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sethd513
12-03-2017, 15:12
The last two winters Iíve been layering quilts. I can get Down pretty cold into the negatives. But they are so finicky and when the snow and wind wonít let up the last thing I want to do is connect my quilts.

What do you use for cold wether mummy bags. Iím looking at a marmot col being the best option but there are so many options. North face inferno montbell Down hugger feathered friends. What do you use, what do you like what donít you like?


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LIhikers
12-08-2017, 11:18
Until a couple of years ago I used to layer 2 sleeping bags for winter camping.
A couple of years ago I had some money available and bought myself a Western Mountaineeering Puma.
I haven't been cold since then.

nsherry61
12-08-2017, 11:43
Realistically, how cold will the weather be during your "deep winter" excursions, not the extreme, just the most likely 90%. Bundling up multiple quilts sounds like a pain, but so does paying for and carrying more insulation than you need.

I do a lot of winter trips with my 20 degree bag. If I expect frequent nights below 20 (maybe only 1/2 my winter trips), I'll take my synthetic over-quilt to make comfort easy to achieve. If I am expecting multiple nights below zero (F), I might consider taking my winter bag, but frankly, that hasn't happened in several years. If I didn't already have a winter expedition bag, I would not buy one for the few extreme trips I take these days. After all, with my over-quilt and a puffy jacket, I can manage -15 degrees F adiquately for a night or two. More than that and I expect my winter expedition bag would be easier and more comfortable.

Feral Bill
12-08-2017, 12:44
I have always use double bags in serious cold. In many years camping in temperatures as low as -35 F I have never been cold. A quilt over a fairly warm (10 F?) bag might work as well.

sethd513
12-08-2017, 16:54
Iíve been using a 15* and 40* quilt for winter. Iíve been warm in my pertex bivy with a vbl with an outside temp of -15 to -20. A few issues are the cramped space I feel In my feet, also having so many working parts. I feel like my summer bag just isnít wide enough to cover my15* quilt. I was thinking about selling it and getting a wider synthetic but now Iím adding weight, lookin longevity and I have older EE quilts from before they blew up so Iím very happy with them. My feet get cold in that set up and by the time I have booties and socks and everything I just have no room.

If I went with the col I could leave my bivy at home or in the pack for anything that is winter weather. Like snow and wind. In this situation on 0 degree night I feel like I could leave things home that I may not need if I was using the quilts and bivy.

My biggest concern is going back to a mummy bag though. I left that space because I had no room. Granted I had a low end north face bag at the time. I went to quilts for the versatility and space. But when itís cold the space fills up to quick. Iím 6í 1Ē 185 with broad shoulders. Iím not huge but paired in a bivy everything shrinks.


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sethd513
12-08-2017, 16:55
I should add I sleep very cold. So those quilt temps for the average person are probably more 22 and 45


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Decibel
12-08-2017, 16:57
My WM Puma has never failed me.

coach lou
12-08-2017, 17:03
My WM Puma has never failed me.

I can't even zip my Puma all the way up!!!

ggreaves
12-08-2017, 18:09
I don't use down in the winter - wiggys all the way

JoeVogel
12-09-2017, 11:02
I have always been very please with using a good 20 degree bag/quilt and a bivy. I like this one (http://amzn.to/2A7iG7U) because its super minimal and light weight (8.4oz) and also works quite well. I am very tall skinny person and I could see how it would be very tight for someone with a slightly larger build than I. I haven't used it more than 2 or 3 times but it did work very well the times I did. While I haven't had the issue of condensation building up on the inside it is a concern I still have. I have also never slept in anything colder than -2 F or so.

JC13
12-09-2017, 12:42
Slightly off topic but my quilt stacking plan was to leave them coupled when repacking, is this not a good idea for some reason? I guess perhaps the synthetic having moisture in it could be the reason?

sethd513
12-09-2017, 13:35
Slightly off topic but my quilt stacking plan was to leave them coupled when repacking, is this not a good idea for some reason? I guess perhaps the synthetic having moisture in it could be the reason?

I always want to just put my bivy with everything back in the pack when I wake up and my eye lids freeze while Iím making coffee. I personally think itís better to separate. Best to keep as dry as possible from the get go. One time I went out for an over night my feet were soak and intern soaked my outer quilts foot box and the whole inside of the bivy. If I was stayin out for to nights I donít know what I would of done as the quilt soaked everything when I unpacked that afternoon.


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MtDoraDave
12-16-2017, 09:23
A few years ago, I bought a Marmot Never Summer 0 degree down bag which I use if the temps could drop below freezing. It was my most expensive purchase for my hiking hobby! It is perfect at around 15 degrees wearing only my base layer.
It's 650 fill, so it's close to 4 lbs. Higher down fill means lighter weight and smaller stuff size, but also means higher cost - so buy what you can afford...
That said, there's a saying around here: buy once, cry once. Often we buy the less expensive option first, then later buy the more expensive one anyway...so save up a bit longer and buy the better one from the get go. An 850 fill 0 degree bag may be in the $500 range, but weighs around 2.5 lbs and will last decades. I thought I was very thorough in my research, weighing options and what not, but now wish I would have spent a couple hundred more and gotten the lighter and smaller bag with the higher fill power.

VT-Mike
12-16-2017, 09:50
I went through this process two winters ago. Had the bags you list plus a few others on my list. I ended up going with a Big Agnes Pomer Hoit. Been out from 20 to -5 F with various layers worn and been comfy and cozy every time. Between weight, warmth, features and cost it just edged out the competition.

