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Sleeping Bag recommendation

Discussion in 'Camping & Outdoor Gear' started by Poriomania, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. Poriomania

    Poriomania

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    I'm looking to get a sleeping bag for the occaisional camping I do. However there seems to be a wide array of choices and I'm not sure what factors/features are best for what I intend to do.

    What I'm looking for is a good quality bag, fairly versatile that will be good down to about 20-30 degrees and that can unzip to be a blanket. I plan on using it spring-fall maybe four to six times a year, but there is the slight possibility that I might backpack with it as well. If I can I'd like to find such a thing for around 60 to 70 dollars. What are some good options?
     
  2. Scamper

    Scamper

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    If you seriously think you want to backpack with it, weight and thermal rating are the two key factors to consider IMO. There are lots of bags that fall into the 20° range, so that's pretty easy to cover. The lighter bags come filled with down or synthetics (like Hollofil, Polarguard HV/3D/Delta, etc.). I think the Polarguard Delta is the latest and lightest of them--was last time I looked anyway. Most backpacking bags are mummy style, so while you might be able to unzip them, they usually don't unzip completely and don't make very good blankets due to the odd shape.

    Down is great for comressibility and weight, but if you get it damp/wet on a trip, you're screwed cause it takes forever to get it dry again. I personally prefer the better snythetics since they're more durable, and are pretty darn close now to down in their compressibility and weight...and they cost a lot less.

    But I don't think you're likely to find a good lightweigt backpacking bag for $60-70; they run more like $100-150 minimum. No matter what bag you get though, be sure to try it out in the store--better stores will let you try the fit in the store and a lot of makers now have bags in two or three different sizes. You'll look silly lying on the store floor in the bag, but it beats finding out you're 2 inches too tall for the bag when you're lying in your tent on a cold night.

    If all you want is a back-o-the-truck bag for camping, just go with the thermal rating and there are plenty that cost well below your price range. You can get lots of good bags and reasonable prices at Campmor...here's the link:

    http://www.campmor.com/

    Tom
     
  3. dawgdaze

    dawgdaze

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    This one I know. Go to ebay and look for a NEBO sleeping bag. I have the moose which is a 10 degree bag that is comfortable to about 20 degrees. I have slept in it in the single digits and it required me wearing thermals. The reason I like it is that it has a square bottom which means much more leg room. It also closes at the top around your neck when it's really cold. Having the square bottom allows you also to open it up and use as a blanket. You should be able to find one for 35-45 dollars. It is also perfect for backpacking because it is extremely lightweight and stuffs easily into a little compression pack.
     
  4. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    Gary-I've camped and backpacked for years and if you want the same bag to do both well, you're looking at a decent mummy bag. The down bags are still lighter than the synthetics for equivalent warmth. I use my old North Face down bag on 4wd trips and it has been great untill last years Rubithon when it rained like crazy and most of my stuff got wet. If you shop a discounter like Sierra Outfitters they frequently have nice synthetic fill bags in the $80-150 range. I would buy one of these unless backpacking is really a focus, in which case I would buy an expensive down bag because weight is such an issue when it rides on your back all day. Just for reference, I bought my North Face bag (5 degree) my senior year in high school, which was 1976. Quality lasts.
     
  5. dawgdaze

    dawgdaze

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  6. Mike S

    Mike S

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    Depending on your needs, you might want to investigate getting a queen size down quilt, a waterproof bedroll cover, and a washable flannel bag liner. This is a really comfy combo, and very flexible, as you can substitute a lighter quilt or add more blankets, and it can be washed when needed.

    Just a thot.
     
  7. yooper

    yooper Lost user SILVER Star

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  8. Photoman

    Photoman SILVER Star

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    There are a couple of other considerations when choosing a bag. First, is are you a warm sleeper or a cold sleeper? Bag ratings are always a little optimistic, so if you are a cold sleeper you may want to get one that is actually rated for less than the 20-30 degrees. Second, are you a one position sleeper? If you have to roll around when sleeping then the mummy bags are hard to do that in. Mummy bags are warmer by nature of their design - more form fitting.
    I take two bags with me; one for summer and one for winter. When it gets below zero F, I put the one bag inside the other. That's also when the pullstring top comes in handy. You just stick your nose close to the opening. Another trick I do for the really cold stuff is to throw one of those chemical hand warmers down in the bottom of the bag by my feet when I climb in.

    Bill
     
  9. Scamper

    Scamper

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    Hey Bill - I thought I was the only double-bagger around until I saw your post! LOL!

    Nice to know I'm not the only one out there...

    Tom
     
  10. hj60

    hj60

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    I've got a Slumberjack 3-season bag (rated down to 0°F) and I'm quite
    happy with it. Camped in spring, summer and fall in the high desert here.
    Some nights I've had to don thermals to keep warm enough, but most
    nights it's perfect.
    It's a mummy bag, and I'm a toss and turn sleeper, but it tends to follow
    my movements pretty well.
    Only real problem I have had camping is the lack of a good mat. Bought the
    cheapy foam mats due to lack of money and have regretted it. Now we
    have an Aero Bed that should fit perfectly in the back of the 60. Just need
    to get the 12V pump for it.
     
