Sunday, March 20, 2016

How I Stay Warm at Night

Bass Pro Oversized
One of the biggest challenges of sleeping in an off-grid cabin is staying warm. At least it is for me.  I get cold easily.  Over the years I've used many different blankets and sleeping bags for camping. But I  always end up being the one who is bothered most by cold nights. There is good news. I have found a sleeping bag that is comfortable and warm. And works great for a chilly, off-grid cabin.

Sleeping in The Shack

So far, I have a solar panel set up that is sufficient for charging my cell phone, lighting a string of Christmas lights for light, and running a portable radio.  No running water and no utilities.  I have a wood stove for heat.  But even a wood stove in a Shack made of 2x4s and plywood isn't able to provide adequate heat in the cold nights.

I suppose I should mention that my shack sits just below a ridge in the beautiful Appalachians, in West Virginia.  It gets chilly and very windy there. The previous owners left a huge wall thermometer inside the shack. From where I sleep, in front of the wood stove, I can see it on the wall in the other room.  It has been between 20-30 degrees at times when I've been camping up there.

I'd be lying if I said I was completely toasty and slept through that entire night.  It wasn't toasty and I woke every couple of hours to refill the wood stove. I must learn to bank the embers a bit better than I do. But that will be a different story. Even though I wasn't toasty, I was comfortable.  And that was due to my sleeping bag. Well, the sleeping bag and the four-legged foot warmers.

In the Shack, I use a Bass Pro Shops Oversized Duckcloth sleeping bag.  The inside of the sleeping bag is flannel. Yes, flannel. I really like sleeping on flannel. The outside is "Duckcloth".  The heavy-duty zipper is clearly going to last for a long time.  One of the things I like the most about this sleeping bag is the wide area at the feet.  I hadn't realized how much I missed having room to move my feet in a mummy-style sleeping bag.

I only see two drawbacks for this sleeping bag.  One, it is so large that when it comes time to wash it, I will have to go to a laundromat with a super-sized machine.  Two, I would not want to use this bag on the ground - as I do other bags - because of my concern about washing it.  Otherwise, in a situation where there is some protection from the ground, this bag is an excellent choice.

A Sleeping Bag for Adventures Outside of the Protection of The Shack

As I mentioned above, I would not want to use my Bass Pro oversized bag on the ground.  I will continue to use my army surplus bag for outdoor activities where I'm sleeping directly on the ground.

Of all of the other sleeping bags I've owned over the years, this is my favorite bag for sleeping outside, directly on the ground. It is rated at 10 degrees below 0 farenheit.  There is a hood of the bag that draws shut to help keep the cold out.  And a "collar" or flap inside that also helps to keep the cold out.  The BEST part of this bag is that it is extremely washable and very quick to dry.  And stores easily in a small army bag.  I just stuff it into the bag. No bothering with folding or rolling.  Of course, as you know from the reason I love the first bag so much, you can guess that I feel confined in this bag. The mummy-style isn't my favorite thing.  I need room for my feet. And for my barking foot warmers to be able to get inside also.  But, that is just my personal preference.  Otherwise, this bag is also a great choice. 

Military Intermediate Cold Weather Sleeping Bag

There are many, many styles of sleeping bags to choose from. These are the two that fit my needs. For many years, I made the mistake of buying a certain sleeping bag just because someone told me to. Now I've come to the realization that it is better if I buy and use the bags that feel right to me.

Related Link: 

The Best Hiking, Camping, and Tiny House Pillow Ever Made. Does that sound strange? A tiny house pillow? If you have needed space-saving items, then you understand completely. This compressible pillow is perfect for small spaces and travel.



  1. The flannel and duckcloth sleeping bag looks super-comfortable and warm. I love flannel, too. I also agree about mummy bags and not being able to move your feet (the bag I've used for years is a mummy bag). The oversize bag would be my choice at this point, too. Glad you have your 4-legged leg warmers!

  2. Oh I so admire you for your strength and fortitude. I don't really think I could ever do this. I feel cold all the time and sleeping outdoors would just do me in.....but I'm glad you found something to keep you warm and toasty.

  3. You are such a courageous soul my sweet friend! One nip of cold on my little toes and I would be sooooo out of there! Yet, I love camping out and I am sure I would love your shack, 3 months out of the year :) Now, when I come to camp out with you, I will be sure to bring my Bass Pro flannel lined sleeping blanket. Thanks for the heads up!