View Full Version : Sleeping bag warmth

01-15-2015, 03:04
I am heading out from Springer the first week of March. I cannot use down sleeping bags because of asthma. So synthetic it is. Not a big deal, don't like the extra weight and bulkiness, but it is what it is.

That being said, I can't decide on what degree bag to get. I really like the Montbell #1 spiral bag, but boy, that thing is toasty! It says 17 degree, but I think it would keep me warm well below that. So, is that too warm? I am really only worried about the smokey's. I have also considered getting a 32 degree bag and a liner. Drop 2 lbs from the bag, add a pound and 12 degrees from the liner. So, it would save me a pound and allow me to sleep more comfy in a bit warmer weather. Will I be too cold with that though?

This is the one thing I can't decide on. It is driving me crazy. Any input would be appreciated.

01-15-2015, 08:04
for what it's worth, i'm from north georgia and am familiar with the weather here in the southern apps... i leave mar 16 and will begin with a 15* down bag... i'll swap to a 45* primaloft for the hot stretch, and back to the 15* for the whites... no liner, i'll sleep in wool underlayer, if i get cold i'll layer up.

don't let any of the planning drive you crazy, this thing is supposed to be fun. we had record lows last week, i pitched the tent, slept out in the yard. neighbors must think me crazy. i know i'll be warm though.

thats me, you do you

01-15-2015, 08:13
That Montbell #1 bag is pretty sweet, and it's very likely that you'll get some frigid nights for about 6 weeks or so. After mid-May you can send it home for a 40-F rated bag.

map man
01-15-2015, 09:08
I'd go with the warmer Montbell bag for the south and north ends of the trail. On nights when it proves too warm unzip it and use it like a quilt.

01-15-2015, 09:54
I'd go with the warmer Montbell bag for the south and north ends of the trail. On nights when it proves too warm unzip it and use it like a quilt.

I second this. I carry a never summer bag year round, use it for padding in the summer a quilt in the fall and a bag in the cold winter. Just got back from Williston working oil and gas, camped out in Lewis and Clarke park for my last day there, because it was -22. Used that zero bag and a liner was plenty warm with layers. It's all personal comfort with bags - good luck.

01-15-2015, 09:57
First of all, since you're going synthetic, have you looked at the Mountain Hardware Ultralamina series? While they are not as light as down, they stuff down as well as and even better than some high end down bags.

If I'm finding the correct specs, the Montbell you are looking at is over 4lbs, stuffs to 8.5"x17", and had an EN rating of 28
The Ultralamina 15 is <3lbs, stuffs to 7"x13", and has an EN rating of 24.

As for 15 v 32...
The GSMNP is where I do most of my backpacking. While weather is obviously highly varied, I think the over-all tread (at higher elevations) is that I need the 15 from October to March, and the 32 from April to September.
The 32 weighs only 2lbs, so I haven't found it worth the money to buy the 45 for summer use just to save 1/2lb.

01-15-2015, 11:45
Alright, appreciate everyone's input. Montbell it is.

@HooKooDooKu, The Montbell I am looking at is 17, not 28. I have looked at the Ultralamina series. They are very tempting, but a lot of people had said they do not stay anywhere near as warm as they say. Plus I am just not a mummy style sleeper. Thank you for all the info though, appreciate it!

01-15-2015, 16:31
Bro just get a Mountain Hardwear 30 degree ultra lamina, this is what I used on both my AT NOBO's ( 06 and 2012 ) I left springer MT Feb 13 and 14th with no liner and stayed perfectly warm the only place I was cool was in the GSMNP but it was no problem, I kept the bag the entire trail on both hikes, on the hot nights I either used it like a quilt or slept on top of it, Whatever you get, get something you can use on the entire trail, The stupidest thing I see people do is buy two set ups, a winter set up and a summer set up then they have to mail the winter one home and get the summer one in Pearisburg VA then you have to reverse the process in VT theirs absolutely no need to do that.

01-15-2015, 16:42
I would like to add that a GOOD QUALITY sleeping pad will add warmth to you sleeping set up, also if you do ship gear home don't send it before Pearisburg VA.

01-15-2015, 18:13
Bro just get a Mountain Hardwear 30 degree ultra lamina...
It's the 32 Ultralamina (there is no 30 Ultralamina), and they seem to be going on sale now... so watch for some deals.

BTW, the EN ratings for this bag are 40/32/8 (Comfort/Lower Limit/Extream).

lemon b
01-15-2015, 18:33
I've always gone out with a 20 degree.

01-16-2015, 05:36
I've not done the southern sections of the AT, so YMMV, but I roll with a 30f bag for all seasons unless I'm high-alt winter hiking or in a place where it is absolutely needed to have a nice 0f or lower (above treeline cold-weather), adding a liner as need be gives me a few extra degrees of leeway. I tend to sleep warm, and I'm a side-sleeper so I also require less warmth than many hikers do. For warm weather, temperate hiking I generally don't bring a bag at all, just my pad and an Army wool Blanket. I'd say generally speaking outside of hiking in the Cascades in Winter, i have never actually needed more than a 30f bag with the occasional liner, this assumes you have a decent pad to insulate from the ground. The issue with recommending bag ratings to others is the hugely variable nature of how much warmth you need to sleep comfortably. As I said before, I sleep warm and can sleep easily even if I'm feeling chilly, whereas you might not be able to get a wink in 40 degree weather without a full 0f bag... Best advice is get the bag, set up your tent in the backyard or a local trail on a cold night, and sleep in it. if you freeze, go back with the receipt and get a different one. Trust me on this, you do not want to be figuring out if a bag works for you when you're a few hundred miles up trail and freezing your butt off cause it's not enough, or carrying two extra pounds and boiling to death because it's too much. On that point, testing your sleep system before going on trail is a surefire way to avoid potential discomfort and fatigue when you get out there. Good luck mate!