Tipi Walter
12-16-2017, 10:08
Until a couple of years ago I used to layer 2 sleeping bags for winter camping.
A couple of years ago I had some money available and bought myself a Western Mountaineeering Puma.
I haven't been cold since then.


My WM Puma has never failed me.


I can't even zip my Puma all the way up!!!

I agree with these posts. My winter bag is also the Puma---and 95% of the time I use it unzipped like a quilt---until temps get around 0F or -10F, then I zip up tight. An overkill down bag allows me to sleep more comfortably without getting "mummified" and cocooned inside a zipped up tube---so I mostly use it unzipped.

colorado_rob
12-16-2017, 11:06
I've done a whole bunch of deep-winter condition climbing and camping and still do, I've owned many different setups over the years, including:

- my first winter bag was that marmot never-summer 0 degree. Heavy for its rating, but it worked. Demoted it to car-camping when I bought a lighter 0 degree bag
- bought a lighter 0 degree Mountainsmith bag maybe 15 years ago, worked great, saved about a pound, just as warm as the never-summer. I don't think MS makes bags any more, alas.
- for a very high, cold climbing expedition 13 years ago, I finally went all-out and got that famous WM Puma. Worked great, plenty of girth so never felt constricted, but it turns out it was overkill for Colorado in the winter. Used it for three high, cold expeditions and maybe a dozen times in CO in the winter, finally sold it last year to a pal for his Denali expedition. Kept using the Mountainsmith 0 degree for winter in Colorado

By the way, I looked REAL hard at that Marmot Col, tough call vs. the WM Puma, I went with the Puma, don't remember exactly why, might have gotten a good sale on the Puma, contrary to popular belief, WM bags do go on sale now and then. check bentgate.com

- my wife bought the -10 degree WM bag, the "lynx" for a high cold (Denali) expedition, worked great for her, not quite as warm as the Puma, but a tad lighter and less expensive

- Finally, when I went the quilt route for 3-season use, I now layer my 20 degree quilt with an old, but UL 40 degree MHW bag, works great so far down to about -10 conditions, this is my kit for the foreseeable future.

DuneElliot
12-16-2017, 11:31
I will concur with all others...Western Mountaineering bags are the way to go for quality and warmth that will last. I finally caved and bought one this summer after a very cold September trip in the Wind River Range where my same-temp-rated quilt just didn't cut it. They offer multiple widths and lengths in their bags.

Tipi Walter
12-16-2017, 12:18
The main selling point for me 10 years ago when I got my WM bag was the nifty MicroFiber shell. Tight weave; cool looking.

sethd513
12-16-2017, 23:03
Iíve been good at - 10 with layering quilts but I was suffering, barley sleeping eating every hour. I just received my col long in the mail. 40% off and 1000% stoked. There is so much room, down pants Rab parka and huge winter boots plenty of room and best of all I ďdonítĒ need my bivy. My wife and I are much happier with me having this when I go into the whites this winter and have to leave her home.


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sethd513
12-16-2017, 23:05
It lofts up in between my legs when Iím in it. I hope for a long life from it.


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colorado_rob
12-17-2017, 09:50
Good call on the Col. That and the puma are the two premier -20ish bags.

HerdBull
12-30-2017, 11:24
That's a solid choice. It should treat you well.

sethd513
12-30-2017, 11:59
Does anyone have experience with the col or marmot bags in general? Are their ratings spot on or wishful thinking? I had called and talked to a rep about the bag before I got it and he said they only make about 100 of them a year as itís a pretty specific bag. Itís super puffy and roomy so Iíd assume as a cold sleeper I could crawl in dry with my boots on(in a perfect world) with a vapor barrier suit big down parka down pants and be ok to -30.

I donít have any time or temp to check even though we are somewhat in a cold snap and we are going to the whites next weekend. Now that my wife has seen it she a little hesitant to push her two quilts which have something like 12 or more inches of loft layered together. Worse case weíll take the tent instead of her in a eVENT bivy and me cowboy camping which is really what I want to try with that bag.


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Uncle Joe
12-30-2017, 12:55
FWIW, I went to about 14F in a Marmot Trestles 15 degree bag in my hammock. I was clothed with base layers and a jacket. I wouldn't say I was warm but I wasn't freezing either. I managed to sleep fairly well. I had a pad under me and a sheet of reflectix as I had no UQ at the time. I would say it was pretty true to it's rating. Not comfortable at 15 but survivable. I have quilts now and probably won't pack that bag much. Being synthetic it doesn't pack down as well.

sethd513
12-30-2017, 13:30
FWIW, I went to about 14F in a Marmot Trestles 15 degree bag in my hammock. I was clothed with base layers and a jacket. I wouldn't say I was warm but I wasn't freezing either. I managed to sleep fairly well. I had a pad under me and a sheet of reflectix as I had no UQ at the time. I would say it was pretty true to it's rating. Not comfortable at 15 but survivable. I have quilts now and probably won't pack that bag much. Being synthetic it doesn't pack down as well.

Iíd say thatís pretty fair. I usually test on my deck which is 10 feet off the ground with less sleeping pad then I would be using in the woods as being higher up is much colder then on the ground as Iíve come to realize.


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Tipi Walter
12-30-2017, 13:41
Does anyone have experience with the col or marmot bags in general? Are their ratings spot on or wishful thinking?

