Seeking advice on emergency insulation for unplanned overnights
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David Phillips
(dphilli1_00) - MLife
Seeking advice on emergency insulation for unplanned overnights on 06/19/2014 15:52:29 MDT Print View

I'm starting to push what I can do in a day, distance-wise, and am starting to think about what I should carry in terms of insulation for unplanned overnights (3-season conditions) in the White Mountains of NH.

For a bit of context, I did a survival class in NH where I deliberately slept in slightly sweaty clothes after not eating all day in just a SOL bivvy to see how bad it got, and I was quite cold at ~45F. I made it thru the night, but it was rather unpleasant. If I was in a real survival situation (lost, wet from rain, dehydrated, etc), the extra warmth from some kind of insulation might make a big difference.

I already carry silkweight wool thermals (top & bottom) in my emergency kit, and typically carry something like a Rab Xenon (summer) or EMS Down Ascent jacket (winter).

The Sea to summit Spark SPL 45 is attractive, as is the Nuntak Arc AT, but is there anything else I should be considering? A lower-body version of the Xenon seems like it might fit the bill for "survival" level insulation given what I already carry, but I think sleeping bags/quilts provide more warmth for the weight and are more versatile.

Price is less of a factor than weight, size, and resilience to being compressed, as this would be a "carry every time" kind of item, so it would see a lot of stuffing (approximately 1x/month)

Suggestions?

Thanks
David

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Seeking advice on emergency insulation for unplanned overnights on 06/19/2014 16:03:39 MDT Print View

You could take an elephant foot sleeping bag.

This is a thin half-length sleeping bag, and it is intended to be used along with a normal down jacket or parka.

It is called an elephant foot because that is what it looks like.

--B.G.--

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Seeking advice on emergency insulation for unplanned overnights on 06/19/2014 16:07:10 MDT Print View

SOL Escape is supposed to be good down to 50 F. It can be compressed no problem.

Wear an insulated layer underneath and you should be comfortable down to 40 F or even 30 F. Synthetic doesn't like to be compressed so much, down more sensitive to getting wet. Choose what you need for expected conditions. Maybe don't compress it so much so you need a bit bigger pack.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Seeking advice on emergency insulation for unplanned overnights on 06/19/2014 16:10:32 MDT Print View

Check out the Blizzard Bag.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Seeking advice on emergency insulation for unplanned overnights on 06/19/2014 17:03:50 MDT Print View

"Suggestions?"

No matter what you do about clothing/shelter, take around 2000 calories of food, with a decent amount of carbs in it, say 30-40%. It doesn't do any good to have insulation if you can't produce any heat to warm yourself inside it. Also, fire starting gear, matches/Bic/tinder/good knife.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Seeking advice on emergency insulation for unplanned overnights on 06/19/2014 17:08:11 MDT Print View

if you happen to have your backpack (50L) with you in an emergency overnight, I would dump out all the contents and put my legs in it for overnight, like a potato sack.

That doesn't work well for SUL whose pack is tiny.

Also look into Les Stroud's three zones of assessment. what's in your pockets, in your immediate surroundings, and what resources are within some distance.

Good luck

nleve0778@ gmail.com
(Quixotic_1) - F

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Hill People Gear "Mountain Serape" on 06/19/2014 17:32:18 MDT Print View

HPG Mountain Serape- it's heavy (especially for this forum), but it's synthetic, and it's versatile. Check it out.

Here is a link to a cool video...
http://youtu.be/MI-e9M8Vl3I

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Seeking advice on emergency insulation for unplanned overnights on 06/19/2014 18:32:50 MDT Print View

"The Sea to summit Spark SPL 45 is attractive, as is the Nuntak Arc AT/ elephant foot..."
the problem I see with the above is that if by any chance it happens to rain, none of those down bags will keep you warm or comfortable.
On the other hand the Blizzard Bag might just work in that situation.

Also do note the comment from Tom about food and yours about not eating all day and shivering in the SOL.

Ito Jakuchu
(jakuchu) - MLife

Locale: Japan
blizzard plus bothy on 06/19/2014 19:29:44 MDT Print View

I would look into a blizzard bag as well. Perhaps if you want to have fool proof easy emergency shelter think about combining it with something like a Terra Nova Superlite Bothy. When your hands are too cold, wind blows too hard, your borderline hypothermic and hungry, a bothy might be helpful (alternative is to bring a tarp, lie under it when you can, or wrap yourself up when you can't).

Like above I would also take food as an essential emergency backup.

