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sleeping on snow
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Mar 26, 2013
Searched and read a couple threads about sleeping pads but couldn't find quite what I was looking for thus new thread..

For sleeping on snow (winter/early spring camping), what is your sleeping pad(s) system? Last time I did so with just a closed cell foam (thermarest z-lite, R value 2.6) I got cold through the ground (0 degree bag fyi)

A single "4 season" air pad like a thermarest x-therm (R value 5.7) or exped downmat 7 (R 5.9)?

Or use both a closed cell foam pad and a "3 season" air pad?

Other thoughts/ideas?

Andrew Mayer
Joined Nov 14, 2010
135 points
Mar 26, 2013
I use my 4 season thermarest (Prolite 4, older model now), and my 0 degree bag. I am usually bivying, so I have my bivy sac around that. If I think it is going to be a cold night, I will often heat a liter of water to boiling in my jetboil, pour it into a liter nalgene and throw it at my feet. You'd be surprised how long that thing will put out heat....usually works for me until around 3 AM. Additional benefit, you've already got a liter of water melted for morning, or if you're thirsty in the middle of the night.

I have really been wanting to try the exped down mat.
Joined Mar 26, 2011
126 points
Mar 26, 2013
The single best solution is adding a layer of "foil backed bubble wrap" under an air based pad for comfort. Retaining your heat is all about reducing the conductive heat loss. With this system you can use a lighter sleeping bag. I use a 0F bag on glacier based trips, and have used this at camps at 8000 meters. "Double bubble foil wrap"
Cut the material a little bit longer and wider than your pad. On a peak like Denali, bring enough of these pads to completely cover the floor of the tent. You will be shocked by how much warmer and more comfortable your tent will be. And this stuff is light and versatile.
CBW Warner
Joined Nov 11, 2010
31 points
Mar 26, 2013
if either of you are interested, I have an exped downmat 9 L that is ridiculously awesome for cold weather camping, its just a little to big for me...$100
PM me for more info/pics
ParkerKempf Kempf
From atlanta, GA
Joined Jul 16, 2011
267 points
Mar 26, 2013
Survivorman style!! Actually, does help.. I still use sleeping bag , bivy sac, and foam pad.. Whatever you can do to get yourself some space between the surface of the snow..
Rock Climbing Photo: Never Summers corn camp..
Never Summers corn camp..
From Boulder, Colorado
Joined Jun 25, 2009
802 points
Mar 26, 2013
I would buy that downmat 9 for $100. My fiance uses the dm 7 and is (was) a ridiculously cold sleeper before she got the new pad, now she's comfortable down to 5 degrees on frozen ground no problem. The downmats are worth the weight/price, they are crazy comfortable and even warmer. The warmer thermarest would be warm enough, but the downmat would be more comfortable and way more durable. Raul P
Joined Feb 12, 2013
16 points
Mar 26, 2013
CBW: I am going to check that foil bubble wrap out. Sounds like a great thing to add below my pad in the winter. I usually use my thermarest prolite 4, with a simple closed cell foam pad below. If it's cold outside I will put my DAS parka under my feet where the thermarest doesn't go. I use a 0 degree Marmot Never Summer membrain and I love it. Since getting that 0 degree bag I have yet to get cold at night. Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Joined May 4, 2011
699 points
Mar 26, 2013
For winter camping I usually bring two pads. I have a thermarest neoair 4 season air mat and a standard closed cell foam mat. Between those two pads, my 20 deg down bag, and wearing my down jacket to bed I stay warm to around 0 deg.

I have not camped below zero so I cannot comment on anything colder.

That sounds like a great trick to reduce bulk. I like the idea of covering the entire tent floor. Might have to look into that.
Joined May 28, 2010
237 points
Mar 26, 2013
The Leave No Trace crowd frowns upon using boughs; which makes it A-OK in my book! Mike Lane
From Centennial, CO
Joined Jan 21, 2006
1,039 points
Mar 26, 2013
I've recently became a big believer of sleeping on my rope if I brought it. I had only once used it before in an unplanned bivy and it wasn't a nice night-but that also had lots to do with no sleeping bag etc.

Anyway, recently one of my inflatable pads didn't inflate and I used it again and was so warm. I now plan on using the rope and a small foam pad, if you're carrying it you might as well use it!
Joined Jan 19, 2012
97 points
Mar 26, 2013
Thanks for all the input. I think I will try my older model thermarest air pad along with my closed cell foam.

