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Sleeping Bags

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A non waterproof breathable bivy bag over the top is one of the best ways. You need to move the dew point out away from the bags. I presume you are using the 30 bag outside the 0? Maybe you have too much insulation and are sweating too much.
How is your tent ventilation? Difficult to resist the temptation to close up the tent when it’s cold but that just increases humidity.
Failing that you are in to vapour barrier liner territory.
 
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Misreading the river - I'm at a loss to explain but I've camped in as low as 20 below and never experienced the dampness you describe, or any dampness. Down bag, flannel pajamas, and down booties on an Exped downmat 9 in an Eureka Timberline with vents a little open.
 
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How do you keep your bags dry? The outer bag is soaked and frozen every morning. Is there a trick?
Yes, use an outer bivy layer. The warm moisture from your body travels outward through the layers of your sleeping bag until it meets the cold air of the outside. There is freezes. In your case, this moisture freezes on your outside bag's outermost nylon fabric layer (on both the inside and outside faces). You have a damp bag now. The bivy provides a sacrificial layer the moisture can freeze to, keeping your outermost bag drier. IMO, a synthetic bivy's pores will fill up and freeze in cold weather, but a breathable fabric bivy can expell more moisture in very low temps.

I have used a 2 down bag system (warmer bag on the outside) plus a thin wool bivy. I sewed the rectangular bivy myself, using thin, kilt wool that I bought by the yard. For the underside I just used nylon. My foam pad and bags fit inside the bivy. Worked well: dry down bags in the morning and frost on the outside of the wool bivy (which dried quickly when hung up). Plus, scottish plaid looks real nice.
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How do you keep your bags dry? January and Febuary, I'm stopping every few days to hang bags up to sun dry, if there's sun. The outer bag is soaked and frozen every morning. Is there a trick? And I use synthetic, one zero degree, one 30 degree, and wearable "woobie" bag with sleeves and hood as a liner.

I like down, but it doesn't work in the winter, doesn't even last the night. At least for me.

If you are not familiar with the factors that cause moisture both in and on your sleeping bag a simple google search will lead you to information that will help you to understand cause and prevention.

Two common mistakes are breathing moisture into the sleeping bag and sleeping too warm causing too much perspiration.
 
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Tall and wide rectangular Down bag, bag liner (Walmart specials do it for me), super thick, insulated, and hopefully quiet, extra long extra wide sleeping pad (NEMO Quasar 3D insulated), and a skull cap that stays on. Extra long and wide bag and pad because I toss and turn a lot. The little extra weight and bulk is worth it to me. Same for rectangular vs. mummy bag which I can't handle. I never got my bag wet but pefer down for high insulation and low bulk.
 
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How do you keep your bags dry? January and Febuary, I'm stopping every few days to hang bags up to sun dry, if there's sun. The outer bag is soaked and frozen every morning. Is there a trick? And I use synthetic, one zero degree, one 30 degree, and wearable "woobie" bag with sleeves and hood as a liner.

I like down, but it doesn't work in the winter, doesn't even last the night. At least for me.
Since most of my tents are single walled, condensation is an issue...in those cases, I use a bivy over the sleeping bag to keep it dry.
 
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In the western mountains frost can happen in any month. I have used down mummy bags for over 50 years. I got mine wet once and only once in Alaska at the top of Chilkoot Pass. Above tree line, no chance for a fire in sleet and wet snow. I was afraid to go to sleep. It was August 31.

Paddling trips tend to be in much lower elevations with warmer weather. Sometimes we paddle in the shoulder seasons and did one trip on the lower Colorado R in Feb. Cool weather trips require a down bag in a dry bag. For warm season trips I now use a Sea to Summit synthetic bag which has lots of zippers. I rarely zip it up. I use it for cooler nights in the house in winter.
 
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How do you keep your bags dry? January and Febuary, I'm stopping every few days to hang bags up to sun dry, if there's sun. The outer bag is soaked and frozen every morning. Is there a trick? And I use synthetic, one zero degree, one 30 degree, and wearable "woobie" bag with sleeves and hood as a liner.

I like down, but it doesn't work in the winter, doesn't even last the night. At least for me.
The only way I can imagine a sleeping bag getting wet that often is lack of airflow. I could be entirely wrong.. and it seems like the last thing you want to do in the middle of January or February, is make sure your tents ventilation is open, but you want air circulation. The average single person exhales 1/2-1 pint of moisture sleeping through the night. Depending on the level of activity and whether or not there’s more than one person in the tent. Imagine all of that moisture on the walls and coming back down on top of your bag, then include perspiration inside of your bag.. that’s a lot of moisture in one night.

The part of the gear that I think is often over looked. The face fabric. It’s not always about the insulations ability to retain heat when wet, it’s often about the material on the outside that is keeping the wet out. Some brands choose materials that have less, if any, raised fibers or missed threads, making a tighter knit fabric. You can actually see this under a microscope.. it’s pretty cool

Try hanging a sponge, or your canoe chamois wrapped sponge from your tents center and see if that’ll grab any of that moisture for you. Nobody likes to be wet and cold, but sometimes we need to experience it to understand our gear and it’s performance limitations or excellence.
 
