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Camping with partner?
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Tristana Rodriguez
(Tristana) - F
Camping with partner? on 02/08/2013 04:13:49 MST Print View


I was wondering whether anyone out there is lucky enough to camp with their significant other, and if so what sleeping setup they have. My usual preference is a hammock but I'm not sure how well this works for two of us.I'd like us both be together, for the added warmth if nothing else!

I'd love to hear people's thoughts!


David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
Camping with partner? on 02/08/2013 06:21:03 MST Print View

My wife and I camp together a lot. We have tried a double bivy (one night and nixed), sleeping bags zipped together (apparently I am above the noxious odor limit) and a 2 person quilt (I toss and turn a lot and let in too much air). She now uses her WM Ultralight and I use a quilt. Our tent is a SMD Haven which we both like for the ease of use and the room inside.

Tristana Rodriguez
(Tristana) - F
Thank you on 02/08/2013 06:35:38 MST Print View

Thank you David

Haha! I didn't realise there was a noxious odor limit!

Rob E

Locale: Canada
almost every trip on 02/08/2013 07:58:47 MST Print View

Most trips are with my partner and our dog. We use a tarptent squall 2. Sure, there are lighter shelters out there, but for the full bug and rain protection and simplicity (takes us about 1-2 minutes to be fully setup), it's a great shelter for us. She uses a womens prolite plus pad and a 650 gram down mummy sleeping bag from MEC. Although warm, I dislike this pad, as it is very bulky when deflated. I use a size small neoair xlite and a marmot sleeping bag, but just made a MYOG quilt.

Cary Dwiggins

Locale: NW
My setup... on 02/08/2013 09:15:33 MST Print View

We have a Jacks R Better Mt Rogers with wings. It works well for us. If you are wanting to enjoy 'couple' time, out in the wilderness, I think a large quilt is the way to go. If you would just as soon save that for at home, then go ahead and get 2 separate bags. If I had lots of money, I'd love to get a double wide Z packs bag. we took a tarptent rainshadow tent on our anniversary hike and really enjoyed the spaciousness. I also dragged along a huge double wide gossamer gear 1/4 (evazote?) pad to prevent our blow up pads from floating away for each other. Worked great and was super nice to lay on for lunch breaks during the day. On more practical minded trips, I took a lightheart gear 2 man tent with 2 separate 1/8 in (evazote?) pads that worked pretty well at preventing pad drift. I love this tent, but it is definitely less luxurious than the rainshadow:).


Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Camping with partner? on 02/08/2013 09:31:24 MST Print View

I don't have specific experience since, (sorry, my twisted sense of humor got the best of me....), but don't Western Mountaineering sleeping bags zip together? If so, I'd go that route, zip them together, and if it didn't work out, you'd still have full separate bags without having to buy anything else.

As far as shelter, the Lightheart Gear Duo is a great choice.

Edited by idester on 02/08/2013 09:35:49 MST.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
SMD Haven and two WM sleeping bags on 02/08/2013 11:42:24 MST Print View

My wife and I use an SMD Haven. We love the versatility of being able to bring/use the inner net when there are bugs, but don't have to otherwise. We also enjoy to have each our own door on our side - so we don't have to crawl across each other when nature calls us :)
We each have a Western Mountaineering sleeping bag - one with a right zipper and one with a left zipper. We can zip them together and enjoy that extra warmth wheneve we feel like it. We both use NeoAir pads below - one xLite and one xTherm.
That works well for us and gives us maximum flexibility.


Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Camping with partner? on 02/08/2013 12:42:04 MST Print View

My wife and I use any two person tent that has two separate side door entrances.

We tried one bag but went back to individual bags.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Camping with partner? on 02/08/2013 12:50:57 MST Print View

Bags don't always have to be from the same manufacturer. For whatever reason, my mountain hardware bag and my north face bag zipped together.

Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Camping with partner? on 02/08/2013 12:56:27 MST Print View

+1 on the SMD Haven with it's two doors and tons of room inside. My wife and I use a Jacks R Better top quilt over 2 NeoAir short pads coupled together. At just under 2 lbs the quilt is lighter than two bags zipped together. We don't seem to have significant problems with drafts, etc., and the shared body warmth is nice.

Stu Pendious
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: Camping with partner? on 02/08/2013 14:04:20 MST Print View

Car camping we use a Big Agnes Cabin Creek, but backpacking we're using individual bags because ours don't zip together (and our two bags combined are lighter than the Cabin Creek). Although, this year we are going to shop for a new Western Mountaineering bag that will zip together with my current bag. Since she sleeps really cold and I sleep very hot, I'm thinking we'll be able to go with something a little lighter for her if she can use my body heat.

