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futurethruhiker
01-20-2010, 00:28
Starting my thru hike in March and getting ready to upgrade to a down bag (15 degree) and need some advice. How neccesary is it to have a mummy bag? have one and I would be much more comfortable in a rectangular. I will sleep with a hat. I would appreciate any advice on this.

beakerman
01-20-2010, 00:40
I've slept with both and over the years I find I prefer the "cheap" rectangular bags. The reason for this is the mummy bag, while for the same rating is lighter and seemingly warmer in the foot area, is tighter there. That's sort of the point of them and I don't like things tight around my feet and legs. Especially after a long day on the trail so it is a trade off--you can have a slightly lighter bag and warmer feet or you can move your legs around more. I prefer moving my legs.

That's just this crazy guy's opinion and my justification for same.

LIhikers
01-20-2010, 00:40
My wife uses a rectangular bag, you'll probably be sleeping in hat or balaclava, gloves, and a down jacket to stay warm on cold nights.

If it's just that you need a roomy bag consider the Montbell line of Super Stretch bags. They stretch to provide extra room as you move during the night.

Mountain Wildman
01-20-2010, 00:50
Somewhere in the middle I guess are Big Agnes bags, They tend to have more room in the foot are while still having the mummy shape. A little heavy though.
The Big Agnes Summit Park is large , Down fill and weighs alittle over 3 pounds.

MadAussieInLondon
01-20-2010, 00:52
I had a rectangular. 15F might be a bit extreme tho. I used same down bag summer/winter with no problems. mine is rated to 20F, 650 loft. maybe 15F is not much more weight vs 20F

ChinMusic
01-20-2010, 01:24
I'm an active sleeper and do great in my Montbell Super Stretch. I would never consider a rectangular.

ARambler
01-20-2010, 01:49
I had a rectangular. 15F might be a bit extreme tho. I used same down bag summer/winter with no problems. mine is rated to 20F, 650 loft. maybe 15F is not much more weight vs 20F

If this is your only extravegance, you can make it work. If this is your attitude, you have to make a 50 lb pack work. The specs drive most people to mummys, and most of them make it work.

That said, the best manufacturers make several widths, and I find the narrowest widths like the Western Mountaineering Ultralite and the Feathered Friends Hummingbird are too narrow for me. I think they are only comfortable for 10% of the population but the spec (weight) and competition require them to make it. I unzip my narrow FF and use is as a quilt on most nights, and only zip up on cold nights.

Hey Bloody Cactus. I don't remember meeting you in 04. I finished with English Nick, and saw St Rick a couple times on the pct last summer.

Rambler

Connie
01-20-2010, 02:05
As soon as I can, I will have a "sleeping quilt" from enLIGHTened equipment (http://enlightenedequipment.webs.com/products.htm).

I would rather have the optional gathered a zipped "foot box" and move my legs around and change position in a "sleeping quilt" with a great sleeping pad under me.

It packs down small. The price is right, as far as I am concerned.

. . .

The Will
01-20-2010, 02:16
Starting my thru hike in March and getting ready to upgrade to a down bag (15 degree) and need some advice. How neccesary is it to have a mummy bag? have one and I would be much more comfortable in a rectangular. I will sleep with a hat. I would appreciate any advice on this.

The mummy bag is a lighter and more efficient design but if your primary concern is leg room then there are high quality options out there in other shapes. And just because you have a rectangular bag does not mean you have to forego the hood. Feathered Friends, in addition to making all of the their temperature specific bags in varying girths/lengths, also produces a line of semi-rectangular and rectangular bags. Many of these have hoods and draft collars or removable hoods.

You'll pay for it, but you'll also get what you pay for.

prain4u
01-20-2010, 04:19
If I was NOT hiking, I would prefer a rectangular bag. I like more room for my legs.

