. So if you're looking to prevent draft heat loss near the zipper areas etc, to me it would make more sense to get a silk liner, or possibly a poly microfiber liner.

And if someone has the money, it also makes more sense to just get a bag with a greater fill weight and/or better quality fill. 8 oz of extra, good quality down, will be MUCH, MUCH warmer than a lb of Sea to Summit Reactor extreme liner.

Or as i advised to someone else on another thread, if you need to go the cheaper route, and still add significant warmth at not too much extra weight you can make a small quilt with thin Climashield Apex, and either put it inside your bag (if low humidity), on on top off your bag (with higher humidity, especially if cold). This will add a lot more warmth than the specialized liner, at around the same weight.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 04/10/2013 21:50:14 MDT.

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/11/2013 21:11:18 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/10/2013 09:22:04 MDT.

matt brisbin
(firestarter01) - F

Locale: Bay Area
zippo hand warmer on 05/22/2013 10:44:35 MDT Print View

Just thought I'd throw something out there. I'm not really a cold sleeper but my finger/toes do tend to get cold from time to time as I'm sure everyones does. I started out using the hand warmers you might find at REI but then quickly switched to the holy grail of long term heat, the zippo hand warmer. While it might be a slight pain to get started it lasts upwards of 8-10hrs and can get extremely hot (this is controlled by the user of course).

Well worth the money and I don't go on a winter trip anymore without taking one.

Fitz Travels
Verticle baffles on 05/22/2013 12:13:51 MDT Print View

I wonder if someone had vertical baffles and they woke up with extremely cold feet, if they should move more down to the toe area or more to the chest area?

Tanner M
Re: Re: Bubbly Toes on 06/05/2013 04:19:51 MDT Print View

I imagine you have worked something out by now. However, since the thread has floated up again:

I agree with the recommendation to eat protein.

Also, try adding a little olive oil to food. Couple teaspoons, whatever. You could try it at home to see if it agrees with you.

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
Hot cocoa on 06/13/2013 13:04:05 MDT Print View

A cup of hot cocoa right before bed adds increased hydration, fat, and warmth, all at once. Failing that, if you like chocolate, bedtime is a good time to bring out the chocolate covered peanuts or other desert items--long slow burn at night as opposed to quick flame out from carbs.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
Re: "Popsicle Toes" on 08/13/2013 18:13:10 MDT Print View

I am also a cold sleeper, but in hindsight, I realize that my shivering-coldest nights have always been when I was less than perfectly hydrated...which is really easy to do in the mountains or in cool weather when you don't feel like drinking. Eating is definitely important, but staying hydrated may just do the trick for you! Oh, and it's free!

Dan Yeruski
(zelph) - MLife

Flannel Lining on 08/19/2013 06:54:47 MDT Print View

Line the bottom of your sleeping bag with flannel cloth. Take slacks off when sleeping and place them on top of sleeping bag over your feet to have weight press bag against feet/legs. Place jacket/shirt over feet also for additional weight/insulation.

K Magz
(lapedestrienne) - F

Locale: somewhere without screens
circulation on 08/24/2013 14:04:23 MDT Print View

I have cold feet+hands almost all the time--genetically inherited circulatory issues.

Take a look at the socks you usually wear to bed. If they compress at all around your ankle, they might be doing more harm than good. Same with long johns that are really snug at the bottom.

I sleep without socks until it gets below freezing, that way the heat radiating from the rest of my body can help warm up my feet. When it's really cold and I can't manage barefoot, I bring designated sleep socks with no elastic - either big fleece socks or handknit woolens with a wide ankle.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Popsicle Toes" on 08/24/2013 16:24:21 MDT Print View

David: surely Augusts in SF went a long way towards preparing you for Alaskan winters.

I definitely agree with the notion of sleeping with a balaclava that covers your head and neck, plus another warm hat that also covers your ears.

Edited by book on 08/24/2013 16:29:01 MDT.

Paul Huber

Locale: Western Virginia
Check your Calorie Intake on 05/25/2014 14:32:55 MDT Print View

The coldest night I ever spent backpacking was a night when, in retrospect, my calorie intake was 1/4 of what I normally try to consume per day on a trip. I could not get warm that night for anything. I had everything in my pack on and still froze. Next night, same temp, but having stuck to my meal plan and calorie intake, I was toasty warm. Calorie and fat intake on cold nights is critical. I also like to drink a couple cups of warm Camomile tea before bed on the really cold nights.