I've had 3 down bags since 1980---A North Face Ibex in 1980 rated to -10F. A Marmot Couloir rated to 0F. And a WM Puma rated to -15F.

I used all bags in subzero temps and found the Marmot to stop working for me at around 0F and so I upgraded to the Puma.

41345
Here's the Marmot bag in Pisgah on Upper Creek trail back in 1999.

41346
Here's the new Puma upgrade in 2007.

Dogwood
12-30-2017, 14:42
You went the way I did. Started out doing only one or two deep winter trips every 2 yrs down to -15. I stacked a mummy FF Ul 20* Swallow and a quilt EE 50* Revelation(I sized it to fit over the Swallow when I ordered it), and combined it with a MLD Superlight/TG Ptarmigan bivy, 100% silk Cocoon 4 oz liner, down socks, dedicated sleepwear, switched out to multiple layered sleeping pads, etc. It did the job down to about -15. However, it was overly complex, bulky and financially costly when all these sometimes dedicated extra pieces were added into the winter sleep system. I felt like a stuffed Stay Puff Marshmallow man inside a cannoli which kinda sucked as a side to side sleeper or if I ever had to dislodge in the middle of the night from this system.

Since I expanded on those trips, the number/yr and length of duration out, sometimes going into some harsh remote winter areas(Glacier, Yosemite, Canada, etc) I bit the bullet and sprung for a WM Lynx MF. It is actually less costly if buying retail when compared to cumulatively adding up all that other stuff I bought just to make the other system work in winter, and lost a lot of the bulk, and the complexity is gone. I have little issue taking the WM Lynx MF down to -20 inside a tent/battened down MLD Solomid wearing some thinner clothing w/ a winter pad system. I can still add a liner or the bivy if I choose to go that path.


Other options I considered:

1) buying a 3 in one bag...a bag that addressed a wide temp range. I considering everything from high end Valandres' with removable collars/hoods, etc to TNF's One Bag. IMO, for me as a med sleeper with cold extremities, as other quilt users and manufacturers have stated here, there reaches a low temp at which very high end mummy bags makes greater sense than a quilt.


2) buying a used winter bag from mountaineering and expedition type sites. Many buy top end gear for trips like these(Denali, Everest, etc) only to be used for one or two trips and then sold. They can be good places to save on everything from winter sleeping bags, tents, winter apparel, expedition type snow suits, climbing gear, mountaineering gear, etc

Venchka
12-30-2017, 14:59
I will concur with all others...Western Mountaineering bags are the way to go for quality and warmth that will last. I finally caved and bought one this summer after a very cold September trip in the Wind River Range where my same-temp-rated quilt just didn't cut it. They offer multiple widths and lengths in their bags.
I'm glad that you said that. When I say anything good about WM products I get flamed.
Wayne

HerdBull
12-30-2017, 17:31
Bag ratings are pretty much rated at worse case, you will survive but maybe not be comfy temps. So a -20 degree bag will keep you alive at -20 but you may not sleep all that well. Some bag manufacturers have even gone the route of putting 3 ratings on the bag.

If I knew it was going to be -20 for a few nights when I was out I wouldn't take a -20 bag. I would bite the bullet and go the next level which is typically -40. Don't really know of any bags rated below that.

With that said it is very common practice in mountaineering to where your down suit or parka/pants in your bag. Problem is room. Plus you'll want room for a water bottle or 2 in the foot box.

IMO quilts are not made for temps in the -10 and below range. You need to capture all the body heat you can and contain it. Quilts don't do that all that well.

sethd513
12-30-2017, 17:39
Thatís the nice thing about the col. It is huge inside. Even with down coat and pants it doesnít feel stuffy. I did notice this bad didnít have 3 ratings like previous northface bags Iíve had. I have a feeling -20 will be comfortable in this bag as the down fills in between your legs inside. Iíve never been in a bag that does that. Primarily being a quilt user I was worried about the amount of down underneath my body but I think it will fill the voids well.


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Tipi Walter
12-30-2017, 18:01
Since I expanded on those trips, the number/yr and length of duration out, sometimes going into some harsh remote winter areas(Glacier, Yosemite, Canada, etc) I bit the bullet and sprung for a WM Lynx MF.

My backpacking buddy Patman also uses a Lynx bag for his winter trips. Here's a pic of him on the Rocky Flats trail on a cold 9F morning---
41347


Bag ratings are pretty much rated at worse case, you will survive but maybe not be comfy temps. So a -20 degree bag will keep you alive at -20 but you may not sleep all that well. Some bag manufacturers have even gone the route of putting 3 ratings on the bag.

If I knew it was going to be -20 for a few nights when I was out I wouldn't take a -20 bag. I would bite the bullet and go the next level which is typically -40. Don't really know of any bags rated below that.

With that said it is very common practice in mountaineering to where your down suit or parka/pants in your bag. Problem is room. Plus you'll want room for a water bottle or 2 in the foot box.

IMO quilts are not made for temps in the -10 and below range. You need to capture all the body heat you can and contain it. Quilts don't do that all that well.

I have my 15 degree rule---Get the bag rated 15 degrees lower than you plan to see. For me, even good bags follow this rule, so a -15F Puma works well at 0F. Overkill is the name of the game in winter. (This rule is why my Marmot 0F bag stopped working around 10-15F).