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I despise down bags, and for good reason- I sweat... a lot! Synthetic bags have come a long way with such improvements as quallofil, heat reflective backing, and high loft designs. I can easily soak a down bag in 2 nights, even in winter, and found long ago that those problems are relieved greatly with a "shingle"style, synthetic barrel bag. Any moisture that IS trapped can easily evaporate in a couple of hours, even if just laid open in the tent. I just wish it were as compressible as down.
And yes, I've tried various liners from polar fleece to silk and even VBL's, and found they either do little, or in the case of the VBL become swampy to the point that I've gotten puddles under my butt...
 
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The only way I can imagine a sleeping bag getting wet that often is lack of airflow. I could be entirely wrong.. and it seems like the last thing you want to do in the middle of January or February, is make sure your tents ventilation is open, but you want air circulation. The average single person exhales 1/2-1 pint of moisture sleeping through the night. Depending on the level of activity and whether or not there’s more than one person in the tent. Imagine all of that moisture on the walls and coming back down on top of your bag, then include perspiration inside of your bag.. that’s a lot of moisture in one night.
that's an average, everyone's metabolism is different as is the amount they sweat, I'm one of those at the high end of the scale too, and found that I get hot even with minimal exertion at 50F, I don't even put on my parka until about -20 unless I'm just sitting around. I use a -23F synthetic bag for winter camping and found that even at -40 I can still sweat, and that's in a well ventilated canvas tent or under just a tarp.
 
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I/we have never winter camped, October being the latest soft water month enjoyed/endured. The changeable weather and changing fall colours were the real attractions that drew us out there. Having warm bags and summer tents helped enormously in regulating heat and moisture. We constantly reminded the kids to keep their sleeping faces outside the covers no matter how Jack Frost nipped their noses. It took some practice to figure out ventilation, I'm sure I never entirely got it right. I'd wake up in the middle of the night and pass my headlamp across the interior looking for condensing vapour. None? Awesome! Some? Better open up the door to expose more of the screen. A cold October gust would blow in and I'd hear a complaining groan from the slumbering crowd. Some mornings I'd have to shake out the frost and let things dry in the sun but bags and blankets never got damp.
 
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I agree with Odyssey regarding the importance of ventilation and diligence.

Along with understanding how your equipment function, regulating temperature is key to staying dry and comfortable in cold conditions and ventilation is key to regulating temperature. Whether on the move or sleeping it is best not to allow yourself to get too cold or too hot because the consequences of either may be unrecoverable.

Just as layering your clothing will allow you to efficiently regulate temperature by adding or removing layers as required while on the move, you should have a similar plan for regulating your temperature while sleeping. It is important that you have effective equipment and that you diligently follow a sound plan.

John
 
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A pack cover is a requirement in wet country. A large contractor garbage bag will work.
The colder the weather the harder it is to get rid of condensation in a down bag.
Arctic explorers talk about 10 or even 20 pounds of ice in their sleeping bags after a couple of weeks in the cold.
 
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A pack cover is a requirement in wet country. A large contractor garbage bag will work.
The colder the weather the harder it is to get rid of condensation in a down bag.
Arctic explorers talk about 10 or even 20 pounds of ice in their sleeping bags after a couple of weeks in the cold.
This one generates as much debate as the innie/ outie groundsheet discussion. I’ve never used a pack cover in spite of hiking for days in Scottish, Welsh and other European rain (and a fair bit of Canadian weather too!) I do use a variety of lightweight dry bags inside my pack and sleeping bag is always double bagged for paddling.
My winter bag has a waterproof lining to the hood and the foot area. The proofed panel at the front of the opening is great for preventing the frozen breath from soaking through to the down. One of the joys of hot tenting is you can deal with the condensation. Tip: if you bring your boots into your bag to stop them freezing put them in a dry bag. A VBL seems to be the only solution for extended cold camping trips. Thick synthetic bags will also gather condensatio, an over bag has to be thin if you are to have any chance of drying it out.
 
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I have lived in a wall tent with a stove for a month in cold weather running a tree planting crew.
The radiant heat from the stove allows for bedding and clothing to be dried out and it changes everything.
We called my tent the "Flagstaff Hilton" and hung a sign on it. It was very popular on snow days.
 
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We have both down synthetic bags, and each has their place and season.

I do love the weight and compressibility of down, but will offer a peculiar take on down vs synthetic. I am a warm sleeper, and early to bed (and read) when solo. The temperature at dark is often 20 – 30 degrees warmer than it will be at dawn. Your location mileage may vary.

If I have been bustling around, last check securing camp before bed, I am as warmed up when I climb into the tent as I’ll be all night.

Add to that I am a side sleeper, turning to change sides and that becomes a helix twisted mess when zipped up, especially in a mummy bag. I bring a bag one season warmer than anticipated conditions, simply draping over me a quilt. If it gets unexpectedly cold I’ll give in and zip it up, or at least partially zip it up for a foot/leg box.

With the ability to regulate my warmth by sticking out feet or legs, or even just torso barely covered by the bag, I gradually cocoon as I cool down and the night gets colder. Probably helps to reduce overheated moisture in the bag.

For tucked in around the contours of my body in chill of night a synthetic bag works much better than a more weightless down bag. The heavier synthetic material drapes more closely around by body, without lofting chilly side channels /0\ near the pad.
 
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Down top quilts, sometimes with a thin summer bag underneath in the winter, to block the drafts better.
 
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