Offroad Trailblazers and Envoys

Tents and sleeping bags... the ultimate thread.

Discussion on how to enjoy the outdoors.

by RICHIET » Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:52 pm

Hi Jason

If you're trying to get her interested in the outdoors and she has never been camping before, Do Not take her winter camping. The first morning she wakes up in 25 degrees or less will probably be her last time. Since you're out on Long Island, look into getting a site at Hither Hills in the summer. It's B.S. site camping with facilities, but better suited to non outdoor females, plus with the right passes there is beach driving out there. As far as bags and tents go, everything is a trade-off. 4 season tents tend to be expensive ( usually $400 and up), heavy , and a little more involved to put up. I have an EMS 4 season that I like for winter as long as I'm not backpacking since it weighs about 13 lbs. Its a 3 man and it retains heat very well. I also have a Eureka apex which is also pretty good for all but the coldest weekends, but since it is a 2 man, there really is only room for one. A smaller tent will keep you warmer but the trade-off is being cramped. A tent with a lot of screen under the rainfly won't retain a lot of heat. I use a Sierra Design Lightning for most of my backpacking since it weighs under 4 lbs, but since it has a lot of screen, it retains almost no heat and I have to rely on my bag for warmth. I would avoid the cheap, store brands as these would probably fail at the worst time. Kelty, Eureka, REI, and LL Bean make pretty good mid priced tents. Check Campmor or Sierra Trading Post. They always seem to have good clearance sales.
I would avoid cheap bags too. I've seen quite a few broken zippers ( that really sucks when it's cold), zippers that catch on the draft tubes when you close them, or stitching that rips out. That said, I've had good luck with a Eureka wild basin 0 degree bag that I got at Campor for $50. North Face makes a few reasonably priced bags, too. I use their Cats Meow 20 degree bag for most of my trips, I just use a silk or silk and fleece liner when it's colder. You could look into mateable bags too. This way you could share body heat. A foam mat will also be warmer than an air mattress. Hope this helps
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by TangoBravo » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:31 am

My wife and I go camping in the winter every year often 2-3 times a winter. When we started out we had budget gear, we didn't really eant to sink alot of money into a tent and sleeping bags and all that. After the second trip we knew that we wanted to keep camping in the snow and with that decided to stary buying better equipment because we just weren't enjoying it as we could have. While a cheap tent and bag might get you through and you might be ok,I can tell you for sure there is no substatute for quality and comfort when it's -25 or lower out. I am very glad we decided to get better gear because the next year we went out on the fourth day unknown to us the weather system had changed from what it had be projected and that night it dipped down to -46, leaving wasn't an option untill the weather changed. Had we been out that year in our budget gear it could have been bad. I am a firm believer that if your going to go play in extreame conditions you should be properly prepared for the extreame conditions. Jusy my .02
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by Trail X » Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:36 am

-46 is some serious cold. Like, record breaking.

What bags did you have? What's your story on how to survive?
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by TangoBravo » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:47 pm

JamesDowning wrote:-46 is some serious cold. Like, record breaking.

What bags did you have? What's your story on how to survive?


Yeah that is some serious cold, as far as record breaking well that just depends on where your at. Keep in mond we checked and double checked the weather and it was projected to have a low of -15 and that is very normal for where we were at. We got caught off guard by a freak fast moving storm this can happen to anyone and that was what I was tryin to get at with my post.

For our gear we did alot of research before we got everything but for good reason, we wanted to have quality gear so that it didnt need to be replaced every two years. For sleeping bags we use Wiggy's Antartic bags with FTRSS and they are great bags, for tent we use North Face VE 25 it is a great four season tent made for 2 people. For clothes layers are important so do your research and find what fits you and what you like. We use under armor cold weather layering system under carhartt artic coveralls or bibs and a jacket. For socks we use moreno wool and we use Baffin boots they are not horribly expensive and most of there line are rated -145, for gloves we use baffin gloves as well. After that everything else is just personal comfort items balaclava googles and what not. As far as how to survive well basically my only advise is be as prepared as possible to include quality gear. Educate yourself, like I said in my OP if your going to go play in extreame weather you can do so safely and in comfort but you had better be prepared for the extreame
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by Trail X » Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:57 pm

I'm glad you can purposefully camp out in -15 and still enjoy yourselves.

I've been skiing in -15 and had no issues, but I don't think I'd have much fun being idle.
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by TangoBravo » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:18 pm

JamesDowning wrote:I'm glad you can purposefully camp out in -15 and still enjoy yourselves.

I've been skiing in -15 and had no issues, but I don't think I'd have much fun being idle.


Well we aren't sitting around the picnic table talkin about life all day. LoL we go hike to a fishin hole or to the top of a good snowboard spot. We might be out hunting or scouting for the next spot to hunt, maybe finding a place to photogragh some wild life. We always find something to do while we camp it's just we enjoy camping in the snow that's all.
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by v7guy » Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:16 am

I've mentioned to the misses the info you guys have given. Ive also picked up http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/158008 ... TA693MVHCV[url]this[/url].
Supposedly it's very woman friendly.

Am i to assume that a 4 season tent will be uncomfortable in the other three seasons?

It seems like a slightly more expensive 3 season tent with a good bag would be the way to go.So maybe i should start to focus my research more on the bags than the tents.The bags you can zip together are pretty cool.

Ive been reading on expedition portal and those guys seem more womanly than im used to. But in my situation thats kinda usefull. Beside sleeping her biggest worry is gettin her dookie on.

Ive read more about takin a shit than i ever thought i would lol
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by Trail X » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:36 am

v7guy wrote:Am i to assume that a 4 season tent will be uncomfortable in the other three seasons?