Fact is, since my Puma is overkill I use it as a quilt (unzipped like a blanket) for 95% of my winter nights. Unlike a quilt though it has the option to get mummified and zipped up tight when temps get to 0F or -10F.

egilbe
12-30-2017, 18:54
Got the tent set up and ready for a subzero night outside. Gonna be gun!

egilbe
12-30-2017, 18:55
Err...fun!

egilbe
12-30-2017, 19:23
Err...fun!

Tipi Walter
12-30-2017, 19:25
Got the tent set up and ready for a subzero night outside. Gonna be gun!

Me too, have the bedroll squared and looking forward to more backyard sleeping in a little TN Polar cold.

Dogwood
12-30-2017, 20:01
Good call on the Col. That and the puma are the two premier -20ish bags.


I would add Valandre and Feathered Friends to that list.


If one is willing to plow through the metric system and melodramatic French marketing and different construction approaches, that some, including myself initially found confusing, Valandre makes kick arse cold weather, high altitude and expedition type sleeping bags. It's what I'd expect from a European France based company located in the Pyrenees. Compounding these issues is that you don't see them in the U.S. that often... NO, will not find them mass marketed at U.S. REI's for instance, hard to find them to demo(I drove all the way to NY from southern NJ to demo a Mirage before I bought). Kinda like the McHale and PhD of Backpacks...once you've dialed in what you're after.

Feathered Friends comes out of Seattle which has high mountains all around it with a Northwestern population inclined to outdoor winter activities like peak bagging, skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking and camping, snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, etc. Feathered Friends also knows how to make great winter bags.

blw2
12-30-2017, 20:13
In another recent thread I mentioned that I think the rating is based on a 70 degree F baseline
.....so if you are the kind of person that would want to sleep with no blanket in 70F ambient, than the rating are maybe fairly close to real for you.
I've not really ever paid all that all that much attention, but I'd guess that I would shed all blankets at someplace roughly around 80F, so the rating are about 10 degrees off for me. Seems roughly about right based on my limited experience.
but maybe that falls apart for these really low temps?

sethd513
12-30-2017, 20:23
In another recent thread I mentioned that I think the rating is based on a 70 degree F baseline
.....so if you are the kind of person that would want to sleep with no blanket in 70F ambient, than the rating are maybe fairly close to real for you.
I've not really ever paid all that all that much attention, but I'd guess that I would shed all blankets at someplace roughly around 80F, so the rating are about 10 degrees off for me. Seems roughly about right based on my limited experience.
but maybe that falls apart for these really low temps?

Thatís a good way to put it. Does anyone else feel this way.


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sethd513
12-31-2017, 09:04
Also Does anyone have any experience with these expedition bags that are shelled with pertex or gorewind stop. Do some cut wind better then others? Do they not cut the wind at all?


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egilbe
12-31-2017, 11:29
I have an Eddie Bauer Karakoram -30 bag. The shell is Pertex Endurance. It keeps good down in, so it must fairly wind resistants, but I depend on my tent to block the wind, not my bag. May be more critical in an Alpine bivy.

HerdBull
12-31-2017, 12:24
I know we all like to save weight and space but relying on a bag to do all of this in these conditions is just not the best choice. A screw up here could cost you your life or at the minimum frost bite. Having a tent to keep the wind off of you is a plus when changing clothes, preparing food or just to get out the wind.

Tipi Walter
12-31-2017, 12:37
Also Does anyone have any experience with these expedition bags that are shelled with pertex or gorewind stop. Do some cut wind better then others? Do they not cut the wind at all?


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I learned a difficult lesson a long time ago---Don't bedroll camp using a down bag as your only protection at 20F in a high wind. The cold wind cuts right through it. This is why God created bivy bags---to block the wind. And on the 7th day He made tents---even better. I stopped carrying a bivy sack years ago---too constrictive, dead weight, too many zippers when combined with my bag etc etc. But I do carry a tent Praise Odin otherwise my fancy overkill WM bag wouldn't be worth crap as a stand alone winter survival tool.

I do have a winter down parka I take on all my winter trips and its shell is eVent (a better version of goretex) and it blocks wind fairly well. I've never had a quality down bag with a goretex or pertex shell but if I ever upgrade my Feathered Friends parka they now use a beefy version of Pertex.

I wouldn't buy a down bag with any kind of goretex whatever shell---the WM MicroFiber is awesome and breathes tremendously ergo dries out/airs out sufficiently.

Leo L.
12-31-2017, 12:53
When I went back into more serious hiking about 12yrs ago, I started with buying a very good down bag. Did a test run with an Exped model that had a Goretex Shell.
I think it somewhat worked, but it was heavy and bulky, and quite pricy.
I swapped it to another Exped model, same down filling, one size smaller (to fit me better), no Goretex Shell.
Since then I've used this Exped bag mostly for cowboy camping in harsh conditions, desert, winter, high winds, cold below freezing.
It has its limits somewhere around -10įC.
So far I've never had the impression that the shell would let too much wind through, its highly siliconized, water repellent, and dries out very quick in the sun.

As far as my understanding of Goretex goes, it would not do much good as and outer shell of the sleepingbag.
Would be much better to have it on the inner side, I think.

sethd513
12-31-2017, 13:33
My plan is to at bare minimum always have my eVENT bivy with with this col bag. No reason to not use it at 12 oz untill I find its limits. I had it made custom so winter bags and boots fit with ease. With no wind protection ie tarp or tent it wouldnt be worth while crawlin in without a bivy just to freeze a few hours later to get into the bivy. it looks like this weekend the ems winter tent will be coming out with temps predicted around -15 with 30mph winds. Pretty good tent holds about 10-15* over the outside temp. Itís over kill but I might have my wife carry the event bivy for herself inside the tent just Incase. She layers a 10 and 30* quilt but better to be safe then sorry.

