As I said in yesterday’s post, I decided to camp out in our field, giving me a opportunity to do some preliminary testing prior to my next trip. It was forecasted to be -5/6C overnight, but turned out much colder at -10C. I set up my Hilleborg Soulo in the late afternoon and laid out my newly purchased Exped Downmat 7 and Alpkit Pipedream 400 The mat has a R value of 5.9 and a minimum temperature rating of -24C . In the tent I had my Primus Express Spider Stove – which I have used on several trips so far but not in temperatures lower than 5 C. I also had a Primus Power canister.
By the time I got into the tent, it was -7C and I settled down quickly into my bag wearing a merino top and leggings, Smartwool socks and the hood from my PHD down jacket. After a little while it was clear to me that the mat was comfortable and warm, with no hint of cold coming from the groundsheet, whether on my back, front or side. I drifted off to sleep and woke around 2.30am, with a very cold nose, the only part of me exposed to the chill. After that I buried my head deep into the sleeping bag to warm it up.
I woke up at 7.30 am and fired up the stove with no problem and quickly boiled water for tea.
Despite the temperature dropping to -10C, the coldest I think I have camped, I kept warm and comfortable. The Alpkit sleeping bag is rated at -3C, but I was cosy and warm and the Exped Down mat was excellent in keeping any cold out.
After such a cold night, it was not unsurprising that the roads and paths in our village were sheet ice. I set off to the village shop, a 2 mile round trip, using the Kahtoola microspikes. First outing with these. Within a few minutes, I declared these brilliant, the spikes grip ice superbly, so much so I could run on ice with complete safety !
So whilst this was not adventurous testing, it was testing in pretty extreme temperatures for the UK, and all three pieces of kit worked well, giving me confidence, when out for real .
When I got back, I saw the weather report it was -17C in Powys overnight, I wonder how my mat would have performed in that temperature, pretty good I imagine: )