  11. Poriomania

    Poriomania

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    So far I like the idea of the Nebo. What I like about that is that if I want to I can cinch up the neck for extra warmth when I'm by myself, but can still use it as a blanket. The main consideration about the blanket aspect is the wife with whom I will be ocaisionally sharing it with. Trying to strike a balance with her shivering uncontrollably when it's 65 versus my comfort at 50-55, preferably 40-45 with a nice blanket.

    I've been using the down blanket for quite a while now, but it's just not adequate around CO. At the end of last May I camped with friends and got too cold at night, but then sunburnt in the morning, then rained on, then sleeted on, then snowed on, then iced on, then hit 70 degrees again. That was just one day.

    I also really want something fully synthetic for moisture as I will be spending time in somewhat humid areas such as MO.
     
  12. dawgdaze

    dawgdaze

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    Buy the NEBO. If you aren't satisfied, I'll buy it from you. I'm that certain you will like it.
     
  13. Junk

    Junk

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    Don't buy anything without being able to climb into it first. The most important thing is your comfort. If you are not comfortable, then everything sucks on your trip. After that, look at things like zippers being of good quality (sucks when they suck), good neck collar, hood? Stuff like that. A good bag will cost a little more but will last a long time.

    Benefits of synthetic vs down depend on the type of camping you'll be doing. If you need something like and compact, then down rules. If you want something to keep you warm when it's wet, then synth is the way to go.

    If you buy something that is waterproof on the outside, something that most don't consider is that all your sleep sweat will vaporize into the bag, then soak the bag without letting it breathe out.

    Storing the bag and maintaining it is more important than buying it. Like don't store a down bag compressed etc.
     
  14. rick_d

    rick_d

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    I don't do tents.

    If you are going to abuse it, get a synthetic, and a cheap one.

    if you get a down bag, get a quality bivy sack (I have a Bibler) always as a back up for rain etc.

    not once have I slept wet

    in 30 years of winter mountaineering, alpine climbing, wall climbing, desert-mountain-woods-beach sleeping in the dirt-cactus-snow-sand I think I have this figured out.
     
  15. Benji

    Benji

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    I don't use a sleeping bag, just crawl up under all your extra clothes and snuggle against your lovely girl; she will keep you warm. Or, I think REI actually makes descent bags with a low cost.
    :beer: :flipoff2: :'( :-* :-\ :-[ :p ::) ??? 8) :eek: :( :mad: :D :D :) :ban:remember always wear stretch pants
     
  16. Junk

    Junk

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    rick_d, you don't do tents? Even long mountaineering trips? Snow caves are ok, but if on a long trip, no tent?
     
  17. rick_d

    rick_d

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    ...for those have met me, I don't have good legs (now) so my approches I must limit. move fast, move light. snow cave if there is trouble..

    but:
    if you carry (plan) to bivy, you will bivy.

    I had a Bibler I- tent till I loaned it out and it tuned green (was Yellow)- that was 1997.

    I never said I didn't sleep in cars (on under like the evil tequila night/storm at Suicide parking lot...uhhhh)
     
  18. CruisinGA

    CruisinGA

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    Buy a good bag.
    Don't go to your local sporting goods stores and spend $70 and think you're OK.
    I got a 0 degree Columbia mummy on sale at Galyans for $75 bucks. Took it to Tellico in February the next weekend, teens and sleeting all weekend. I was cold all weekend.
    I had a $175 20 degree North Face mummy that my sister lost, that was much warmer, therefore thermal ratings aren't all that.
     
  19. Scamper

    Scamper

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    [quote author=CruisinGA link=board=14;threadid=13732;start=msg129131#msg129131 date=1080614794]
    Buy a good bag.
    I had a $175 20 degree North Face mummy that my sister lost, that was much warmer, therefore thermal ratings aren't all that.
    [/quote]

    I have to agree with this. Nothing sucks worse than being cold in the middle of the night, with our without your "bed-warmer" (you can both be cold). I've noticed that reputable manufacturers (North Face being one--I have a Cat's Meow which is quite a nice 3-season bag here in the Northeast) ratings are much more reliable than the rating you'll see on a Coleman or Acme bag.
     
  20. Junk

    Junk

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    Porio, after re-reading this post, since you may do some backpacking, it sounds like you should focus first on your decision of down vs synth. Synth is usually heavier and bulkier, but as stated, can keep you warm if wet. I'd say if you only own one bag, make it synth for that reason. If you do this a lot, you will of course end up with several bags, one for 20 deg, one down to 0 etc. Remember things like to change your clothes, including capilene at night so that you have clean warm clothes on at night, wear socks and hat etc. Personal management is the number one key when out and about.