I was worried about the pertex shell as hardshell materials are stuffy. As far as I can see you gotta get In dry and stay dry when itís cold.


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zelph
12-31-2017, 14:09
Bitter Cold -27ļ Overnight with Alex & Jonah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cDU8MpQ59I


Ely, Minnesota Hammock Backpack Trip....Minus 40ļF


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTuGJgka1qc

Tipi Walter
12-31-2017, 14:29
Thanks Zelph for the vids. Shug is well known for his subzero hammock trips and I'm sure in his video archive he's done such trips in low temps for longer times. These two vids only show a one night trip---tough for sure at -30F---but terribly tough when stretched out for 15 or 20 more days.

I like his comment, "feels balmy at minus twenty." Reminds me of a quote from arctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott who said there's a big difference between -50F and -70F---he felt -70 was much more dangerous.

Luckily here in the Southeast we only get -10F or -20F on occasion, although Mt Leconte and other high peaks like Grandfather Mt and Mt Mitchell are notorious for getting severely cold in the -20F range nearly every winter. On my last December trip to Bob Mt in TN/NC Mt LeConte was at 1F and I had about 12F, but Januarys are always worse.

I know the winter trekker boys use hot tents for severe cold---Kifaru tipis with wood stoves---but I've never seen such a setup with backpackers here in the Southeast. Then again, on my long winter trips at 0F or below I never see anyone anyway. Lucky me.

In Shug's situation (and here in the mountains at 0F), packing up every day and moving to a next camp and repeating this for the next 20 days is a real challenge. It's the day in and day out struggle to keep the hands and feet happy and the down items fully lofted and the next campsite for my tent shoveled clear etc.

"Packing big items into small sacks" perfectly describes the hassle of winter backpacking. And it's usually done in the morning when it's coldest and when you are warm emerging from your sleeping bag.

Time Zone
12-31-2017, 14:30
Thatís a good way to put it. Does anyone else feel this way.


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Yes - I think it's worth noting all the underlying assumptions behind a sleeping bag's rating. It's so easy to just assume you'll be comfortable down to the temperature on the label, but that temp could be based on assumptions that simply don't apply to you, whether it's the thickness of your pad, the warmth of your base layers, your age/sex/weight (ratings are based on specific baselines w/r/t those things), etc. One can get deep into the weeds* about the assumptions behind the ratings, but the point is to put anyone who claims temp ratings based on them on an even footing. It's up to you to estimate how the EN rating may vary for your particular situation, should you be older than 25, male not female, heavier than the mannequin, use a pad that is more or less insulative than baseline, etc.

*I'm curious about the board mentioned in EN 13537 testing - this elevated 12mm wooden board on which the sleeping pad rests. I suppose that could have some relevance for (some) shelters (if no air gaps between the boards), but I don't know anyone pitching a tent on the ground that would have their pad on a wooden board. Anyway, that was kind of an unexpected assumption.



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Time Zone
12-31-2017, 14:35
Then again, on my long winter trips at 0F or below I never see anyone anyway. Lucky me.

Woot has a t-shirt for soloists:

41364

Just kidding.
Mostly.

Tipi Walter
12-31-2017, 14:37
The best test of a bag's rating is to throw it out in the backyard tonight and sleep and see how correct it is.

Plus, a down sleeping bag is never as dry and as lofted and as warm as it is at home unfurled before a trip. This is important. Such a bag may very well be a true 0F rated bag when taken out of the house and thrown in the backyard tent tonight---but take that same bag out on a long backpacking trip and it's at-home warmth and loft won't be as strong. This is due to trip length, air humidity, your body's condensation and other factors.

For this reason it's important for winter backpackers who want to carry down bags to GO OVERKILL. If you expect 0F, get a -20F bag.

egilbe
12-31-2017, 15:09
A lot of bag manufacturers post the expected survival temps as their bag ratings, not comfortable temps. It was only -6 last night and I had to take off my fleece mittens and my Eddie Bauer Ignitelite jacket because I was too warm. Slept in cap 2 baselayers with fleece pants and Icebreaker 260 wt long sleeve crew and a hooded power stretch fleece hoody.

Dogwood
12-31-2017, 15:44
Suggest this be assimilated.

Bag ratings are pretty much rated at worse case, you will survive but maybe not be comfy temps. So a -20 degree bag will keep you alive at -20 but you may not sleep all that well.


With the institution of standardized EN 13537 temp ratings assigning 3 separate ratings it's easier to select a bag you're comfortable with based on gender, sleep temp tolerances, fit, activity, etc. See *Notes below


Some bag manufacturers have even gone the route of putting 3 ratings on the bag.


It's not manufacturers that do this testing. ..."these tests are conducted by a third party in internationally certified labs using standardized testing methods for each bag, the resulting ratings serve as a fairly accurate guide to what temperature range a sleeping bag is best suited to perform in. More importantly, this standardized testing allows you to reliably compare sleeping bags across different brands, helping you pick the perfect bag for your next excursion. When looking at EN temperature ratings, there are two main numbers you’ll want to look for and consider— the EN comfort rating and the EN lower limit rating. The bag’s comfort rating indicates the lowest temperature in which the average woman will sleep comfortably in that bag. The lower limit rating indicates the lowest temperature in which the average man will sleep comfortably in that bag." This was done to avoid fudging of bag temp ratings creating a standard 3rd party independent rating.

