View Full Version : sleeping bag ideas

04-22-2009, 04:54
Heading south in the first half of June, and Im looking for a sleeping bag replacement. What degree range should I be looking at that would get me to Georgia?

hammock engineer
04-22-2009, 06:33
Start with fall gear in mind until it is time to get your winter gear. I started in July and had some nights in the 40's in the wilderness. Some warm nights before and after the whites. Really cold snap in PA, then again in VA south. Don't let a warm snap fool you. I did and frooze the next week.

Most people had something in the 40's to start. I mainly hammocked the first 2/3's of the trail. Set up to sleep in the 40's until it started getting cold. Then I had my 20-ish degree bag and added a very warm quilt inside when it got really cold.

Keep in mind you will lose a lot of body fat and get really cold. I think as a general rule for me what worked to a certain temp before the trail got me to 10-15 degrees warmer after I lost the weight.

Plenty of places to buy and add if needed. Hard to say what 1 bag would work. The people I was around added a second bag or a zero degree when it got cold.

If you are planning on sleeping in the shelters a ground sheet and nice pad work wonders. Wind comes up from underneath on a lot of them, plus it keeps the dirt down. After a point they are pretty much empty and nice to stay in or around.

hammock engineer
04-22-2009, 06:36
I should add that I hate being cold. Some of the people in front of me kept their 40+ bags for a long time, but seemed to complain a lot about being cold but at the same time refused to add more.

It will be warm for awhile then cold for awhile, until it stays cold. What worked for me was carrying the little extra to be warm on the cold nights the whole time. Lesson learned from sending stuff ahead than freezing.

04-22-2009, 06:50
I'd aim to be warmer, rather than colder. Northern New England in the summer, in the mountains, does not have what I think of as hot weather. I was comfortable with a Western Mountaineering Ultralite sleeping bag from the beginning of July until about the late fall. I switched to a zero bag at the beginning of November, but should have done it a month earlier.

During my long hike I developed an aversion to shivering through the night. At this point I always opt to go for warmer gear (even though it means carrying more weight--yikes!), rather than risk being cold all night. On those rare, warm nights you can always unzip your bag and use it as a quilt.

As HE pointed out, it's also important to stay warm from underneath, with adequate padding and insulation there. But as the seasons advance, you'll be passing through lots of town with outfitters, and can pick up what you need as you go along. Start with light and cheap, and go heavier if you need to later on.

The Will
04-22-2009, 15:46
At the time of my sobo thru in '97 I only had one sleeping bag rated to 10F. Even in June I appreciated having it in Maine and New Hampshire though I'm sure a 20F bag would have sufficed. I actually mailed the bag home for 3-5 weeks through CT, NJ, NY, PA and got it back in Harpers Ferry. I just slept in thermals, a bag liner and a bivy. I wouldn't recommend this but it illustrates that you could buy in most instance with something in the 35-40F range through those states in late July through august. Late Sept-Nov definitely loved the 10F.

A rough guide. I all varies with how you sleep, weather, etc.

04-25-2009, 05:36
It's hard to say what is the best system if you are looking for one bag to do the whole trip. Just like on a nobo hike, a sobo will have changing weather patterns and seasons, so it's hard to tell.

On a nobo hike it's fairly simple, because you start out in the cold, then have a very hot mid-atlantic, then go to cooler weather towards the end. On a sobo, you don't really have any real heat, because you are in New England during summer, then the mid-atlantic during fall, and the south in late fall or early winter. So it's hard to say.

I might be going sobo this year and I will just take my Western Mountaineering Syncamore 25 degree. It's only 2lbs, is semi-rectangular so you can open it up all the way like a quilt, has continuous baffles so you can shift down and because the zipper runs around the footbox you can vent the bag efficiently. It's not cheap however, about $350.

I could probably get by with a lighter bag in Maine, say 35 deg, but I've seen high 30's in summer in northern New England before, rare but you remember those days!

05-12-2009, 01:26
i'm gonna rock a down 45 and a liner. thermals and a beanie too, for extra cold nights.