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Will I be warm in this? That’s a hard question to answer!

Posted on February 21 2019

Will I be warm in this? That’s a hard question to answer!

Will I be warm in this? That’s a hard question to answer!

It’s a question we get asked a lot, especially at this time of year. It really is an impossible question to answer, as there are so many variables. What activity are you doing? How cold is it? How humid will it be? What else will you be using? What’s you body weight to surface area? And this makes it difficult for manufacturers to.

The outdoor industry has several ways it rates clothing and equipment, (such a camping mats and sleeping bags). Therma-rest use tog on their sleeping mats for example. But its still an arbitrary figure and many other mat manufacturers use season rating, Vango use a numerical rating  and temperature rating like Xped, (who also use Tog, but don’t tell you how they convert the values). A description of tog can be found here. But its fairly misleading to equate the values in the article to the real world of camping.

I have a NeoAir XTherm Max for winter camping. It has a Tog of 5.7, which puts it in the spring/autumn category of Tog. Its one of the warmest mats I have ever used, and it has given great service in winter. The therma-rest ProLite Plus is 3.4 and is a great mat for Autumn/Spring and I have a friend who has used it in winter many times. As is the Trail Scout, another thermarest mat a friend has used in winter locally (the north York moors. The rating would put them in the summer Tog category. But that’s for duvets and not mats. Confused yet? The thing is, it’s a test that gives a reliable, measurable value. But then how do you compare it to other mats, when they use a different system? The Vango numerical rating is just no fit and gives little indication of how to compare with others. They have no explanation on the web site.

So, its not an easy question to answer. To compound this further, we all experience cold differently. Some people are naturally cold hardy, others are not.

We have not even mentioned clothing, which has even less information. You have fill level on down, but this is not a thermal rating, more an indication to the quality of its fill. Like the Rab Microlight Alpine, which has a 750 fill value. So we know its good stuff, but we don’t know how thick the jacket is from a photo and there’s no way to quantify its warmth. Its similar with the Patagonia Micro Puff, but its synthetic this time and it claims to have down like insulation, but it could reference poor quality down! It really is a tough one!

At Trailblazer Outdoors we have a wealth of experience with using different kit in the outdoors. We always give you are opinion, so if you have a thermal insulation requirement, please just ask us in store and we can try and steer you through the mine field.

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