View Full Version : Need advice from thru hikers on picking a sleeping bag please

keen adventures
02-16-2013, 11:12
I have been trying to do my homework on choosing the right sleeping bag for me to take on an AT thru hike...hopefully in 2014. I've been looking into higher quality bags like WM and FF because I want to get something that I can use for years to come. My question is what degree of bag would be best to get for the trail. I want to have one bag for the whole hike. I have narrowed the search to WM ultralite and megalite bags. I just can't seem to decide which one will be best. I already have a liner to use with the megalite if I go that route. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you :D

02-16-2013, 11:56
How much can you afford to spend, Keen? I know the ZPacks are pretty comfortable and well recommended. If you want to go the quilt route check out Enlightened Equipment's stuff. Both of these companies make very light bags.

02-16-2013, 12:11
I was more than happy with my WM 30* megalight. Awesome bag.

02-16-2013, 12:20
Northbound hike starting at Springer? If so, your start date has a lot to do with whether you can do the whole trail with one bag.

The Megalite would be great for an early April start. I have one, and love it. It's not too much for the summer - I just open it all the way and use it as a quilt.

If you are set on starting in mid-February, then you'll want a winter bag for the start.

Somewhere in between, then it gets more difficult to decide. A mid-March start can be very cold some years and not so bad others.

02-16-2013, 12:27
I have a Megalite and it is great. One thing you need to understand is the Megalite is much roomier compared to the Ultralite. If you are starting in April the Megalite is the way to go, but if you are doing March then the Ultralite would be your choice.

keen adventures
02-16-2013, 12:32
Thanks for the reccommendations so far everyone!

tds, I will take a look at those bags.

Big Cranky - Yes, I am planning to go NOBO and was hoping to start early to mid March. I wasn't sure if I could stay warm enough with a 30* bag even with a liner (reactor thermolite...it is supposed to add ~15* I think) and some extra clothes or not. I was worried if I got the 20* bag that I would be too hot in the summer to use it and maybe end up just sleeping on top of it and using the liner as my cover.

02-16-2013, 12:49
Those degrees that a liner supposededly adds are very exaggerated. Liners are good for keeping your bag clean.

02-16-2013, 13:21
I used a WM High Lite 35 degree bag the whole way. I would skip the liner and plan on wearing your insulation layer on really cold nights to sleep in. I had fleece top and bottom, mittens a balacava that I slept in on really cold nights. Also got some down booties from Feathered Friends.

02-16-2013, 13:39
Early to mid-March seems a bit early to use a 30F bag, even a quality bag. I suggest that you either shift your starting date a bit later --- if you're resolved on using just one bag --- or consider getting a relatively cheap summer-only bag, perhaps a 40F rated synthetic to swap to later, start out with a quality 20F down bag. And get that with a full zip, so you can better manage temps on the relatively warmer nights.

02-16-2013, 16:12
What Brian said, +1.

The degree ratings of liners are, shall we say, optimistic. Now, I have used my Megalite down into the mid-teens with my winter down jacket, down booties, thick powerstretch tights, warm hat and gloves, all on a Prolite 4 pad. It worked okay. I'd probably want most or all that clothing for an early March start anyway. But that was for a weekend when I knew the forecast pretty well. Lots of times it can get way colder than mid-teens in early March, even into mid-April.

Tree Nerd
02-16-2013, 16:34
I would recommend getting two bags. If you have the funds I would go with a 15 degree down bag for early march till whenever it gets too hot for it and a 40+ degree bag for the summer. Take the liner too, keeps the bag clean, can be used alone on super hot nights, and combined with an unzipped bag it can help regulate body temp in the twilight seasons. If your shooting for one bag for the entire trip I would go with a 20 or 30 degree down bag and liner.

02-16-2013, 17:25
I just bought a bag from Feathered Friends last week; Eric was the salesperson who helped me, he was great. After trying on several bags I ended up with the Swift 20 degree bag for my 2013 thru hike starting in mid-March. It is light; roomy a major concern since I turn over a lot and comfortable. The down can be redistributed to adjust the temp by simply shaking the down on top or underneath the sleeper. This little feature makes this bag a lot more versatile in warmer temps and it should be a one bag hike for me.

keen adventures
02-16-2013, 17:58
Awesome. Thank you all for the great advice!

02-16-2013, 18:39
I have this: http://www.seatosummit.com/sleepingbags/micro.php

Very lightweight. Very compressible. The toe box opens and it completely unzips for when it gets warmer.