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Thread: Sleeping Bag

  1. #1

    Default Sleeping Bag

    Hey folks just wonder can you get away with a 30 deg bag on the A.T in march down around the begin of the trail

    Thank

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    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    No .......

    EDIT:
    Early March (1st) vs late March(31st) is a big difference.
    But even in April you would probably be cold at higher elevations. Many would advise a 10deg or better bag for a March start, changing out to the 30 once you get into VA.

    Bag ratings are pretty subjective. I trust the EIN comfort ratings and some manufacturers, like WM, FF, Mont Bell, etc. What manufacturer is your bag?
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 01-01-2016 at 18:22.

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    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    You can get away with it, but you arent going to be very happy or rested.

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    Maybe, but since you are asking the question likely not. There are many ways of stretching a sleeping system into lower temperatures but they require considerable experience. you also can't answer the question without knowing what pad you are using. Something like a full sized Neoair xtherm would help your cause more than a Neoair Xlite. What are you insulating layers?

    The Southern AT in March can get downright cold. Don't let the "south" fool you.

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    It would take experience and skill to pull that off... Better to play it safe and get a bag rated for much colder (or more accurately rated). I wouldn't send anyone out with that rating and feel ok about it.

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    You can get away with it. I did. I spent a couple of cold (maybe 20 F) nights wearing everything. Travel light, freeze at night.

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    Hike at night, sleep in sun?

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    Wouldn't recommend it. Spent a night in the Mt Collins shelter near Clingmans Dome in March 2009. Overnight lows were single digits and my friend and I were freezing in 20 degree bags.

    You might be able to pull it off if you are ok sleeping with 2 layers plus winter coat, hat, and gloves on. But then you might as well ditch the extra clothing and get a warmer bag.
    It's all good in the woods.

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    The Smokies can easily have freezing temperatures down in the valleys, and therefore much colder in the upper elevations.

    Climate data for the Smokies upper elevations shows an average night time low in the mid-20's. Actual temperatures routinely vary by about +/-15 from the climate average. So without an extreme weather event, you can expect night time lows to be anywhere between the teens to mid-40's. But as LittleRock points out, an extreme weather event can easily get temperatures down to single digits.

    I do most of my camping in GSMNP, and I personally don't enter the Smokies with anything less than a 20 bag in March.

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    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by partinj View Post
    Hey folks just wonder can you get away with a 30 deg bag on the A.T in march down around the begin of the trail

    Thank
    You only asked one third of the question.
    What will you put between the bag and the ground?
    What clothes (including hat, gloves & socks) will you be sleeping in?
    Don't even ask the "Can I use a 25F degree liner to make my 30F degree bag work at Zero degrees" question.
    EN rating? Bah! Humbug! Some makers exaggerate the EN rating on the low side. Some makers do the opposite-rating a bag higher than the EN number. Last year I bought one of each. I returned the bag that "cheated" (rating below the EN number) on the EN number and kept the bag that was rated conservatively (above the EN number) by the maker.
    Then you need to understand bag construction. How is it built? What is the shell fabric? Does it fit you? Yep, just like packs & shoes, sleeping bags come in several sizes from narrow to wide. What is the loft of the bag? How is the loft measured? Loft does not equal Down Fill Power. Down fill power has little to do with the loft, and therefore the overall warmth of the bag.
    Does the zipper snag if you look at it wrong? Or can you open and close the zipper in the dark with your eyes closed without snagging?
    Many more aspects of a sleeping bag (hood, draft collar, foot box, etc.) determine the overall comfort factor. Temperature rating is just the tip of the iceberg.
    You can start learning here: http://www.westernmountaineering.com/product-details/
    http://sectionhiker.com/sleeping-bag...ct-or-fantasy/
    Good luck shopping.

    Wayne
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    Registered User Cotton Terry's Avatar
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    This discussion has me nervous. I plan on using a BA Zirkel UL20 with a Therm-a-rest Neoair XTherm pad for a March 15th start. Based on my research and discussions on this site, I believed it to be adequate. Now, I'm thinking I need to go to the BA Mystic 15.

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    I doubt that a 5 degree difference in bag ratings would be noticeable.

    Wayne
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    Registered User Cotton Terry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    I doubt that a 5 degree difference in bag ratings would be noticeable.

    Wayne
    HA, Wayne, good point.

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    Personally, my 30 degree Montbell bag WITH A LINER works fine down to 30 and maybe a little lower. I've never used it in the low 20's or teens, but I'd throw on my poncho and puffy jacket and wear my pants and LS shirt over my base layer before I'd spring for another $300 bag. Obviously, you'll be wearing your fleece hat. Keep in mind, it will be 10 degrees higher in your tent, anyway. I bet that's also true in the shelters in March when they're full of other hikers, at least if the opening isn't pointed north.

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    No - again

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    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    No way. No how. 15 degree, carry a silk liner too and long underwear







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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    I doubt that a 5 degree difference in bag ratings would be noticeable.

    Wayne
    depends, I have an REI -5 and an REI 0
    the -5 is right and the 0 is more like 15

    as always test the bags for you - cotton terry, plenty of opportunity in Wis to test cold weather gear right now, for march 15 start a system that keeps you comfy all night at 10 F would be conservative, 15 F would still be reasonable

    to the OP, starting with a 30 F system mid to end of march would be highly unlikely to kill you, but is that the standard you want to go by?

  18. #18

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    I was out a couple of weeks ago for a test run on stretching my bag rating.
    It was suppose to go down to 25 in town but with a slight elevation it could have been slightly cooler.

    Bag is a WM Megalight, 30 degrees.
    Pad is the original NoeAir (not nearly as efficient as the Xlite.
    I added a Gossamer Gear 1/8" foam pad.

    I got chilled before going to bed and it took me about 10 minutes or so to get comfy.
    I woke up at 11pm sweating my fanny off.

    I was wearing a short sleeve poly tee, a 1/4" zip fleece top, light weight hiking pants, down hat and socks, old fleece glove liners and I draped a nano puff over my legs. I also had a small 16oz Nalgene with hot water in there with me. No long underwear.

    At 11, I had to kick off the socks, pull the puff out of the bag and unzip about 1/4 of the bag.
    Woke up warm as a bug in a rug.

    I feel confident that I could stretch my 30 bag down to 20 and maybe lower if needed.
    Would need more testing to verify though.

    I was also using a one man tent which I know adds a little warmth but that is truly subjective.

    If I were to be expecting anything much lower for an extended period of time I would more than likely buy a warmer bag. No, actually I would send my bag back to WM and have it overfilled.

  19. #19
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Western Mountaineering bags tend to be conservatively rated. Everyone sleeps differently. R-value of ground pads do make a difference. The EN rating system in Europe assumes a 25 year old person and includes an R-5 pad between bag and ground.
    Case in point: My WM Alpinlite bag is rated at 20 degrees in the USA. In Europe, the same bag has an EN rating of 16 degrees. Many companies round their numbers in the USA the opposite way. I know. I bought and returned a bag with an "optimistic" rating before buying the Alpinlite.
    Bottom line: Test. Test. Test.

    Wayne
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  20. #20

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    I have a nemo 30 deg down bag and have slept warm in the tent at 23 deg. I also have a 15 deg liner that I can use but have not tested this. I just had sleeping clothes on and slept well at 23. Hope to test this at night below that temp this winter in Chicago. I have been tracking the temps in GA and the lowest temp at any shelter that I will be staying at was 17 deg. Will continue to track temps. This may be a warm winter. I will leave for the trail Feb 29th.

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