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Grampsb
02-18-2011, 07:43
I have the funds to purchase seveal good sleeping bags. I realize that a bag is just a part of complete sleep system.

I am currently reseaching bags and am curious as to what temperature ratings would best meet my requirements. A 15 and 30 or 20 and 30 degree bag. I am leaning to a 20 and 30 degree bag. I am looking at all brands, :confused:WM, FF, Montbell, Nunatak, Marmot etc.

I generally sleep on my stomach or side and am a warm sleeper. I am planning on doing the AT and PCT over the next serveral years. I will be living the southest (Tenn) when I retire in Dec. Most of my backpacking will be early spring - late fall.

Thanks


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leaftye
02-18-2011, 08:24
Since you're a stomach sleeper, would you consider a quilt? If you use that with a balaclava, even a down balaclava, you not only save yourself from breathing into the hood of your bag, but you can save weight and get a solution that works in a wider temperature range.

ekeverette
02-18-2011, 08:43
leaftye, when u suggest quilt, do you mean a quilt like your grandmother use to make, or is that another name for a backcountry synthetic blanket you purchase at the outdoor gear stores?

4shot
02-18-2011, 09:03
I think there are fans of all the bags you listed. After my research, I settled with Marmot. Why? they are (or were last year) one of the few companies that test their bags against a standard (EN rating, you can research that if you would like on REI or Google). Other companies asign their temp. ratings somewhat arbirarily (sp?) although the other names you mention more than likely perform as stated based on their reputations. I own a 15 degree bag, which has kept me comfortable (with a silk liner) down to single digit temps. I carried it a late March start,, slept in only in cotton boxers, rarely had to zip it up completely but there were a few nights I was glad I had it. Switched to a 40 degree bag (Marmot again) in Lexington, Va. and carried that to Pa. Shipped it home until Bennington and just slept in the liner and carried a light fleece blanket. The 15/40 combination meets all my needs here in Tennessee year round and worked on the AT as well. One other thing - the cut of the Marmot is a little roomier than some of the others which is important to me since I tend to move around alot in my sleep. Some felt way too confining, esp. the Mont Bell (to me anyway, there are alot of people who swear by their bags).

Having said all that, don't think you can go wrong with any of those bags. Go look at them and get in them. That's important. If you live in a rural area like I do, you may have to order on-line to see and look at them. I didn't have an outfitter within a 00 miles of me so I "tried" several in my living room, just make sure you are dealing with a reputable company and understand what their return policy is. You may pay a little bit for shipping etc. but these bags represent a pretty good investment in $ (imo). If you don't sleep well, it's hard to get up and hike the next day. Hope this helps.

Grampsb
02-18-2011, 09:59
I am looking at quilts such as the Nunatak Arc. Still needed to look the BPL UL240 and J&B

Buffalo Skipper
02-18-2011, 10:25
Since you're a stomach sleeper, would you consider a quilt? If you use that with a balaclava, even a down balaclava, you not only save yourself from breathing into the hood of your bag, but you can save weight and get a solution that works in a wider temperature range.

The idea of the top quilt is that you compress the insulation under your body, so it doesn't really keep you warm there. Top quilts are only cover your top and sides, allowing your pad to insulate you from the ground. Hence you carry less fabric and insulation (weight).

Top quilts are popular with hammock campers, but nothing says you cannot use them with a pad in a tent. They are not cheap, but are considerably lighter than sleeping bags.

Look at these websites:
http://www.hammockgear.com/cart/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=2
http://www.jacksrbetter.com/Products.htm (use the far left column)

I can say that he quality of these products are second to none, and all are made in the good ole USA. Good luck.

Fiddleback
02-18-2011, 10:46
I'm a great believer in keeping it simple, low-cost, and low-weight. That's some of what drove me to a 20 bag decades ago. For years I used that bag year around in the MD/VA/WV area. It also served me in the non-winter months in AK. In other words, I think a 20-degree rated bag is extremely flexible and, given the rest of the sleep system, can be part of a wide capability (my low with the above was -14). If anything, it might be too warm.:-?