When hiking, my preference is a mummy bag or a quilt due to the advantages of lower weight and less volume/bulk. In general, if you go with a rectangular bag, you are often adding both weight AND bulk/volume (sometimes you are adding a lot of weight an volume). For ME those are big considerations.

Rectagular bags--especially lightweight bags are harder to find than mummy bags. Western Mountaineering and Big Agnes have some semi-rectangular bags (I am not certain of the accuracy of the temp ratings of the Big Agnes ones). Go to their websites and check them out.

I am currently looking at buying a new mummy sleeping bag--for those (rare?) occasions when I use one. I have tried a Marmot Helium--and will probably buy one--unless I find something that I like even better in the next couple months. It was roomier and more comfortable than I thought. The reviews that I have read were generally good. In theory, it is a 15 degree mummy bag that weighs just under 2 lbs. (It compresses down to "the size of a loaf of bread").

When hiking on Isle Royale for 10 days this past summer, I used a Jacks R Better "Rocky Mountain Snivler" quilt. I used it as a top quilt in my hammock and absolutely loved it. Temps got down to the low 40s. I slept like a baby. I also used this quilt on top of me when sleeping in the Isle Royale shelters. It was still good--and it will be even better and warmer when I make some slight changes to my entire sleep system to better adapt my system for use in shelters. The Rocky Mountain Sniveller (Regular) weighs 26 oz., comes with a 1.5 oz. silnyl compression sack, and can be stuffed to 8”x8”x9”.

MadAussieInLondon
01-20-2010, 09:33
Hey Bloody Cactus. I don't remember meeting you in 04. I finished with English Nick, and saw St Rick a couple times on the pct last summer.


yeah I know st rick (photo http://trailjournals.com/photos.cfm?id=52081 ). after the london kickoff, I bumped into him in the grayson highlands. I dont remember meeting you either but there were a lot of people on the trail in 04

I don't like the feet constriction of mummy style bags, I think the mummy design isnt so much a weight saving vs rectangular as it is more about retaining heat better by keeping the bag continually closer to the body, so if your going arctic, mummy for sure. I didn't find I needed anything in 04 that required such cold climate requirements.

Pickleodeon
01-20-2010, 10:50
I had a 15 degree down mummy bag this past year (09) and I'm pretty sure I would've frozen to death in anything else. Unless you're a super warm sleeper, I would not recommend a rectangular bag at all, but especially not for the first month or more of a thruhike. I left in mid-March and had some days in the mid-70's the first week or so, but when we hit the Smokies, we got a foot and a half of snow and were forced to zero at Mollie's Ridge shelter because of the snow, some of it was as deep as 3 foot drifts. Every one of us, there were 20 some people in the shelter, stayed in our sleeping bags almost all day and the people with big bulky rectangular, or even just not-warm-enough bags, were freezing all day and all night. Even my partner who is a really warm sleeper and has the Montbell stretch sleeping bag (I'm pretty sure 15 degree) was cold.

Rectangular bags are a lot more bulky, heavy, and probably not nearly as warm. Also, if you go for the comfort of the rectangular bag, are you planning on taking a pretty wide sleeping pad too vs. one that tapers at about the knees, or a 3/4 length? I'm no ultralighter, but that really adds up to more weight. If you can get used to sleeping on a shelter floor or sleeping in a tent, etc, you can probably get used to have your feet a little constricted n the bottom of a mummy bag. I would very much prefer warm toes and no hypothermia over a little bit of space for my legs and a lot more weight and bulk.

Ultimately, it's your choice, and on a short trip, probably not a huge deal, but when you're lugging that bulk and weight everyday, it makes a big difference. That's my two cents.

sbhikes
01-20-2010, 11:15
Sleeping with a hat works fine, as does just pulling up the covers over your head. The hood is what I don't like about some sleeping bags.

