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Author Topic: Blankets on Top?  (Read 258 times)

Offline Bothwell Voyageur

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Blankets on Top?
« on: February 11, 2020, 03:31:02 pm »
I see lots of pictures with folk using wool blankets on top of their sleeping bags. Looks great but look more closely and you can see that the weight of the blanket is compressing the loft.

The resulting combination must I presume be warmer than the bag alone but wouldn't it be warmer using the blanket inside the bag, not only would you get the added insulation but it would also fill air space and reduce convection loss inside the bag. Seems strange to pay all that money for lofty down and then squash it.

Thoughts?
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Offline kinguq

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Re: Blankets on Top?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2020, 05:47:12 pm »
I use a very light fleece blanket tied on top of my sleeping system. It acts as a bivy bag and is very quick to dry. It is so light that it doesn't compress the bag much if at all. I agree that wool probably would.

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Offline kiggy

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Re: Blankets on Top?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2020, 06:57:35 pm »
I use it inside

Offline Goski

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Re: Blankets on Top?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2020, 11:57:53 pm »
I use one of those airlines fleece small blankets inside my sleeping bag if I use my lighter bag (backpacking, without a sled).  With heavier bag (-25 or -30) I usually don't bother.  I find these airline blankets handy around camp fire to wrap around my back and bum.

Online Stormy Kromer

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Re: Blankets on Top?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2020, 08:59:17 am »
I change up my sleep system based on the weather each trip.  I have a thermarest closed cell pad and a self inflating air mattress along with an army surplus wool blanket beneath me.  I have a down mummy bag rated to -12 that for the most part, is all I use even when temps are much colder than that.  If temps are really low I insert my down bag into a polar fleece rectangular bag and that really keeps me warm.  The polar fleece bag is light enough that I don’t loose very much loft in my down bag.  The biggest and most effective part of my system is an army surplus hood system.  It’s an insulated hood that covers all of my head and neck and most of my face while extending down over my shoulders trapping any heat loss from my head.  The hood allows me to have my head mostly out of my bag so I don’t breath into my bag, keeping it dry.  The hood also blocks any drafts from sneaking down my neck and back as I shift positions during the night.   It’s the single most effective part of my sleep system to keep me warm and comfortable.

Offline mewolf1

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Re: Blankets on Top?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2020, 09:12:21 am »
One of the first things I learned in the 70's was that less is not more in the sleeping department. Certainly there is a point when all of the insulation is compacted and colder, but generally wearing wool socks, long johns, and somthing warm shirt-wise will keep one warmer. The compression under ones bag is off set by the pad and I can't see where the weight of a wool blanket will compress the loft to where you'd lose insulation value. The Down while still on the Goose is quite dense and as long as the loft in ones bag is not smashed it will still be toasty. Just my thoughts.

Offline kinguq

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Re: Blankets on Top?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2020, 09:34:10 am »
One thing I forgot to mention about using a blanket on top (in my case a light fleece one). I made the blanket extend over the top of the bag and on cold nights I generally sleep with my head underneath it. Fleece is very porous and nice to sleep under. You can easily ventilate it to suit the temperature. In the morning it is frosted but it dries quickly. This has really made sleeping in the cold much more pleasant for me, and it keeps the sleeping bag drier because I am never tempted to breath in it.

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Offline Bothwell Voyageur

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Re: Blankets on Top?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2020, 11:27:52 am »
One of the first things I learned in the 70's was that less is not more in the sleeping department. Certainly there is a point when  I can't see where the weight of a wool blanket will compress the loft to where you'd lose insulation value. The Down while still on the Goose is quite dense and as long as the loft in ones bag is not smashed it will still be toasty. Just my thoughts.

Don't know! Temperature rating always seems to be discussed in terms of loft and I could see that losing an inch of loft would be possible with a heavy blanket. I'll use a light synthetic quilt on top, for moisture control as much as anything else.

Would be nice to have access facilities to do some proper comparisons.
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Offline Moondog55

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Re: Blankets on Top?
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2020, 06:22:10 pm »
Well with some of my blankets their weight would totally collapse any of my ultra light down sleeping bags. So much depends on the gear talked about. If I need to boost my bags rating I would use a down or synthetic overquilt in preference to a heavy woollen blanket. I now own several such UL overbags/overquilts.
As BV says below losing an inch of down loft to gain a quarter inch of wool makes little sense unless you are sleeping directly next to an open wood fire and using that blanket for spark protection and I don't do that, not for the last 40 years anyway
Also woollen blankets are usually used without any shell on them and you need that windshell to contain the warmth.
I do take woollen blankets along when base camping or using a car and trailer to carry gear but I use them on top of my mattress and cot where their attributes are best used

Offline rbinhood

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Re: Blankets on Top?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2020, 08:36:32 am »
I sewed a merino wool bag liner this past year. I used it Saturday night to good effect in my sleeping bag when the temp hit 5 deg. F. It kept the draft off of my shoulder at the top of the bag.
I also used a down hood that I recently purchased online for $23.00. The hood was excellent for keeping my head warm and extended down to cover my neck and shoulders. Can pull the face opening on the hood shut so that just my mouth and chin were exposed.
Lastly, I slept with down booties on my feet, which kept them warm. Wore a light wool zip top and did not wear longies. I was plenty warm.
Never used a wool blanket over my bag. If I used a blanket, I would fold it in half and put it under the bag. I have two of the Costco Black Diamond down throws. If the need arose, I could see throwing one of them over my bag because they are light as a feather.
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