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  1. #1
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    Default z packs sleeping bags

    Hello,

    I'm asking if anyone has any experience with Z packs sleeping bags, the ones with the zipper in the back. not interested in their quilt

    I have a EE quilt (40 degree apex) for the summer but I was looking at their 20 degree or lower rated.

    Do you feel it is accurately rated?

    I do not want a quilt for that temperature range and I knew about their "bags" and thought to ask if anyone has any real world experience with them.

    As always, any help is greatly appreciated.
    Best
    Floyd

  2. #2

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    The best thing to do is compare fill weight from manufacturer to manufacturer as well as the design of the baffles.

    Also, fill power 800, 900 etc.

    Furthermore you need adequate insulation underneath you to get the most out of your top insulation.

    I have a Zpacks 10* bag and Im happy with it. I went with the 10* as the specs made it seem more like an accurate 20.

    However, theres WAY more to it than just how much down is in your bag.

    You will freeze if you have a bad campsite selection, not enough r value underneath you, are wet, hungry, etc.

    If i honestly wanted to sleep comfortably at 10 degrees with my Zpacks 10*. Id be on an xtherm, in a tent, well fed, in full long johns with a puffy and hat and gloves on, and dry. 10* is pretty cold lol.

    I had my xtherm and zpacks bag going thru the smokeys on my AT thru hike. I was one of few not freezing at night.

    Everyone in 20* EE quilts with zlites or xlites complained about being cold.

    Theres alot of speculation about lots of manufacturers temp ratings.

    Katabatic is the only quilt manufacturer that consistently gets very positive reviews about the warmth of their ratings. And you'll notice that Katabatic quilts are heavier than others, because they have more down, because theyre rated conservatively, not to sell you an ultralight quilt that looks good on paper.

    Zpacks, EE, Katabatic, and many others all make quality quilts/bags

    I noticed a katabatic 22* has about the same fill weight as my Zpacks 10*. And they weigh roughly the same.

    And i would say my Zpacks 10* is more accurately described as a true 20*.

    Mine has the full length zipper. And honestly, I dont think its necessary. in really cold temps id rather use a pad attachment system than zip it up.

    I like my Zpacks 10*, but if I could do it over Id get a Katabatic 15 or 22. Pushing the limit of your quilt consistently is not condusive to a healthy, physical recovery on a long hike.

    Granted this comes at a weight increase on your back. But, if your gonna carry a luxury or two, a warm sleeping bag is a really good place to take a weight increase.

    Its good you have a warmer weather quilt as well. Because all though many like the versatility of a 20* quilt for 3 season use, it just doesnt work that well for me.

    Out here on the east coast, i would swelter in the summer with my 10*. I switched to my 40* during the summer months on the AT and lots of night could barely touch it.

    I, personally, thinks its advantageous to have a bag suitable for early spring and late fall that will actually keep you warm, and then a lighter one for when the temps warm up.

    I find a 20* quilt isnt warm enough in the fringe seasons and is way too hot in the summer. It will work though.

    If your considering dropping the money on a Zpacks bag, i would say put it towards a Katabatic instead. I dont even own one. But if you do some research i think youll find they are the preferred insulation of some very experienced hikers.

    Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk

  3. #3

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    I should add... if your dead set on a bag. Get a western mountaineering and get a proper bag.

    I dont think the zip on the Zpacks adds much to how it performs from my experience.

    Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Registered User stilllife's Avatar
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    A girl doing youtube videos on the AT this year had a Zpacks 20 degree bag and was freezing in mid thirties temps. She was very unhappy. She called and got a 20 degree Western Mountaineering sent to her and loved it. I have the twenty degree Ultralite Western Mountaineering and it is amazing.

  5. #5

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    I have one of their 40 degree quilts with a zipper. I like it for warmer weather, and for me their ratings are not comfort but lower limit ratings, so the 40 is a 50 degree. Anything below that I personally want a mummy sleeping bag with a hood. I know with the proper setup you can be just fine with the proper quilt, but I am just more comfortable in a bag when I have to bundle up.

    I highly recommend WM for sleeping bags as well. I absolutely love mine.

