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Thread: Sleep System

  1. #1
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    Default Sleep System

    I've been lurking around the forums for a while, but this is my first post. I've learned a lot about sleeping bags and such here, yet still find myself wanting to get some thoughts on the setup I'm going with for a MEGA hike beginning in mid June. I want to avoid mail drops completely, so I'm averse to using two bags.

    I've yet to purchase it, but I plan on going with the Big Agnes Zirkel SL (20 degree bag) with their insulated air core pad, and a silk liner plus a synthetic base layer for the cold. I'll be hammocking for much of the trip and will likely retreat to the shelters when it's too cold.

    I sleep relatively warm, but I'm still a bit concerned that it won't be enough. I'd test it out but I'd need to get the bag for that. Has anyone used a similar setup successfully? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Registered User quasarr's Avatar
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    You shouldn't be averse to making a mail pickup, especially for such an important item!

    Starting in mid-June a 20 degree bag will be way too hot! You'll want something warm for the Whites but other than that you should be great with a 30 or 40 degree bag for the first 2 or 3 months.

    Then when you get way south it'll be winter and you'll probably want something warmer. It can get down to 10 degrees on really cold nights. You could sleep inside both your 20 and your 40 degree bag, instead of buying a new one.

  3. #3
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Hey, Quasarr, did you have a hot year in Maine in '08? We were there in July '07 and got some nights in the low 30s, and we were mostly away from the mountains. I was happy I had my 30-F bag and a warm down jacket.

    Pulsar, if you take the 20, you can use it as a quilt on warmer nights. I do agree that it might not be enough in NC and TN/GA in November and December. I take a winter bag after Nov 1 around here.
    Ken B
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    Our Long Trail journal

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    i use Big Agnes encampment bag 15 degree w/ silk liner and insulated pad.
    I have been disappointed w/ warmth, because I believe pad just doesn't warm up if on the ground and large volume as my bag is a long. I have found in shelter on top of plastic seems better and the best for cold is to insert 40 degree bag which I have done and used last weekend.

  5. #5

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    Although tenting and not hammocking I'm leaving in late June MEGA and plan to bring my Western Mountaineering 20 degree bag, a coolmax liner, and synthetic base layer to sleep in. I just bought a thermarest zlite pad, which I havent tried out yet. My intentions are going all the way with the one bag, sleeping on top with the coolmax liner in the warm/hot months. I feel pretty good about my setup right now, but time will tell.

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    Thanks for your responses!

    You shouldn't be averse to making a mail pickup, especially for such an important item!
    The reason here is that I don't have anyone to manage to mail for me.

    Pulsar, if you take the 20, you can use it as a quilt on warmer nights. I do agree that it might not be enough in NC and TN/GA in November and December. I take a winter bag after Nov 1 around here.
    I'm hoping to finish the trail in about 5 months, so that would put me right on the cusp of needing the warmer bag. If I stick with my setup and find I need something else for that final stretch, will I be able to purchase something down there or do I need to have that ironed out ahead of time?

    My intentions are going all the way with the one bag, sleeping on top with the coolmax liner in the warm/hot months.
    The coolmax liner looks pretty cool; I might consider that one.

  7. #7
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pulsar View Post
    If I stick with my setup and find I need something else for that final stretch, will I be able to purchase something down there or do I need to have that ironed out ahead of time?
    You will have no problems whatsoever in buying a warmer bag along the way. There are great outfitters in Daleville, Damascus, Hot Springs, Franklin, and many other trail towns in the South.
    Ken B
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    Our Long Trail journal

  8. #8
    Registered User The Will's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pulsar View Post
    I'm hoping to finish the trail in about 5 months, so that would put me right on the cusp of needing the warmer bag. If I stick with my setup and find I need something else for that final stretch, will I be able to purchase something down there or do I need to have that ironed out ahead of time?
    I did exactly what you are planning to do. My thru was from June 13 - November 13. I only had one bag at the time and it was 10 F. There were some nights through Maine and New Hampshire where I appreciated the warmth. Not to say that the temps got close to 10 F but I would not have wanted anything that wasn't rated to 20 F.

    At some point in PA I mailed my sleeping bag home and didn't get it back until Harper's Ferry. I just used long-johns, a light nylon liner and a bivy. I got away with this but do not recommend it. When you put your pack-fly over you for warmth you know it's time to get your bag back. But that gives you a rough--and I emphasize rough--idea of the temperature for that region and time of year.

    I appreciated the 10 F bag during October and November and there were some nights when that rating really got pushed. In a 20 F bag you would need the long johns and liner you plan to bring.

  9. #9

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    If you sleep warm, I expect 20deg would be stiflingly hot at night early on, given that I was very close to uncomfortably hot in my 30deg during the same period of my hike (starting June 2008). (I stopped using the bag when I discovered my bivy sack alone left me sufficiently warm for the night.) By end (early to late October), with warm clothes and encased in a bivy sack, 30 was still sufficient for me, although 20 would have been appreciated. (It would have made me more reticent to get moving in mornings, to be sure!)

    I'm pretty sure just about any friend would be willing to "manage mail" for you if all that means is dropping off one box (even prepacked, if you're willing to store your sleeping bag that way for several months) at a post office. What do you plan to do about warm clothes? Carry them start to finish? Mine were several noticeable pounds I was happy to mostly avoid carrying until Erwin, TN.

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    I did exactly what you are planning to do.
    Thanks, that was helpful!

    I'm pretty sure just about any friend would be willing to "manage mail" for you if all that means is dropping off one box (even prepacked, if you're willing to store your sleeping bag that way for several months) at a post office. What do you plan to do about warm clothes? Carry them start to finish? Mine were several noticeable pounds I was happy to mostly avoid carrying until Erwin, TN.
    Correct, I plan to carry them, with the exception of a jacket that I might need to get toward the end. As sure as you might be, I'm afraid you don't know my situation, but I appreciate your comments. It wouldn't be impossible, but I'd rather carry the extra ~4 lbs. I'm looking at base weight of ~17 lbs. I might post a gear list when I get it ironed out--I think people enjoy taking a look at them and I'd appreciate the suggestions.

  11. #11
    Registered User quasarr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigcranky View Post
    Hey, Quasarr, did you have a hot year in Maine in '08? We were there in July '07 and got some nights in the low 30s, and we were mostly away from the mountains. I was happy I had my 30-F bag and a warm down jacket.
    Perhaps it was a warm year, maybe someone who's more familiar with Maine should make the call. But our quilt was about 30 degrees and was usually too much, and I'm not a warm sleeper. I had a down jacket but never used it, I mailed it ahead to the Whites. Although I was sharing the quilt with my boyfriend, it's warmer that way.

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