Introduction: Winter Camping Sleep Mask
We recently went on a ski trip in the Kluane Icefields, in the Yukon, Canada. Yes, skiing in July!
We were camped at a remote fly-in location, on a glacier at the base of Canada's tallest mountain, Mt. Logan. You can see our tents (tiny dots in the photo above) with Mt. Logan in the background.
I was super-excited about the trip, but worried about being cold at night. You can keep your body warm with a good sleeping bag, but my nose gets really cold. So I decided to design a winter camping sleep mask to keep my ears and nose warm, and also to protect my eyes against the extreme light in the north (about 20 hours of daylight in the summer!)
Step 1: Repurpose Fleece From an Old Garment, and Cut Out Mask Shape
I re-purposed an old fleece jacket for a mask for my husband, and used leftover fleece from a sewing project for my own mask. Fleece is perfect for this mask because its cut edges do not fray, it is warm and flexible, and washable.
Cut a rectangle approximately 24" X 5". The length should be about 2" more than the circumference of your head at the widest part (including nose and ears).
Round the corners of the rectangle, and make sure it fits around your head with at least a 1" overlap.
Step 2: Sew Velcro to Fleece, and Add a "pleat" for the Nose Area
Cut about 2" of velcro (mine was about 1/2" wide, and 2" long). Velcro, also known as "hook and loop" tape, consists of two strips that stick together - the "hooks" stick to the "loops".
- Sew one half of the velcro (e.g. the "loop" part) near one end of your rectangle, as in the photo.
- Turn the fleece rectangle over, and sew the other half of the velcro (e.g. the "hook" part) close to the other end of your rectangle. This is easiest to do with a sewing machine but could be done by hand.
- Try the mask on before sewing the 2nd piece of velcro on, to make sure that the 2 pieces of velcro will meet, and adjust the position of the 2nd piece, if needed, to fit. If you plan to wear a hat while sleeping (highly recommended for winter camping), make sure it fits comfortably over your hat.
- To make space for a high nose, I added a "pleat" about 6" from one end of the mask. I folded the rectangle at the 6" spot, and sewed a "U" or "V" shape, starting the "V" about 2" from the top of the mask.
The final photo shows how this pleat creates a space for the nose. The goal is to keep the top of the nose covered, without covering the nostrils. I also trimmed the bottom edge of the mask a little, keeping it widest where it covers the nose, and curving it up slightly where the cheeks are. This is optional, as is the pleat.
Step 3: Stay Warm and Cosy With Your Winter Camping Sleep Mask!
You can see how bundled up I am in this photo in our tent. I am wearing mittens, a down jacket, a neck warmer, a hat and my sleep mask, which kept my nose nice and warm all night, despite the fact that we were sleeping on a glacier!
This special sleep mask/nose warmer makes winter camping much more enjoyable.
For more information about how to fly in and camp on a glacier in the Kluane Icefields, see http://www.icefielddiscovery.com/glacier-camp