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  1. #1

    Default 20 Deg Sleeping Bag or 30 Deg?

    I am trying to decide what temp rating I really need for a thru starting in mid to late March. I dont want to get into down or synthetic on this thread I just want some honest opinions on what others are planning or have used in the past.

    Ok so the question is at the start can I get by using a 30 deg bag with a liner for the first month or so or do I really need to use a 20 deg bag? I am not planning on switching out bags later but having the same bag the whole time. Also most of the time I plan on tenting and I will be using a sleeping pad.

  2. #2
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    Are you a cold or warm sleeper?

  3. #3

    Default insanity; using a 30* bag.

    you will be one of the tossers. you will join a cult called the turners. and finally you will become angry and disgruntled from lack of sleep and cold will kiss your cheek each nite till you go to town and buy a real bag .starting at 15* i think is the upper limit ever any time of yearr on the at.isnt your life worth the extra 8 ozs of life giving insulation? or do you want to die?
    matthewski

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    Quote Originally Posted by mweinstone
    you will be one of the tossers. you will join a cult called the turners. and finally you will become angry and disgruntled from lack of sleep and cold will kiss your cheek each nite till you go to town and buy a real bag .starting at 15* i think is the upper limit ever any time of yearr on the at.isnt your life worth the extra 8 ozs of life giving insulation? or do you want to die?
    BS. I've used a 30deg. bag for years starting at Springer in late March and was always warm even when temps. dropped into teens and below. Sleeping in a tent is key.

  5. #5

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    I am a warm sleeper and I am leaning more to a 20 deg bag with a liner. (there has only been a few times in the past few years that I wished that I had a warmer bag) Also I have 15 plus years backpacking experience but the longest trip I have ever done has been 8 days. I am just upgrading my bag for something newer, lighter, and packs smaller.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Wolf
    BS. I've used a 30deg. bag for years starting at Springer in late March and was always warm even when temps. dropped into teens and below. Sleeping in a tent is key.

    I just hiked the JMT with a 40 degree bag. I used a 4 season tent - although I did roll out under the stars 3-4 times. Temps were down into the 20s on a number of occasions. I sleep warm however - and carried extra clothing.

    There is no boilerplate response to this question. A 20 degree bag should be sufficient - but if you go ultralight (which I don't) and carry no extra clothes - you might be cold. It all depends on how warm you sleep - and what your comfort level is. Getting good sleep is very important on the trail.
    'All my lies are always wishes" ~Jeff Tweedy~

  7. #7
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    You'll probably be fine. For me, it's 15 degree, but then I'm starting March 1st and I have a Big Agnes air core that is a little cold. I would think it also depends on your sleeping pad.







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  8. #8
    Registered User FanaticFringer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mweinstone
    you will be one of the tossers. you will join a cult called the turners. and finally you will become angry and disgruntled from lack of sleep and cold will kiss your cheek each nite till you go to town and buy a real bag .starting at 15* i think is the upper limit ever any time of yearr on the at.isnt your life worth the extra 8 ozs of life giving insulation? or do you want to die?
    You sound kinda retarded.

  9. #9
    Registered User FanaticFringer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mweinstone
    you will be one of the tossers. you will join a cult called the turners. and finally you will become angry and disgruntled from lack of sleep and cold will kiss your cheek each nite till you go to town and buy a real bag .starting at 15* i think is the upper limit ever any time of yearr on the at.isnt your life worth the extra 8 ozs of life giving insulation? or do you want to die?
    You sound kinda retarded.

  10. #10
    Registered User FanaticFringer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mweinstone
    you will be one of the tossers. you will join a cult called the turners. and finally you will become angry and disgruntled from lack of sleep and cold will kiss your cheek each nite till you go to town and buy a real bag .starting at 15* i think is the upper limit ever any time of yearr on the at.isnt your life worth the extra 8 ozs of life giving insulation? or do you want to die?
    You sound kinda retarded.