Edited by jakuchu on 06/19/2014 20:42:51 MDT.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Seeking advice on emergency insulation for unplanned overnights on 06/19/2014 21:29:52 MDT Print View

Reading what you have posted, you either were not given very good training or you did not retain any training. You should have utilized any features in your environment. Leaves, bark, logs etc. Keep hydrated. My take is you would have little extra clothing or proper gear. In SAR, you would have gear to get you by for any unplanned nights out, supplemented by natural things if needed. You say unplanned overnights, that could mean you may have some stuff with you or it may mean for some reason you were unable to get back home or to camp and have to survive a night out.
Duane

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Seeking advice on emergency insulation for unplanned overnights on 06/19/2014 21:36:12 MDT Print View

There have been many stories of guys with recent military training who got stuck out in the wilderness with injuries. They managed to stay alive by digging themselves into a "squirrel's nest" of leaves and debris. Plus, if you have any fabric to lay over the top as a shell, it is even better.

--B.G.--

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Blizzard Bag and improvised natural insulation/wind protection on 06/19/2014 23:44:57 MDT Print View

+1 Ian - the Blizzard Bag is very warm for the weight. We opened one up at the recent SF Bay Area GGG and it was spacious, WARM and waterproof - ingenious design for mylar baffles when the bag is expanded. I did a lot of day-long winter snowshoeing / cross country skiing in very cold conditions in the NE and I would always take a lightweight emergency SOL sack with me - but now the Blizzard Bag would be my choice. In winter you might also consider a Bothy Bag, which is very nice for rest stops as well.

+1 Bob - you can improvise a lot of insulation and wind protection from what you have around you + what you have with you.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
blizzard on 06/20/2014 01:02:03 MDT Print View

a 4 oz SOL heatsheets bivy in the summer or on rock climbs

a blizzard when it gets cold

as to trees/leaves/etc ... you might get injured above the tree line and not be able to build one

something that you can simply crawl into is quite beneficial

;)

David Phillips
(dphilli1_00) - MLife
Re: Re: Seeking advice on emergency insulation for unplanned overnights on 06/20/2014 07:58:44 MDT Print View

Rodger, during the class, I did just as you suggest -- empty out my pack, climb into my bivvy, then stick my legs in the backpack. legs stayed warm, but torso was cold.

David Phillips
(dphilli1_00) - MLife
Re: Re: Seeking advice on emergency insulation for unplanned overnights on 06/20/2014 08:01:38 MDT Print View

Tom - I typically carry about 3K in calories, and have multiple fire staring methods in my survival kit.

I used the class as an opportunity to see what it was like when everything when bad in a safe environment where if I got in too deep, fire/food/rescue was only a 100yds away.

David Phillips
(dphilli1_00) - MLife
Blizzard bag worth the weight? on 06/20/2014 08:20:16 MDT Print View

Is a blizzard bag worth the weight in terms of warmth?

spark sp1 ~12oz
nuntak Arc AT 8oz
nuntak Arc edge 11oz

blizzard bag (3 layer) 13.5oz
lite blizzard(2 layer) 10oz

I like the fact that I can just leave it in the pack and it combines both waterproof (bivvy) and warmth (sleeping bag), but will it be warmer than equivalent weight of separate items?

Rab xenon is ~13oz, sol heatsheet bivvy is 2.4 oz, and Arc AT is 8 for a total of ~24oz.

Seems like a good idea!

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Blizzard bag worth the weight? on 06/20/2014 08:24:00 MDT Print View

My understanding of the tog to warmth rating conversion is that the Blizzard Bag is a "medium weight" bag so roughly 40-50*.

Like you mentioned, this is a stand alone system that's insulation, a waterproof bivy, and VBL.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Blizzard bag worth the weight? on 06/20/2014 08:39:29 MDT Print View

Spark SP1 (light down sleeping bag) is EN rated to 46 F - 12 oz

The Blizzard is rated at 8 tog = 0.8 RSI. From the Mammut document http://www.mammut.ch/images/Mammut_Sleep_well_pt1_E.pdf 0.8 RSI would give you a EN lower comfort limit of about 3 C = 38 F at 13.5 oz

Extrapolating the SP1 - for 38 F you would need 14 ounces

So - Blizzard weighs about the same for the same warmth as a light down sleeping bag

Blizzard packs smaller and can be compressed for long period - makes a good survival item

Blizzard gives you more proetection from wind and rain

Blizzard is not breathable so you could get heavy condensation inside

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Blizzard bag worth the weight? on 06/20/2014 09:13:28 MDT Print View

One complaint often made is that the Blizzard Bag comes packed the the size of a VHS tape (which is good). Once opened, it's supposedly much bigger.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Blizzard bag worth the weight? on 06/20/2014 09:15:40 MDT Print View

hard to repack into small size

so, it's best application is as a survival item that you carry with you but don't routinely use. If a survival situation happens, you use it, and then buy another one for future trips.