Dorf's Sleeping Bag/Tarptent Inclement Weather Test

While the wife was spending the weekend in Chicago I thought it would be a great time to get out for one more overnight before winter set in and check and see whether my new Western Mountaineering Sycamore MF was up to it's 25° rating. I also figured to check out my Tarptent Cloudburst 2 in inclement weather. The weather was unseasonably cold for this time of year so I decided on a short trip to our back yard would be my best alternative.

I would go super-duper UL on this trip packing only my Cloudburst 2, the Sycamore, full length Therm-a-rest, hat,gloves and a Pop Tart. Actually, my load was so compact that I didn't evn bother with a pack and carried it all to camp in my left hand. it should be noted that I made the conscious decision not to carry a first aid kit and other essentials knowing I had a short hike out the next day. It was a risk I was willing to take to be a minimalist for a day. I also left my headlamp at home in the gear closet knowing I could rely on the moon or streetlights for illumination should I need to pee in the middle of the night.

Not quite 25° but close enough.
The Cloudburst 2 in gentler climes.

I left the house shortly after 6 PM and hiked a grueling 20 steps before I found a level patch of grass near the large maple that hadn't been tore up from the kids soccer cleats. Once I saw the spot, I knew I was "home". I quickly pulled the Cloudburst from its stuff sack, and just as quickly was chasing the sack across the yard as it tried to blow away. I managed to get the tent up shortly. I backtracked to the house to check out the thermometer and was shocked to see that the temperature was down to a balmy 44°, though the wind chill index was at 19°. Sweet. It would get a lot colder later I hoped. I climbed into my bag just for shits and giggles and to get an initial feel for the bag's performance in colder weather.

After a few minutes of laying there doing nothing but getting warm and bored I decided it was time to eat and hiked back to the house and ordered some chinese from the Hong Kong Buffet. I figured it would be best that I stayed in the house while waiting for the food so I turned on the TV and laid on the couch. Finding nothing worthy of my time I went to our bedroom for some internet surfing until the food was delivered.

Not a lot of precipitation coming my way but plenty of cool weather!

The driver arrived with my General Tso chicken and quickly left before uttering a word of english I could understand. I ate, got some chicken stuck between two lower molars and flossed. I went back to the couch and watched the local high school football game on TV until 9:30. Still not ready to hit the sack despite a long day on the trail I spent anoher 2 hours surfing the net and had a peanut butter and jelly sanwich for a late night snack.

Finally, it was time. I donned my long underwear, light fleece top and took what I hoped was my last piss of the night---doubtful since I had drank 2 cans of Diet Coke during the evening---and hiked back to camp and quickly crawled into my bag. The luxurious down fill felt like thin wisps of clouds in the summer western sky. Quickly enough I began to warm up.

Though windy, the Cloudburst 2 held fast and only allowed the slightest of the arctic breeze inside. Buoyed with newfound confidence I wouldn't wake up an icicle I attempted to fall asleep when it dawned on me that I had forgotten to bring a pillow with me. Dammit! I knew I couldn't sleep without one knowing a mere 50' away I had 5 on our bed, so I unzipped the bag and scurried back to the house.

II quickly checked my e-mail and then trudged back to the tent armed with not one, but two pillows and a pee bottle. Hey, I might as well be comfortable, right?

The Western Mountaineering Hooded Sycamore performed great in temps down to the upper 20's

I fell asleep surprisingly quick despite the traffic on the street but my slumber was interrupted around 1:30 AM by some asshole screeching his tires. The rest of the night was uneventful aside from waking up a couple of times to pee.

As I awoke for the last time just before 6 AM I took careful note of the interior of my tent: no condensation---good deal. A check of my sleeping bag revealed nothing out of the ordinary. Success.

Now that the gear testing portion of the trip was complete it was time to think about breakfast. I decided to forgo the Pop Tart and opted to hike out in favor of bacon, eggs and toast. A wise choice and a beautiful ending to my last trip of the year.

July, 2011
Winter camping in the Beartooths in July
teton August, 2010
6 nights in the heart of the Absaroka mountains
July, 2009
Another 7 nights with the crew in the Beartooths
August, 2008
7 nights in the Beartooths with Ward and the Canadian
July, 2008
5 nights in the Bighorns with a Canadian

August, 2007
Yumi and I return to GNP for some fun

July, 2007
6 nights in the heart of the Northern wind Rivers
August, 2006
A 3-night solo in the Absaroka-Beartooth
July, 2006
Yumi and I spend 8 nights in the Wind Rivers
Aug-Sept., 2005
Dorf gets his GNP fix with 8 nights on the trail
July, 2005
A quickie solo in the Cloud Peak Wilderness
July, 2005
Our return to GNP aborted 6 hours in :-(
July, 2004
Two weeks of camping and backpacking in Glacier.
September, 2004
Yumi and I get to the Porkies before fall arrives
July, 2004
Yumi and I take the kids to the Porkies
June, 2004
Todd and I prove that last years' Newport debacle was no fluke
October, 2003
Yumi and I test some more gear and nearly die
September, 2003
Yumi and I decide to do a little camping & test gear

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