  6. #6
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    Whenever anyone tells you how warm and wonderful their ZP quilt/hybrid bag is ask LOTS of questions! Ask about their TOTAL SLEEP SYSTEM. If the details aren't forthcoming don't depend on the review. Ask about their pad. Ask about their shelter. Ask about their (dedicated) sleeping clothing. Ask about their diet and how many hrs a day they actually hike. Ask about how they sleep. Ask how often(if ever!) they take the temp rating to and 5* below ZP's assigned temp rating IN THE FIELD AND how often they're in the habit of doing that with any sleeping bag or quilt!!! That's where things become clearer, that's where warmth to wt ratios truly become clear...in the details, when it comes to sleep systems - ESPECIALLY QUILTS -hybrid or otherwise! Most people rave about their gear - "best kit ever." People like to talk about themselves. This is how it's done, blah blah blah. Manufacturers, even cottage ones, engage in marketing. Doesn't necessarily mean people are being intentionally dishonest but they may be leaving out important details! Users comments like "the warmest lightest wt sleeping bag I ever used" doesn't cut it with me. Because then they reply, after being asked pointed questions like "how low and under what set ups have you taken it?" the replies are "I've taken my 20* 3/4 zip ZP hybrid bag down to freezing or 28* while inside a closed tent with a full length Xterm; I was toasty." Yeah, no kidding.
    GoLite, EE, ZP, JRB, Nunatak, and Katabatic quilt user. I had the 20* ZP hybrid sleeping bag/quilt with the 3/4 zipper. It was sized right in the width and length for my body, sleep system, and sleep style! It's not a matter about how I feel about ZP's assigned temp rating. *I KNOW according to the specs the temp ratings on the 5*, no longer made 10*, and 20* are NOT accurately temp rated! The specs tell me and others(like other quilt manufacturers) who are honestly intimately aware ZP ratings on those category hybrid bags/quilts are over shot by 5-8*. You can stop there or read on for the details. I've slept for wks in each temp rated ZP 3/4 zip hybrid quilt I listed frustratingly trying to arrive at what was "right" for myself. FWIW, like Fox I almost went with a ZP 10* 3/4 zip as my 20*, a temp rating I rely on the most in a bag/quilt, but chose for a variety of reasons not to go that way. The wt of the ZP 20* 3/4 zip had a strong pull on me...as I strongly assume it does on many others. Cost for JUST THE HYBRID BAG isnt off the charts either. FWIW, I have a warmer more durable more user cowboy friendly less complex less bulkier sleep system at 1 oz more that has an assigned manufacturers temp rating of 20*(under what scenario I'm not aware) that gets me to 15* no cowboy problem. But, that's me maybe yakkety yakking about my gear.

    For the record I've long grown tired of both sleeping bag and quilt manufacturers hiding their inflated temp ratings in the fudging of no two alike sleep system set ups.. Understand neither a bag, and even more so a quilt, even if it is a hybrid with a zipper are stand alone pieces. They are just part of a sleep system. This is where the temp rating fudging is excused. Then, it's further hidden in "well you must be a cold sleeper."
    As a kit wt conscious cowboy sleeper tossing from side to side wearing the same sleeping clothing in the same sites under the same weather scenarios while consuming a like diet and like hiking approach(14-16 hrs per day) on the same trail on like trip durations with the same ground cloth(polycro) and same NeoAir Womans sized inflatable pad as one accustomed to pushing the temp limits of a conventional sleeping bag and quilt often to and a bit below the rating I heavily rely on and DEMAND accurate temp ratings of my quilt or bag to build my sleep system warmth around. This becomes more significant in temp rated bags/quilts/hybrids the colder the rating(below about 35*) which is your situation.

    FWIW, with any of the quilts I've had or do have or have used I have to go with the slightly heavier(12 0z) slightly bulkier longer(66") more insulating(higher R value - 3.9) NeoAir Womans which is $30 more costlier(and likelier to get a puncture since it's a larger surface area) when I'm using a quilt than my lighter less insulating 8 oz 3.2 R value less bulky 47" long Neo Air Shortie which I use with sleeping bags. That added wt and bulk and cost is part of the added wt to a quilt based sleep system compared to a conventional sleeping bag based sleep system. YET, entirely too often the typical wt and bulk and $ cost comparisons are made solely on a lone quilt verse lone sleeping bag single piece verse single piece analysis which is highly misleading as in real world use neither a sleeping bag or quilt are rarely to never, especially a quilt, used as single - stand alone pieces.

