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View Full Version : Plasma 15/30 turn around



IrishBASTARD
02-20-2012, 06:30
Can I get away with using a Plasma 30 bag...instead of buying the Plasma 15? Will be leaving arriving on Springer March 10th. Just figure the weather this season has been very weak (knock on wood)...and would opt for a cheaper bag. Will have a goose down jacket and thick wool long johns as well. How COLD can it get in the Smoky's? Or should I bite the bullet and pay the extra money.

aaronthebugbuffet
02-20-2012, 08:40
You'll probably get quite a varied answer to this but I would take a 30 degree bag if I were leaving in March given the bag rating is somewhat correct.

4eyedbuzzard
02-20-2012, 09:36
It can get pretty damn cold not just in the Smoky's but the whole southern section of the trail from northern GA through southern VA right through until May. I got caught in an ice storm and low teen temps in GSMNP in early April many years--okay, make that decades ago. But I think given recent temps and the mild winter I'd roll the dice and go with the 30 and just rely on base and other layers for the few really cold nights. You'll likely see some winter conditions at times until the end of April. Are you tenting? Tents are warmer than shelters or hammocks by 10 or so as they shelter you better from wind and they retain a little of your escaping body and respiration heat. You can always bail to town and a warm motel to wait out a storm.

10-K
02-20-2012, 10:14
I would go with a 20* bag but not 30* assuming both bags were from the same manufacturer for comparison's sake (and the temp rating was accurate.).

30* is pushing the envelope I think - you might get lucky but a few more oz's for the added comfort and safety seems like a good tradeoff to me.

4eyedbuzzard
02-20-2012, 10:48
I would go with a 20* bag but not 30* assuming both bags were from the same manufacturer for comparison's sake (and the temp rating was accurate.).

30* is pushing the envelope I think - you might get lucky but a few more oz's for the added comfort and safety seems like a good tradeoff to me.From a safety standpoint I'd definitely agree. The 30 is definitely marginal - current overnight temps have been right around that mark. Part of what's missing are the particulars regarding the OP's experience level, other gear (tent?), "warm or cold sleeper", willingness to be a bit uncomfortable for a night or two, willingness to bail and wait out a cold snap and/or storm, etc. I doubt the OP would freeze to death given this bag and a down parka and wool base layers. A few cold nights though is probably likely.

This winter has been a really weird one. Heck, a 20 deg bag would have sufficed in a lot of New England for much of this winter. Normally I'd say go with the conventional wisdom of at minimum a 20 until May / out of the higher elevations in southern VA, and switch to a 35-40 summer bag.

After re-reading the original post though, the decision shouldn't be made based on "spending extra money". Add that not all bag ratings are created equal. I've got a 35 rated WM that I've been out in in mid 20's and it was fine - for me. Just don't have personal knowledge of how the Plasma stacks up. Backpacker mag reviewed it and loved it and even "cold sleepers" found it comfortable in temps at its rating so that is a bit of a plus.

Decisions, decisions . . .

yappy
02-20-2012, 11:06
I'm rollg the dice as well and takg a thirty degree bag. I hope my Alaskan blood is used to frigid temps ...c u out there :)

max patch
02-20-2012, 12:31
I live here and no way in hades I'd take a 30 degree bag with a 3/10 start date.

STICK
02-20-2012, 22:50
I haven't thru'd (yet) but I would also suggest that you go with a warmer bag than a 30...

Just my opinion, but I would say skip the Plasma bag and buy something else all together. (Unless you are scoring it for a great deal.) The Marmot Helium (15 F) is a nice, proven bag, and comes in a little cheaper than the Plasma 30, and way cheaper than the Plasma 15 (of course I am talking suggested retail prices...I haven't checked for any sales). Or you can pick up a sweet WM bag for pretty much the same price.

swjohnsey
02-20-2012, 23:04
If you take a light bag you need to be prepared to sleep in your base layer on cold nights. You might even get a little cold (heaven forbid). I am taking a 35 F WM bag for a March 30 start but I am prepared to sleep in my fleece plus balacava, mittens, and down booties (my luxury item.)

tuswm
02-20-2012, 23:21
remember that one way the plasma line saves weight is to be a slimmer bag. if you are a big person you might consider going with a larger model.

IrishBASTARD
02-22-2012, 16:04
Thank you everyone for the advice. Would be cowboy camping. Should have been more specific in concerns to that. Will go with the 15 degree and send it back home...then on June opt for a 3 seasons bag. Thank you all again.

kevperro
02-22-2012, 20:58
If it were me, I'd get either the Hydrogen or Arroyo and save the coin. Throw some extra cloths on on those really cold nights.