So consider a quilt or other alternatives and tune the remaining of the sleep system to that. There's a lot that can be done when addressing sleepwear, under insulation, shelter, etc., with an eye to your home range and conditions to be faced. My home range features nighttime freezing temps year around so I always carry cold weather gear 'just in case'. But although I don't wear that clothing while hoofing down the trail it's become a major part of my sleep system and I haven't carried a sleeping bag for a long time -- never when I hammock hang. For those times I go to ground, I have started using a quilt. Most importantly, I think, is that most of the parts of the sleep system, cold weather clothing included, can be mixed and matched, added or dropped out, depending upon the time of year, the forecasts, and the conditions expected (and a 10-degree safety margin;))

As the old commercial preached, "Try it...you'll like it!" :)

FB

slowandlow
02-18-2011, 12:55
Buy a WM ultralite 20 degree and it will make you happy in all but full-on winter conditions. It is cut a bit narrow though, so it may be tight fit if you are a larger person.

scope
02-18-2011, 12:59
leaftye, when u suggest quilt, do you mean a quilt like your grandmother use to make, or is that another name for a backcountry synthetic blanket you purchase at the outdoor gear stores?

Neither. Its rare to see a backpacking quilt in a store. Its not a blanket, its basically a sleeping bag without a bottom. Imagine a Big Agnes bag without the pad sleeve and no hood. Has an enclosed footbox that is typically a foot or so deep and then opens up from there to be like a blanket at the head end. Typically comes with a cinch cord to secure the head end of the quilt around your shoulders.

They are lighter due to less material and they use less down. While they may seem expensive, they're typically much less expensive than a similarly filled WM or FF bag.

Ladytrekker
02-18-2011, 13:48
I bought a Montbell UL super spiral 15 degree bag this year and used it recently in the low 30"s. I was toasty warm and it is so roomy I can turn completely around in my bag which is good I change sides often. Real happy with this bag because I sleep cold and my other one was a miserable nights sleep.

sixguns01
02-18-2011, 15:22
I bought a Montbell UL super spiral 15 degree bag this year and used it recently in the low 30"s. I was toasty warm and it is so roomy I can turn completely around in my bag which is good I change sides often. Real happy with this bag because I sleep cold and my other one was a miserable nights sleep.

I have the same Montbell Hugger #1 (15 degrees). I too am a Stomach sleeper and side sleeper and love the Hugger. The Super Spiral really stretches when you flip around. Usually the bag rolls with me, but the Hugger didn't as much.

I had mine down to just below 15 and was nice and toasty with my sleep clothes on and R1 Hoody. So far the best bag I've tried and it weighs under 2lbs. Great Bag

Grampsb
02-19-2011, 10:26
Thanks Fiddleback. That's the kind of feedback I was looking for and the direction I was headed in. Now I just have make up my mind

SassyWindsor
02-19-2011, 10:28
Answer: WM

Uncas10
02-19-2011, 22:12
I am a side and stomach sleeper. I used a Big Agnes 35 degree (with a 10 degree liner and a big agnes insulated inflatable pad) from March to September last year and it was excellent on all but maybe the two coldest nights. Then I wished I had a little more stuffing. This year, I am going out in mid-March with a 25 degree REI bag, but I am planning on getting something much, much lighter for the summer.

I think it is really a very personal thing though. A lot of people are toasty warm in a 20 degree bag. But I am a warm sleeper and on all but the very coldest nights, I will absolutely fry in a 20 degree bag.

pirogue
02-19-2011, 23:02
I got the Marmot Helium (15 degrees), for the lightweight(1lb 13oz), and packs the size of a loaf of bread.

STICK
02-19-2011, 23:19
Being that you are a stomach sleeper I would seriously consider a quilt.