Pace Measom summed it up here: https://www.backcountry.com/explore/warmth-to-the-wise-temperature-ratings-for-sleeping-bags-decoded


*Note: Now, here's the rub, and what I currently personally understand. Sleeping bag temp ratings 10* f and below aren't EN temp rated. That's up to the bag manufacturer. So what gives? Who is to be trusted?

Philip Werner https://sectionhiker.com/cold-weather-sleeping-bag-temperature-ratings/


With that said it is very common practice in mountaineering to where your down suit or parka/pants in your bag. Problem is room. Plus you'll want room for a water bottle or 2 in the foot box.

Well, all the bag manufacturers below state on their sites under what conditions they rate their bags. No, they aren't all assigning temp ratings based on what you've said although that can be a typical practice. *Note under what conditions Philip says how most cold weather bag manufacturers get their ratings.

Now back to those 10* and below bag ratings. So, if we are ignorant of this info who is most to blame? So, who might be most trustworthy? IMHO, I seek to purchase cold weather sleeping bags(10* and below) from high end manufacturers that currently or have personally historically been heavily involved with mountaineering, especially winter mountaineering and climbing and possibly expedition/remote endeavors that have demonstrated transparency and a solid reputation...for things like accurate temp ratings based on their clearly defined temp rating standards(found on company sites for all those listed below), construction techniques, materials, design, reliability, etc. Why? Mountaineers and climbers and those on expeditions don't just feel "uncomfortable" as one may on the AT during summer. They lose fingers, toes, feet, and noses,... and may die if their equipment specs and performance margins aren't solid.

What I surely don't want is a bag manufacturer that has ANY tendency of inflating it's assigned bag temp ratings.

What I surely don't want is to assume I need a -20 degree bag because I highly question the assigned 0* rating to begin with! Why purchase it in the first place if such a bag manufacturer has tendencies to fudge critical to survival specs like bags with 10* to -40* ratings?

What I surely don't want is to be ignorant of info high end transparent cold weather sleeping bag manufacturers post at their sites that takes out of context how those ratings were assigned.


So let's look at these histories:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmot_(company) Founded by two mountaineers in Grand Junction Colorado. Lot of good things come out of CO. :cool: Some of the most outdoorsy athletic 4 season active folks live and play in CO.

Likewise:

Feathered Friends is a down specialist birthed out of the Seattle WA climbing scene. Lots of high elevation stuff in eastern WA with outdoors people that get out, some yr round in some nasty weather.

Western Mountaineering - duh the name should give it away. Started by two northern CA mountaineers

Valandre - http://www.valandre.com/about-us.html ... "Valandre...producing technical high altitude expedition(gear-sleeping bags, apparel) is not a little dream world, where the designers float around in an idle dreaming.We have the responsibility to develop and produce a reliable product where a compromise is not an option."

Who do you want to buy a winter sleeping bag or quilt from? And, why?

Dogwood
12-31-2017, 15:51
The best test of a bag's rating is to throw it out in the backyard tonight and sleep and see how correct it is...

For this reason it's important for winter backpackers who want to carry down bags to GO OVERKILL. If you expect 0F, get a -20F bag.

You can(or attempt to do this) but how about first starting with bag manufacturers that have a historically proven track record offering solid temp ratings on their cold weather sleeping bags? Throwing down a bag in a backyard to see if it's temp rating is accurate is not a valid option to try duplicate if you're a mountaineer, climber, or one inclined to expeditions. How about noting under what conditions these cold weather sleeping bag manufacturers arrive at their temp ratings BEFORE purchasing?

Dogwood
12-31-2017, 16:02
...Plus, a down sleeping bag is never as dry and as lofted and as warm as it is at home unfurled before a trip. This is important. Such a bag may very well be a true 0F rated bag when taken out of the house and thrown in the backyard tent tonight---but take that same bag out on a long backpacking trip and it's at-home warmth and loft won't be as strong. This is due to trip length, air humidity, your body's condensation and other factors.

For this reason it's important for winter backpackers who want to carry down bags to GO OVERKILL. If you expect 0F, get a -20F bag.

Even going OVERKILL as you state doesn't always work...at least from a sleep system performance and light wt(YES, there're winter UL/light wt kits too!) perspective. It works for you based on your outdoors style and duration of winter trips(which ALL seem to last 9-17 days) taking a -20 when you only require a 0*. But there's a time when it makes greater sense to consider other things like going to a synthetic bag/quilt like Skurka did on his Alaskan Traverse or getting to a dryer or out in the sun to re-loft or employing hydrophobic down(not necessarily as a magic bullet but as added insurance of conserving loft) or employing VBLs as some do or....???

egilbe
12-31-2017, 16:09
Airing out a bag during your hike should mitigate a lot if the residual vapor that the down may hold. Getting out of your bag and immediately packing it will force the moist, warm air out of the bag. Fortunately cold air is very dry and any frost in the bag will evaporate quickly in any sunshine.

Tipi Walter
12-31-2017, 16:22
Woot has a t-shirt for soloists:

41364

Just kidding.
Mostly.

Nice!


You can(or attempt to do this) but how about first starting with bag manufacturers that have a historically proven track record offering solid temp ratings on their cold weather sleeping bags? Throwing down a bag in a backyard to see if it's temp rating is accurate is not a valid option to try duplicate if you're a mountaineer, climber, or one inclined to expeditions. How about noting under what conditions these cold weather sleeping bag manufacturers arrive at their temp ratings BEFORE purchasing?

