Sleep System

Groundcloth: Tyvek
Weatherproof during-construction housing siding that works pretty well as a groundsheet. Protects my tent or my sleeping pad from things that go poke in the night. (Mostly sticks. And pinecones. Those things are sharp.)

Sleeping Pad: Klymit Inertia X-frame
I went cushy this time with the Klymit Inertia X-frame; I slid around the tent a bit, but eventually got the hang of it. It was nice to be able to put 5 breaths in and then use the bulb to inflate it to my desired level, and also just to open the valve and have it go completely flat in the mornings. Convenient, and full-length for slightly more weight than a half-size (small) NeoAir Xlite (10.1 with pump for the Klymit vs. 8 for the NeoAir).

Sleeping Socks: Diabetic Socks
Generally, thruhikers carry three pairs of socks: two pairs of hiking socks, which get changed/washed “every day”, and a pair of sleeping socks that never get worn while hiking to protect one’s sleeping bag from the oil and dirt (ohgodsomuchdirt) that ends up all over your feet. I definitely subscribe to this notion, but I have problems in that (A) my calves are apparently inhumanly large, so I can’t wear crew socks without them choking out said calves, which doesn’t really bode well for sleep, and (B) the dirt kind of goes a fair way up, so you kind of want your calves covered. I also have issues with circulation – my feet are ice cubes, and they don’t emit enough heat for the down of my sleeping bag to reflect anything back to me, and I can’t sleep until they’re moderately warm.  A thruhiker friend suggested I try diabetic socks – crew length or longer, not restricting on the calf, and made to increase circulation in the feet. They worked like a dream, so much so that I usually had to take them off in the night because they’d done their job.

Sleeping Clothes: Uniqlo Heattech Leggings
Continuing along the “protect your sleeping bag” front, a not-insignificant number of thruhikers also take a set of sleeping clothes, both for warmth and to protect the bag from the oils/dirt on your skin. I was super dirty, they didn’t impede my sleep at all, and they protected the bag. I usually slept in my sportsbra rather than my dirty hiking shirt, for the same reasons.

The Big Three • Backcountry Kitchen • Weatherproofing • Accoutrements
Bonus: Worn or Carried

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