CBW - I will definitely have to look into that foil wrap.
Andrew Mayer
Joined Nov 14, 2010
135 points
Mar 26, 2013
+1 for the Hot water heater insulation.... the thin foil bubble wrap. Super cheap in any decent hardware store and you can cut it to fit the size of the pad. Also works to sit in the snow, cut a separate small piece for a seat. RockinOut
From NY, NY
Joined May 8, 2010
106 points
Mar 26, 2013
I always bring two mats as well. Thermarest and blue foam pad. With my negative thirty bag and a hot water bottle I have bivied in neg 25 and been comfy. I always do push ups before going to bed and put something to snack on at night to keep the body generating heat. shotgunnelson
Joined May 30, 2009
6 points
Mar 26, 2013
Good call with the heat-boosting snack! Maybe something spicy right before bed? Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Joined May 4, 2011
699 points
Mar 27, 2013
Usually those Costco muffins that have a stupid amount of calories. I try to keep the spicy food to a minimum when I am sleeping in a big Dutch oven. shotgunnelson
Joined May 30, 2009
6 points
Mar 27, 2013
I've had good luck with a cheep foam sled. Most are big enough to keep your core off the ground, you can use it to haul your pack, you can get them for $15 and I mean its a sled. Milestone
From Raleigh, nc
Joined Mar 24, 2013
0 points
Mar 27, 2013
Andrew Mayer wrote:
Thanks for all the input. I think I will try my older model thermarest air pad along with my closed cell foam.

Another advantage of this system is that it gives you a back-up if your Thermarest springs a leak.

If you want to save some bulk and a few ounces, instead of regular blue foam you could try a foam pad made from Evazote, e.g.
Martin le Roux
From Superior, CO
Joined Jul 16, 2003
281 points
Mar 29, 2013
The Mylar Bubble wrap is the ticket along with an insulated air mattress. I also cut out a piece about 12" X 24", folded it in half and duct taped the sides to make a pocket. Stick a Freeze Dried meal in it, add water, seal, then fold the top of the bubble wrap pouch over and it stays piping hot even below zero while it's hydrating. David Pneuman
From Western, CO
Joined Oct 6, 2006
4 points
Mar 30, 2013
Mike Lane wrote:
The Leave No Trace crowd frowns upon using boughs; which makes it A-OK in my book!

You're shitting me, right?
Jace Mullen
From Oceanside, Ca
Joined Jan 11, 2011
5 points
Mar 30, 2013
For spring, usually my 4 season thermarest works for me, though after sleeping on snow for 16 days in teens weather with a 25 degree bag, I did upgrade to a full length instead of a 3/4 length.

In the dead of winter, I usually use a ridge rest and a therma-rest combination.
John D
Joined Nov 24, 2010
19 points
Mar 30, 2013
if you're pad-stacking, place your foam mat on top for better warmth-retention. I found myself quite a bit warmer when I stacked my z-lite atop my 2nd gen NeoAir (compared to the other way 'round) whilst snow-camping.
Having recently upgraded to the X-Therm, however, I can't imagine ever needing a second pad; though I'll likely pick up some mylar bubbly for camp-sitting...
Joined Mar 4, 2009
523 points
Mar 31, 2013
Just came back from a Sierra ski traverse.

Slept 4 nights on the snow with a NeoAir XTherm.

Have to make sure your snow bed is reasonably level, otherwise you slide around a lot.

Otherwise, no issues at all.
Kai Larson
From Sandy, Utah
Joined Jan 6, 2006
260 points
Mar 31, 2013
I use a Z Rest with a Thermarest Prolite 3 (short) on perfect and its super light. Nick Votto
Joined Jul 27, 2008
338 points
Jun 18, 2014
Guys... sorry to resume this thread but when you - or most of you - talk about sleeping on the snow is the usage of a tent assumed or not?

I am asking because I am just packing to sleep on the snow (on a glacier) and I have a z-lite. I also have an inflatable pad which I could carry, but I am really trying to be as lightweight as possible.

I am also carrying a tent. So, the OP that felt cold using the z-lite on the snow... did you use it on the very snow itself (and so perhaps I can be fine with only the z-lite in the tent) or that was in a tent and you still was cold?

Many thanks!
Joined Jun 10, 2008
7 points
Jun 18, 2014
Essentially I think yes, depending on what the inflatable pad is I might just take that, which is usually what I do. I have friends who are fine with the z-lites but I like a little more comfort and warmth. jmeizis
From Colorado Springs, CO
Joined Jul 30, 2008
250 points
Jun 19, 2014
Big agnes Q-qore, 5.1 R value. You really need a pad with an R value of above 4 in the winter to be reasonably insulated in your sleeping bag. Max Forbes
From Burlington, VT
Joined Jan 6, 2014
94 points

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