The Naked Truth

posted Dec 12, 2012, 7:49 AM by Paul Wagner
The tent in action.©

Some myths die hard.  We’re referring to that old chestnut about the warmest way to sleep in a down bag.  Legend has it that you should sleep naked.  Legend is dead wrong. 

This probably stems from suggestions about how to treat hypothermia or frostbite.  In that case, the patient’s own body isn’t generating enough heat to warm the bag, and the solution is to put someone else in the bag with the patient.  Presumably someone who is warm anough to generate some hear, and not averse to icy hands and feet rubbing up against his/her body.

It’s not as much fun as you might think.
                                                                                                                                                                                        If you're inside your tent...who cares what you're wearing?

But when it comes to perfectly normal people trying to stay warm, more insulation is better.  It’s really just common sense.  The down bag provides a level of insulation.  So do your clothes.  And those two, in combination, provide more.  It is no different from your attic.  The foot of the tent, and the foot of M.©

So why doesn’t this legend die?  Let’s see.  If I were a young man taking a young woman backpacking…Oh, I see now!  
That's M at left, showing a little leg, but not much else, during an afternoon nap in the Ansel Adams Wilderness.  Note that the sleeping bags are pushed to the side, because it is a lovely temperature, and she in enjoying every minute of it. 
Which brings to mind that wonderful old campfire song, sung to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic:

Oh I wear my pink pajamas in the summer when it’s hot

And I wear my woolen undies in the winter when it’s not

And sometimes in the springtime, and sometimes in the fall,

I jump between the covers with nothing on at all!


Glory, glory, hallelujah; Glory, glory, hallelujah,

Glory, glory, what’s it to ya, if I jump between the covers with nothing on at all!