View Full Version : One sleeping bag

04-24-2013, 07:02
I have been reading about people taking a cold weather and a warm weather bag for a thru hike. I was wondering if I could get by with just using my warm weather bag the entire time. If I were to do that what type of bag should I look for? What would be the downside of just taking one bag? Could I just unzip the fly for ventilation or get a quilt to help prevent getting too hot?:rolleyes:

2014 can not come fast enough!

04-24-2013, 07:12
I use a single bag (quilt) for 3+ season AT hiking under all the conditions you will likely see. (Older model Golite ul20) But that doesn't mean my sleep system remains constant. My clothing worn while sleep varies considerably by season. The extremes..... In summer I may wear shorts and tee shirt with quilt barely on. In the winter I will wear down jacket, all my clothes and add VBL by wearing my rain jacket, pants and booties under my insulating layers. This allows me to get well below the 20 degree rating of my quilt, lowest being -4f. But the larest change to my sleep system that varies is my sleeping pad. I go from a neoair Xtherm to an xlite. This makes in huge difference in sleeping comfort. Have a great hike.

04-24-2013, 08:35
I have survived many a sub-freezing night in the Rockies in my 3 season REI 30 degree bag by doing what Malto advises. However, your start and end dates may dictate the need for a warmer bag. You have ample time and live where the temperature varies quite a bit. Go out and sleep in your bag. Find out for sure what it will and won't do in various temperatures. We don't know the answer for your particular needs.


04-29-2013, 03:01
It really depends on when you start. I started in May and was more than comfortable with a homemade quilt rated to about 35-40. By the time August rolled around I had switched out to a blanket consisting of a sheet of microfiber fleece and a layer of ripstop, with no insulation since it was so hot. I would say don't worry about it, you'll find a way to make it work, whatever your situation. Happy trails.

04-29-2013, 09:30
On the AT, it depends both on your pace and your willingness to carry insulation in summer. There are those who can start in temperate weather in mid-May and finish in mid-September, and for them a single 30F bag or quilt is fine. Others need to start in late February, hike through some serious winter conditions, and take well over six months to hike the trail. They typically don't want to carry several pounds of winter insulation during the sweltering summer months in the mid-Atlantic.

Some hikers can make a 30F quilt or bag work in winter with the addition of clothing and/or bag liners. This takes experience and doesn't work for everyone.

On other long US trails like the PCT and CDT, most hikers carry a single 20F bag since you're faced with high altitude cold conditions every month of the trip.

04-29-2013, 10:10
Absolutely, depends on your start date, pace, and skill set, as well as factors associated with the rest of your kit.

05-01-2013, 08:25
I've always maintained a 20* down mummy is about perfect as an all-arounder. Thing about bags is too much warmth isn't as bad as too little, but neither extreme makes sense.

You have to know your own body, how you react to fatigue, etc., to make the "best" choice for you.

WM is about as good as it gets... hint.

05-01-2013, 14:50
My son took a Warbonnet Mamba 20F L/W for his entire thru, NOBO, 2/27 - 6/29/2013. He had many warm clothing layers to supplement it early on and had roughly two uncomfortably cold nights. He carried fewer layers as it warmed up, and sent them ahead in a bounce box.

Another Kevin
05-01-2013, 15:24
I'm with BradMT and Malto. I carry a 20F bag pretty much year round.

If I'm pushing its temperature rating at the low end I sleep in fleecies or puffies, perhaps with my rain gear underneath. (If I see a forecast with a substantial chance of subzero weather, I don't start, or get off-trail.)

If it's hot, I may be sleeping naked or nearly so, with the bag unstuffed and ready to pull around me as a quilt if the temperature drops in the night.

At this point, as a clueless weekender, I can't justify spending the price of another sleeping bag to get one that's a few ounces lighter that I can use only 2-3 months out of the year. If I were a thru-hiker, carrying the thing hundreds of miles and sleeping in it every night, that might well change the equation, but right now I do fine with the system that I have. (At the moment, the shelter system is a much higher priority for me.)

05-01-2013, 15:28
I started around 1 April and carried a 35 degree WM bag. I had to wear all my clothes a couple of times.