4 miles of hiking • 750' elevation gain • 1 night

A few weeks back, I had borrowed a sleeping bag from a friend James so that a coworker could join me on a snowcamping trip. The night before this trip to the Twin Lakes, James asked me to bring his sleeping bag. Easy enough.

But he failed to ask about it when he picked me up the next morning, and I failed to remember. We drove all the way out to the Frog Lake SnoPark and took out backpacks out of the back of the car before either of us remembered.

With no gear rental places in Government Camp, our options were to either drive back to the city and call the trip off, or one of us would have to make do without a sleeping bag. I was willing to risk it as I had a lot of insulation with me.

The trip was mostly uneventful until bed time. We pitched the tent, built a kitchen and a big fire, and I played around on my telemark skis. It got interesting when it was time for bed, though.

From toe to head, I wore three pairs of socks, down booties, long john pants, down pants, soft shell pants, a wool baselayer, a grid fleece, a rain jacket, a synthetic jacket, a down jacket, a wind shirt, fingerless gloves, two beanies and the hood from my rain jacket, down jacket, and wind shirt. All of that on, I slid into my breathable bivy sack, layered an emergency blanket over my lower half and went to bed surprisingly warm. It was 9pm.

I woke up at 2am chilled. I borrowed a down jacket from a friend, layered that over my torso, and fell back asleep until 5am. We eventually got up at 6, made breakfast, and hiked back out to the car.

All told, I'm surprised at how little a sleeping bag was necessary. The tent played a big part, though. I ordinarily sleep under a tarp (even in winter), but a fully enclosed tent allowed the ambient temperature to rise to roughly freezing—enough to keep me comfortable enough to sleep through the night.

Either way, I won't willingly do that again.