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  1. #1
    As in "dessert" not "desert"
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    Default Does anybody just skip a sleeping bag in the summer?

    I'm talking about areas where there is no real chance of weather below the 50's. Does anyone just carry a sheet or something (or nothing), and leave the bag at home? It seems to make sense to me, but then I sleep very warm.

  2. #2

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    Seems like a good idea, doesn't it. However....

    On my thru when I reached Gettysburg (in the middle of summer) I got the great idea of buying a bedsheet at the local dollar store and using that instead of my bag. I mailed my bag ahead a week or so.

    Worked great for 3 or 4 days until an unusual cold front moved thru and it got COLD at night. I was very happy to catch up to my bag.

    I ran into another hiker in Gettysburg who also thot my idea was great. He left town a couple days after I did. I learned later he hitched ahead to get his bag after the cold front moved in.

  3. #3
    Registered User hopefulhiker's Avatar
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    I carried a liner along with a back country blanket and on really hot nights I just used the silk liner, very comfortable.

  4. #4
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    Once in a while when I absolutely KNOW it is going to be hot, I will just take a silk liner instead of a bag. When it works it works like a charm. Just be prepared to sleep in all of your clothes if the temp drops.

    Great idea in the tropics; a bit dodgy in the temperate zone.

    Cheers,

    PKH
    Youth is wasted on the young.

  5. #5

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    In high summer last year I carried a sheet thru Maryland , Penn and NJ. A few times I had to fold it over to stay warm. My summer bag weighs about as much so I guess it was six one way an half dozen the other.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by dessertrat View Post
    I'm talking about areas where there is no real chance of weather below the 50's. Does anyone just carry a sheet or something (or nothing), and leave the bag at home? It seems to make sense to me, but then I sleep very warm.
    You can die of hypothermia at temperatures well above the 50s. Always make sure you have some way of getting dry and warm.

  7. #7
    WFR/Guide chiefdaddy's Avatar
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    I agree Tater I have used my bag to dry myself out and warm up too many times.

  8. #8
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    Good point about hypothermia.

    I have, however, used my JRB Weathershield top as a warm weather solution. The foot box makes it especially nice.

  9. #9

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    in 1990 I used a sheet from Harpersferry to Conn. One time I had to wear my fleece to sleep in but all was well for the most part.
    As far as hypothermia , yes it can definitely be fatal at 50* however at 50* the weather is usually not too harsh to just keep hiking to warm up if it comes to that.

    geek

  10. #10
    Registered User shelterbuilder's Avatar
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    I've gone with just a liner, and there were a couple of nights when I slept in every piece of clothing I had - and was still cold. The point about hypothermia is valid, though - and a sheet is not enough to use if hypothermia is even a remote possibility. You might get away with it in "flatlander country" (PA, NJ, NY, etc.), but at elevation, I'd want something more substantial - just in case.

  11. #11
    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelterbuilder View Post
    I've gone with just a liner, and there were a couple of nights when I slept in every piece of clothing I had - and was still cold. The point about hypothermia is valid, though - and a sheet is not enough to use if hypothermia is even a remote possibility. You might get away with it in "flatlander country" (PA, NJ, NY, etc.), but at elevation, I'd want something more substantial - just in case.
    I carried a 25-year-old North Face, down sleeping bag liner from Springer to Katahdin in 1993 -- and on most hikes between April and November before and since.

    I was chilly a few nights in Georgia and North Carolina and in Maine, but not seriously so. However, I also carried a one pound down jacket the whole walk because I've experienced many chilly nights over the years -- and many chilly moments -- especially in chilly shelters after a long day in rain and drizzle.

    All and all I find a down jacket, augmenting a down sleeping bag liner is a good combination for me. But only you can decide what works best for you. I left Amicalola State Park on April 13 and summitted Katahdin on October 16. Once or twice in Georgia and on several nights in the 100-mile wilderness in October, I burned every scrap of downed wood I could find to stay warm.

    Weary

  12. #12
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    Default Another option is a cut-down bag

    For about $70 I bought a Lafuma Extreme 800 synthetic that was supposed to keep me warm down to 40dF. I'd say it's more like a 50 degree bag. Anyway, since I was disappointed with it, I chopped off the hood and cut out the zipper and draft tube and some of the sides, but left the footbox. The sewing is a little rough, but I'm not entering it into a beauty contest. Weight is 15 ounces on my digital scale.

    Basically it is a cheap synthetic quilt that i don't have to worry about getting wet. I love my down bags (Marmot Ptarmigan-1990's era 25dF, REI Sub Kilo 20dF, REI Kilo 35dF, Marmot -20dF Gopher) for the extra warmth they give if needed. But in the heat of the summer, when drenching thunderstorms can crop up with little warning, I prefer the extra safety margin of the synthetic.

    Reason being: I've camped down to sub-zero in many mountain ranges around the country, but the coldest I've ever been was in Georgia on the Chatooga River Trail in July after hiking in a 5-hour downpour...yes, I was somewhat hypothermic...and exhausted from the hiking and trying to stay warm. Made camp, changed into dry clothes and my fleece jacket, got in my bag, cooked soup and hot chocolate...and finally got warm about 4 hours later. My bag was a little wet, because I had it in a garbage bag in a stuff sack in the bottom of my pack. It had rained so hard, my pack turned into a rain barrel, and the bag was sitting in an inch of water. It was wet, but it still worked. If it had been down, I would have been "down" on my luck.