Of course the Nunataks are very nice but also consider the Kabataic Gear Palisade (30 F) and the Sawatch (15 F) "bags". I have never had one but they seem to be making a great name for themselves...

http://katabaticgear.com/shop/category/sleeping-bags/

Also consider the Cyanocitta Bag-Quilt that is sold at Titanium Goat. Javan Dempsey of The Stateless Society makes these exclusively for Ti Goat. (I am currently awaiting a very light weight "summer" custom quilt from him!)

http://www.titaniumgoat.com/Cyanocitta.html

Of course you if you are on somewhat of a budget, or just want to save a little, you could go with the GoLite 3-Season (20 F) and the 1+ Season (40 F) quilts. Be sure to plug in the code "DSW10" to save 40% off the entire purchase!

A quilt, in general, is lighter than bags simply because they do not use things such as zippers and hoods. Plus since they do not have a bottom like a sleeping bag they require a smaller amount of room in your pack. However, pay attention to your pad when using a quilt. Of course it should be insulated enough to keep you warm (same as with a sleeping bag) but also think about how it feels laying directly on top of since the quilt is open on the bottom. I have found that using a silk liner with a quilt can be quite comfy, but they are not for everyone. Of course too, a quilt is very easy to ventilate on those warmer nights too...

LDog
02-19-2011, 23:32
I just scored a 2010 closeout women's version of the Marmot Helium +15 on sale from REI Outlet for $275 marked down from 369, and the current version is 389. That fit's Mary quite well. Now I'm wanting to push the button on the Men's long version ... I've seen it at Campmor for 350, but I'm hoping to find it cheaper.

STICK
02-20-2011, 00:02
ChillyWilly, the Helium is definitely worth it...

Panzer1
02-20-2011, 02:04
I am leaning to a 20 and 30 degree bag


There is only 10 degrees difference between these 2 bags. If I had 2 bags I would want at least 20 degrees or more in difference.

Panzer

Espero
02-20-2011, 02:08
I have a Marmot Arroyo rated at 30 degrees. On a trip in the Sierras the temperature got down to 30 and I was cold even with a Cocoon Ripstop Silk Mummy Liner. I sent the bag to Marmot for evaluation. When I got it back, Marmot had added 7 more ounces of down (the bag weight went from 27 ounces to 34). The bag now weighs as much as the Helium. I have nothing but praise for Marmot, however if I were to buy another bag, I'd just go for the Helium and avoid a lot of hassle.

Grampsb
02-20-2011, 06:39
One serious consideration is waiting for the REI dividend and 20% and get the Heluim. I could then get a 30 degree and should be covered.

Thanks for the input

sir limpsalot
02-20-2011, 12:17
consider a 15 deg. down bag for your lower end. i live outside dc and the areas accessible to this area- snp, etc- can unexpectedly dip in temp overnite in the shoulder seasons. a 35 deg bag will do better in the warm part of the year...consider one with continuous baffles that allow you to shake down under you for when warmer or over you for colder. consider also getting a full length zipper to allow you to open it up for more of a blanket under certain conditions. the size of the bag can be spec'd from good manufacturers (wm and ff come to mind) to fit your sleeping style. consider some amount of watershedding capability in the shell depending on your shelter and the condensation/misting problem in this humid, rainey area.

STICK
02-20-2011, 12:56
One serious consideration is waiting for the REI dividend and 20% and get the Heluim. I could then get a 30 degree and should be covered.

Thanks for the input

That sounds like a great idea. Again though I would suggest looking at a quilt for a warmer weather cover. You can look at the GoLite 1+ Season quilt (in down) and that should work great. Plus use the 40% off coupon for a great savings.

buz
02-21-2011, 18:45
I would go with a greater spread on the ratings if you are looking at purchasing two items. A 10-15 degree bag is seriously warm, then a 30+ bag for warmer times. Sucks to be cold. Lots of choices, IMO, spend big money on the warmest one, can go less cash on the warm weather one.

good luck, and work to get proper sizing, fit is key. Try on a few bags that you know the dimensions on. Makes internet shopping easier when comparing bags/quilts.