GeneralLee10
01-20-2010, 11:25
I agree with sbhikes, I have a WM Semi Rec bag that is 6'6"and I am only 5'9". So when it gets to cold I just dive down in the bag. I have used a hat and it works just fine. One good thing about the bag is I can fit some clothing in the bottom foot area and have warm clothing in the morning. I can not stand something that restricts my movement while sleeping. The Semi Rec bag was recommended to me from the local Outfitter. A guy that has his Triple Crown and has used the same style bag on his hikes.

jesse
01-20-2010, 11:32
Mummy or Rectangle? Neither. Go with a quilt. Less condensation and funk. I have been using a ray-way synthetic quilt for the past few years. I'm about to get started on a thru-hiker down quilt.

http://thru-hiker.com/projects/down_quilt.php

MadAussieInLondon
01-20-2010, 12:14
Rectangular bags are a lot more bulky, heavy, and probably not nearly as warm.

Theres some poor generalisations there. my rectangular 17F bag weighs less than my wifes 20F mummy and packs down smaller. It depends on internal baffle construction, it depends on the ratio of duck vs goose down, and the quality of the down, the outer shell material etc.

a mummy should be warmer around the feet by design of its constriction vs a rectangular, but not nesecarily lighter in weight, or less bulky. how much is "a lot more" in your statement, 1oz or 1lb?

I just dug out the specs on my bag, 2.4lbs 17F. my wifes mountain hardware 20F mummy weights 3.1lbs.


Also, if you go for the comfort of the rectangular bag, are you planning on taking a pretty wide sleeping pad too vs. one that tapers at about the knees, or a 3/4 length? I'm no ultralighter, but that really adds up to more weight.
I guess one could trade the weight of a square blue pad out vs a tapered one, by cutting hair and trimming nails....:rolleyes:



Ultimately, it's your choice, and on a short trip, probably not a huge deal, but when you're lugging that bulk and weight everyday, it makes a big difference. That's my two cents.

1/3 or more of your time on the trail will be in your sleeping bag. I'd suggest the OP get whatever is most comfortable while still going as light as price allows.

I do not feel that my choice of bag, nor its apparently massively ludicrous rectangular bag weight, coupled with a copiously oversize blue foam mat that could be used to fjord the colorado river inhibited my hike any or put undue stress on my knees.

:banana :):):) this post made somewhat in jest and somewhat in seriousness.

Jim Adams
01-20-2010, 12:25
Theres some poor generalisations there. my rectangular 17F bag weighs less than my wifes 20F mummy and packs down smaller. It depends on internal baffle construction, it depends on the ratio of duck vs goose down, and the quality of the down, the outer shell material etc.

a mummy should be warmer around the feet by design of its constriction vs a rectangular, but not nesecarily lighter in weight, or less bulky. how much is "a lot more" in your statement, 1oz or 1lb?

I just dug out the specs on my bag, 2.4lbs 17F. my wifes mountain hardware 20F mummy weights 3.1lbs.


I guess one could trade the weight of a square blue pad out vs a tapered one, by cutting hair and trimming nails....:rolleyes:



1/3 or more of your time on the trail will be in your sleeping bag. I'd suggest the OP get whatever is most comfortable while still going as light as price allows.

I do not feel that my choice of bag, nor its apparently massively ludicrous rectangular bag weight, coupled with a copiously oversize blue foam mat that could be used to fjord the colorado river inhibited my hike any or put undue stress on my knees.

:banana :):):) this post made somewhat in jest and somewhat in seriousness.

Alot of common sense here...an extra 6-10oz. for total comfort wins out EVERYTIME especially on long distance.
Good call dude!

geek

prain4u
01-20-2010, 14:33
There are several good 15 degree MUMMY bags that weigh around 2lbs. I will not argue with those who are stating that the extra comfort and roominess of a (semi) rectangular bag is well worth "carrying few more ounces". (But a pound or more of extra weight starts being significant to many people).

To make this thread a bit more practical--could we start listing some rectangular and semi-rectangular sleeping bags that weigh 3lbs 2 oz. or LESS that are rated for 15 degrees or colder?

