I know that I have only backpacked a few nights, but I have found a sleep system that is good for me. At first, I bought a cheep 25 degreer that said it packed down to a basketball size. That was an overstatement. So I bit the big one and went to my favorite sporting store where experts could help me. I talked to the salesman about my size and sleep temp. He sold me a not so expensive, but expensive enough, mummy bag. I was so pleased with the bag and was excited to use it. It even packed small enough to fit into my backpack pocket. I had a pillow from Cairn and a sleeping pad from the cheep store. I was ready to rock a night or four.
I didn’t think about how I like to sprawl out when I sleep to help regulate my heat and to alleviate some back pain. The first night, it didn’t matter. I was too tired to care and fell right asleep only to waken frequently through the night sweating or freezing. I varied what I slept in the next three nights. Finally, the last night I got the best sleep when I wore shorts, a t-shirt, gloves, and a hat. Crazy I know, but I had to dress down for the sleeping bag and warm for the exposed parts. I had to put my sweatshirt over my pillow and open the sleeping bag. The open bag allowed for ventilation and movement. But eventually, I was skin on the sleeping pad and sweating against it. This wasn’t going to work.
I had heard of people making boxed foot quilts out of Costco’s down quilt sets. So, I shopped around and bought a set. I didn’t want to do any adjustments to my quilts right away because I had to see what would work or not. I also remembered the night on the sleeping pad and knew I had to do something about that if I wasn’t going to have a traditional sleeping bag. So I shopped around again and found a light weight sleeping bag liner that was rectangle instead of the mummy style. This summer I set out on a high elevation overnighter with my new sleeping gear all of which fit into my original compression sack.
When we set up camp, I laid out my pad, the liner, and both quilts. I was concerned that I didn’t have enough to keep me warm because I was already cold. But I changed into my cotton sleep wear and into my liner, and then I threw the two quilts over me. Before I was done reading, I had taken both quilts off, put one back on, put the second back on, and then took one off. I slept that way. I am glad that I had done no altering since I am still having troubles regulating my sleep temperature. But I am able to sprawl out and for the most part sleep at a better temperature than I had with the mummy bag. I don’t know if it would be warm enough for every setting, but for the foreseeable future, I like the set that I have. Now I just need to do something about my pillow that is too flat for me.