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Sleeping Gear The Sleeping Gear forum is for the discussion of sleeping gear (bags, mats, quilts...).


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  #1  
Old 01-07-2009, 05:10 PM
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MoondogFiftyfive MoondogFiftyfive is offline
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Sleeping Systems for the Antarctic

As part of my research for a possible trip I am asking for forum members experiences with various systems in extreme conditions.

Temperatures may be as low as minus 55 Celcius and trip may take as long as 7 weeks, planning is for 5 weeks including bad weather provisions.

I already own a selection of cold weather bags including a couple of Everest summit assault bags ( both of these are extreme mummy shape with no zip )

I have a large Goretex bivvy sac already that is in very good condition as the windproof layer.
I own a liner bag in 800 loft down, stitched thru, ultra mummy, so I would not be able to utilise my duvet jacket inside this, ultra lite so not at all robust.
The Everest assault bags have 0.5oz ripstop shells and also not robust.

Opinion here is divided on the efficacy of sleeping in your clothing although I have done so for many years when ski-touring and climbing.

It will be a man-hauling trip, so weight needs to be kept to the minimum, and if possible I would like to use as much of my current gear as I can.

I am contemplating a combination of a Vapour Barrier lining and an overbag from Wiggys, in combination with my Goretex bivvy sac and my down bag.
my Everest bag was designed to use over the top of a high lofting down parka.
I already own a down parka rated for Everest conditions, Antarctica can be much colder I am assured, and a full set of down gear suitable as underwear.

I look forward to forum members contributions to my research
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  #2  
Old 01-07-2009, 08:25 PM
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Tipiwalter Tipiwalter is offline
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This is an interesting thread. There was a guy who soloed across a portion of the South Pole but I just can't remember his name. Foreign guy, probably from Scandinavia. Have you read IN THE GHOST COUNTRY by Peter Hillary? Three guys pulled sleds across the ice. Used kites. Check out PHD gear in England, they sell to arctic types and probably have some useful info.
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  #3  
Old 01-07-2009, 09:09 PM
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MoondogFiftyfive MoondogFiftyfive is offline
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Several people have done the trip, one was Japanese.

Haven't read that book but know and talked to several people from ANARE, every opinion different, so looking for more input from another hemisphere.
Read books by Ranulph Fiennes, and a lot of the old books.
It seems that there is a serious tradeoff between extreme light weight and longevity in these extreme conditions.

I was trained to hope for the best but prepare for the worst, we haven't yet even started preparing fuel expenditure tables or anything.
There is a tradeoff involved, carry more fuel and you can dry gear, limit fuel and make sure seat can't get things wet, but spindrift gets in everywhere. Everytime!

I'd like to ask if any-one here has used "Wiggy's sleeping systems ??
I ask as his website is very one-eyed. However the Australian Army has now adopted his sleeping sysyem as the standard issue, as an aside the "Snugpac" bags all failed and have been withdrawn and dumped on Ebay.

Last edited by MoondogFiftyfive : 01-08-2009 at 10:16 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  #4  
Old 01-10-2009, 06:26 PM
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Kutenay Kutenay is offline
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I had a Wiggy's light hunting bag, meant for backpack hunting. I used it and gave it to my nephew for truck camping.

I kept my Integral Designs North Twin-Andromeda Overbag combo, this is the finest synthetic bag(s) I have used in 45 yrs. of using sleeping bags.

I am in B.C., lots of COLD weather experience and use Valandre, WM, FF and Integral down bags, with bivies and a VBL for really cold camping.

I have spoken by e-mail with Peter Hutchinson and from his site, his bags impress me very much.

There is no synthetic bag that I know of that I would trust much below 0*F, regardless of maker's claims.
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  #5  
Old 01-14-2009, 07:27 AM
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Pika Pika is offline
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I spent six months in in the field in Antarctica in 1968-1969, much of the time in the Dry Valleys but also at higher elevation near the ice cap on the Ferrar and Wilson Glaciers. I saw temperatures as low as -45 C and winds to 80 mph. I will second Kuteny's advice regarding sleeping bags.

Regarding sleeping in clothes, you can easily stay warm without it if you have a good bag. But, I slept in my clothes when it was really cold; mostly to avoid having to get dressed in a cold tent.