Here is a start:

Western Mountaineering--"Ponderosa MF". 15 degree bag. 2lbs 9oz to 2 lbs. 14 (depending on size). Stuffs to 8" X 17".

Big Agnes--"Lost Ranger". 15 degree bag. Regular: 2 lbs. 12 oz. Long: 3 lbs 2 oz. Compresses to 8" X 7.5". Stuff size 8" X 17.5 inches.

(Just outside this weight range is the Western Mountaineering "Sequoia" a 5 degree bag that weighs 3 lbs 4 oz. Stuff size: 9" X 18")

Blissful
01-20-2010, 14:39
Starting my thru hike in March and getting ready to upgrade to a down bag (15 degree) and need some advice. How neccesary is it to have a mummy bag? have one and I would be much more comfortable in a rectangular. I will sleep with a hat. I would appreciate any advice on this.

If you want a bag with more room, consider Montbell down hugger. Gives nice room with its elastic "give".
Guaranteed the rating will not match the bag with a rectangular one.

Mags
01-20-2010, 15:10
Rectangular bags, because they are boxier, aren't so much colder..but they DO take longer to warm up. And they tend to loose heat if they can't be cinched up. They are not as efficient overall.

You don't see many true winter bags in rectangular form.

If you go with a rectangular or a semi-rectangular bag, make sure you can cinch it up around the neck area[1]
Note, that mummy bags tend to be cinched up around the head area, too so they retain more heat. Again, more efficient.


Many higher end gear companies make semi-rectangular bags for reasons other people posted: Comfort, roominess, weight and bulk is not as much of factor for some people. ).


Good, broad overview of bag types:
http://www.theoutdoorworld.com/camping-sleeping-bags.cfm

Finally, note the difference in the bag types:

RECTANGULAR

http://tsa.imageg.net/graphics/product_images/p3634805dt.jpg



SEMI-RECTANGULAR

http://www.westernmountaineering.com/gallery/small/westerntmn-15_SM.jpg




MUMMY

http://www.pmags.com/gearpics/hummingbird.jpg
[1] Probably a more common feature in semi-rectangular bags than rectangular. Rectangular bags tend to be more for summer car camping. Many higher end companies also offer hoods for semi-rec bags if so desired for extra $$$$.
[2] If you are curious, the bags shown are a COLEMAN EXPONENT ($90), a WESTERN MOUNTAINEERING MYTLITE ($285) and a FEATHERED FRIEND HUMMINGBIRD (about $340 +/- depending on what shell fabric you choose)



Alot of common sense here...an extra 6-10oz. for total comfort wins out EVERYTIME especially on long distance.
Good call dude!

geek

Unless you are dipping below 20F or so in my opinion. Once you are past three-season backpacking and into shoulder season (and winter for sure), I'd want a mummy bag. :)


So when it gets to cold I just dive down in the bag. I

Be careful. You'll want to make sure you leave a space open for your mouth and nose at night. Otherwise the approx 2 pints (IIRC) of water the average person breathes out at night will collect IN your bag. :O

springerfever
01-20-2010, 16:57
I have a WM Badger mummy bag that I use for winter hiking. Its a larger mummy style that allows plenty of movement and its good down to about 15 degrees.

I prefer a semi-rectangular bag for the spring/fall/summer that has a full zip and can also be used as a quilt. The WM Aspen (now called the Alder) with 2 oz overfill was my choice. Its good to about 25 degrees. I love the flexibility of a semi-rectangular. By pairing it up with a separate down hood (mine is the Nunatak balaclava), and a pair of down booties, its good down to about 20 degrees and there is still room for insulative clothing that could stretch it down to 15 degrees if needed.

The balaclava turns with your head so if you are a side sleeper your not exhaling into the bag itself. The Aspen can also be oriented so the zipper is in the middle of your chest, so its great for reading, writing/etc. The foot can be unzipped to vent or even to put on your boots in the morning while still in your bag. It's just so durn versatile.