Without her I'm using a Gatewood Cape, but when we she comes we take a Seedhouse UL2 with a Tyvek ground cloth that we also use for picnicking in the day. The Seedhouse is a little cramped if you're using the bug netting and when you have a 45lbs dog sleeping in there with you. The vestibule is almost big enough to absolutely no good at all. Yet, all that said, we are happy when we're in it. She's warming up to the idea of going with a tarp system this year, so I'm excited about looking into that... I'd really love to get some extra room.

Basically being lucky enough to camp with my significant other also translates into carrying an extra 10 pounds or more. She'd split the load if I asked her to, but weighting me down a little usually makes our hiking pace more simpatico.

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Camping with partner? on 02/08/2013 14:11:03 MST Print View

Jim and I have been sleeping together in our tent for 30 years, and all of it under a double-top-quilt. I've got a lot of thoughts on that piece of your question.

Here's a post with a comprehensive list of commercial double quilts midway down the thread (thanks Tony):

David mentioned trying and rejecting a top quilt because he tosses and lets in too much air. That is the design problem with a double top quilt -- the space between shoulders is susceptible to drafts. Different manufacturers of double quilts have different solutions to the problem. After many hundreds of nights sleeping under a double quilt, I designed and built my own solution and I'm THRILLED with it. If you've got sewing skills and don't mind investing dozens of hours you might take a look.

Description of our home-made Love Bird Quilt

Attaching a double quilt to Pad Couplers

Jim and I don't have problems with air penetration on the sides, because we attach the quilt to the pads. AlanD borrowed our newly built (70" wide) quilt for a week, temps in the 20s, and didn't attach it at all and they didn't have drafts - but they tuck in the sides and are careful when they turn over. So I'd speculate that side drafts may depend a lot on how much you thrash in the night and how you stabilize the sides. The drafts between the shoulders is a problem for anybody, even if you don't thrash, and IMHO that's where you should pay attention to the design of the quilt.

For what it's worth, our new quilt is 70" wide, except for the part closest to the head which is 86" wide (but pleated to reduce width to 70" where it meets the main quilt - as per the post above). I've now made three quilts at that width and can't see any benefit to making it wider (we're each about 68" tall and about 140 pounds). We are able to tuck the edges under us and lay on our sides facing each other (not spooned) - that is the most space consuming position and 70" width with the pleated top chambers is AOK.

Another note -- Nunatak Dual Arc Alpinist footbox is narrow, too narrow for the two couples I know who have tried it, but OK for a third couple. I don't know about the other commercially available double quilts, but it's worth paying attention to size of the footbox if you're in the market.

And finally -- if you buy any of the commercial double quilts and you have sewing skills, you can experiment and rig your own solution to the area between the shoulders. Something along the lines of the Nunatak solution would be easy to add. Nunatak's anti-draft tonsil was not wide enough for us, but it would be easy to experiment to find what works for you. That anti-draft solution could be made with primaloft or other synthetic if you can sew but don't want to deal with down. For the ten years prior to making my own quilt last year, we were using a Nunatak Backcountry Blanket which I modified to create a foot box and to add a pleated extension at the neck.


PS - we use a REI Quarter Dome, which we adore. I keep looking at the SMD and TT Double Rainbow in order to save weight, maybe some day we'll make the switch. We've gotten pretty attached to the two-door design and wouldn't want to give up that feature.

Edited by drongobird on 02/08/2013 14:13:39 MST.

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
our setup on 02/08/2013 14:58:02 MST Print View

My wife and I have camped together for twenty years now.

For a very long time we used a "Therma-nest" sleep system that used a single synthertic 20 degree thermarest rectangular sleeping bag to cover two full sized thermarest pads which were held in by a bottom sheet with a zipper all the way around.

This was a fantastic - if heavy - sleep system. At the time I often bragged to other trad hikers about how my wife and I only used a single sleeping bag between the two of us though, and maybe it was a little lighter than two bags and two pads. It sure is comfy with the heavy pads and shared body heat!

It also got us used to the idea of using a sleeping bag as a "quilt" with just the pads below us - Long before I ever read about backpacking quilts and stuff.

That bag is about worn out now though, and has been replaced with a Ray Way 2 person kit quilt, with two layers of alpine insulation. Very warm indeed, and quite light!
For pads we now use two Thermarest regular "prolite" pads, at about a pound each.
At least in the summer. In the winter the old heavy R5 pads make a very big difference, and my wife couldn't care less about the weight...

I've slept on a walmart foam pad next to her when she was on her old thermarest pad, and before long we were both trying ( and sucseeding to a remarkable degree )to fit on top of her comfy pad!

