Your tent is most likely the biggest or one of the biggest items you carry and your sleeping bag will be the other, I’m guessing you don’t want bigger or heavier of either with you when you travel on your motorcycle for multiple nights?
Staying warm in your tent can be a battle, then there is that added part we as motorcycle riders have, pack size. See above!
If money and pack size is no object and you want to be REALLY warm there are very expensive sleeping bags out there that perform, like this one from PHD that is rated to -72 Fahrenheit and only weighs 3 1/2lbs, price tag $1400
…but for us mere mortals that money would be better spent putting $1400 of gas in the tank and riding further – we need other (cheaper) solutions
Sleeping bags are crazy expensive and honestly, YOU don’t know if its the right bag for you until you’ve used it. What works for one person may not work for another. Then you are most likely out of the chance to get a full refund.
The biggest test usually comes on a cold night, is that temp rating correct? A lot of the time, sorta, kinda, not really. Do bag manufacturers fudge the numbers?
I camp a lot, and the biggest gripe I hear from other campers is – I love my sleeping bag most of the time, it keeps me warm but not all of me. The parts that always seem to get cold are the extremities (keep it clean inmates, don’t get banned for that remark you are thinking)
- Head/ face or ears
Options? A new bag, up the temp rating, but then your pack size increases, do you have additional room in your panniers for a bigger bag, sometimes double, and the price is a major factor, the warmer you want to be, the more expensive it gets, right?
Keeping your feet warm. Stupid but simple, wear socks, wear two pairs of socks, have a dedicated pair of extra thick socks! Look for insulated socks, there are lots of options. $5 – $25
One backpacker I met told me to keep weight down he found socks/ slippers made of down, I did a quick search, and found some for around $10 it might be worth a try before you buy that new bag, and they pack down to around the size of half a can of soda and weigh virtually nothing.
He did add, pee in a dedicated bottle with a secure lid and put that in the bottom of the bag to warm it up as an extreme way to stay warm…your call on that one!
Cold hands, you have riding gloves right? Wear them, do you also carry wet weather gloves, these will hold in the heat better…or of course as above a dedicated pair of warmer thicker gloves just for sleeping in.
Cold head, get a beanie, make sure it covers your ears, most of the heat you gain in a sleeping bag will be lost out of the top of your head…cover it. If your face gets cold, try a balaclava, and a beanie over it, if it’s really bad.
Just not happy with your bag overall but can’t afford another $300 to $500 for a top of the line new one.
Look for insulated blankets, they start around $25, it only needs to cover your upside, and again pack size is very small for the additional heat they generate
If you are thinking how will I keep it around my feet when it’s cold? Rubber band or paracord tied around it will make the end into a pocketed area.
Additional inner sheet style bags offer little in the way of warmth and if you move around in your sleep you’ll find yourself getting tangled and having to undo the sleeping bag to untangle yourself, letting all the warmth out.
other options and also very small pack size, good to keep one in your hydration pack are emergency blankets or bags, usually less than $10, they hold a lot of heat with mylar type materials, but be warned they DO NOT breathe so if you get too hot then there will be a lot of moisture
Another place heat is lost is through the sleeping pad or mat, if you don’t have an insulated one, chances are you will always be fighting the cold. look at R values, compare all pads are not made equal the higher the R-value the warmer it will be
The absolute cheapest way would be to wear more clothes, you layer up when it gets cold during the day, do the same when you sleep. If your riding jacket is too big to wear lay it over the feet area of your sleeping bag to keep additional heat in the area.
If it’s just going to be a freak one night of cold on a long trip, consider a charity shop before you set up your tent, you might find something warm for a couple of dollars and then you can donate it when you get to your next warmer area.
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