Meanwhile if I am headed into really cold weather, such as the Smokies in Jan/Feb, I'll pack the Badger and throw in the balaclava and booties for extra warmth.

I just got the booties this Christmas, so haven't had an opportunity to try them out yet, but they should be a nice addition when nature calls at 0200 in freezing temps. Obviously when the temperatures warm up, you just send the hood/booties home or bounce them up for the Presidentials.

Before picking out the two WM bags a few years ago, I tried some of their more confining bags and they just did not work for me, I tend to toss and turn a lot. This set-up works well for me. If I was looking for a one-bag solution to your question, I would consider the Montbell line with the stretch features, they have gotten some great reviews from owners.

Tinker
01-20-2010, 17:06
I find that sleeping in a hammock, having a bag without a hood, I can borrow a hood from one of my jackets or, on colder nights, just sleep in the jacket with the hood attached.

beakerman
01-20-2010, 20:03
Mags,

Thanks for the info. All excellent points and very well put. It's very important to not bury your face in your bag...a wet bag is going to be colder than a dry one regardless of how much you paid for it, what shape it is or what type of filling it has. That is the first thing I teach my scouts when we go camping in "cold" weather.

Personally I prefer the true rectangular bags...cold just didn't bother me that much when I lived up north and now that I hike primarily in the south it's just not an issue anymore. So in my situation it is strictly a matter of sleeping comfort (room) versus total pack weight. I pick comfort. And when I do venture out on those really cold nights I toss a nice fleece blanket to line my bag with...I get an extra 10 degrees or so out of it that way. Add to that they are half the cost of the "tailored" bags and I have no problems humping the extra pound or two that my "extreme cold" set up costs me.

bigben
01-21-2010, 00:14
My next sleeping bag will be a Cabela's Boundary waters 20 long rectangular. Under 3 lbs, down, and very nice. My current is a Golite Doze 20 in Wide/long, and I like it and it fits me great BUT, I get too hot in it and since it's a mummy with a 1/2 zipper, I can't unzip it to use it as a comforter when it's not so cold. Check it out.

robmurphy
01-21-2010, 01:33
My next sleeping bag will be a Cabela's Boundary waters 20 long rectangular. Under 3 lbs, down, and very nice. My current is a Golite Doze 20 in Wide/long, and I like it and it fits me great BUT, I get too hot in it and since it's a mummy with a 1/2 zipper, I can't unzip it to use it as a comforter when it's not so cold. Check it out.

While looking at the Cabelas Boundary Waters bags, I came across possibly the heaviest sleeping bag ever. This must be a typo!
Cabelas 44 Magnum

Magnum 44 44" x 90" Temp rating -20 Fill weight 6 lbs. Carry weight 15 lbs. 10 oz. Even the +20 bag is 13 lbs.

beakerman
01-21-2010, 01:41
While looking at the Cabelas Boundary Waters bags, I came across possibly the heaviest sleeping bag ever. This must be a typo!
Cabelas 44 Magnum

Magnum 44 44" x 90" Temp rating -20 Fill weight 6 lbs. Carry weight 15 lbs. 10 oz. Even the +20 bag is 13 lbs.


Ok you win that bag is too heavy even for me. That is more weight than I carry in food.

stranger
01-21-2010, 02:39
WM has a few semi-rectangular down bags in their microfiber line. I note these bags are semi-rectangular, not actual rectangles, so they are basically the same around the torso as mummy bags, but the foot section of the bag is a bit wider and is able to be vented much more efficiently.

I have a WM Syncamore and love it, it's rated to 25 and weighs exactly 2lbs, I use a regular, and it has a hood. The only potential problem is that is doesn't have a draft tube around the neck, so you are going to lose some heat through the top you will not lose if you had one, but I've never had any problems and been out in weather pushing the rating.

I would never go back to a mummy for typical 3 season long distance hiking, but to each their own...