    So I like the idea of a synthetic bag in the summer. And I've gotten even more cautious about gaurding all things from moisture. FWIW.

  13. #13
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    Default forgot to mention

    Also, a couple of weeks ago, I was thrift-shopping for bargains, and for 4 dollars I scored a synthetic North Face TourLite, which weighs in at 34 ozs. It has more loft than the LaFuma, so I'm thinking it's about a true 40dF bag.

    Anyone with any knowledge about this bag, I'd appreciate it.

    I was thinking I'd turn it into a quilt, also, since that idea worked so well with the LaFuma.

  14. #14
    Registered User Fiddleback's Avatar
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    My personal approach has always been that sleeping bags are supposed to keep you warm (but not necessarily dry). Within the past few years my attitude has been that sleeping bags are not necessary to keep you warm.

    Sleep systems are a very individual thing hugely affected by the specific climate in which they are being used. First, and foremost I think, is how does the camper sleep? Is he/she a 'warm' sleeper or a 'cold' sleeper? Closely related to that issue is, how does the camper define cold/to what cold temps is the camper adapted? I've seen postings that complained of supposedly cold temps that were warmer than what my open-window bedroom is some mornings. The climate and the current weather play a major role too. Is it windy or humid? Is there precipitation? What's the temp swing from high to low during any 24-hour period? To prevent carrying too much or too little, the camper must have a good idea of what weather conditions will be experienced on the trail. And the longer the trip, the less confident the camper will be about weather conditions, e.g., one-day forecasts are generally more accurate than seven-day forecasts. For me, the final consideration is what can be done...what resources are available...if things go wrong and the sleep system fails to keep me warm.

    So...with all that in mind...my current sleep system is a Hennessy hammock with a 60X40X1/4" pad, and cold weather clothing. Because of where I live/camp, the cold weather clothing is always carried but virtually never worn when moving on the trail (because I haven't been caught in frigid, day-time weather yet and because I'm a very hot, sweaty hiker). The clothing (fresh long underwear and socks, balaclava, booties, fleece gloves liners, and insulated pants and jacket) replace my sleeping bag. On the trail, this sleep system has kept me comfortable to 25F in good weather, i.e., light breeze, no precip. I could go lower if I upgraded the pad or slept on the ground. Again, there are two important consideratons: 1) my trips are short and usually close to an easy bail out and 2) I generally don't go out if a bad weather system is forecast. My own backpacking season in this area is May-Oct and I don't think I've gone much above 7000'.

    I've added a quilt to the above system but I have yet to use it in cold weather. While tent camping, I used the quilt and added an old ThermaRest pad but dropped out the insulated pants and jacket...I was toasty at 40F.

    At some point, staying warm is no longer a comfort issue and becomes a safety issue. The more sleep systems are minimalized, the more care the camper must take. Ya' have to know your system and what conditions you're going to face. Backyard experiments are a great idea...

    So, my bottom line is, 'No, you don't need a sleeping bag' depending on who you are where and when. Afterall, sleeping bags themselves have only been around for 150 years... But remember, there comes a point where less gear (any gear) increases risk.

    FB
    "All persons are born free and have certain inalienable rights. They include the right to a clean and healthful environment..."

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    The Constitution of the State of Montana

  15. #15
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    Quote Originally Posted by dessertrat View Post
    I'm talking about areas where there is no real chance of weather below the 50's. Does anyone just carry a sheet or something (or nothing), and leave the bag at home? It seems to make sense to me, but then I sleep very warm.
    ====================================

    I carry a lightweight mummy bag called the "Travel Sack" sold by REI.

    http://www.rei.com/product/731835

    Half zip and has draw string closure at foot. Rated at 50 degrees and weighs about a pound. There are still cool nights, even in the summer, if you camp at higher elevations.

    'Slogger
    Last edited by Footslogger; 10-08-2007 at 10:41.
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  16. #16
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    FWIW, there are (relatively) inexpensive, lightweight down bags for the summer conditions you describe. Eg., Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45, weighs about 20 oz., stuffs down to the size of a Svea stove. I got mine new for about $160 from campsaver.com.

  17. #17
    trash, hiker the goat's Avatar
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    you can get a really lightweight/ inexpensive fleece bag that will be more than enough for you in the summer.

    i got one for $18, and used it most of the time in 2003.

    mine was similar to this:

    http://www.cabelas.com/prod-1/0022801516244a.shtml
    "The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive." -TJ

  18. #18
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    Quote Originally Posted by _terrapin_ View Post
    FWIW, there are (relatively) inexpensive, lightweight down bags for the summer conditions you describe. Eg., Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45, weighs about 20 oz., stuffs down to the size of a Svea stove. I got mine new for about $160 from campsaver.com.
    ========================================

    REI has a lightweight 45 degree down bag too

    http://www.rei.com/product/746296

    Not sure how it compares with the Mtn Hardware bag but it's priced a bit lower ($109)

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  19. #19
    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    on the AT, no, Ive always carried at least a fleece liner. on other southern trails in the summer I have taken a cotton sheet only.
    The only thing better than mountains, is mountains where you haven't been.

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Footslogger View Post
    Not sure how it compares with the Mtn Hardware bag but it's priced a bit lower ($109)
    The REI bag is about half the price of the MH Phantom 45. The main diff seems to be the grade of the down used (REI=600, MH=800.) The REI bag is somewhat heavier.

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