A good 4 season tent should have zippable vents or windows, so they should be comfortable in summer too.

From what I've read, a 4 season tent really just means more sturdy (to withstand snow), and less netting (to prevent some of the drafts).
v7guy wrote:It seems like a slightly more expensive 3 season tent with a good bag would be the way to go.So maybe i should start to focus my research more on the bags than the tents.The bags you can zip together are pretty cool.

The bag definitely makes the biggest difference. If she is cold a lot, make sure you get something that is rated much colder than you will experience, you can always zip open the feet and cool down that way, or stick out an arm.

v7guy wrote:Ive been reading on expedition portal and those guys seem more womanly than im used to. But in my situation thats kinda usefull. Beside sleeping her biggest worry is gettin her dookie on.

The first few times, we generally held it, but eventually you've gotta do what you've gotta do. A very good combination is a porta-bivvy tent, and a pett toilet. We can go from 0 to poo in about a minute, and it doesn't take up a ton of space. Here is Megan checking for tarantulas before entering:

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by Skidder » Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:09 pm

Just as a option that won't break the sleeping bag bank...US MILITARY GORETEX MODULAR SLEEPING BAG SYSTEM. Not perfect for all situations, but good enough in most. And by comparision dollar wise, not even close to a bank breaker.

As another mil surplus option, if you aren't too thrilled with the warmth of whatever bag you are carrying, pick up an 'old school' military wool blanket. Great insulation either under the bag (good extra pad too), or if it is really cold, use it inside the bag.

As a hot weather trick, carry a twin size flat sheet with you. Then, open your bag like a hammock, cover up with the sheet.
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by v7guy » Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:33 am

I remember using a lot of those wool blankets when I was a kid sleeping on a cot waiting out a severe storm in the basement. They were a little itchy as I recall but warm.
I looked up the modular sleeping bags and at $200 (give or take) they seem like a decent solution. Not cheap but not crazy expensive either, it's something to look at. I think I'm leaning towards just preparing for 3 seasons and only going out in 3 seasons to see if I can even get her to enjoy it. No sense in going crazy if she only comes out once. My standards of comfort are significantly lower than hers.

I wish the truck and the holidays weren't kicking my ass financially cause I would test some of this stuff out in the backyard to see if it's viable.

I'll continue reading and taking advice.
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by Skidder » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:49 pm

Before you pay anywhere close to 200 bucks, head over to ebay. I just checked and there were numerous listings for less than 100 bucks.
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by Mooseknuckle » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:50 pm

Wow thats awesome thats extreme camping. Nice port o pottie. I usually poop in the weeds. lol
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by DripTorch419 » Fri May 25, 2012 5:19 pm

If you are looking for the best tent made i would suggest the Raven tent http://www.firecache.com/products.asp?dept=43 I spend about 6 to 7 months out of the year in mine and i get a avrage 3 years out of it and we are talking extreme use.
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by NC_IslandRunner » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:58 pm

Well I'm not sleeping on the ground anymore but I'm not on the roof yet, and no I'm not doing like Jamie and mount it on the roof. UPS just dropped off my new Kamp-Rite Tent Cot. I like it, it seals up nice and all four sides open up all the way or leave mesh closed.
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by v7guy » Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:35 am

Well my accommodations for Tecore are a bit up in the air at the moment but I did end up picking up a field and stream mummy bag rated to a 0 deg comfort rating. Based on the advise here I figured this would probably get me through a fall camp out. I'm still on the fence about a tent, but based on the input I'm just going to try a mid range 3 season tent that's commonly available. If I'm going to do this often I'll upgrade.
The misses has decided not to come to Tecore due to fears of bathroom issues over two nights.
She was willing to do one night, but two was a no go. Especially with lots of new people and no women. I offered to get a bathroom shelter but it wasn't helpful. Obviously I hope to get her to try an over night stay so I didn't push. I figure one night can lead to two eventually. Maybe the group setting is too much. In casually talking with her friends this seems to be the biggest issue for all of them.
The bag I picked up seems reasonable.
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I'll sleep in it this week and a time or two in the winter to give reviews.



I'm still unsure of what tent to get. I'm looking locally instead of ordering. This is motivated by the desire to get something cheaper and 3 season as opposed to the 4 seasons I was initially looking at. If I use it often I'll upgrade. I've been steering towards the tents with high water resistance and a high "tub". I've waken in water. It's no good.

Admittedly I'm disappointed I can't get the misses on board, but pushing will never make it happen. If there are any thoughts beyond the toilet tent I'm happy to hear them.
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by navigator » Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:20 am

I've bought a couple of the cheapo tents over the years. No more than I get out they work fine for me.
I've found the biggest thing for the cheapo ones are how easy is it to put together and can you do it alone.
The past several had the metal poles etc and were a pain if not impossible for one person to put together.

I have this one now and it works out good, easy to put together and pack up but it is a little large.
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by navigator » Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:23 am

this one is supposed to be really easy to put up but we might have 6 people with us and a 6 person tent with 6 people can be tight.

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by HARDTRAILZ » Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:29 am

Maybe 4 people that like each other but not 6
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by navigator » Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:51 am

it would be fine for the wife and I and 2 smaller kids. I'm tempted to get the smaller one just because it doesn't take up much room and is easy to put up but really the big tent is pretty easy. I think it has 4 fiberglass poles to put together and slide in the hooks and throw the rainfly on it. I usually stake it but I don't think you even need to if the wind is going to lay low.
The biggest thing is it has a large footprint.
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by HARDTRAILZ » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:16 am

I would always stake the tent. Are you magic and know the wind patterns overnight? Pretty simple to do and i am yet to finf a reason not to at least attempt to stake one.
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