    Furthermore, so much quilt hype is built around that supposed useless pie shaped wedge underneath in a conventional sleeping bag that offers no insulation because it's crushed. How about trying this? Have your pad totally deflate in an equally temp rated conventional sleeping bag based sleep system. See how warm you sleep. Try the same thing in a quilt with that same deflated sleeping pad all other things being the same. You may start realizing that supposed useless wasted unnecessary removed wedge was providing something that contributed to warmth more substantial than realized. Try soundly sleeping as a toss and turner in such a quilt with the warmed air around escaping because of drafts. I liken it to having the covers pulled off while sleeping at home in a bed.

    The quilts(TQ) with the most accurate to conservative ratings based on a polycro(window film) ground cloth underneath and NeoAir Xlite women's pad cowboying for below freezing that I'm experienced considering the personal details are the Katabatic Elite series Alsek 22* and Sawatch 15*. Katabatic has THE BEST collar, specs, and pad attachment system. Even with my tossing and turning using the same other parts of the described sleep system do I actually get a sound nights sleep at around 17* lowest for the Alsek which I no longer have or, or which I still have, the Sawatch 15* which I can take down to 10* on occasion as a neutral sleeper. For above freezing a budget friendlier summer perhaps late/early shoulder season EE 50* quilt offers a ton of applicability and decent enough warmth to take down to 45* as part of a sleep system as part of a sub 7 lb lb fair weather SUL LD kit(no consumables). Sub 3 lb for the Big 4. BTW Katabatic has their Flex Series with the zipper as ZPacks offers. They occasionally come up for sale.

  7. #7
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    Sent from toasty warm inside my sleeping bag on trail.

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    I would not spend $$$ on any poorly constructed quilt/bag with flat footbox. Period.

    Tim at EE wised up and improved his. Near as i can tell, zpacks still producing poor design. Dont know who buy it, but obviously some do. Are they still doing cuben baffles? Know what happens to polyester/mylar film when get it hot? It shrinks. What happens when put in dryer? Never seen anything negative posted, but most people never wash their stuff.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 10-21-2018 at 23:07.

  9. #9

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    The truth is that you're not going to get very meaningful answers by asking other people. There's really no such thing as "accurately rated", as we're all different, and what typically gets left out of these discussions, along with the choice of pad(which can make a huge difference), is that YOU are the sleep system's most important part and variable.
    If you're "normal", that makes things easier, but in the end, what works best for you takes time and experimentation in actual use to discover.
    A good starting point is seeing how your own comfort level relates to the EN ratings, then using loft(not the whole story, but you'll find some consistency: ~4" for EN 30F bags, 5" for 20F, 6" for 10F, halving it for quilts) to get a general idea of what will work for you at a given temp. That's technically what EN ratings are for to begin with, but it's arrived at via a particular set of conditions, so doesn't necessarily apply to everyone in the real world.

  10. #10
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    Just another datapoint: I own a Katabatic gear 22 deg Alsek quilt, a 20 deg EE quilt and have owned numerous WM bags over the years (a -25, -10, 15 and 20). By far the most conservatively rated bags/quilts are those WM bags; none of mine have ever let me down at their rated temps (I suppose I would be called an "average" sleeper), and I have always had an adequate R-value pad under me.

    The most "optimistically" rated quilt was my EE "20 degree" quilt. I'd say as is it was more like a 30-35 or so. I added quite a bit of down (4 ounces, that's a lot) and now think it might be low-20's comfy. This is a double quilt, BTW, used when my wife is with me, most of the time these days.