Traditionally, mountaineers based their bag needs on the amount of goose down inside a bag---35ozs being the standard goal.

This is one number we seem to forget---and applies both to parka or puffies or sleeping bags etc. How much actual down in ounces is inside your item? This is a number often difficult to find on websites selling down gear, although WM and FF are careful to include it in their specs. Many puffy jackets have no such number, probably because it is very low.

For instance, when I bought my down parka several years ago it had over 15 ozs of 850 fill. Now the same parka has 13 ozs . . . for the same price. Aghast.

For me I need a sleeping bag with at least 35 ozs of 850 fill. And plus I base my purchase on the company making the bag, in my mind the higher the quality the warmer, which has worked out for WM and old North Face and Marmot sort of.

Tipi Walter
12-31-2017, 16:36
Even going OVERKILL as you state doesn't always work...at least from a sleep system performance and light wt(YES, there're winter UL/light wt kits too!) perspective. It works for you based on your outdoors style and duration of winter trips(which ALL seem to last 9-17 days) taking a -20 when you only require a 0*. But there's a time when it makes greater sense to consider other things like going to a synthetic bag/quilt like Skurka did on his Alaskan Traverse or getting to a dryer or out in the sun to re-loft or employing hydrophobic down(not necessarily as a magic bullet but as added insurance of conserving loft) or employing VBLs as some do or....???

Your comment "taking a -20 when you only require a 0F" is why I made my previous points about going overkill. A 0F bag is the right tool for the job IF the job never changes. On Day 1 of a 24 day trip yes your 0F might work at night with 10F temps. But on Day 8 of the trip temps could go south and you really need the extra weight of more Geese . . . and the -20F bag. I consider overkill geese to be insurance on a long winter trip, accounting also for the slow loss of loft and humid winter conditions/condensation on a long trip.

Remember, we're talking "deep winter" here.

egilbe
12-31-2017, 17:09
I have to agree with Tipi here. I carry a 4 pound Winter bag because Winter is not the time to be "Stupid Light". What can be mildly uncomfortable in Summer is lethal in the Winter. The margin for error is so much smaller. I'll carry the extra pound of feathers.

Wil
12-31-2017, 18:14
...maybe that falls apart for these really low temps?It is a good useful notion as a reference point to start with. But the variance is not necessarily linear and certainly the trend for most people would be an increasing % of variance as the temp lowers. But what is the slope of that trend? That's what the individual has to figure out.

My wildass guess is that for many people the variance line trends up from 70-80F to about 65-70% higher by zero F. IOW if you have a variance of -10F at around 75 your variance is -17 F by zero. My experience is that age pushes the whole variance line up a bit and also increases the slope.

blw2
12-31-2017, 18:28
It's based on a little more than just pure notion..... it was partially based on the data that EE presents here.
https://support.enlightenedequipment.com/hc/en-us/articles/115002770588-Layering-Sleep-Systems
someone, sorry don't remember who to give the credit, pointed me to that write up....
and it helped to quantify what I have been thinking.....

I suspect that you're right though about some variance in the extremes..... Although they present specs to well below zero, EE did qualify their data to say that use below zero should be by experienced users....but what they present points to things being a linear relationship based on 70F, and I think that kinda makes sense. Perhaps variables such as pads below and shelters above and fit of the system with dead air spaces inside, sleeper's activity, etc... play a more significant role in the extremes.....

Venchka
12-31-2017, 19:25
Me and my Alpinlite are headed to the backyard after while. Night #3 waiting for a morning in the Teens. The weather gussers keep changing the forecast.
Footnote:
The EN testing looses reliability somewhere between 20F & 10F. The marketing folks tend to round down on the Male Lower Limit rating. Conversely, the 20F Alpinlite in the USA is the 16F Lower Limit Alpinlite in the EU.
Wayne

Dogwood
12-31-2017, 19:29
Your comment "taking a -20 when you only require a 0F" is why I made my previous points about going overkill. A 0F bag is the right tool for the job IF the job never changes. On Day 1 of a 24 day trip yes your 0F might work at night with 10F temps. But on Day 8 of the trip temps could go south and you really need the extra weight of more Geese . . . and the -20F bag. I consider overkill geese to be insurance on a long winter trip, accounting also for the slow loss of loft and humid winter conditions/condensation on a long trip.

Remember, we're talking "deep winter" here.


....if the situation never changes...because your trips are very similar, your kit/gear is very similar, your camping style has little diversity, your security blanket has to be expansive and familiar...That applies to you based on all the winter reports I've ever read from you Tipi. It's not a bad thing at all. You know yourself. What you're after. And, you seem to enjoy yourself while contributing immensely to others. Where I have issue is when you say to others, not knowing how they lay out their winter trips, their winter gear/kits, where and how they winter sleep/camp, their acceptable diversity and tolerance levels in each of these things and more, recommend across the board carrying a -20* bag when a 0* bag might be perfectly comfortable for them based on their situation.

Dogwood
12-31-2017, 20:01
I have to agree with Tipi here. I carry a 4 pound Winter bag because Winter is not the time to be "Stupid Light". What can be mildly uncomfortable in Summer is lethal in the Winter. The margin for error is so much smaller. I'll carry the extra pound of feathers.