One thing you mention in your OP is using a bivy sack . I hope you meant that you would be using a bivy in a tent (not necessary IMO). Personally, I would not want to spend 5-7 weeks anywhere in Antarctica without a roomy, sturdy tent. Water-proofness is not an issue in Antarctica but protection from the wind and blowing snow or sand definitely is. I used a tightly woven cotton tent with sod flaps and a frost liner. Yes, it was heavy. It was pretty much state-of-the-art for expedition tents in those days; you can do better now.

In my experience, one thing to plan for is that seldom mentioned issue of personal hygene; it is really hard to stay clean "astern" in Antarctic conditions. If you are not careful, you can wind up with a chronic and debilitating case of "monkey butt" which can easily morph into hemorrhoids. My collaborator on this trip was constantly complaining about his "Achilles anus". Careful washing once a day and application of an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin to those tender tissues will go a long way to stave off this annoying, at the very least, malady.

Staying hydrated will help you avoid getting constipated, (another common problem in Antarctica) and will also help reduce the hemorrhoid potential. You need a lot of fuel for your water supply. IIRC, we used at least a pint a day. White gas is a lot less hassle than kerosene. Kerosene also gets into everything including your food (YUM).
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  #6  
Old 01-14-2009, 02:21 PM
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MoondogFiftyfive MoondogFiftyfive is offline
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Thanx Pika

I am thinking along the lines of this system.
My current Everest down bag with a vapour barrier liner. a lightweight over bag with about 15mm thickness and my current Goretex bivvi sac.

I would use a full length foam pad ( blue rigid 20mm thick ) with a DAM on top.

We will be sleeping in tents, the bivi sac is to protect bag from the inevitable spills and condensation.

Smallish tunnel tents for sleeping and a communal Scott tent, Nansen sled for the Scott tent and small pulks for personal stuff.

My down bag is really too big as I can wear my big duvet inside it but why spend another $900 if I don't have too.

Thanx for the heads up on personal hygeine, I've actually noticed a very similar problem in Nuigini due to the constant humidity, with a similar solution.

We still have not finalized things, stoves and other things should i suppose be discussed in another thread.
regards Ted
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  #7  
Old 01-15-2009, 05:11 AM
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Taedawood Taedawood is offline
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You may want to contact Ray Jardine. In his new book he talks about an extended trek that he and his wife made in Antarctica using one of his home-made synthetic-filled quilts.
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  #8  
Old 02-05-2009, 12:04 AM
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MoondogFiftyfive MoondogFiftyfive is offline
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Just finished reading his whole web-site

lots to think about.

I had never considered some aspects of extreme cold weather sleeping, such as the need to be able to escape your covers very quickly.
How-ever I will probably go with the system that seems to work, vapour barrier, down bag, outer bag with fibrefill and wind proof layer over the top ( Goretex shell ) and use the down suit if temperatures drop very low.

Use 2 layers under the bag, 19to 32mm blue foam and an DAM or thermarest for comfort.
Trying to keep overall weight of the system below 8or 9 kg, which will allow the carrying of an extra 1/2 litre of fuel a day and the use of the Coleman catalytic heater to dry the accumulated sweat from clothing.
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  #9  
Old 12-06-2009, 08:46 AM
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madizazzo madizazzo is offline
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Stephenson Warmlite bag

You might want to check out the Stephenson Warmlite bags. When you consider that they include a 2-1/2" - 3" thick down air mattress, vapor barrier lining and with the two top covers, more down than any other bag I've seen at a very reasonable weight for what you get.

They're loaded with features, including a unique full coverage hood that works whether you choose to sleep on your back or on either side.

In my experience, their ratings are very conservative too. They are the original cottage industry, never sold out to a bigger outfit. They will customize any part in any fashion you want, and have experience outfitting arctic/antarctic expeditions.
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  #10  
Old 12-06-2009, 01:06 PM
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MoondogFiftyfive MoondogFiftyfive is offline
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Thanx Madizazzo

Although we will not be going ( no money left-- had to buy a house while I had the chance ) I am still interested in the question of appropriate gear.

What I developed in my thought experiments was heavily influenced by information from Stevensons gear, research tells me that getting rid of accumulated water is the best way to deal with sleeping systems.
So you have to use a vapour barrier to stop the sweat getting into your insulation or use heat (and fuel ) to dry out your bags on a daily basis.

Using heat is a sensible option if you have a tow vehicle and use an insulated caravan, but when manhauling the only real option does seem to be a full vapour barrier system.

The problem is that most vapour barrier liners are not made with zippers and the ability to escape in an instant has been pointed out as a possibility to bear in mind
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