We both use Jam 70 packs. My wife carries the quilt and both pads, our dopp kit, first aid kit, her clothing, and some snacks. She needs the big pack for that bulky quilt, and with her bad knees it is essential to keep her pack weight low.

I carry everything else - usually ( but not always ) a tent when we're together, the stove, cook kit and all the food, as well as my clothes and a tiny repair kit.

It's a good system, and our base pack weights are almost in the UL range, which is a big improvement for us.

For tents, we have a tarptent Squall 2 and the very similar Rainshadow 2.
We like single enty tents with sufficent cover to cook under in the front and a dry entrence in rainy weather.

My wifes favorite tent of all time is the bomb proof seven pound Timberline 2, but I refuse to carry that boat anchor anymore...

Edit to add -

I can't imagine not sleeping with my wife and can't imagine why any couple would want two bags - I mean I married the gal so we could sleep together every night!
It is so very very much warmer, and uh, there are other advantages as well...

I'd certainly recomend a synthetic quilt though, two bodies just produce to much moisture when snuggled under a single quilt, especially if there is any kissing going on...

But I guess that's just me. Amy likes the double down quilt I gather.

Edited by Bawana on 02/08/2013 15:10:24 MST.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Camping with partner? on 02/08/2013 16:12:33 MST Print View

My wife and I have been camping together regularly since 1973.

We started with a tent (double A-frame, then dome) and separate sleeping bags (zipped together if possible), moved to a two-person top-bag with thin sheet below (a Marmot Grouse, basically a semi-rectangular sleeping bag that opens flat and zips into a bottom sheet), then discovered UL a few years ago (via Jardine's book "Beyond Backpacking").

Now we use a two- or three-person tarp with a two-person RayWay-style quilt I made for three-season, and a winter dome tent with two quilts when it gets real cold. I made the RayWay quilts with "draft-stoppers", a perimeter of thin fabric about 6" wide that does a reasonable job of eliminating drafts (I toss and turn a lot so it doesn't eliminate them completely).

I found that wearing a full base layer (bottoms and long-sleeve top) and socks on cold nights makes me not notice any drafts at all (with a hat, of course).

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Why do I have to have a subject on 02/08/2013 16:20:04 MST Print View

I've never had an oportunity to backpack without my wife. she gets mad I'm having fun and she's not..

When car camping we zip our bags together on an air mattress.
When backpacking we sleep completely seperately on partial length neo air pads, and regular sleeping bags. We put our packs under our feet. Also we are in a tent, but I'd like to change that if we ever get out again...

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
Ray Way quilt on 02/08/2013 16:22:19 MST Print View

Yep, we also put the "draft stopper" and the "Gorget" on our Ray Way quilt.

Heh, and my wife also sewed me one of those Ray Way silly insulated hats to wear while sleeping, because I'm rather bald these days...
Calls it my "Smurf hat" because I got a blue one...
It's to silly to be seen in public with, but I do consider it a part of my sleep system. She has hair - And lots of it, so she doesn't ned a hat at night even in the coldest weather.

Ya know, one reason down insulation probably would not be a wise idea for us is because we always pull the covers up over our heads ( and giggle like kids ) when we get under our quilt or our old thermanest system. Eventually we warm up and stick our noses out, usually...But not always. And breathing inside a down quilt is probably not a good idea as that stuff doesn't like the added moisture much.

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
Tarping with wife... on 02/08/2013 16:32:58 MST Print View

"Also we are in a tent, but I'd like to change that if we ever get out again..."

My wife will tolerate tarp camping - But only just.
It didn't help that last time we camped out under my Spinn Twinn tarp - ( That's our old thermanest sleep system under it )

Spinn Twinn

We were molested by some sort of rodent that actually did dances ontop of our heads at night! I mean I don't mind 'em skittering across the bag now and then but on top of our freaking heads!?!

I figure a two or two and a half pound tarptent is fine, I don't mind the weight if it means my better half is more comfortable. besides, she carries all the bedding anyway, so if I carry just a one pound tarp setup she may get jealous...

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
Camping with partner? on 02/08/2013 17:16:53 MST Print View

Alpinlite 2.0

This net tent from AlpinLite and my SpinnTwinn gives us plenty of room and no more mice on our heads. That really wakes you up, doesn't it?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Camping with partner? on 02/08/2013 20:32:43 MST Print View

Many of us do.
Sue and I have done so since about 1968.
We tent and quilt, summer and winter.


Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Camping with partner? on 02/09/2013 09:36:55 MST Print View


At least your wife lets you wear your "Bomber Hat". I made one out of some powder-blue 1.1 ripstop I got on clearance, and my family thinks it is hilarious. They like to take pictures of me wearing it and laugh a lot and show it to strangers. At least they haven't posted it on Facebook yet. Wait a minute...I'd better check...