Absolutely right, winter is not the time to go "stupid light." Do you assume Andrew Skurka on his solo Alaska-Yukon Traverse went stupid light on his sleep system? How about Justin "Trauma" Lichter and Shawn "Pepper" Forry on their first winter PCT thru-hike? How about Trauma on his Great Himalayan Trail thru? How about Cam "Swami" Honan on the winter hikes/segments he has completed? Do you think they went off half cocked? Do you assume they didn't get advised by some of the best in the winter outdoor world? Despite these hazardous treks do you think they all carried 4 lb sleeping bags on the entire length of their 1100-2000+ mile winter hikes? How about only at the coldest times? Do you think any of these vastly diversified experienced hikers go about telling others in a generalized fashion what they should carry in winter as far as a sleeping bag wt, winter bag temp rating... without FIRST knowing the context of the hike, the individual...? Do you think these folks have more diversified experience with backpacking in winter than most of us here?

Dogwood
12-31-2017, 20:12
So no one gets in a twist what I'm saying is that many times advise given is in context of the advisor's own situation and experiences that can actually be quite limited/undiversified which is especially problematic when the advisor stubbornly ignores that others may, and very often, do things differently, experience things differently, take on different winter trip styles,...

egilbe
12-31-2017, 20:13
We arent talking about other famous hikers. We are talking about the OP who came to this message board asking for advice. Its better to err on the side of caution than assume he has hiked across Alaska, or the Lake Superior trail in the Winter.

Being cautious.

Dogwood
12-31-2017, 20:30
We arent talking about other famous hikers. We are talking about the OP who came to this message board asking for advice. Its better to err on the side of caution than assume he has hiked across Alaska, or the Lake Superior trail in the Winter.

Being cautious.

I understand. That does not mean we can not learn from famous hikers, or any other hiker, in what they did based on what they experienced either. Then, we can relate it in context to what we each differently experience in our situations.

All those mentioned write trip reports that include considerations, gear lists, what they could have done or known better, and back round info, etc. They do that so others can possibly take something by what they share. I, for one, will take those considerations, gear lists, and experiences to heart just as I do Tipi's winter reports.

sethd513
12-31-2017, 21:30
And thatís why I post on here. Many good opinions, many with solid advice. I know where Iím at so what I take out of all these post affects me differently then the next guy. Itís good information for everyone reading though not just myself. Unfortunately Iíve never hiked out of New England as I donít travel. Not saying thatís a bad thing. As of past and the foreseeable future my winter trips are spent in the white mountains.


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Venchka
12-31-2017, 22:58
The Section Hiker just sent a new email with a lengthy discussion of winter bags. Itís worth reading.
https://sectionhiker.com/winter-sleeping-bag-faq-expert-advice/
Wayne

Leo L.
01-01-2018, 06:30
Great reading.

I might add, that the most important piece of gear to help me surviving severe cold in the bag is a woolen hat or a balaclava, which I wear inside the hood of the bag, which I close down to a very tiny breathing hole just for the nose.
The exact way how all these items work together is very important to find out beforehand.
The hood of the bag needs to be wide and long enough to enclose your head and the hat just lose enough to be comfy, the drawstring needs to operate in a nice and symmetrical way so the tiny breathing hole doesn't apply uncomfortable pressure to your face, all stuff (woolen hat etc.) you'r wearing needs to be slippery enough to follow your movements without getting stuck in the hood, and many more details like that.

And, as others had pointed out, keep a bottle handy so you don't have to leave the bag for a night break. And try out the procedure beforehand, so not to wet the bag in seriously cold conditions on the mountain.

sethd513
01-01-2018, 07:36
Yea the possible -25 temps with -50 windchills are pushing me away from up north this weekend. My wife wants to go but sheíll be a block of ice in the morning and thatís really not good for anyone. Itís looking like this weekend coming up in mass should be -10 to -15 plus wind which would be a much fairer test of a -20 limit.

Good section hiker article. I donít understand why there is no mention of vbl unless I missed it. They gave props to the pertex shell but I donít really know how anyone can sleep in winter conditions without one. I use to and I was cold and my bag was frozen in the morning. Or maybe itís just a given that you ďshouldĒ have one on when in these conditions


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Venchka
01-01-2018, 08:25
Perhaps you should sign up for one of his winter trips.
At times like this I donít miss my time in western MA!
Wayne

Snowleopard
01-01-2018, 15:51
There are decades old tables showing sleeping bag loft needed for different temperatures. I think these tables are still good on the assumption that the sleeping bag is well designed for the temperatures expected (sectionhiker's article talks about design features). I'm tempted to sell my -20F EMS bag, but as I age I might need it for sleeping inside my house on cold windy nights.

Venchka
01-01-2018, 20:39
There are decades old tables showing sleeping bag loft needed for different temperatures. I think these tables are still good on the assumption that the sleeping bag is well designed for the temperatures expected (sectionhiker's article talks about design features). I'm tempted to sell my -20F EMS bag, but as I age I might need it for sleeping inside my house on cold windy nights.
Finding loft figures these days is becoming harder and harder. Trusting the loft figures you do find is equally difficult. Real world individual testing works.
Wayne

Tipi Walter
01-01-2018, 22:54
Real world individual testing works.
Wayne

My point all along.

BlackCloud
01-05-2018, 10:19
I recommend anything made by these people:

http://www.westernmountaineering.com/

Their temp ratings are quite accurate; bags weigh nothing but feel great and they cost a fortune.