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    You will get the strongest comments from the "cold" and "warm" sleepers. Let's assume you are a "normal" sleeper like the majority. *

    Manufacturers want to supply you a useful number, but want to quote as low a number as possible. I would say a 30 deg bag with little wind and a good pad will give you 8 hours of good sleep, but not necessarily make you feel toasty for the last two hours you are waiting for the sun to come up.

    This is not good enough for the conditions you are likely to encounter with a mid-March start, let alone conditions you should be prepared for.
    Nonetheless, I carry a 30 deg. bag with a silk liner all the way. I don't think the 20 bag/silk liner covers the many cool-warm days as well.
    Therefore, I carry lots of warm clothes that I save for sleeping (socks, mid-weight underwear, fleece hat and my camp jacket for extreme conditions.
    Rambler

    * Does a "cold" sleeper needs a warmer bag?

  12. #12
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    Does a "cold" sleeper needs a warmer bag?
    The male dino is a warm sleeper and the female dino is a cold sleeper. Our homemade quilt has more insulation on her side. This keeps us both comfy to about 35 F - though Jardine's rating formula says her side is good to 20 F and his side to 40 F. So, my answer is that colder sleepers need more insulation.

  13. #13
    Registered User general's Avatar
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    you can also put on a couple of layers of poly pro to drop the rating of your bag considerably.
    don't like logging? try wiping with a pine cone.

  14. #14
    Registered User hopefulhiker's Avatar
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    I started out with a 20 degree bag and liner and an insulated mattress. It was ovrer kill. Later I used a 30 degree back country blanket with an insulated air mattress and a silk liner, also wore a down sweater at night.. Looking back I think I should have just started out with the 30 degree set up for the whole trip. I probably would have had a couple of cold nights but the weight savings would have been worth it.. Plus if you are just taking one bag. Remember there will be plenty of warm nights too.

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    I left on March 10th and used a 30 degree bag, without a liner. It was a Western Mountainering Megalite. It was a great bag for a thru. There were some nights that got down to around 20, and on those nights I would wear some clothes to sleep in. If I thru again I'll use the same bag. I've used it for about another 4 months since my thru hike in 04.

    Scorpion GA ME 04

  16. #16
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    WM also makes a bag that was new last year called the summer light that is a fully baffed 30* bag.

    Personally, and I know that you asked to leave the down, synth arguement out here, but I think that it is all based on your own experience with sleeping bags.

    When a 30* down bag wets out with persperation it is much less warm than a synthetic bag of the same * rating.

    I am a big fan of using a 30* bag and carrying a super light weight (MT HARD PHANTOM right now) down vest or down jacket for that little extra warmth if you need it.

    If you limit your ability to stay warm on very cold nights you are going to have to remember that you must hike in very little clothing during the day because you will need to keep your warmest clothes dry for sleeping at night. My biggest fear before my Thru-Hike was to be out there close to the smokies and get a huge winter storm and be very cold. I survived a 12* night just fine because I knew how to keep dry and warm and all was well. Sure it was not the most comfortable, but I was in no danger.

    If the weather trend before you leave is not good, a 20* bag would be a safer choice, and a 30* bag would be great if you know how to manage your self well.

  17. #17
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Daddy Longlegs,

    March is usually when I switch from my 5-F bag to my 30-F bag (a WM Megalite). But I still bring clothing that I can wear to bed on colder nights -- a down jacket, powerstretch pants, and even down booties if I am expecting very cold weather. I used this system in March over the Roan Mountain area with nights into the high teens, and it was plenty warm. So, for me it's doable to start with the right 30-F bag and warm clothes. Also, I'd want to switch to a not-so-warm bag by early May, anyway.

    That said, there is nothing like knowing that you have a truly warm bag in your pack as you are trudging through a blizzard on the last weekend in March at Mt. Rogers. (Been there, done that.)

    Have fun and stay warm,
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

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