Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Quechua SO Ultralight again (with cheap Ikea fleece liner)

 So now the temperatures are at last getting down to good sleeping out temperatures after last year’s inconsequential -5s I thought I would to remind myself of how the Quechua S0 Ultralight  0°C sleeping bag performs. It was snowing heavily  so I added on the Alpkit Hunka Bivvy to keep me dry. As usual I wore longjohns, t-shirt, light decathlon fleece, sox, fleece hat and a buff to cover nose and mouth -  a bit of waterboarding  often helps me get to sleep I find.
The weather men told me that the temperatures would get down to the minus 15s so I put a Quechua S10 inside the S0 inside the Hunka bivvy. Unfortunately as it was only -5°C, after struggling to sort out the mp3 player and the phone alarm for the morning (school as usual) I was sweating profusely so about half-past midnight had to hop several kilometers to the kitchen to take the S10 out before I expired from heat exhaustion.
I slept on the sun lounger which has holes in the bottom and a bright yellow sun lounger cushion under me which wasn’t ideal or very comfortable but despite cutting corners with the insulation under me back outside it was warm as a slice of toast on a plate with only a couple of niggly cold pressure-spots until about half-past four at which time though it was not cold enough to be really uncomfortable I eventually opted for one of the kid’s beds inside, with a kids-size duvet, so just about as warm as outside.
The hunka bivvy worked really well despite 10cm of snow piling up on it. The only problem was there’s no overhang on it so the snow drops right onto your face and though I don’t mind a refreshing bit of wetness the snow tickles which is a pain.
Next night though I thought I’d do things seriously as per previous experiments and as before put down a groundsheet on the snow, then a self-inflating mattress with a cheap roll mat on top. Again as at other times I put the fleece insert the wife made (just a double layer of cheap Ikea fleece made into a shoulder-height bag) into the bag and again popped the bag into the Alpkit bivvy. Then I stuck an umbrella into the flower pot behind my head to keep the snow off my face and hoped the temperature would quickly go below the -5.2°C it was when I got into it to avoid overheating.
Fortunately the temperature got down to -9.3°C with just a sprinkling of snow and I slept right through to 07.00. The fleece liner takes out more airspace in the bag but works amazingly and is really comfortable. I even didn’t bother to tighten the hood round my face as I was warm enough without.
Next night the rubbish weather forecasters got it wrong yet again predicting snow and -16 and it only got down to -12°C with no snow (about time somebody sued them for fraud, lying and being generally incompetent). Anyway, I’d say that a Quechua S0 Simple plus fleece liner tops out at about -12°C because I began to feel a little chilly. Not uncomfortably so by any means and not the usual cold spots either more rather just a general chilly  but I don’t think it would have gone much more before being too cold to sleep.

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