    My Katabatic Alsek was a slight disappointment at first; it seemed to be overstuffed in the footbox, understuffed in the torso, and was not quite comfy enough at it's 22 degree rating (though my feet were toasty!). So, given how the Katabatic gear store/factory is a 10 minute drive from my house (Lakewood, CO), I took it in and asked for some more down in the torso... First of all, the cool lady-co-owner told me a common complaint is cold feet in all bags, so they tend to focus a lot of down in the lower leg-feet area. But she said she'd help me out, so I left the quilt.... a week later got a call, come and get it, I was expecting to pay maybe $70-$100 or so for this service, she did it gratis, no charge, 2 extra ounces of down added to the torso, voila, not it's a proper 22 degree quilt. Great little shop!

    The only experience I have with zpacks quilts is second hand, a double-crowner pal of mine (with another half dozen shorter thru hikes) told me about his 20 degree zpacks, he claims it is optimistic, more like a 30, but he knew this and wanted a 30, so he bought a 20, simple as that. As others have said or implied, if you want a 20 zpacks, get a 10.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by stilllife View Post
    A girl doing youtube videos on the AT this year had a Zpacks 20 degree bag and was freezing in mid thirties temps. She was very unhappy. She called and got a 20 degree Western Mountaineering sent to her and loved it. I have the twenty degree Ultralite Western Mountaineering and it is amazing.
    A quick google shows that the WM 20 is 11 ounces heavier for the same temp rating. It sounds like math is a thing.

  12. #12
    Registered User stilllife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    A quick google shows that the WM 20 is 11 ounces heavier for the same temp rating. It sounds like math is a thing.
    Actually warmth is a thing and the WM 20 is actually good to 20*.

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    Sleeping bag is a piece of gear you want to have real confidence in. I’ve used a zpacks 20 quite a bit. It has done ok. When the temps are going to be near its rating I find myself bringing heavier sleep clothes . Weight savings of the bag are negated at that point. If you plan to be out in sub freezing conditions ( especially at its price point) I’d shop around some more. Get a good warm sleeping bag and save weight by leaving all the trinkets at home. I do love my zpacks duplex tent.

  14. #14
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    Thank you all for the replies.

    I understand about a sleep system, and the many factors that are involved in that.

    I guess my fault is the question that I asked. Does 20 degrees mean 20 degrees with this product?

    I too have gotten sick of bag and quilt manufactures claiming a certain degree but is en rated to a higher degree comfort level, and even, all things being level the bag/quilt is not what it was claimed to be.

    At 20 degrees or below I want a bag. I still prefer them really.

    I have contacted WM and FF Friends.

    I like being in the cold. I like winter and I like being warm when I sleep and not piling on every stitch of clothing.

    Floyd

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    Zpacks 20 is more realistically 30...

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    I have had a zpacks 20 degree for three years and would definetly say it is more of a 30 degree bag. But, at same time I have slept in it in my tent when it has been in the teens. On a thermarest neoair with my thermals and jacket on and i was a little chilly.....especially my feet....but I was okay. Some has to do how you sleep. I am a warm sleeper.

    Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by stilllife View Post
    Actually warmth is a thing and the WM 20 is actually good to 20*.
    No, the WM is 11 ounces heavier, which for some, means it goes to 20. The "degrees" is largely irrelevant. It's your metabolism, the amount of fill, and clever design that keeps you warm. I know people who hiked with a 10F S2S full bag, liner, and hot nalgene bottle in the same conditions other people used an EE 20F quilt.
    Complaining about bag manufacturer's temp ratings has become a meme.

  18. #18
    Registered User stilllife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    No, the WM is 11 ounces heavier, which for some, means it goes to 20. The "degrees" is largely irrelevant. It's your metabolism, the amount of fill, and clever design that keeps you warm. I know people who hiked with a 10F S2S full bag, liner, and hot nalgene bottle in the same conditions other people used an EE 20F quilt.
    Complaining about bag manufacturer's temp ratings has become a meme.
    I do agree that each persons body is different.

  19. #19
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    I would say that my 20 degree rating is not quite a 20.

    But this is an extremely personal observation that is affected by many factors.

    I was camping at 10,000
    I had a silk base layer Only
    I was in a Six Moons Design Skyscraper (which allows for plenty of air flow)
    I was in the Sierras in early July

    YMMV

    TF


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