It began with Ray Jardine. He had made significant weight differences by sewing his own sleeping bag. Doug and I were talking about how often we slept half out of or on top of our sleeping bags while in the Canyon. Somewhere we had read about using flannel. Doug sewed his first; I was not yet convinced - not convinced he could sew. I knew if I decided to make one I'd need lots of help and free time for a week or so. But sew he did and when finished he had effectively cut his pack weight by 1 lb. 10 oz.. I still held out till I found that to get close to Doug's pack weight, I'd have to give up my booze. NO WAY! I convinced my wife that the flannel sheet in the hall closet was ready to become dust rags. Doug's flannel bag was a crawl in. Since I knew nothing about sewing, I installed Velcro to allow venting. My final product weighed 22 oz., compared to Doug's 11 oz..
AND NOW THE FLANNEL SHEET FIASCO...
Day 2 of the 1998 trip--night 10:00 PM -- The wind begins to blow. The warm temperature begins to drop. By 10:00 the temp is now down to 45 degrees. Doug and I add clothes. We are still cold. I take the tarp and cover the flannel bag, then add my jacket, then another pair of socks and mittens. I'm still cold. Now I put on my shoes. Then the wind blows the tarp off. I turn so my feet are facing into the wind and use rock to anchor the tarp and bag.
Still the temperature drops. At 3:15, Doug reports the temp at 35 degrees. I take the ground cloth and add another layer. Sleep comes and goes. Cold spots develop; turning just shifts the cold to another spot. Finally after I've added every bit of clothing, morning comes. Doug zips up his bivy combo and succeeds in finally getting warm, except now he has created a condition that does not allow his own moisture to escape. Before long he is wet and, again, cold ... It was a very long night!
Doug's retrospective: One spends a lot of time constructing a warmth "system" based on layering and more layering options. And then in the heat, or cold, of battle, one does not utilize all of one's system options. Why didn't I put on my final pieces of clothing-shell mittens, gaiters, extra shorts, hiking hat, and bandanna? Why didn't Brian and I put on the garbage bag over the bottom half of the sleeping sheet? Why didn't I zip up the bivy around me, leaving only my head (with windbreaker hood, bandanna and hat on) exposed? And, finally, we found out that our respective had limits (my system may have worked down to 30 degrees, if fully implemented, but Brian seems to be somewhere around 35++) but we don't know what the lowest comfortable temperatures for either of us are. A learning experience where we didn't learn much.
Brian's final comment - My wife now has a new set of dust rags.